teisipäev, jaanuar 30, 2007

I'm off to ... Scandinavia!

As an Estonia enthusiast, I voraciously read travel guidebooks to see what kind of base information John and Jane Tourist are given before they decide to hightail it over to Europe to take in its resplendent medieval ambience. One guidebook that covers Estonia that has consistently impressed me as been Rick Steves' Scandinavia, which guides one on a journey through the "core" Scandinavian cities -- Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm -- and then onto two "Nordic capitals" -- Helsinki and Tallinn. Rick was smart to put Tallinn in the Scandinavia book because, let's face it, most people don't get there after a whirwind trip of East Europe that includes Krakow and Bratislava. They get there by going to Stockholm or Helsinki. See, Rick's glasses aren't just for show. In the words of our president, he's "plenty smart."

This is also funny because today some guy in the elevator asked me where I was relocating to after I told him why I was so exhausted. I wondered if I should even bother stressing him out by mentioning "Estonia," which for most New Yorkers is a town in upstate New York. Instead I just said "Scandinavia" and he understood basically where that was, and it captured some basic features of Estonia - lots of solitude, lots of pine trees, lots of snow, lots of indulgence in alcohol, and, of course, lots of sauna. I didn't need to explain to him that it was this little, teeny, tiny country south of Finland, and he didn't have to waste his time trying to remember where Finland was.

And so, maybe Rick Steves has been on to something all along ...

3 kommentaari:

stockholm slender ütles ...

For me this cultural identification with Scandinavia or Nordic countries makes perfect sense. But of course it is up to Estonia itself to make the decision where to orientate in these new European circumstances. These matters are not automatically dictated by circumstances but are often the result of conscious political strategy. In some ways it could be said that Finland artificially faked its way into the Scandinavian camp, not because it wouldn't have natural justifications for this, but because it was the result of very determined political will.

Giustino ütles ...

In some ways it could be said that Finland artificially faked its way into the Scandinavian camp, not because it wouldn't have natural justifications for this, but because it was the result of very determined political will.

Actually, I think the Finns have been the greatest purveyors of "Nordic" in the world. "Nordic design?" More like Finnish design. And mention Nordic to most people and you'll hear about reindeer and sauna and, well, Finland.

If anybody's been faking their way in, it's got to be Denmark. No reindeer there! :)

kerho ukkonen ütles ...

I am woefully late here, but Giustino's comment is so bang on that I must make this "big deal" and applaud him. CLAP CLAP CLAP!