Ray Jaramis travels to the Baltics
What do you get when you have 150 years of a Swedish empire layered in with a couple hundred years of Russian & a dash of German for good measure?
The Answer – A country of no god, no sex and no future. Estonia.
Our guide began her tour with our firm attention in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. A town which has now become one of my all time favourites, and certainly one to add to your list if you find yourself with an excuse to be in that part of the world.
My partner, Camille, and I decided to make the most of a location wedding in Finland to take the short ferry ride into the Baltics and visit the homeland of Camille’s heritage. She is the first of her family to have returned since the second world war.
The saying “no god, no sex and no future” is a colloquialism derived from the fact that Estonians are an agnostic people, with the most popular religion being Russian orthodox on account of their large Russian population (native Estonians are among the most secular in the world).
Onto the “no sex and no future” - The Estonian language has no feminine or masculine inflection, nor does it have a future or past tense.
To say Estonians have no future however is hardly a truism. Estonians are the beneficiaries of the technology boom with firms like Skype having been founded in Estonia. Their schooling, rather than having a religious or spiritual focus instead teach the language of coding, encouraging their youth to pursue an international language not bound by geographical borders.
I found it remarkable how Estonians embrace the benefits of education for all of their people. In fact, the origins of the Estonian flag is derived from an old university social club, which when the country was confronted with what symbol they should attach their future to, and make their nations flag, they settled on one which represented education & social innovation.
Camille and I spent the most part of our trip travelling around Estonia but also visited their Baltic cousins Latvia and Lithuania, with Kaunas being awarded the cultural capital of Europe for 2022. At the moment it is mostly a construction site but a place I will keep front of mind should I ever get the chance to return.
If in the future you find yourself with a spare couple of weeks in the Baltic part of the world, may I encourage you to take the time to explore a fascinating part of the world.