Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

On the Summer Solstice, sunset is at 10:45 p.m., and sunrise is at 4:00 a.m. The sun sets about 36 degrees west of north and rises about 36 degrees east of north.
It turns out that a "normal" lens (50mm) on a 35mm film camera has an angle of view of about 39 degrees, so you took a sunset photo with the sun on the left edge of the frame and then a sunrise photo with the sun on the right edge, you could paste the 2 together and have both sunset and sunrise.
I took 3 photos and stitched them together. Sunset is over the shipyard. Sunrise is over St. Olav church. Had to get up at 3:30 and climb Toompea hill for the second shot.

Back in the USA

I didn't blog like I thought I would, I Facebooked a lot at the expense of writing longer thoughts. Anyway, we're back in the USA.
I find myself missing Tallinn more than I expected. Part of it is going from a European capital of 400,000 people to a midwestern city of 17,000. There was just a lot more to do in Tallinn on any given day. It was also fascinating to explore the thousand years of history.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Humana is a little like Salvation Army or Goodwill in the USA. Used clothing at a good price, the money goes to charity - in this case African aid. However, here in Estonia I am addicted to Humana more than I ever was to Goodwill back home. First of all, clothing in stores here is really expensive. Estonians like designer duds, and since they aren't the huge market that the US is, you have to pay a premium above the already high prices. Second, Humana has clothes donated from all over Europe (judging from the languages on the labels) so you find high quality interesting stuff. Third, the prices are pretty good 3 weeks out of the month. Not as good as Goodwill; here a men's shirt might be the equivalent of $15, in the USA at a charity store the same shirt would be $7. BUT, every month at Humana they clear out the old to make way for the new. First you get a day of -30%. Then a day of -50%. Then days where nothing costs over 50 kroon (about $4,50), on down to 10 kroon (90 cents). $400 Norwegian Goretex shell - $4; $200 official Audi jacket - $2; designer jeans - $2, and so on.

Here comes the sun

If nothing else I can write about the sun. I understand that on an annual basis we all get the same hours of day. Here in Estonia they save it up all winter. I think it's light enough to read a newspaper outdoors until at least 10:30, maybe even 11 pm. In the morning you can do the same by 4 am. Crazy.

Ferry - Tallink

I'm trying to make a reservation for my son to return from Helsinki to Tallinn. Tallink Silja apparently has never, in the hundreds of thousands of trips it must have sold, encountered one person trying to buy a ticket for another person. The website won't allow it. SO, I am on hold with the company on the phone. Lucky for me I have Skype, and I pay the flat rate, so it's free to be on hold to GERMANY(?) for 10 minutes so far. In case I wasn't irritated enough, the customer service line was designed by (fill in your favorite German here). No exaggeration, there is 2 seconds of music, then it says "guten tag! Bitte something something..." (have your customer number ready). In German only, on a customer service line that I was directed to from the English page of an Estonian website. 2 more seconds of music. "Guten tag!...." 2 seconds of music. Repeat ad nauseum.
Meanwhile I am looking for a different ferry line.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Latvia and Lithuania by bus

We are on the Eurolines luxe bus. Leather recliners, coffee and tea, power outlets, TV, wifi. It's kind of like you imagine first class on an airplane will be like (in reality this is better). It's actually an enjoyable way to travel. We are close to the Baltic Sea, the terrain is flat, with streams, birches and pine trees. If looks like northern Michigan, until I try to read a billboard. Apparently we are now in Latvia, because we have a new flavor of uninterpretable letters and words. It's a 10 hour trip total, split roughly in half by stopping in Riga for 45 minutes and a bus switch. Then on to Vilnius.