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Summary: Estonia is in eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia, and is mostly marshy and lowlands, flat in the north, hilly in the south. Estonia is steadily moving toward a modern market economy, with strong telecom and electronics industries, and with increasing ties to the West through NATO and the EU, after achieving independence in 1918 and again in 1991 from the USSR.

Capital: Tallinn
Time Zone: DST +0300 UTC
Population: 1,341,664
Languages: Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Estonian Kroon - Currently 1 EEK = 0.0934 USD $
Climate: Estonia has a maritime climate with wet, moderate winters and cool summers.

Tallinn: The most industrialized city in the Baltics, Tallinn has a mix of cafes and bars meeting up with the Old Town Hall, built in the 14th century, with Vana Toomas, the 475 year old weathervane, and churches and cathedrals, like the Oleviste Church, with the tallest spire in the city, the Katarina Guild.

Lahemaa National Park: Lahemaa is Estonia's largest national park and offers waterfalls, bluffs, forests, and nature. In Palmse, on the eastern edge, you can find a Baroque house dating from, and furnished in the style of, the 18th century, and a restored 17th century distillery.

Security: Although Estonia is reforming its police system, tourists can be victims of muggings. Keep valuables and passports out of sight, and avoid walking around any of the major cities alone at night.

Taxis: There are many taxis and the fares are good, so if you're stuck, hail a cab to take you to your destination.

When To Visit: The winters are cold and have short days due to the lattitude. The summers are warm to hot, and the springs are nice. In Tallinn, you can see the mid-June Memme-taadi Days, and July's Baltika Folk Festival.

Food: In addition to varieties of smoked fish, traditional Estonian foods include blood sausages (verevorst) and blood pancakes (vere pannkoogid).

Phrases: Yes = Jah, No = Ei, Please = Palun, Thank You very much = Tanan vaga, Do you speak... = Kas te raagite...

Tipping: Standard tipping of 10% to 15% is acceptable for all services, unless the service is already included in the bill.

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