Leaving Estonia: Sunken Soviet Prisons & Fights with the Finns

  • July 3, 2017

My time in Estonia has regrettably come to a close. It’s been a wonderful month of cultural exchange highlighted by consistent giggling at Estonians saying kaksteist kuud (translation: twelve months). To the English-tuned ear, this sounds disconcertingly similar to cocks-taste-good. I leave you with three anecdotes from my final week:

Balloon Preparation BBQ

After spending a considerable amount of time para-waiting, my paragliding adventures continued with two more (this time flawless) flights. Regretfully, I possess limited photographic evidence. My instructor suggested I bring my camera with me on a flight or two, but you saw how some of my first flights went. I declined. Later in the evening, my instructors skydived from a hot air balloon at 1500 meters. So to those of you nervous about my newfound adrenaline-junkie status, be glad I have yet to graduate to such flamboyant stunts.

Following my flights above, I embarked beneath. Rummu prison is a Soviet-era structure. Situated inside a large quarry, the complex flooded when the Soviet Union disintegrated. The sunken cells of the prisoners now serve as Estonia’s top SCUBA site. Two tanks of oxygen allowed almost two hours of exploration at 20 to 40 feet of depth. Not pictured to the right: the dilapidated building immediately beneath. Not heard to the right: the thumping bass of the techno music festival just half a mile away. Nothing quite like diving to Bassnectar.


With a weekend of adventure sporting behind me, I unpinned my sports participation award and took my place as a fan at Estonia’s biggest sporting event of the summer: the Parnu Soccer Tournament for boys born in 2003 and 2004. My third cousin once removed was a competitor and boy did I cheer my heart out. The reserved people of Estonia apparently frown upon the chant “NUTS AND BOLTS, NUTS AND BOLTS, WE GOT SCREWED,” even after a suspicious lack of whistle blowing by the referee. (Just kidding, I didn’t actually say that, but I did think it). After a heartbreaking loss which included a fist fight with a Finn (sorry for the let-down after the eye-catching headline), the family looked to lighten disheartened spirits with a trip to Estonia’s largest indoor water park. As you should have expected by this point, the water park’s primary attraction is not a water slide, but instead the impressive variety of saunas and ice baths offered.

Sideline Acrobatics with my fellow #1 fan


After a month in Estonia, I still possess nothing more than a passport to prove my Estonian heritage (and thanks to my Grandpa, a phrase or two). But I have picked up an Estonian family of lifelong friends and I have an inkling that’ll be enough to lasso me back to the homeland before long. For now, it’s off to a weekend at Wimbledon.