Friday, July 07, 2006

One state visit and one pub night

I briefly hinted in a previous post that somebody important was coming for a visit and that I was looking for a suitable venue with some Edinburgh-based Estonians. Well, that important visitor was our head of state, President Arnold Rüütel. Queen Elizabeth II will be on a state visit in Estonia in October, but apparently Her Royal Highness cannot visit a state if the head of that state has not visited her beforehand. So Estonian President Arnold Rüütel came to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. And what does the president of Estonia do on a night before having tea with the Queen? He's going for a pint in a pub with a bunch of local Estonians, of course.

Here is a picture of my friend Kerttu, me, President Arnold Rüütel and his wife Ingrid at Tolbooth Tavern, Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh. There were just over 20 of us - MacEstonians - present, plus the President's entourage, and the president spent an hour in the pub before returning to his hotel.

This is Doug, the very friendly publican with a choice of five beers (my personal degustation session on previous Thursday).

You can see some more pictures of President's visit here.

Vacation alert 2006:2 - Sweden & Estonia:
I'm off again. On Friday night I'll fly to Stockholm, where my Edinburgh-based Swedish friend Annika is getting married on Saturday. I'll wander around th Gamla Stan during Sunday, before flying to Estonia in the evening. I cannot wait - I haven't seen my family and friends since early January, and K. since our trip to Paris in May. It's a short trip - a weekend in Stockholm followed by just nine days at home, but I hope to find time to do some of the usual stuff - beating myself with fresh birch branches, eating wild yellow chantarelles and wild strawberries to my heart's content, driving around the beautiful countryside and that kind of things..


Pene said...

And did the President say anything to you that was worth remembering? And I hope that you will find time to come to Tartu while you in Estonia. I'm sure that an old friend here who is expecting a baby in September would like to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Pints with the president! How exciting Pille :) And more vacation days...I'm green with envy :)

jasmine said...

How exciting!

I love how he met you all in a pub--very down to earth.


Anonymous said...

Wow, yes, how very exciting! I was just laughing at the absurd idea of the president of my country inviting me out for drinks before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth... Then again, yours looks like a perfectly reasonable old chap! ;)

x said...

Pille you are amazing! And your President is really cool. I am sure he needed a stiff drink before meeting the Queen.

Spinning Girl said...


Anonymous said...

Pille, how wonderful to have a pint with the President! WOW!

It's like... 'How was your day?' 'Oh, i went for a pint with the President'.

Really great! Now, i want to have a pint with you :)

AnnaW said...

How are you going to top a night out with the President.

Hope that you enjoyed your trip to Sweden and Estonia (what a busy month you have had!).

I would like to 'tag' you for the latest circulating Meme - if you don't mind. Please go to this posting for all the details.

Anonymous said...

How fun, Pille, to be able to spend time with your President. Very nice!

Have a good time on your latest trip!


Anonymous said...

Oh Pille, that sounds great and I am sure that the very hour with "your" present will always stay unforgettable ! I am glad for you. Have a great trip and take care, angelika

Joycelyn said...

hi pille, cool post (almost surreal ;)) as for stockholm and homecoming, i really can't wait to read the full report, birch branches and all!

Jennifer said...

Pille, I was visiting the Edinburgh Castle on Thursday the 6th when the Queen dropped by to open the Royal Scots Museum... lovely to see her and all, but it was more than a bit annoying to suddenly be herded to the side and made to stand in the sun while the Queen took her sweet time having tea and making nice with the museum folks.

Ah, well...

Anonymous said...

How exciting!!!

Anonymous said...

It must be the best pub night, Pille :) Hope you're having a great time!

Anonymous said...

Pille, you're famous! Rain's cousin Jeff (USA)

Anonymous said...

i find it quite extraordinary that your president takes the time to go out with some local expats - i can't think of any other president who would even think of something like that, let alone pull it through. The Austrian president certainly wouldn't and for some reason, I can't see Condoleeza spending the evening in a pub with fellow countrymen either...
Welldone, Arnold!

amyjames said...

Heh heh. I saw this story in the paper and thought it was just lovely.

Never realised it was you though :-).

I'm hugely impressed by your President for taking the time to meet up with fellow Estonians while in the city. Can't imagine that our own dear PM would do the equivalent should he visit Estonia . . .

Pille said...

Pene - well, the President wasn't actually too bad, and his main message was trying to lure the young Estonians back home:) As it happened, I didn't manage to come to Tartu (again), and neither did I meet Virve, though I did speak to her on the Skype, and _almost_ met her hubby. September maybe?

Joey - both the presidential pints and the vacation were lovely, so you're allowed to be green:)

Jasmine - the current President is a very down-to-earth man, and obviously our tiny MacEstonians network is deemed to be worthy of a high-profile visit;)

Melissa - _sometimes_ it pays to be from a tiny country of only 1,4 million inhabitants indeed!

Chloe - LOL!

Spinning Girl - kui Sa oleksid Edinburghis olnud, siis oleksid ka kohtumisele võinud tulla!

Mae - not sure any of the presidential shine rubbed off on me, but then I did sit next to him for the whole hour, so who knows:)

Anna - I'm sure I'll think of something. Maybe a rock star?! Or your Queen? Thanks for tagging me, I'll try to get my act together asap!

Paz - my trip was wonderful, and as I am slowly moving back home, bit by bit, then there will be more trips to Estonia in the coming months..

Angelika - a meeting with our previous President, Lennart Meri (who sadly passed away earlier this year), would have been surely more memorable, but I thought it was lovely of him to take the time to meet us.

J - believe it or not, but I actually skipped birch branches this time. It was around 30Celsius back home, and I really didn't feel like sauna at all. Next time, I promise!

Jennifer - so sorry to have missed you, but glad to hear you got a glimpse of the Queen instead:)

Pamela - indeed!

Keiko - well, it definitely was a pub night to remember:)

Jeff - I'm glad you found your way to my blog:) Hope you're doing well! Don't know about being famous (not so difficult in Estonia anyway), but it surely was weird to see my name in all those press releases!

Johanna - it was nice of him, wasn't it? I guess coming from a tiny-tiny country (just 1.4 million residents), we tend to stick together a wee bit more?

Amyjames - the story in the newspaper was about a day-time pub visit - we met the president for a late night pint around 9pm:) And I got to sit next to him for the whole hour, as I was coordinating his meeting with the local MacEstonians group:)