Around Estonia

Estonia isn’t all that big, 45,300 sq Km to be exact. Which means visiting a large chunk of it is doable over the span of a weekend.
The student association of Tallinn organized an « around Estonia » trip, which is open to all students. During the course of the weekend we visited numerous places and saw sights I wouldn’t have probably gone to see on my own. Here’s a recap of the weekend and some of what Estonia has to offer!

Haapsalu

I had already visited this city when I went to Saaremaa a few weeks previously. However I still enjoyed seeing it again as this time we spent a little bit longer venturing around. This included exploring the old abandoned train station located on the outskirts of the city. The station is a bright red color and is quite beautiful for what used to be an USSR station. The railways go directly to Russia, and used to be used for numerous things. The visitation or royals, or the transportation of people to Siberia… you name it.imag1064_1imag1057_1

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Parnu

Parnu is the summer capital of Estonia, most likely because of its long beaches and white sand… yes white sand in the Baltic’s! Unfortunately for us, the weather and temperature were enough to keep us out of the water. However we still took a still down the beaches and imagined what it might be like on an Estonian summer day.

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What to eat in Parnu? Check out Steffani pizza and be confused on whether you are eating a pizza, or a pie!

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Viljandi

A small town with old castle ruins and a beautiful walk through a wooded area.

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Otepaa

Home of a huge ski jump. Seeing as this was the first time I have ever seen a ski jump  I was 100% impressed!

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Rouge

The deepest lake in Estonia measures 38m deep. It’s a lake. There’s not much else to say about it.

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Haanja

The highest mountain in Estonia, and in all the the Baltics. Named the ‘Big Egg’, its about 318m high and is more of a hill than a mountain…

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Saatse Boot

A small piece of Russian land that has an Estonian road running through it. The stretch of road only lasts about 1km, but you are still technically in Russian territory. You are not allowed to travel on this section of road on foot or stop your car.

This may be the closest this American girl gets to actually being in Russia… seeing as visa fees are 3x times higher for Americans… 😦

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Setomaa

A small village that lies on the border of Estonia and Russia, but is however an Estonian village. We visited a small farm on outskirts of the village that tries to share with others the Seto way of life and traditions. We ate a lovely Seto style lunch with Paks pudor which is a type of potato porridge with smoked meat and barley drenched in a sour cream and onion sauce. Seeing as this area of Europe doesn’t necessarily have the best weather for lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, many dishes are made from potatoes, oats and other carb based foods. Despite these foods being rather bland on their own, people have managed to add a variety of flavors to make delicious dishes that are not only filling but also quite flavorful in the end.

The old farm house has been trandformed into a museum and to be honest I only saw the entry way. Why did I skip the tour of the old farm house? Well, there were 6 puppies… One of them got out of the cage and I managed to get some much needed puppy cuddles. If it weren’t for my roommate knocking some sense into me, I would still have this puppy (the farm wanted to get rid of them and therefore they were up for grabs).

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Kuremae

Kuremae is a convent located out 1 hour away from Narva. The convent itself is quite beautiful, and the nuns make and sell some of the best bread i’ve ever tasted. On the same property there is a natureal spring, that is to be believed to contain holy water. People come from all over to drink and bathe in the holy water (bathing happens further down the spring, no bath water is being drunk). Despite the temperature being only 5°C, people strip down and fully submerge themselves in the cleansing water. Personally, I stuck to filling my water bottle and thats it.

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Narva

Narva is the furthest East you can go without stepping into Russia. The only thing seperating the two countries is a bridge, and residents of the area are able to cross it by foot in order to buy cheap goods on the Russian side. On both sides of the river there are two immense fortresses, one Estonian and one Russian. The two are face to face, and still in tact. We had the opportunity to visit the fortress on the Estonian side.

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