GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
The Republic of Estonia covers an area of 45.339 square kilometres. It is a Parliamentary republic, and home to 1.317.797 citizens. The major part; 54% have no religion and 26% are Christians.
The currency is Euro, worth 7,46 Danish Krone. The GDP is US$23.422 billion.
The climate is a humid continental climate. Here are
quite some large mammals like Brown Bear, Raccoon Dog , Elks, Lynxes,
Wolves, Beavers and I would like to see the Siberian Flying Squirrel.
Within long, I pass the little river of Mustjogi. The road turn into washing-board gravel road with a 90 km/H speed limit sign. No way I can do that in the corners! I begin to understand why one of the worlds best WRC drivers come from Estonia!
I reach Karula National Park, and hope here will be a campsite, as it is getting late. Well, there is a lawn and a little stinky shed. Bath in the lake! The area have several wooden houses and even a office of the indigenous Astra people. I pop bye, and ask for the possibility for a hot shower.
The real helpful woman show me the bath in one of the nicer houses, which I can use for free. One of the locals have fired up in his smoking sauna, but I rather pass this local tradition. I passes it earlier, and thought he was smoking salmon. I fail to see the point in sitting in there!
I rather make a stroll around the big Lake Âhijärv. The brinks are rather swampy, but a bit inland, a trail leads around it. Some parts on narrow boardwalks, others in grass. I pass several small farms, and all have a smoke sauna. An old mill have been working until it burned down in 2012.
The trail meets the forest, and I turn around, as it is not really that interesting. I get to the car and park it in the shadow of a building, hoping for shadow of some trees in the morning. The nights tend to be short around here, and the days steaming hot.
Here are lot of swallows sinning, wily-wagtails cleaning the car for insects and grasshoppers, and other birds. I hack some surprisingly good internet and start working. I have not really planned supper, but have quite some cans in store. Karula National Park.
2/8. I head for the nearby town of Otepää, found on a hilltop. Yet another great drive on gravel roads, although I would enjoy it more with a proper air filter on the car. The GPS is taking a day off, and navigating this maze of gravel roads take some effort.
Here are more wooden houses, cranes and numerous storks. Only a few fields have other crop than grass, and most still seem a bit green. Only a few have been harvested. I stop at some of the lakes and rivers, and the mirror effect is astonishing.
I make it to Otepää, and I start wondering; why am I here? It is on a hilltop, but here are nothing special. I have seen way more charming villages and towns. The surounding nature is real nice, but I have seen so much nice nature recently. I head on towards Tartu through more countryside. I pass the huge lake Võrtsjärv, but not close enough to lure me out of the car.
Tartu is a bit more charming, but I head straight to the Botanical Garden. It is only one hectare, but it have some real nice features and a rather large greenhouse. Here are fifteen employees, and no wonder all look this nice. Their carnivorous terrariums and outdoor cacti are great - and so are the rest actually.
Then I make a stroll up the pedestrian street in Tartu to the square and back again. From here, it is yet two more hours through this time the western farmland. Few houses, lots of forests and mainly grass fields. But not a single cow on the fields. I end out in some gravel roads once more, and after two hours of great road-trip, I reach Soomaa.
Soomaa is a national park, mainly with trees and some real nice rivers. I do a few short walks, but here are not really any interesting plants. The general landscape is the main advent. I head out on the other side of the park, and eventually, I make it to a sealed road.
Three hours of western farmland and forests, and I reach Tallinn - just at rush-hour. It is a strange mix of ancient wooden buildings and modern and rather fancy glass houses. I'm too late for the botanical garden, and head to the camp within the city.
I get several messages from the government: They want their billions of imaginary tax-money NOW (reminder after only three days!), and the car have to get a road-safety inspection check within three weeks: Short warning for a globe trotter! I try to write to them, asking for a postponement, and get a auto-reply: We well get back in 14 days. (I actually get it postponed - a week after it is checked!) I still can't reach the tax office by computer in any way; only by phone - after hours of waiting. This is really stressing factors, and spoil quite some of the tranquill I should experience. I wished I could get back at them, but I can't even send them a hateful e-mail!
While I struggle with this, I check the ferries for Helsinki. Only after I have ordered one ticket, I remember; I actually had more to see in Estonia. Well, I don't have the time anyway. Otepää, South, Tartu with BG, Central, Soomaa NP, Western.
3/8. I head straight down to Old Tallinn, and feed the parking-meter €10 - enough for almost two hours. I pass the flower market and walk through the old city wall, and I'm among the old buildings. Here are several quite impressing churches, each in its own design.
Despite here are a lot of real nice old buildings, squares with restaurants and alike, I fail to find it be "the pearl" I was promised. I do the low town, the top of the cliffs, the huge rich area and some of the narrow alleys. The most fascinating I see is some bronze statues, scatted around the city. One is a cow, relaxing on a bench before it is going to be eaten in the restaurant behind it. Another is a monk, absent from his cowl (I don't see the monk, just the cowl), and a dachshund make a perfect bench.
I make it back to the car in time - although the meter-man is standing watching it intensely. The ticket I got for the ferry does not mention the name on the line, nor which dock it departs from - and here are four. There was a map, showing to what appears to be dock A, but it is NOT that one. I start at A, and are in luck. Close to two hours to program the GPS and work with the last Estonian photos. Old Tallinn.
Estonia is a pretty country, but I failed to find that
many interesting sights. The countryside is beautiful, but pretty much
alike throughout the entire country. I have driven 421 kilometres, taken 338
photos and only spend €54.