Monday, May 25, 2015

Tallinn to Tartu

A disheveled and dirty man helped me get Candace's scooter down the stairs of the hotel yesterday and the said, "Be happy," and left. Today we took a taxi from the hotel to the car rental place. The driver smelled bad, but was very nice. The car rental guys advised us to watch out for flying pebbles and animals in the road. The also warned us that Estonia has lots of speed cameras.

Driving in Estonia is fairly easy. Route 1 did have on entire direction diverted into a lane inches from oncoming traffic, which is unnerving. We listened to Skyplus, Estonia's self-proclaimed best radio station.

We drove through Lahemaa National Park. It was so green; it was energizing. There were so many thin trunk trees. We hiked a trail that began just north of route 1 off 85 near the town of Kolga. It was incredible! At one point there's a long boardwalk that clears the bogs in order to take you to a lookout tower. A ramp will get you pretty far up the lookout tower. From there you see sparkling crisp blue bogs and all sorts of colors of bogs.

It's ironic that to protect so much moss, so many trees were cut down to make the boardwalk. The bog is called Viru Bog. When something goes wrong, Estonians say the expression, "It has gone to the bog." The smell of the hike was an overwhelming pine scent.

After that incredible hike, we drove Tartu. The drive was a feast for the eyes. It was over-stimulating and after a while, I became tired. There were so many fields of golden topped crops. We saw picturesque forests.  There was a five minute red light, the only traffic light from Tallinn to Tartu. It was a memorable drive.

Tartu is a hip city with open walkable streets, particularly Ruuti, which passes by the town hall. Emajogi passes through Tartu and we walked along the river at 10:45pm dusk. Candace loved the ramps we encountered in the city. She took pictures of Liberty Bridge and an adjacent bridge. Tartu is nearly 1000 years old and we love the combination of old and modern.

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