As I mentioned in my previous post, my first weekend in Estonia was spent in Tartu. In addition to the city I got to explore two nature areas about an hour’s drive away.
Endla Nature Reserve
The Endla Nature Reserve (Estonian: Endla looduskaitseala) is generally a marshy freshwater area. The ground is very soft and waterlogged, and so a boardwalk has been constructed to allow visitors to comfortably explore the area. Normally it’s quiet and tranquil, but when we were there we saw plenty of kids running around and dogs barking. It turned out that someone threw a party to celebrate their child’s birthday. The noise and commotion didn’t take away from the beauty of the landscape, however.
Ahja River Valley Landscape Protection Area
The second place I visited has a long name (Estonian: Ahja jõe ürgoru maastikukaitseala) and also has many visitors. It’s got walking trails and a sandstone cliff that seemed popular with people. The walking trail we took was very good and this was a massive dose of nature for me, coming from the sprawling urban environment that is the Randstad. I wish I could do this more often.
After walking for two hours or so, Nele and I were ready for dinner. We went to a fish restaurant and I had a delightful dish of, well, fish. Good conversation was in plentiful supply and during the drive back to Tartu several Estonian songs were played. One of them was about a man walking on an asphalt road barefoot. And then the song ended.
As you might’ve guessed, my weekend in Tartu was great! Also: Estonians love to sing.
See you next time.