Since my childhood I have listened about Estonia – a Northern European country. I used to read stories about Vikings when I was a school going kid. From them I came to know about this Nordic country first. Surprisingly I got the opportunity to visit this wonderful country a few days ago. One of my uncles offered me two tickets to Estonia on my birthday. I didn’t do any delay after getting them and started that amazing tour four days later along with my friend Sam. Now though we are at home, our minds are still thinking about those wonderful experiences we had through the tour in Estonia.
We started the tour from the capital city Tallinn. This is the capital city of Estonia and it has several places worth visiting. We took the Food Sightseeing Estonia tour (FSE) at the first day. It brought us the opportunity to visit different parts of this city and to taste different mouth watering Estonian foods. The food stops were warm and the people were friendly. We visited the old town where buildings, Churches and graveyards took us back in the medieval period. While standing in front of a Christian cemetery covered with tender grass Sam became so emotional that he started reciting one of his favorite poems – When You are Old by William Butler Yeats. By the courtesy of the FSE tour we visited the KGB museum, Toompea Hill, Kumu Art Museum, Town Hall Square Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and St. Mary’s Church etc. Our guide was good in his behavior, language and knowledge. So that helped us to gain much information about the city which is completely impossible to acquire from travel guide books.
Our next destination was Parnu – a resort town situated in south west Estonia along with the coast of the Baltic Sea. This town is colorful and its weather is moderate. For this it has been the official summer capital of the country. We had seen lots of tourists there. We went to the sandy beach and played football with other visitors. Parnu has many spas which are well known for mud-bath. Though Sam had a wish to take a mud-bath there but I prevented him from doing so. After grabbing some delicious lobsters in a seaside restaurant, we went to see the oldest structure of Parnu- the Red tower and took some snaps there. I don’t know if it was the ambience of the place or the effect of the food, Sam was acting like a drunk guy, and was enjoying everything to the fullest. He posed in some really funny ways for the pictures. Another impressive thing during our visit in Parnu was the Town Museum which portrays Parnu’s development as a town through the years. Unfortunately we missed seeing the famous Elizabeth Church in the town which was built in the Baroque style due to shortage of time…
After Parnu we set our trip to Tartu – a student town. Here we visited the University of Tartu which is the oldest university of the country. There we saw many students from different countries. This varsity has a famous botanical garden where one can see almost all sorts of European plants. We bought some seeds of rare flower plants from a nearby shop. There is another interesting place to visit and we didn’t miss it. It is the Toy Museum. This unique museum took us back into our dear childhood. Nevertheless to mention that this museum upholds the developments of toys and toy related industries from yesteryear to the present time. There are different sections for dolls, toy trains, board games, cars etc. It is wonderful to see the toys that were dear to our parents, grandfathers and so on. We also watched a play staged by a local group in the Vanemuine theatre. And needless to say, it was as elegant as everything else in the country.
Our next destination was the Hiiumaa Island. It is the second largest island of Estonia. Usually people tend to go there by ferry or plane. But we chose the most exciting winter ice Road. While going through this route we enjoyed some indescribable beauty. Just in the next lane of our road there were boats floating! Can you imagine that? One usually doesn’t find such a road where vehicles in the next lane are boats! After reaching Hiimuaa we hired a resort near the sandy beach. It is such a place where you can get sea beaches, forests and sleeping villages at a time. We went to a tiny village and were amazed by the hospitality of the village people. They are very friendly and tolerant. The people of this island have a good sense of humor. While roaming around the island we heard many jokes from the people. Most of the jokes were about their neighbours– the people of Saaremaa. This made us interested about this biggest island of the country, though at first this island wasn’t on our visiting list. There are some other interesting matters about Hiiumaa. If you are a music lover and it is summer then don’t miss visiting Hiiumaa. Every summer this beautiful island turns into a place for music by holding many music festivals. Each July the Hiiumaa Folklore Festivals and Music Days are held.
We weren’t done yet. The experiences of Hiiumaa Island inspired us to try the largest island of the country- Saaremaa. When we arrived there, we were astonished to see its medieval villages. You will see stone fences and houses with thatched roofs there. On the first day we went to visit The Episcopal Castle, the only intact medieval fortress of the Baltic region. Now it is being used as a museum. There are several exhibitions about the history of Kuressaare. Important to mention here that Kuressaare is the only city of the island. We were overwhelmed when we saw the well-restored interior of the castle. There is another exhibition hall for exhibiting medieval torture instruments and methods. Though we went through that hall we didn’t enjoy those barbaric things. The next day we went to see Angla – where there are some nice windmills. Sam and I took many photos there. We came to know that each year during the migration season, hundreds of thousands of birds come here, in Saaremaa. They include some protected species like the barnacle goose and the mute swan. Anyway, we missed the chance to watch these birds as it was not the season.
On the very last day of our tour we went fishing in two neighboring islands- Muhu and Kalakula. We hired a small but new boat. Our boatman was an old man with an extraordinary voice. And so our fishing trip was accompanied by music all the way. Going for fishing was a good decision as it enabled us to meet some nice and mouth watering sea fish. Believe me, there are plenty of fish in the sea water near these two islands. We brought all the caught fish in a small family of Kalakula and they shared their lunch with us. Actually that was the family of our friendly old boatman Mr. Jones. His wife and two boys showed us the highest level of hospitality. When we were leaving the family our legs weren’t willing to take any further step away. They invited us to go there again and we promised to do so.
Thus our memorable trip ended. And now Sam and I are planing to go to Estonia again during the next Summers along with our family members. We know there are a lot of places and things to see yet in Estonia.