After being away for 6 months, coming back to your home country feels a bit like you are a tourist, a visitor. Which is great because sometimes we tend to not see what is in our neighborhood and are more open to new experiences.
I have lived in Tartu, Estonia most of my life. One would think you know the place well, especially since Estonia is not that big (ca 45 000 km2). The country has two very good and contrasting things: lot’s of nature and lot’s of WIFI. And, it is full of places I love and have a story to tell but even more places to explore that show the real character of Estonia. Read more facts about Estonia (official site for visiting Estonia) and a Wiki site on Estonia.
Walking in Estonia: trip around lake Pangodi
50% of Estonia is claimed to be under the forest. That is a lot of wild life, green areas, trees and, what’s more, WALKING ROUTES! At the same time, it takes time and knowledge to find the routes. To be very honest, it is rather difficult to find routes if you don’t know how to look for them. There is hardly any routes online and usually you can find everything on line in Estonia). But here is what I found so it will be easier for you. First, general information and more links about hiking in Estonia, Lonely Planet review of hiking routes in Estonia, and more routes to go hiking in Estonia here and here.
This time I chose to do a small walking tour around the lake Pangodi, suggested by Helen, who is an active runner and does all kinds of marathons and attends sporting events. It is a good combination to train a bit, see the nature and go for a swim afterwards.
Lengths of the hike: 12km
Difficulty: easy, mostly flat ground and on small roads. No markings.
What you see: countryside of Estonia, quiet nature, ducks on the lake-side, beautiful camping places, swimmings, possible to pick some berries and mushrooms.
Work brings the food on the table: Agricultural museum in Ülenurme
I used to work in Estonian National Museum and if you are a first-timer in Estonia, definitely go and have a look there, it is located in my home town, Tartu. Where I hadn’t been, was the Estonian Agricultural Museum, near Tartu. It was an experience to see how our land has been brought up, grain cultivation, agricultural machinery and a windmill, historical carts, carriages, beekeeping building, poultry exhibitions. It took us a good two hours to see most of the exhibitions and I can only imagine how cool it is when there are some live workshops.
The harmony of nature and technology
It is a bit conflicting that though Estonia can still boast with a large area of untouched and green areas, it also is the fore runner in IT technology. There are new apps and IT solutions, e-Stuff developed like mushrooms after the rain. And of course WIFI is almost like a constitutional right these days in Estonia and there is a boom of incubation centers, (technology) start-up events and the style of a entrepreneurial and working-outside-the-office life in a co-working space is promoted. In Tartu you can choose from many places, along with them Tartu Centre of Creative Industries or Tartu Science Park. Or do as I did, go to any café you like best. My favorite of all time for hours of working has been Café Werner for its good food, good coffee and usually good WIFI (not this time though, they just had renovations that broke something. Luckily the University is just next to the café so I could use that WIFI).
Fun fact: registering a company in Estonia can take as little as 8 minutes and can be done via Internet. Yep. True story.
Don’t forget to walk around Tartu after your quick e-mail check-ups and meetings. Tartu is the nicest town in Estonia.