Just 12 days after my arrival in Finland, I was already leaving for Estonia (I had never been there before) to participate at the entrepreneurs ‘tour. Thanks to this trip, we would discover the four Estonian Lights on! Sites and I would be able to take pictures and videos of the event.
I began my trip with Timo (Innovation manager at Humak) and Anttoni (works at the game lab). We drove to Helsinki where we took the ferry for Tallinn (another first for me). On board, we first rushed to the buffet, as we were hungry, and there, I posted my first Instagram post of the trip (it was one of my task, I don’t use Instagram in Belgium so it was again a discovery). I tasted the typical Finnish bread called karjalanpiirakka, I like it (but just the bread only, I don’t add many other things on it as, I suppose, Finnish people do – well Timo and Anttoni do so). By the way, if you want to follow what I’ve posted until now, please feel free to add the cblightson account! You will find many pictures of the trip! 🙂 http://www.instagram.com/cblightson
After breakfast, we went on the deck as I really felt like going outside and watch the sea (I’ll just remember for next time to tie my hair back BEFORE going out there).
At our arrival in Tallinn, we headed for the first stop of the trip, a lunch at Ruunawere. This hotel/restaurant is a lovely place and we ate really well (even if I haven’t had the time to finish my dessert, Finnish people eat really quickly or I do eat really slowly, I don’t know, but this fact has been confirmed at every meal I shared with them until now… 😀 ). During this lunch, I met Jaana, one of the entrepreneurs who was happy to practice her French with me 🙂 .
Then, we took the bus to Varbola, one of the Lights on! Site. A guide was waiting for us. He was very passionate about this place, that’s a pity I understood nothing of what he said in Estonian (a teacher from Humak university was interpreting everything into Finnish for the entrepreneurs). Estonian or Finnish for me = the same, I can’t notice the difference (well, not yet). If you are wondering about my progress in Finnish, I am now able to create “yes-no” questions, telling my nationality, which language I speak, asking the price and other basic things. We are also learning the conjugation and more and more vocabulary words. For these, I think I will need a few hours (or days) of study, because they are so different from every language I know that it’s hard to find any mnemonics. But I am making progress and I really enjoy studying Finnish 🙂 .
Let’s get back to the trip, our second and last stop of the day was the Lõhavere fortress, built for an Estonian military leader called Lembitu. Beautiful place!
After an entire day of travelling, we headed for the Vanaõue Holiday Center where we spent the night. I was lucky to share my room with Susanna, a student from Humak studying in Helsinki and who had taken care of the trip’s organization. Now we’re still in touch, I’ve just seen her last week in Helsinki and she always explains me new interesting things about Finland 🙂 .
We started the next day with the visit of Neeruti, my favorite site (with Keila-Joa). The path to get there is just enchanting, I was amazed by the beauty of a nearby lake. I would go back there without any hesitation.
Again, the explanations were in Estonian/Finnish but during this whole trip, I’ve been lucky to have my personal interpreters who did their best to help me understand a bit what was going on (thanks Timo, Anttoni, Jaana and Susanna 😀 ). During the breaks, they also taught me some Finnish words and we laughed quite a lot, I will never forget Anttoni trying to teach me the “a” and “ä” difference, I really regret not having taken a video. I enjoyed so much our Estonian lunch in Viitna, a typical restaurant. Our last stop was Keila-Joa, the waterfalls and the castle are truly beautiful, and there are 2 “hearts” where people in love can attach love locks 🙂 .
After this visit, it was time to head back to Tallinn to take the ferry. I was lucky to enjoy the sunset over Helsinki when we were on the deck. Anecdote: Timo had told me this ferry would pass between 2 islands really close from each other, and as he often likes taking some “artistic freedom with truth” (as he says) while explaining things to me, I didn’t believe him. Well this time, he was right, I don’t know how many metres there were between the ship and the land but not that much…
This is true that there’s almost nothing left on those Estonian sites, but they are so well located, in such magical natural settings that I’m certain people will love discovering them and learning about their interesting histories linked to power.
This was the story of my first trip in Estonia with all the entrepreneurs, I hope they enjoyed their trip as much as I did. We’ve spent a lot of time in the bus, but it gave me the opportunity to discover the Estonian landscapes, which are lovely. We were also so lucky to have a wonderful weather for the 2 days! I will definitely keep very good memories of this trip, thanks to the beautiful country and sites I’ve discovered, and thanks to the wonderful people I shared it with.
In my next post, I’ll talk about my second trip in Estonia 🙂 .