Monday, 20 July 2015

Tartu to Vihula manor

Walking around Tartu, biking along Lake Pepsis, Russia not visible night at Vihulaa Manor hotel

I walked around Tartu and enjoyed the old baroque university buildings, one modernised with and a painting of current professors on one of the walls. Statues are hidden around Tartu including one of a small man and big baby in a park. In front of the town hall is one of a pair of students kissing under an umbrella, which are carried the whole time here

We drove out to the lake and biked from there through forests and alongside fields with flowering cornflowers. We stopped at a church for a weird sect called the Old Believers who refused to change their beliefs when the Russian Orthodox Church modernised in 1650 and they continued to make the sign of the cross in a particular way and other arcane practices, and seem to be well known to the anthropologist. The lake is so big that there is no sign of Russia, not even on the horizon. We biked alongside the lake for about 20 km, past Estonian summer houses, some quite grand, other peeling paint. There was a tourist village but no cafes were open, so I sat with David and Maureen eating homemade sandwiches and looking out across the vast grey lake to Russia. There was a modern new EU border post and a couple of patrol boats but little activity. I walked around the shops, there was a small fish shop selling fresh and smoked fish and an ancient clothes shop selling rather garish poor quality clothes.

We had another huge downpour after the bike ride, we had all been looking at the huge mass of clouds gathering to the west and knowing that rain would come.

We stopped in a small town which had old buildings that were all shut, but to my surprise we then found excellent coffee in a very new theatre cafe, the old police station had been replaced by a very new modern one.

We then checked into the smartest hotel we have stayed in on this trip, it is a spa hotel set in a national park. Vihula manor and the rooms are all in old buildings. We had a nice supper together in a dining room. I then enjoyed the late evening light and walked around the gardens, there was a huge lake with large trees round it. The vegetable garden was extensive with beetroot, carrots, onions, raspberries on canes, blackberries and gooseberries also growing. Lovely to wander round these late at night.

I have loved the late evening light here, it is so good to be able to walk around a town or garden late at night and enjoy them.

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