Road to USA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo yes, I have been away for a while again. I always think that I have more time when I am home but it is usually always the opposite. So I spent my summer in USA and I wanted to start from the beginning.

First I spent some time home with family celebrating the Midsummer’s Eve with grilled meat and had a bonfire during the sunset. And yes, the best meat is a bit crispy on the side and also my mom prefers a bit burnt, but it is still good burnt.
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So the next day on the way to Tallinn we made a stop in Viru bog. The weather was warm and sunny and perfect to walk trough the bog. A long road is with a boardwalk and has a nice view tower on the way. One the most beautiful bogs in Estonia that I have seen so far. Also you can go swim in those little lakes there.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next day we had a cruise to Stockholm to spend some more sisters time together before I went away. As we have been in Stockholm so many times then we are always trying to take a new route. This time we headed west of the city center, had a walk around the little island and went by the city hall.

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And then it was just around 30 hours of traveling to get to my final destination. I know it is long and I had so many airports but it was all worth it and El Paso is kind of middle of nowhere for the planes. So I went Stockholm-London-Chicago-Houston-El Paso. I had an overnight in London and that was a weird experience. First when last flights finally left I got a place to fall asleep. After a while security guys started waking people up and asking for nationality. Then they took as all away from the general waiting area and took us to one of the gate’s waiting areas. As all people staying overnight were there, then were some annoying kids screaming and middle of night they started asking for passports again. Finally in the morning we got back to the general waiting and then it was just enough time to charge my phone and get to my plane. WhatsApp-Image-20160627

And the coolest part was that as Chicago-El Paso was overbooked then they were looking for voluteers to get the later flight. As I didn’t have an exact seat number yet and I was last on the list then I got offered quite a big voucher money to get there few hours later. As I didn’t have all the tickets back yet then it was really good way to get better tickets back to Chicago.

And here’s a picture that describes best how we felt when I finally got there. I was really really tired and same happy and he was super happy.

Sunset of Tartu

As the spring is here then also the sun is spending more time here every day. And of course, what can’t I ignore? SUNSETS! With the sunsets I am discovering how beautiful Tartu actually is. It is such a beautiful small city! We don’t have mountains but we have Anne canal!

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South-Estonia | Part II

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANice little breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant. Not too much, not too less. Enough variety of food and all I could want in the morning. Stomach’s full and the trip starts again. First stop – Väimela manor. Old manor that needs a hand for rebuilding. It could be a great and beautiful place but time has done its job.

Next up – Tamme-Lauri oak – the thickest tree in Estonia. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUsed to be oldest also but they discovered an older one. So with 17 meters (56 ft) high and circumference is 831 cm (327 in) it feel like an ant to be under it. It is really huge and amazing how big it can be. And it is around 700 years old.

Cool fact: when we still had kroons, it was on the back of the 10 kroon bill.

Then we found another National Geographic’s yellow window in Urvaste with a view toOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Urvaste church. After that we made our way to Pühajärve and walked in the park to find Pühajärve oak of war. It got damaged a lot
in 2010, so it doesn’t look so good anymore and it will its time soon. It is 300-400 year old around 7 m in circumference.

As it is not summer yet then some cool thing we wanted to visit in Otepää were closed then only went to see the yellow window there. But we will be back for the action! Before going for the hike we also visited Cantervilla castle which is famous for the weddings. It is also a hotel and should be open everyday then somehow it was totally closed on the day we got there. No sign, nothing. The castle itself looked beautiful but hopefully some other day we will be more lucky. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So for the hike we went! First up was a warm up in Pangodi where there is a nice picnic ground and a little walk around the area. After that came a real hike – in Elva-Vitipalu – track called Viti lake hiking trail (Viti jätje matkarada)! First we had a lot of trouble finding the right place where the track starts. But when we finally got on the way it was good and sporty road in the forest. On the way we visited Viti lake and Vitipalu lookout tower. Estonia is beautiful!! On the way got lost, so instead of 2,3 km we did like 4 probably. Well, it was all good exercise and also had some great hills, so it wasn’t just plain walking.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Second and last hike was Vapramäe educational hiking trail. It had signs on the way and the road itself was really good, especially thinking it was beginning of April. So the trail itself is 3,5 km. We got really distracted on the way because at some point we were walking along the river and on the other side the had those beautiful houses and one complex was so huge and pretty that we tried to think what was the story with it. It turned out to be trout catching place that also has party rooms and other things.

So we ended our big trip with out 5th yellow window – Tartu observatory. After long 2 days we washed the car and got home. We were happy to get home, same time really happy that we took this trip! I’ve never thought that Estonia is beautiful and since last year I have started to discover how magical Estonia actually is. So this trip was total proof of magical nature in Estonia! Even when the trees don’t have leaves yet and everything is quite brown then hiking trough woods and driving trough little villages will show the beauty of Estonia!!

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South-Estonia | Part I

As my sister has a car for some time already then we decided that we can start exploring Estonia. So this time we took a little tour to the south. First to even know where to go then it took me few hours to track down all the sights, nature parks, bogs and also yellow National Geographic’s windows. As we had two day then we only took a part of it for a route. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After a good gas station hot dog we drove on the route. We had some complications in the first few destinations as they just were closed because it was Saturday or they weren’t something we were looking for. But at least we already got to see the nature. Also I got to drive, so I was really happy because I hadn’t driven for 8 months.

So the first official stop was Valgesoo bog area. The hiking trail is 2 km and has one of those yellow windows on the way. Also half of the trail is with planks as it is on the bog. Half is through the woods. Good hike with any weather and such a beautiful area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext on the way was Kiidjärve hiking trails. We wanted to do 2,5 km one but on the spot the map showed something weird and we did a bit over 1 km I think. Although the forest is great, has educational signs on the way and half of the road is by the river with beautiful views. Also has some hills, so it is a bit better than usual dull Estonian landscape. Already good for hike in April, the roads were quite dry and most of the snow was melted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last hiking trail on this day was in Taevaskoda. The trail is 3 km + extra workout if you go up the Big Taevaskoda which has around 155 steps to get up there. On the way the nature is just amazing, starting with the little lake with Lonny harbor that was also used in the old Estonian movie called Viimne reliikvia (“The last relic”). If you ever find yourself going to South-Estonia then it is totally in the must-visit list.
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We ended our trip with the second yellow window in front of Maanteemuuseum (Road Museum) but we plan to go back there at one point when it is open. We were just really late on that day to visit it. I have been there few years ago and this place is really cool! The very last spot was Georgi hotell. It is a new smart hotel in the old manor. Totally worth the stay! Rooms are spacious, comfy and really modern! The smart thing was a little technology device on the wall where we could regulate temperature, lights and stuff like that. Also some ligths were activated when you move. I really liked the hotel! And it is in the center of Võru, so you can visit the town all around really easily.

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Year 2015

As the new years starts or has already started for some then it is time to make summary post about my 2015. It was a year of really good things and I am happy to have it 9 hours longer than usual because of being in America.

I don’t never make new years resolutions, if only then just that I would enjoy new year more and have more fun! And as it kind of is our own doing then I think I can keep that for the new year.

As usual, January is for exams and for relaxing.

February, the month I was crazy, starting my ESN time and also joined AIESEC. Also we got a visit from our American friends.

March – the month that changed my whole year. I started to live half-Erasmus life and were very active in ESN. Also I beat my fear speaking or singing karaoke in public.

April, the fool. Most of the time I spent it with my boys. I basically had second home in the dormitory.

May was amazing! I had some cool trips – Tallinn,Helsinki and one to Saaremaa. And the biggest thing was my own organized ESN Farewell party, which is the biggest party of the semester.

June – Sad month as all new friends started leaving Tartu. But in the meanwhile we had Midsummer parties.

July was for Beerfest, Hanseatic Days and also traveling to Vienna and Bratislava.

I’ll skip August as I didn’t do much because all my friends went back home and I was just preparing for my own Erasmus in Granada, Spain. So in September started new era in my life. Most of if was just exploring the new city but also started traveling to near places – like Malaga.

October was full of traveling – Jaén, Ronda, Córdoba. Also more of the city exploring.

In November I discovered the sunsets of Granada. The most beautiful thing there. Also traveled to Alcala la real and Montefrio.

The last month – December. I started it with a long trip to Huleva, Cadiz and Sevilla. Then as every year I had birthday, even though it was different this year. After birthday I was ready for the really long travel, which was first to Madrid and then to El Paso, Texas, USA! And the end of the year I have been here, relaxing and enjoying the holidays.

So I wish everyone a better New Year and I hope it will be a blast!