Old mansions and pure nature
(Zum deutschen Blog.)My stay in Estonia is unfortunately only briefly. Nevertheless Gebeco , the German tour operator and organizer has devised a truly comprehensive program . After a delicious breakfast in our hotel “von Stackelberg” my fellow colleagues and I get into a bus. Our destination will be the Lahemaa National Park that is situated about 40 km away from Tallinn.
For the time being we cruise a bit bit through Tallinn and have a look at the suburb Kadriorg (Kathrinsvalley). It´s a very green environment with the castle that Tsar Peter I. built for his wife Katharina, a park, the Estonian Art Museum and many new and old (wooden) houses, that were affectionately restored.
For some time it is a preferred area to live at, mostly from artists.
Unfortunately I can´t take photos. It is still too dark and the darkly tinted glass of the bus doesn´t help either. Shortly before winter solstice the sun rises late and today grey clouds cover the sky even more. I hope that it won´t rain today!
We drive a bit further on until we reach the Song Festival Grounds that is used as a toboggan run in winter and even got a sled lift.
Every 5 years a Song Festival takes place in this open air arena. Since 1869 uncountable choirs come together here. Before the gathering they need to qualify, as singing is kind of a popular sports discipline here for everybody. That´s why thousands of singer come together here, from the kindergarten choir to senior citizens. 30.000 singers can stand on the stage and the whole sloppily lawn can hold up to 250.000 to 300.000 people. Very impressing as Estonia has got only about 1.35 million inhabitants.
Now we make ourselves comfortable in the bus. The drive will last about one hour. We pass ugly prefabricated buildings from the Soviet era on our way to the highway.
Soon we see only forest, fields and meadows. If we would drive on this highway for a while we would reach the Russian border, but we take a turn into the Lahemaa National Park.
Moors and forests house beavers, elks, wolves and bears. And if you are lucky you´ll see one of these mammals on an (escorted) hike.
We get off the bus at the “Palmse” mansion. From the year 1676 for about 250 years the German Baltic family von der Pahlen lived here. This mansion was lucky to survive the Soviet era as it got a lot of money for renovation as a collective farm.
The main building houses a museum that shows furnishings and other things from the past centuries. Only very few things and pictures are original from the family von der Pahlen, that had to leave the country in 1939.
(Hear the orc hestrion right here!) All the things inside the house are demonstrating how noble families lived here, they often were Garman Baltic families. In the former distillery a hotel is situated now, good food is available as well.
In the fomer kitchen of the mansion, down in the basement, Trin our Estonian tour guide reads out a story of former days. With hot tea, homemade Christmas cookies and an crackling fire in the open stove we listen quietly to the story. We can nearly make out the ghosts of the long dead people living here…
Thus soaked we walk a bit through the huge garden, have a look at the orangery with its exotic plants and then we drive the short way to our lunch break in the “Palme Körts”, a former stable. Here we get a hearty and typical Estonian lunch, as people got it in former times. All these many different dishes are really tasty!
Some more mansions in more or less good shape we see while passing during our way to a small fishing village, where we get of and have a short stroll to the Baltic Sea.
On we go to the mansion “Vihula” that was converted into a luxury hotel with a spa. We get a guided tour around, look at the old water mill, have a carriage tour over the estate and end up in the vodka museum where we get a vodka tasting.
I am only too glad when we had back to Tallinn in our bus. In the restaurant “Peppersack” that has got a medieval touch und really good food (make a reservation!) we let the evening end with a short stroll through Tallinn.
Tomorrow we fly back home… It was a very nice and short visit and won´t be my last for sure.
A trip from mansion to mansion could tempt me…
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[…] my seminar trip with Gebeco, a German tour operator, we visit not only Estonia (for review of Estonia), but at first we go to Riga. (Zum deutschen […]