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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

17 September 2018

Neither here nor there

What the?

What the?

31 August 2018

A stroll around Tartu in the morning confirmed my hunch: that it is perfectly amiable but not very interesting. So we drove on south, heading for our second Baltic state, Latvia. We stopped along the way in a couple of little towns and villages mentioned in our Lonely Planet, but there really didn’t seem to be anything to do or see. Apart from a silly and intriguing sign for a “Reverse Vending Machine”. You… put products in… and… money comes… out?!? We never did find the machine. We stopped for lunch in the “rye capital of Estonia” and unsurprisingly all the dishes included rye – including my rye kefir.

Rye drink

Rye drink

Then we did one of those things we do on holiday, where we try and fit too much into one day. So we detoured somewhat for another wild area, Karula National Park. By the time we found the information centre for the park we learned that there were literally no walks we could do that wouldn’t take too long, and in any case nothing about it seemed as interesting as Lahemaa or Soomaa. So we drove onwards to Cesis in Latvia, but of course had now frittered away much of the afternoon. Sigh. Do it to ourselves.

We did have enough time to visit Cesis castle. Another Teutonic – or possibly Livonian – Order ruin, much of it wrapped in scaffold for restoration. They do love rebuilding their medieval ruins in the Baltic. The one (and

Cesis by candle

Cesis by candle

only) really cool aspect of the visit is that they give you a candle in a lantern with which to explore the main tower. How very nifty! There’s no lighting in the tower, so you really do get a sense of how dark a castle would have been with only candles to light your way along the arrowslit-lit stairs and passages.

Our accommodation this time is Karlamuiza, which translates as Karla Manor, but is in fact just the old servants’ house for the (now vanished) manor. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant little place and our room overlooks the orchard and the hillside beyond. We decided to dine in-house and enjoyed basically some good home-cooking. Nice wild mushroom soup.

View from our window

View from our window


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