[personal profile] cycleboy1957
Day 10, Mon 24 Aug

There was no rush to get away this morning, as we had to wait until Shingo got a replacement number plate. It seems, the car in front braked to allow an ambulance to pass. For whatever reason, it passed between that car and Shingo. His bumper is damaged, but still on the car and usable, but he lost his number plate, which he replaced this morning.

So, it was around 11am that we hit the road. Our final destination was the university town of Tartu. Apparently, this university ranked along with Moscow as the best in the Soviet Union and is still highly regarded. We actually drove past Sigurda again, but stopped in Cesis, which is a very attractive town and boasts a rather fine ruin of a medieval castle. However, as time was pressing, our visit was rather short and we were on our way again, this time stopping near Voru to visit another ruined castle and its museum. Again, a fairly brief visit, as they had to come and extract me, as I was contentedly reading all the information panels.

Once we crossed the border into Estonia, our impression of the generally better look and feel of the country became apparent once more. Stina thought that, during the Soviet era, Estonia was actually regarded as the most 'Western' of all the Baltic states. Shingo said Tartu provided many of he engineers who worked on Soviet rockets, so perhaps Estonia was spared the worst excesses of Soviet repression. When I asked about the difference between here and Latvia, tina thought that, while Latvia had been making strides, they had more Stalinist/Soviet baggage to remove than Estonia had.

We finally rolled into Tartu around 7pm. Having dropped Aya off at their hotel we managed to find our way to ours. No credit to myself, however. Though I'd printed out a map, it was hopelessly inadequate, but Shingo's satnav was able to put street names to the bare bones of my map.

Our hotel is really a B&B in a traditional looking wooden house, tucked away on a quiet back road just out of the city centre. The room is basic, but clean and comfortable and has wi-fi and an en-suite shower and toilet. Having checked in we did not linger, but headed straight back to town to meet the others for dinner. Having driven through lunch with only an icecream for sustenance, we were quite ready for it. Stina, who knows the town quite well, took us to one of the best rated restaurants in Estonia and we were not disappointed. I had a pike-perch (whatever that it) that was cooked to perfection and everyone said how delicious their own meal was. My fish was Eu15, so not cheap, but I guess pretty fair for such quality.

The others planned to wander the town a while before turning in, but we headed straight back to our B&B, our car parking ticket having expired.

What we have seen of Tartu, it is a very pleasant looking place. Hopefully, we'll get a better look at it in the morning, before we finally have to return to Tallinn.
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