And on the third day, our two faithful heroes woke up in their dollhouse style apartment in Tartu, ready for a day of bog walking in multiple locations around Estonia. They would like every day to be like this because it was a very special one. A very special one indeed.
For real though, this day was damn good. I mentioned in the last post how when you google pictures of Estonia its either picture perfect christmas card, or summer scenes. We were in between these times so had neither. We had still seen some beautiful places but perhaps not in the best light/weather.
Today was different. Today we were going to the bogs. Now, as an English person, that is a very funny thing to say because a ‘bog’ in England, is a toilet and completely undermines what we actually experienced.
Our first stop was Lake Endla, a place we discovered in the most adventurous and inventive way possible… On Instagram. Watch out Columbus, we’re here to take your explorer’s crown.
It was an hour drive from Tartu to Endla, where the roads and scenery became a lot prettier – cute houses, nice fields and big trees (I’m saving the better adjectives for what we saw later). It may have looked nicer than the roads we had seen the day before but they were still empty as anything… We saw maybe 10 cars. That might actually be an exaggeration… 5 cars? Even less once we got onto the narrow (and very icy) side roads (tracks?) that led us to the Lake.
I can only assume every person that posted pictures on Instagram of here got there by car; if you’re planning on going, thats how I would recommend you get there. I think we saw one bus on this stretch of road and I can’t imagine it stopped here.
There is a car park there – we were the only car in it. We pulled in to what felt like someone else’s property (there were a few rather nice houses dotted around that we’re still pretty jealous of). There was a little hand written sign pointing out that there had been some flooding around the lake and you might need to consider your path. We did consider it and decided on the shortest route. Inevitably, this did mean we ran into some of what they were referring to.
Sort of thankfully, the water was frozen. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t frozen in all places meaning we had a fun hours walk with half of it spent trying not to slip over on patches of ice and the other half sinking our feet into recently melted ice (my feet were completely soaked through with ice cold water within about 10 minutes). At this point, we did feel like legitimate adventurers. With my trainers and rolled up jeans on, I don’t think I quite looked the part though.
The lake was frozen and delightful to look at. We had seen pictures online of some boardwalks but things are often overemphasized on Instagram and we weren’t sure how spectacular they would actually be. We were more than pleasantly surprised.
We turned a corner and there they were. It was breathtaking. Stretched out before us was a boardwalk as far as we could see, completely ice and people free. I still can’t get over how lucky we were. We spent the whole time shocked and amazed by what we were seeing and it truly felt like we were the only two people in the world.
There’s even a tower where you can look at it all from above. Its all very well built and best of all, completely free. It was just the right time to see it in our opinion – it was empty of people, snowy but not too cold and incredibly pretty. And we managed to have this experience before 11am because of how close it is to Tartu.
So, yeh. It was alright.
(DEFINITELY MAKE THE EFFORT AND GO. DO IT)
This was only our first taste of the bogs, too (still very funny to say). Our second stop was Lahemaa National Park, which isn’t too far from Tallinn (our end point for the day). We saw a few more cars on the drive there, some were even in the car park for the bogs.
We thought the board walk here was going to be almost adjacent to the car park but it wasn’t. I don’t know why we thought it would be. Its still about a 30 minute walk on top of patches of ice that we somehow managed not to fall down on. We slipped and screamed probably every 9 seconds. Considering how accident prone Hamilton and I are on a day to day basis, I still can’t believe neither of us fell. If that doesn’t count as a miracle, I don’t know what does. My thighs did hurt for about a week afterwards from shock tensing in an attempt to stay upright but nonetheless, upright we stayed.
Again, it was worth it. We did see a few other people which was a bit of a shock to our system as we had to relearn that the world does not revolve around us. It was still lovely though, in a different way to the first place. Mostly in that there were lots of trees by the boardwalk, which was fun.
Once we were boardwalked out, we went to our third nature stop of the day (not a pee stop, a genuine nature stop). This one, I must say, was pretty underwhelming in comparison to what we had seen earlier on. Its called Jagala Waterfall and is very easy to get to. Its only 30 minutes outside of Tallinn, so worth stopping at on the way to Lahemaa but I wouldn’t say worth it on its own.
There’s a car park right above it, from which you can walk down (another icy path) to the waterfall. It was very busy and in my opinion, kind of smelt like rotten apples. It has high ratings on google though, so what do I know?
This wasn’t even the end of our day as it was only early afternoon by this point; we still had an entire evening in Tallinn. I won’t go into that now though because in all honesty, my fingers are tired and I want a cup of tea.
I will come back to our evening in Tallinn in another post because it was pretty magical but for now this post is done. You can go back to your life.
This day was genuinely one of the best of my life and I highly recommend you repeat it yourself. Bring some good walking boots though. And maybe a cushion to stuff down the back of your trousers in case you do fall down. Plus a helmet for good measure.