“How did you find this place?” Thomas asks me. “With great difficulty,” I respond.
Since this is my very first day driving with a GPS device, I am having some trouble learning the subtleties. Plus that sweet lady up in the satellite hasn’t a clue when, unexpectedly, a main road is closed on the route to my destination. Even my maps have no indication of this small town that lies somewhere between Mustvee and Kallaste. So I read my guidebook, follow my nose, and ask directions of a couple of teenage boys who speak good English. Eventually, I find my way down a narrow country lane to the Villa.
“No, no, that’s not what I meant. How did you know about this place?” asks Thomas, an astonished Estonian.
Estonia, rich in history, much of it bloody history, provides the traveler with a variety of unique sights and sounds.
The oldest Stone Age settlements date back 10,000 years.
Finno-Ugric tribes from the east, probably from the Urals at about 3500 BCE, mingled with the Neolithic peoples and settled in present Finland, Hungary and Estonia. They left behind their language system, so different from the surrounding Indo-European languages.
The Vikings arrived in the 9th and 10th centuries.
My friends, they are deposited by the thousands from the cruise ships that dock in the harbor of this ancient Baltic city. They follow the tour guide with her flag. They crowd the cobblestoned squares and streets as they ogle the churches and bargain with the market vendors. They snack at the overpriced restaurants and cafes before re-boarding their ocean-going hotel for the next exotic stop. Helsinki? Saint Petersburg? Copenhagen?