One of the Baltic countries of northern Europe, Estonia has become a popular tourist destination in the last several years, largely thanks to its majestic looking capital, Tallinn (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The country consists of its mainland area and a whopping 2222 islands in the Baltic Sea. During World War II, Estonia was occupied by the Soviets and then the Nazis, ultimately falling under Communist control for nearly 50 years. Today, this beautiful country has rebounded from its challenging past to have one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.
A visit to Tallinn offers a look at historic castles and churches and a walk along the city’s ancient city walls. All the buildings and structures—from the Medieval to the modern—show the culture and mystery of an old city combined with the vibrancy of cafes and street art. Much of Estonia is covered in forest and bogs, so residents love getting outdoors and communing with nature. If time allows, visitors should definitely take the opportunity to explore that side of the country. Foraging, berry picking, hiking, bog walking, and other similar activities are essential to the way of life here. If you have a chance, head to the seaside town of Parnu to enjoy the beach and popular spa.
Sweat dripped down the sides of my hairline as I breathed in the steamy air of the sauna and contemplated the bucket. Just outside the door, people filled a bucket with ice-cold water and dumped it on themselves. Intentionally.
Quiet and still on a drizzly, mid-spring morning, the bog spread out to the horizon painted in shades of yellowish-green, deep orange, and brown. Occasionally, the sponge-like earth was interrupted by deep pools of water. How deep, we didn’t really know…and preferred not to find out.