Tartu, September 2007
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i arrived in tartu after a 3.5 hour bus ride from riga on sunday morning. i was really excited to get here as the book really made it sound like a hip place to visit and that the place would be full of atmosphere and charm. im not sure now if i was reading the right section. according to the book tartu is a spiritual capital of estonia with small and quaint streets.
i got the the hostel and found out i was in a wee cosy house all to myself which was ace. its pretty cool for 1 or 2 but at full capacity at 5 it would but horrid.
i took off into town to see what was on offer. my first stop was raekoja plats where the town hall stands. the town hall was built between 1782 and 1789 and stands at the top of the square looking down to the (dirty) river called the emajigi.
i headed to the waterfront and caught a glimpse of the kaarsild bridge, which wasnt anythnig special. i then took the path that followed the river and walked through the trees and passed a few monuments dedicated to writers of the area. i then came onto the statue of liberty in tartu.
i went off to find st johns church. the church dates back to 1323 and stands out for its red brick work. it has been resorted since a soviet bombing in 1944 but the process took over 16 years.
i took a walk up to toomemagi which is a park in the town, taking in angel bridge and devil bridge if my map reading skills were ok! i was pretty excited to see these as the names give away a good image but again i was a bit disappointed. through the park i came across the old observatory and some church ruins also.
im sure tartu is a lovely place and does has everything the book suggests. perhaps i just did get to see it at its best, especially as i dont think the students have returned yet. its not somewhere id go back to but if youre in the area its worth a day trip just even for a quiet day out.
next stop tallinn, estonia.