Friday, August 18, 2006

Narva -> Mustvee -> Tartu

Narva was great! The castles were. Have seen nothing like that before.

The negative thigs were the thick smoke coming from Russia. Huge areas of forests were burning, and that was taking place right on the other side of the border - the border line being only a very narrow river (in which the representatives of the minority, ie. Finnish-Swedes, swam. At 7 am. See the previous entry.).

Lots of people were standing in a line and waiting for a permission to walk to the Russian side. And it seemed that much more people were coming from there to the EU. Without drugs and weapons, I hope.

Only 3-4 percent of people in Narva speak Estonian, the rest being of Russian origin, and many of them Russian citizens. (And, unfortunately, there is a big drug problem in Narva, and getting worse. That is one of the major transit cities along the Russian border.)


There are two castles on the both sides of the river. The Estonian castle, in Narva, was built by the German knights, but the Russian castle, in the town of Ivangorod ("Ivan's town") is much bigger and looking more respectful.

It has been said the castles represent the two corners of historical Europe: on the other side there was the catholic (later: protestant) Northern Europe, and on the other side the Slavic and orthodox, Greek catholic East.

Very impressing.

After walking around the old town of Narva, which was not big, as it was almost completely destroyed by the Soviets in the war, and carefully avoiding going to the newer districts, we packed the car and headed for Mustvee. Driving there was an adventure as the road was in a bad shape but being fixed bu the EU, as the signs were stating. Finally we found Mustvee and the Lake Peipus!

(No-one could actually miss such a huge lake.)

From Mustvee, and the little village (or "manor"?) of Vötikvere, and from a very bad and untidy roadside restaurant Kultkala (Goldfish), we started looking for getting to the CITY of Tartu.

Mr. HP and Miss Funnybunny were napping, I was driving, the sun was shining, and the air was getting clearer the more we drove to the South.

Life is good, I was thinking.

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