Flying does not always go smoothly according to plan. Leaving Tampa on Tuesday, July 31st, the plane took off a little late. About an hour from Dulles Airport in Washington DC where we were to connect to our flight for Munchen, we were put into a holding pattern for one hour due to thunder storms around Washington. As a result our Munchen flight was delayed for two hours…which meant we would be late for our Estonian Air flight to Tallinn next morning. This all ended with us being booked on a different flight to Tallinn via Helsinki in the late afternoon. We thus flew to Tallinn on a small turbo-prop plane with no view onto Old Tallinn as I had hoped. We landed at 7:30 PM instead of 11:30 AM as originally planned. We had started out with six suitcases, but arrived with only five. I was a little worried, because that missing one had most of our winter clothes in it. All ended well, however, with that lost suitcase arriving at the new Tartu airport two days later.
On arrival we were picked up at the Tallinn airport and so began our 2-hr trip to Tartu. The sun was setting with a full moon rising. The landscape was quite pretty with the setting sun as a backdrop. Dr. Everaus, my Tartu University colleague, met us in Tartu. She had brought snacks with her, as well as a bottle of champagne! We toasted the Fulbright award. I felt thankful for such a warm welcome and start in Tartu.
Our furnished apartment is quite comfortable. It has a good sized living room with L-shaped sofa, a bedroom, a small dining area and kitchenette with a dishwasher (thank goodness!). The bathroom has a shower and best of all, we also have a sauna!! 🙂 🙂 In the colder months, I am sure we will make use of the sauna. My father built a sauna in upstate New York where I grew up and taking a sauna was always a favorite weekend memory.
On Thursday, August 2, I got mobile phones for Juri and myself and signed up for internet service and cable TV. In Estonia one cannot get any type of TV programs without a cable box. I think Helion is the only company that provides it. I next visited the University International Relations office and had a nice conversation with the head of that department. Just before leaving she opened a door that leads off from their office to show me from an upstairs balcony the
Assembly Hall (Aula) in the main University building. I have attached a view of this beautifully restored auditorium.
I spent Friday in my new office at the University catching up with my email and things on my “to do” list. On Friday evening, Juri and I walked on a path along Emajogi (literally Mother River) that goes to the center part of the city . The path passes in front of our apartment building, so we walk it everyday. It is quite picturesque with ducks swimming and boys and old men fishing. We had dinner on both Thursday and Friday evening at the sidewalk cafes lining the old City Hall square (Raekoja Plats). The days and evenings have been pleasantly warm (no Tampa Bay humidity here). Luckily for us, right after our arrival in town a Wind Instrument Orchestra Festival started that extended into the weekend. Local Estonian, as well as visiting orchestras from England, Hungary, Latvia, and Finland, were performing. Eating out, sipping the locally brewed beer, and listening to the marches, polkas, and waltzes being played was a nice experience.
Saturday we had a chance to go to Viljandi where we saw an old ruin on top of a hill in Viljandi that overlooks a relatively large lake in the valley below. We also visited with a well known weaver, Anu Raud, who raises her own sheep, makes yarn from the wool, and dyes the yarn with natural colors. Her woven rugs hang in the United Nations in New York and one of them was given to Queeen Elizabeth, when the queen visited Estonia several years back. Anu is a very warm and friendly person.
We then proceeded on to visit a manor house near Viljandi. I’ll talk about that in my next post.