During the holiday break, quite a few social visits were made to homes of new friends that we have met while living here and of old friends that we already knew previously when they had visited the U.S. or had been part of exchange programs, or as postdocs. The holiday season has been an enjoyable time. After New Year’s Day, it will be back to work. This being New Year’s Day, unbelievably I am now in my last month in Estonia.
After Christmas, when we took our daughter back to the airport in Tallinn, because of her early morning flight, we again stayed overnight. Since our bus back to Tartu was at 16:00, we decided this time to take a trolley to the outskirts of Tallinn to Rocca al Mare where the Estonian Open Air Museum is located. This museum is another “must see” place for anybody planning a visit to Estonia. It is designed as a village with buildings of the 1700,1800 and early 1900’s brought to this site from all over Estonia. There are old farm houses built with logs with drying barns and other ancillary buildings, a church, schoolhouse, a tavern, windmills, all brought to this location to depict Estonian’s past. Years back when I was at a conference in Japan, Juri and I visited a similar museum village and to me, surprisingly, the architecture of the old farmhouses in Japan was very similar to what we see in Estonia.
This museum village is set on a high forested-bank on Kopli Bay. At an area near the water, a small fishing village is located. Here one can get nice views of Tallinn with its high church spires that can be seen in the distance across the bay. In the summertime all the buildings are open and there are a lot of events going on that one can find out about on the internet. In the winter, only a small handful of the buildings are open, but to see it all snow-covered is special in its own way. We very much enjoyed our day there. At lunchtime we had hot, spiced wine and a nice meal at the tavern that is open year round. On the way out, we found out we could have taken a sleigh ride at some point during our day, but it was getting too late now to do so. As dusk began to set in, we made our way back to the Metropol hotel at the Rotterdam Quartel to pick up our bags and made it to the bus station just in time for our 2.5-hour ride back to Tartu.
Slideshow of other views at Rocca al Mare.