The small quaintly town of Pärnu is a place where life is more laid back and during the month of May it can still be slightly cold, quiet and desolate; except for the locals who reside here. Vacant beaches, parks and city streets make this small town the ideal place to just get away and enjoy everything around you. White sand beaches, the sound of miniature waves breaking and the breeze coming off the Gulf of Riga is just what I needed after spending so much time on the road and in the Baltic capitals; Bratislava, Warsaw, Vilnius and Tallinn. The restaurants seem to cater to the influx of tourists that will soon arrive in the coming months in addition to the fact that there are hotels on every corner. However sad enough the town will not r
emain quiet and it will be hard to actually see the locals go about their daily lives as people from all around flock to the beaches of Estonia to cool off from the hot summer days.
I am sitting here at the bus station writing in my journal due to the fact that my bus time of arrival has changed from 18.55pm to 20.20pm; a bit of a difference but I sit here writing and truly enjoy the sun pressing down on me, warming my hands as I place each word on these pages.
Today I just walked; walked down each street that eventually lead to another and finally came to the beach. Only stopping to see a few monuments and purchase a bottle of Vara Tallinn, Estonian liquor that is strong yet sweet, which will be absolutely delightful on a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. The visual embrace is the first image that captures someone as they first take in the images of the beach; beautiful white sand, deep blue waters and a long jetty stretching out into the water in the distance. With flowers of white dangling from trees along with other vegetation lining the backside of these sandy shores; separating the actual beach from the concrete sidewalks, ice cream vendors and hotels. As I approached the shoreline I stopped, closed my eyes and took in all the feelings I could in that moment; embracing each of my senses one by one. The smell of ocean spray, the sounds of waves meeting the shore, the wind touching my skin and the taste of nature at its finest; this is what captures my heart when I experience something for the first time. Those moments when everything around me seems to pause and I attempt to take in every element and store it in my memories.
I continued to walk along the beach all the way down to the jetty but to my surprise I came across a seal that was dead and had been washed up along the shore. I have never really seen a seal in the wild and unfortunately when I do it is not alive anyways.
I then continue to walk along the water back into town. Swans swimming, Estonian fishermen, paths leading to the marina; children with small sailboats preparing to go out on the water, couples sits along the waters edge and in parks, the Tallinn gate leads to the old town and beautiful churches give this city a picturesque scene.
Stopping to indulge in a traditional Estonian meal, I ordered the Herring with sour cream & onions and cold boiled potatoes. To my surprise the Herring was served uncooked and even though I love sushi, I was not able to eat it. I really did try eating this cold raw fish but this was something I am definitely not use to. So I just ate what I could and then when the waitress walked by I asked her if there was any way I could have the fish cooked or at least warmed up in the microwave. I know it is not their custom and I felt bad for asking but I thought I would at least try since I was still hungry. She said no they could not do that and I received my bill. I know they have stoves in the back…the girl next to me has a grilled fish that looks absolutely delicious. I should have just said, “I’ll take whatever she has,” instead of just guessing which one it was. You live and you learn I guess.
I then walked to the bus station to wait to go on to Riga, unfortunately my bus had mechanical problems and I have to wait for the next one to come. As I sat here writing two young Estonian guys stopped to chat with me. They are both 24 years old and have been drinking, hitchhiking and squatting around Estonia since Monday. They gave me a brief but very interesting lesson on the history of Estonia and explained to me how I should not go to Latvia because they do not like people from Latvia. That they have six toes on each foot and that the woman’s vagina is horizontal instead of vertical. I think they were just trying to convince me to stay and party with them though and not go to Latvia; gave me a good laugh. Very cheeky and entertaining and attempted to chat with everyone that passed. I then said good bye to my new friends and then off to Riga I must go. Music plays on the bus radio…’I can’t go down, I get up again; your never going to keep me down.’ This is the perfect song to be listing to after meeting two Estonian youth with backpacks full of beer. American music everywhere I go as well as movies and in many places you can find NY Pizza or TexMex cuisine. Clothes have sayings in English and many giving reference to NYC or LA.
As we proceed across this beautiful land the sun is setting and the countryside is so miraculous; the clouds are low as the fog settles in the fields giving everything a mystic feel to this Estonian landscape. It is somewhat surreal; as if I am in a dream or staring at the brush strokes of Leonardo da Vinci. Fog intertwined within the trees that line the roadways; filling pastures once a profound green into a landscape touched by the sun that radiates an aura of pastel shades of yellows, pinks and greens. Sporadic views of water escapes touched by the setting sun; barns, houses and small dirt roads; the sun peering through the forests of tall lush trees. Probably one of the most memorable sunsets I have ever been privileged to see.