“Widjech is the name”, said the man with enthusiasm and bright eyes. A broad smile covered his face. I wasn’t even given the chance to start the day’s journey or he had jammed his feet on the brakes. The man was happy to see a foreign traveller on the smaller roads, listening to me in awe and joy. Then Widjech went on to talk about his life in the little English he spoke. “My children tell me my English is shit”, followed by laughter. I couldn’t help but smile, listening to a man so happy. This ride, the company of this happy man, gave me a boost and I walked the last kilometers to Valga and Valka. Same city, different country.
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Crossing the non-existent border, people living their life smiled at me. I didn’t linger too long and before I knew it, I was back in a car. At least… For the few meters the man drove to get to the shops, whereas he let me go again. Sometimes a ride doesn’t help, as I walked the same distance back to get to my good spot again. Luckily, a bussiness man took me into his comforts car. A Lithuanian with a meeting in Tartu and I could not have gotten better – although Playboy models would be great too – as he seemed to have knowledge on these Baltic countries and didn’t mind telling me all about the history, languages, differences, population and many more. Interested I listened and asked questions. I could tell he was Lithuanian, as he didn’t mind staring at his phone with the occasional swing at the steer or push on the brake to avoid whatever was in front of us. Beginning to think that I would have been a lot safer had I gone parachuting in the middle of a war zone… Then I found out that he was going to Talinn after the meeting, so I decided to join him there, giving me 2 hours in Tartu with free shoulders. The rest of the ride made for a slightly frustrating and crinching one, as this man does not know how to make a phone call. He decides his time to speak is once the other starts, to then wait mid sentence so he can disrupt the other again. Luckily we made it to Talinn before my curled up toes had pushed holes in my
– – –
“Welcome at Olde Hansa, m’lord”, is what the pretty lady at the entrance told me. She was wearing a dress a few centuries behind today’s fashion. Looking around in Old Town, I saw here and there a few others dressed similiar. Turned out I had travelled back to the year 1400. I let her guide me inside, where I ordered a homebrewed dark honey beer and a smoked herring together with a loaf of bread from the 15th century-like menu. The bar was quite full, yet there was a free table in the corner. I sat down and watched the waiters and waitresses treat everyone as if they were from the royal family. A big beer mug of clay was brought to my table filled to the top with the dark, delicious draft and the servant retreated after a bow and another “M’lord“. The liquid that smoothly went down my throat was soothening and felt like heaven had landed on my tastebuds. It had been awhile that I had a beer this good. In the background old folk music was being played and the inside was lighted by candlelight. In trance of the good brew and my body and mind being tired after a long day, I spent the evening there, enjoying getting the treatment of a lord.
– – –
Going through the streets of Old Town, I notice more shops and bars that are fond of the old years, with all kinds of crafts, pictures and art from the past. I almost gasped when I walked into a small shop and saw an old styled writing book. Sadly the price put on their was meant for a real lord. There was a Blacksmith making glass and other metal parts, an old wall with view of the city, a girl trying her best to sell spices and nuts and as always, a lot of stands that all have the exact same souvenirs. Despite the fact that I really liked the city and had a great time there, the tourism kinda ruined it. When there are crowds of tourists everywhere who are photographing everything, it kind of kills the excitement of exploring the 15th century in Estonia. So after a short stay, I was ready to go again, excited to see where my thumb would take me next.