September 26, 2005 GMT

No doubt that Estonia is proud of their European Union membership. You would think it was the Coca Cola marketing team that had decorated the border with EU logos, and signs frequently reminded that EU had sponsored the paved road from Narva to the capital.

The musician and motorcycle enthusiast Mait Seger dedicating a copy of his brilliant album “Sadness and Sun” to my trip. Thanks Mait.

At some point I had a roadside coffee looking at two giant mountains in the southern horizon, later said to be artificial and entirely made of cinder from a coal mine. From an environmental point of view it was more pleasant to visit Lahemaa National Park by the north coast. At the end of some winding roads it was evening, the sun was low, no wind, just a smell of barbeque, some distant voices, and flies flew silently between the trees. An older woman permitted me to camp in her garage, just a stone throw from a café where I met a Frankfurt backpacker carrying the same travel book as me. A reason for start talking. Ingo was very into space travel, though not being a cosmonaut he had his own blog on a webpage dedicated to the subject. I didn’t know it then, but Ingo the Raumfahrer would cross my path again.

Finally there. But where is it?

Southwest of Tallinn and behind some bushes is a town named Saue ( Evidently few tourists visit the place. They sold no postcards with city images, but as soon as the ladies at the post office knew my surname they wanted me to have the only Saue artifact available – a big calendar hanging on the wall behind them. Maili, a newly employed beauty expert in EU directives invited me home for dinner and a listen at Mait Segers CD. Thereafter I went to see Saue Mois, a magnificent manor house. The owner was a car mechanic that successfully had built his own company. The revenue was put into restoring the manor, and he gave me a tour on the premises before inviting me to spend the night in deluxe atmosphere. Oh yeah. The last thought before falling asleep was “I love Estonia”.

The next day was rainy and my shoes were filled with water. Somewhere between Tallinn and Pärnu I spotted a Statoil station. Ah refill of coffee, what a delight, and I walked in with my Statoil thermo cup. “What! They give you free coffee at the Statoil stations in Norway? Do you think we’re stupid?”

In Pikk Street in Pärnu was another Statoil station, but something told me not to go there.

Pärnu is Estonias second largest city, but has a small town feel to it. A veteran motorcycle was parked in a side alley with helmet and gloves left unwatched on its seat. A health spa offered “electric cure”. I didn’t try it. A small pub displayed a photo of King Harald with a beer in his hand, enjoying himself at that very same pub. Strange. I strolled around for a few hours, observing and reporting to myself, then leaving the country with a sudden feeling of contentment.

Posted by Erik Saue at September 26, 2005 10:48 PM GMT

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