2014 was a very special year for me. I have been working full-time for most of the months in Tallinn, which didn’t allow me to travel a lot on my own, and then I broek my foot in November changing my plans for this end of year. Yet I did manage to see many interesting places, especially in France and Estonia.
- Review of 2013: Improving my knowledge of central Europe!
- Review of 2012: Living in Lithuania, France and Estonia
- Review of 2011: When everything began!
Estonia is amazing! I still cannot believe that in such a little country one can find so many beauty and unique places. This country is a lot different from in its coldest months 🙂 saw wonderful nature monuments like the Keila and Jägala waterfalls, the Witch Wheel or the Viru bogs, I explored the main island Saaremaa in the summer with Alan (three years after our Erasmus). I attended and enjoyed major Estonian events such the Singing and Dance festival this summer in Tallinn and the Independence day. I have visited several castle ruins and churches in the west of Estonia. Alan was not the only friend who visited me in Tallinn, three old French buddies from Belfort’s university finally came to discovered the Baltic! It took here three years to make them travel to me! It has been an active year and beside all those trips and visits, I lived, worked and studied in Tallinn longer than I could ever imagine:) I visited Tartu in autumn, I attended some unique events in Tallinn like the festival of lights in Kadriorg or the Red Arrows performance over the Pirita bay. Being in Estonia in summer was a dream and I am happy to have lived it!
I had two long stays in France during which I travelled a lot. The first in April when I brought my Estonian friend Laura with me to show her France: Paris, Versailles, the Oise… she saw many nice things in a couple of days. Our capital and the luxurious city of the Sun King have had as much as smaller cities and villages around my home town, it was a lovely time :). During the summer break I attempted to have an extended exploration of Picardy‘s patrimonial: castles, monasteries, churches and cathedrals… I drove alone to a lot of cities and villages in little of time and I had great time to admire landscapes of my countryside. With my mother and sister we have been for a day to the sea side (on the Côte d’Opale) to an important and well preserved medieval city from where William the Conqueror began his successful conquest of Brittany.
For the first time I spent so many days in this country. Having been in Riga at all seasons I realised how the city is beautiful at any time of the year. With the summer time being the best to walk around, and winter the prettiest with all the snow and the enlighten streets at night. I have shown it to many of my friends, I got used to show and talk about places I like to enhancing their experience of the Latvian capital. I had their my last trip abroad before my accident, and I was very satisfied to attend once again the Staro Riga festival the year Riga was the European Capital of Culture. I could use my new fast zoom lens there! The most exiting for me was to discover the other Lativa. Those cities that are seen to be less appealing are actually very nice and refreshing! Both Jelgava and its palace, and Cesis and its medieval castle deserved to be visited once. I was lucky to visite them two with my French friends in August when we rented a car and drove from Tallinn.
While I surprisingly saw a lot of Latvia, I didn’t see much of Lithuania. As you know I have a special relation with the most populated Baltic country, and if I really wanted to go more often, my job or finances were not so flexible 🙁 Though I went to Vilnius two times and always when going or coming back from France because Vilnius has cheap direct flights with my regional airport (and since July, Riga also). In July I could see Vilnius under rain and meet with the locals friends I like the most. I must find a solution to be there more often and probably arrange trip to the sea side 🙂
In contrary to last year I couldn’t see much of Poland. In only three days I had the opportunity to visit shortly Gdansk and meet an old friend in Warsaw. It was part of my long spring trip to France as I wanted to see something new in Poland. I have been in most of the largest Polish cities and had to complete them with the Hanseatic town of Gdnask in the north. With Laura we drove by bus from Tallinn to Warsaw and have been to the biggest and prettiest park of the city to try to catch some squirrels. The day after we took a bus to Gdansk and we spent nearly three days in a guest house and visited the old town under the rain, not the best condition to experience this city but good enough for an overview.
I rarely go to Belgium and when I do it is for a very special reason. While in France for a week I offered to Laura to see the most romantic city of Belgium for a day. We didn’t have a perfect day as the city received a lot of tourists and the weather was bad. But thanks to my company, chocolate and local beers, I cannot say the day was bad :)*
I was supposed to go for a five-days cruise on the northern shores of Norway – from Trondheim to Kirkenes – and from Tallinn. Unfortunately since I broke my foot after slipping on ice in Tallinn, the voyage was cancelled . A very bad timing for me, that screwed my end of year and holiday. But not being able to walk made me save a lot of money in travelling and parties, that can serve future travels… maybe to Romania, Turkey and Ukraine? Let’s see how 2015 will be!