Time passes and things do not change much, I continue to live in Estonia and take most of my free days to travel around. I thought that year was pretty calm in travelling but as I am summarizing at it now I realize that I have been to various new places and seen a lot of nice cities, adding two new countries to my personal list!
- Review of 2014: Getting to know small cities
- Review of 2013: Improving my knowledge of central Europe!
- Review of 2012: Living in Lithuania, France and Estonia
- Review of 2011: When everything began!
First of all I must admit that I was very sad to miss a cruise along Norway last winter after I broke my foot. Somehow I think that a spring trip gave me a better view of the various landscapes one can find along those 2000km of wild snowy coast. I could play with huskies, approach the sea eagles and visit the truly amzing Trollfjjord and Lyngenfjord under the snow! When I was not on the ship I was walking in the small ports and interesting cities such as Trondheim and Oslo. I hope to go again in 2016, probably for warmer days and greener fjords.
This proud second has been wanted for a long time, for now three years Slovenia was on top of my waiting list. Hidden between Austria and Italy it was only this spring whie I stayed in Klagenfurt that I had the possibility to go to Ljubljana and Bled. There I saw a lot of green, there the colours seem to be overly saturated and bright! The temperature was incredible, I was dying because it has been constantly hot. I liked how small and active Ljubjana was, there were many tourists and locals moving around at any times and spending days by the river enjoying coffee and ice creams. It reminded me of smaller and warmer version of Tallinn, with a river! Bled looks exactly like on postcards, a charmaing village by a lake dominated by a castle, with a tiny island it its middle.
In contrary to 2014 I have seen a lot of novelty in Poland! I spent a bit less than a week this summer to explore Poznan and the Greater Poland region. As often I landed in Poland as a step between France and Estonia and had a friend who helped me to visit several smalls cities. It would have been impossible to reach them without a car. That way I could see two palaces around Poznan, the great Basilica of Lichen Stary, and the medieval towns of Gniezno and Torun! Sight seeing was so intense that I got pain in my foot at the end of the trip, in Lodz I could barely walk, we enjoyed a refreshing ice cream and look at a newly reconverted factory.
Knowing Estonia pretty much now, I haven’t had any new visit. I focused on Tallinn and some old churches and convents on my Sunday mornings and had day trip to the waterfalls of Keila-Joa and Jagala. The highlights of my year was my two attempts to watch the northern lights this winter. As you can see on the photo below it was a big success! The wonderful nights happened on October and I couldn’t believe what I saw: colorful strips dancing in the sky!
During my two long holidays of the year I went back to France to see my family. I like to use these occasions to drive around and visit cities I don’t know well. In the summer I took my sister with me to explore the medieval town of Provins for a day. We had a nice time as the weather was perfect and the city authentic and charming. Later I received an old friend home and show him the main interests of my region: Chantilly and its castle, Compiègne and its palace, Pierrefonds and its castle, and finally the Armistice field and museum near Compiègne. For Christmas I got the chance to drive with my mum the the Champagne capital: Reims! A large cathedral was added to my list (along with Paris, Amiens, Rouen, Beauvais…). It was my only long trip as I kept driving not far from home to see little unknown castles after the other days. I will try go the south in 2016. Or maybe the east? Both seems interesant!
I had only three days in Slovakia but it was enough to make me discover new hidden beauties! While staying in the small town of Povazska Bystrica hosted by my friend from Erasmus, I searched what to visit in a day. Expecting to not find anything I was surprised to come to a long list! We chose to get to Bojnice and Čičmany. Bojnice has a cool castle well conserved, we walked around but we couldn’t enter in it. Čičmany is a little village with all his houses painted, there was organised a opening of there folk museum the day we came, and the organizer warmly welcomed us with free food and drinks!
Just back from Norway I had to pack again and get a flight for Austria where I was going to stay for more than a week! For the first time I would not centred the voyage on Vienna but on a unknown town (for me at least) near the southern border. There was an incredibily nice weather and I could enjoy the Worthersee lake, biking in the old town and enjoying ice creams for some of my most peaceful hollidays. I felt more like being in Italy than in Austria 🙂 I also naturally had to visit Vienna, for two days and for my birthday! For the first time I didn’t see rain in this capital and I have started to appreciate the city!
This is year was not centered on the Baltic States (beside Estonia for obvious reason). I have been only once to Lativa for Riga, hanging out with two Polish friends. It was at the begining of the year, when it is cold and windy. I have chose to miss the interesting Staro Riga festival which I atttened every year since 2011, I had some deadline to match 🙁 If March is not the time where Riga is the best (cold, windy, bad light) its old town remains good to explore, every corners reminding me of previous visits. That is the only city that I know so well despite that I have never lived there. Always active and full of small streets, Art Nouveau buildings and streets musicians, it is a experience whenever it is hot or cold, reason why I do not look at the season before booking my tickets to travel there 🙂
Farther than Lativa, it is a little more complicated to organised trip to Vilnius. I feel sorry for not having spent more time in Lithuania. I was hoping to find time to visit Kernave and Kaunas but I couldn’t this year again… I keep being positive and I am happy to have spend at least a day in the city I used to live in. Desipite a changing weather (from storms to sun) I enjpyed walking around places I knew, and ordered cappucino at several new cafés I discovered 🙂