this morning I crossed the border into Estonia on foot from a town called Ape in northern Latvia. I was meant to catch a bus from Vastse Roosa to Voru before catching another bus to Tartu.
After waiting for an hour in this village, some locals found me and informed me that the bus no longer runs to Voru from that village. Although they spoke no English and very little Russian (I speak a tiny bit), it seemed as if half the village was now helping me look for a ride into the next town about 6km away so I could catch the bus to Voru from there.
Eventually, one of the guys agreed to take me there very kindly! I jumped on the bus to Voru and tried to pay in cash, but everything is done through this transport card which I obviously didn't have. The driver let me ride for free very kindly. I don't think this part of the country gets many tourists, so people were happy to help a confused Lithuanian/Englishman. I made the bus in Voru just in time and an hour later I was in Tartu thanks to the help of the locals!
Tartu - wow - where do I start? It is clean, the people are polite, and it's easy to navigate. I'm in love with this place.
I stayed at Looming Hostel for one night and it's one of the nicest hostels I've been to. There are single beds as well as bunk beds - its affordable at 17.45eur/night. It is quiet, comfortable, and the workers are really friendly.
After checking in, I headed downtown and found the Sports Museum. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of the coolest and most fun museums I've been to - even if you don't like sports. It is interactive and the guy who worked there was really friendly. You can test out old sports equipment, ride a penny farthing, go paragliding in a VR headset, climb a rock climbing wall, walk a tight rope, practise your sports commentating skills, and loads more! I was in there for an hour and a half and loved every minute of it!
I was desperate for a hot drink as it was absolutely freezing outside and I would have loved a coffee. I stumbled upon Pierre et Konsow cafe where I had the best mocha and hot chocolate cheesecake ever! Once again, the service was brilliant and the ambience lovely.
I can't get enough of the place and am looking forward to exploring Tallinn next. It's been a really pleasant surprise - before coming here I had read that Estonians can be cold, but I've experienced the opposite. It's incredibly clean and people are beyond polite.
I highly recommend Estonia (in particular Tartu) for their next solo trip!