Estonia may seem small and distant place, but for an urban explorer it is worth a visit. Our strategy has worked well: take a ferry to reach Tallinn, rent a car and enjoy the feeling of being free. Hotels are cheap and modern so you can just pick one online couple of hours before you want to take break. The country is quite small; the drive from Tallinn to Valga, which is in the border between Estonia and Latvia, takes less than three hours. This means that every corner of the country is reachable during the same day, and whichever place you can spot from Google or satellite pictures, you can reach from the capital, Tallinn.
So why have we been there so many times? When visiting the Baltics and especially Estonia, one encounters numerous beautiful manor houses in various states of decay. Many locations are now under complete reconstruction to be restored to their original beauty, but we naturally have been visiting the ones which haven’t been touched with construction tools. Many manor houses have interesting and active history which quite often ended when the Soviet era began. Because of the Soviet past, the country has many weird and dark stories to tell, if you are willing to dig a little deeper. A website dedicated to the heritage of Estonian manor houses can be found here: http://www.mois.ee/english/
We had a nice conversation with a manor house owner (not the manor house in the picture above) who was stuck with the state officials. The reason was that the original blueprints of the manor house had disappeared years ago. The manor house could not be restored because the original form should be appreciated, both inside and outside. He, nor anyone else had a clue how the place looked like before the miserable communist era. For the time being, the huge building served as a over-sized cigar bar for this man. He gave us a tour inside and the we could clearly see the beauty of the original form in the tall walls and corridors. Still, we could not escape the reality - the inside was totally gone. Only bones were left.
The one in the picture tells another story. It has been forgotten completely. Still, it presents it’s true form to visitors with no sense of shame. Our lesson here is that in many places, weather and years cannot tear away the original - the bone structure which had been designed with care and devotion many years ago.