Day 31, Pärnu, February 9th 2012Posted: February 11, 2012
Coming to Pärnu was a good decision. This little cute seaside town is very beautiful and has some similarities to a few British Seaside towns. I woke up and got ready to head into the town centre where I was meeting Ivo, one of the guys who I am staying with, in his Wine and Chocolate Café ‘Piccadilly Wine’. I wandered into town slowly, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the relative warmth of -10’C, compared to the previous days -15 – 20’C. I found myself in the small town centre; traditional wooden faced buildings lining most of the streets, and then eventually found the Café; gentle music playing into the street from the café is the best clue. Inside is beautiful, one wall is lined with many different varieties of wine and also some teas. Gorgeous cakes line the counter and handmade chocolates gleam out at you temptingly. Ivo was talking to a customer so I looked around a little and then took a seat. When the customer was gone I got up and chatted to Ivo for a while and then had a lovely cup of Organic Pu Erh Tea. This tea is not to everyone’s taste, it is very earthy and dark and extremely complex. The tea was rinsed first, this helps to remove some of the dustiness that can be in the tea, it is not essential to do this as most people like it this way. But for a morning tea it helps to lighten it up a little. I was then given a wonderful Chilli Dark Chocolate Truffle. The chocolates in the Café are all made by Ivo’s business partner, specifically for the café and they all look amazing, and if they all taste as good as that one did then they all taste amazing too! I spent a good hour or so chatting and drinking tea. Then I decided to head for the seaside.
I walked through the little town, its beautiful buildings glinting with icicles, the trees lining the streets casting long, thin shadows across the perfect white snow. I made it to the seaside where I could not actually see the sea. For as far as my eyes could perceive the ocean was frozen, just pure white reflecting the winter sunlight, the snow fall from the previous couple of weeks unbroken and perfect. I walked out onto the ice for a while, spying into holes in the ice, clambering over mounds of broken and then refrozen ice. The peace and tranquillity was wonderful, that is why I am so glad I came here. The place was just so peaceful for me, probably a stark contrast to the summertime, when this little city becomes the ‘capital’ of Estonia. I walked along the coastline for a while, going out as far as I dared, which probably was nowhere near as far as I could have gone, the ice being so thick and solid. The snow crunching beneath my feet and the cold, salty sea air cleansing my lungs. I then turned off of the beach and into this little area behind the dunes and marshland. In this area are a few sculptures, and some buildings, one of which apparently houses the Parnu mud baths. I then decided it was about time for something to eat and so headed back into town. Through a nice little park with birds chirping in the sunlight and flitting about between the branches of fir trees. Back in the centre of town I found a little organic café that had been suggested to me earlier. It is quite nice inside, a little bit like they are trying to bring the outside in with Parisian style plastic seating and small tables. I had a nice fish soup and a cup of rooibos vanilla, which was much like any rooibos vanilla. I sat for a while writing and watching the world go by then left and headed towards the river. Next week will be the Parnu ice festival and at the crest of a small hill/mound by the river teams of people are currently building huge ice castles, igloos and other such sculptural works from breezeblock sized chunks of ice. I wandered amongst the activity then out the other side where a small group of lads were doing some snowboard stunts and taking photographs using a bungee try system where three guys would run with the bungee, stretching it out and into the hands of a fourth who would then propel themselves off of a small ramp and onto the railing of a staircase currently laden with snow, whilst two others would be searching for the perfect angle to get the best photograph. After a while standing, watching and taking a few of my own photographs, I went further up along the river to a little bridge that led to a dry dock and the Parnu Yacht Club. More wandering and then back into the centre of town, along the opposite bank of the river. In town I decided to buy my ticket for the bus and to warm up in shopping mall, buying a few snacky things for my bus journey. Then I went back to the apartment. Ivo was home when I arrived and we hung out for a while before we both then went back to his café.
Back in the café Ivo did a bit of work and I sat and wrote a little more. Then we had a little food and a really great slice of chocolate cake, warmed up a little to make it even more wonderful, and complimented with a bit of homemade strawberry sauce. Really, really great! After a while we left and went back to the flat, Liis, Ivo’s wife and my official couchsurfing host came home around 9:30pm after a yoga class and we prepared her some more food, as well as another helping for ourselves. Then we sat and watched a movie, I made all of us a hot chocolate using rice milk, and then I went to bed. A lovely day, relaxed, peaceful, comfortable, and now I’ve sat and written this, I realise, quite full!