146 Photos - Mar 7, 2017
Photo: L-R: Elly, Martin, Karen, Jenny, Steve, Sam, Stephen, Maureen, Roy, Ken, Phil, Mat, Helen, Sue, Tania, Trevor, Jim, Shane, Andy, Gareth and SusanPhoto: Sunday 19 February - Travel to Gatwick, via the first of a number of birthday celebrations for SuePhoto: Sunday 20 February - getting ready to ski at PiritaPhoto: Conditions (and some of the skis) were 'iffy'Photo: Tallinn Town Hall was passed on our way to one of many of the city's good restaurantsPhoto: Tuesday 21 February - now sorted out with skis, and wearing my own boots, I found the skiing at Nomme much betterPhoto: Photo: Sue is with Andy, our leader from ExodusPhoto: Sue, Karen and Phil - skiing on thin ice!Photo: Tuesday afternoon - a conducted tour of Tallinn, with PilaPhoto: Photo: 'Fat Margaret' towerPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: The Three Sisters Hotel - oldest buildings in Tallinn (built 1362)Photo: The spire of the Church of St Olaf was originally 159 metres high, but now it is 129 metres - the highest point in Tallinn, repeatedly struck by lightningPhoto: The spire may have been the world's tallest structure in the 16th century!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: The oldest tearoom dates to 1864 - we went in laterPhoto: The gate between the Lower Town and the Upper TownPhoto: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - a Russian Orthodox cathedral built in 1894 - 1900 when Estonia was part of the Russian EmpirePhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: There seems to be a fascination with armoured knights herePhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: The Town Hall Square is a magnificent spacePhoto: Photo: Photo: The tearoom dates from 1864Photo: The pharmacy dates from 1422, the oldest in the world. It remained in the same family until the early 1900sPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Later, we enjoyed another excellent meal at Kaerajaan before returning to the Spa and Conference Hotel for the last timePhoto: Wednesday 22 February - after a 3.5 hour journey past Tartu to Otepää we were pleased to see snow, albeit artificialPhoto: Lorry loads of snow were being deliveredPhoto: The snow came to an abrupt end near a teepeePhoto: The Tehvandi Hotel is horseshoe shaped, with a grass roof, very conveniently just a few metres from the ski trailsPhoto: Thursday 23 February - we had a morning with Martti Himma, a leading Estonian skier. Snow flurries helped to funnify the artificial snowPhoto: Photo: Martti demonstrated double poling up a steep hill - he would later finish in the top 20 in the elite racePhoto: Photo: Susan had a strained calf, and I fell on ice after skiing and damaged a shoulder, so in the afternoon some of us attempted the 10 km hiking trackPhoto: We found some paths, but the trail wasn't marked on the groundPhoto: We passed by Pilkuse LakePhoto: There was a large cemetery in a woodPhoto: Photo: Otepää's church dates from 1671, as indicated on the following information panelPhoto: Photo: Susan was fascinated by a nearby labyrinthPhoto: It was supposed to have healing powers, but her calf and my shoulder both felt worse!Photo: Photo: Here's my route - 8.5 km, a circuit around the outside of the artificially created ski circuit of 6 kmPhoto: After a welcome break for tea/coffee and cake at Elsa's tearoom, I headed back whilst the others visited the hillfort that is next to the churchPhoto: Returning to Tehvandi, Sue found this 'sculpture' - part of the National Geographic Yellow Windows Culture RoutePhoto: Photo: Sue and I enjoyed a half hour walk with Ken and Helen and Susan and Roy, for a nice, if rather slow, meal at the GMB Clubhotel; my tasty herring starter is shownPhoto: Friday 24 February - Sue's 50th birthday - and a trip to HaanjaPhoto: There was a team photoPhoto: A good café enjoyed this view of the others getting ready to ski to a lake, whilst Sue and I elevensedPhoto: Jenny and Mat get ready for some lake skiingPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: There was a relay race; Tania is about to hand over to SuePhoto: Photo: Get ready Andy!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Then we went to the highest point in Estonia and the other Baltic StatesPhoto: Unfortunately the tower, very close to Haanja, was only open at weekends, so we couldn't enjoy its views to nearby Russia and LatviaPhoto: Jűri, our Estonian 'fixer' translated this as a memorial to an Estonian climber of Everest, which is many times the height of this 318 metre summitPhoto: Photo: Saturday 25 February - we left the comfort of the Tehvandi Hotel for an hour's journey to Tartu to register for a ski racePhoto: This picture, taken from roughly the same place as the previous one, shows how close we were to the stadium that was originally created for USSR athletes to train for the Olympics. It's now set up for our racesPhoto: Registration was at Tartu's Expo centre, where a US forces band was attempting to entertainPhoto: Registration is in the background, after we'd negotiated a number of vendor stalls, including Martti's 'Honey Power' stallPhoto: Photo: These Salomon shoes were available for €65. At least four of us succumbedPhoto: Photo: They'll be good in mud and snow, we hopePhoto: Returning to Otepää, some of us supported Andy, Shane and Sam, who were doing a 16 km race in light snow. It was slow going for them. This shows the end of the previous racePhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Here's ShanePhoto: Andy - going strongPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Shane demonstrates the benefits of Martti's tuition?Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Sam, Shane and Andy, three proud finishersPhoto: We enjoyed three meals at Lumi, the best restaurant in townPhoto: Sunday 26 February - race day for all of us. This is the elite race, starting at 9 amPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Here's Superwoman, aka Canadian Karen, who seemed to become an honorary member of our group, she finished the 34 km course in 2.04.23, a few minutes behind the fastest elite womenPhoto: Photo: Hard work?Photo: The time is misleading as the elite woman started 10 minutes before the timerPhoto: Photo: The 11 am start was for skiers expecting to complete the 34 km course in under three hoursPhoto: Susan's calf injury has miraculously repaired itselfPhoto: Ken was chasing a chickenPhoto: Roy sadly failed to break the 3 hour barrierPhoto: Photo: Photo: The chicken was untouchablePhoto: Andy stopped for a chatPhoto: Phil was hot on Andy's tailPhoto: Trevor was nextPhoto: Still chasing chickensPhoto: Photo: Photo: Some of us adjourned for a free lunch, before our 2 pm startPhoto: The 2 pm race may have been recorded by others; due to flurries/rain I left my camera behind, so this and further pictures are courtesy of Andy and othersPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Monday 27 February - goodbye Tehvandi.....Photo: .... hello Timperley