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Estonian Institute in collaboration with podcast “Found in Estonia” brings you a series of recommendations from English-speaking local foreigners. Estonian Institute is presently developing its web environment at Culture.ee to make integration and cultural exchange more accessible.

Mathilde Roch-Penet, 27, is from France and has been living in Estonia for 4,5 years. She first came here 7 years ago to study textile design in Art University, and although after that she’s been travelling a lot, she exclaims, “There is something magical here that always brings me back!” You can listen to her episode on “Found in Estonia” podcast here. For spring activities during the trying times when many places are closed and inaccessible, she has some recommendations of her own.

  1. We are living in these uncertain times and having more and more restrictions to appreciate things outside our homes, but we are still in Estonia able to go for a walk. I personally love walking and even more in nature. Estonia is full of forest and “raba“, bog. My favorites around Tallinn are Pääsküla raba, in the Nõmme area, easy to go by train or car. I recommend to go early in the morning, even though there are rarely big crowds, it’s still quieter. Viru raba is a bit farther but also a really pleasant one. Bogs have this magical atmosphere and fairytale look with their wooden passway, lakes – I always feel like walking in a Miyasaki anime! 
  2. While walking or being at home, looking for some Estonian music to listen to, I really love the artist Maarja Nuut. She has a particular style of music that always makes me feel floating, relaxing and you can easily hear the beautiful estonian language in her songs. Some of my  favorites are “Õdangule“, “Une meeles” and “Hobusemäng” where the video clip is filmed inside Linnahall, an iconic piece of architecture in Tallinn, and also Lasnamäe, a very caracteristic area of Tallinn, an opportunity to see these places if you’ve never been there!
  3. Unfortunately museums and art galleries are closed, but architecture is still possible to see and admire around us. I love to take long walks towards the Kopli area, and stop by at Põhjala tehas. This complex of old factories, originally rubber shoes factory, is now getting more and more renovated, a lot of young artists are having studios there. If you go there and have a stop at Karjase sai bakery, owned by young Estonians, you will not regret it and as a French person, I can tell you their pain au chocolat is delicious! You can also order their pastries to home via online deliveries. 
  4. Need a bit of fresh air ? Have a trip to Jägala waterfall, it’s 35 minutes by car from Tallinn, and well worth the drive! Going during cold winter can be magical as the waterfall gets frozen and you can admire natural ice sculptures. It’s still a beautiful and refreshing spot to enjoy when the ice melts. 
  5. Do you need a change from being at home all the time? For a weekend, I went to Tiigrisilma tree house, located in Kohila, not far from Tallinn and also accessible by train. This tiny house cabin is built in the trees and in the middle of nature. It’s an amazing place for recharging, getting some good energy from the forest around you, taking a deep breath and enjoying quiet time. There is also a hot tub, an outside grill and adorable goats! A perfect weekend away in Estonian beautiful nature. 
  6. And at last, if you feel a need to quiet your mind and move your body, I am here for you. I am an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga facilitator, this practice is a dynamic style of yoga, a moving meditation. I facilitate online classes in English, so you can easily practice with me and others from your home. Taking time for yourself, with yourself, deepen your practice or discover yoga! There is no time, no experience needed to try something new for you. Moving and breathing will allow you to quiet the mind stuff, discover your body possibilities and enjoy your own time. Join me here: https://yogawithmathilde.com/