Ahja Valley

Ahja Valley - Photo: Sean Knight

Our first stop on the coach trip was the Ahja Valley. We walked through pine woods, and looked at the tall sandstone bank on the other side of the river, full of small holes where kingfishers and swallows nest, and covered with carved initials in precarious positions. There are also two large caves. On the way back we stopped at a spring where several people drank - Klaire's mother Olly explained that the water was pure because it came straight from the rock. Two cooks had joined us for the rest of the trip, and had laid out a huge picnic under the trees, including a sort of savoury layer cake full of seafood, and open sandwiches of steak tartare.

Picnic - Photo: Sean Knight

After lunch, we drove on only a short distance and then stopped again to pick up a guide who was to show us one of the sights of the area. Getting out and entering the woods we saw a sign with a gigantic picture of an ant. This part of the forest was a sort of ant sanctuary. The ants' nests were among the trees, the other side of a small wooden rail that bordered our path and protected them from us (presumably). The visible parts of the nests were made from pine needles, though apparently the underground parts were much bigger, and consisted of tunnels or excavations in the sand. The ants were busy all over the nests, rearranging the pine needles; they looked pretty much like the usual sort of ant, small and black, and not particularly menacing except that there were so many of them. After we'd stared at them for a while, and they'd continued to ignore us, we went back to the coach and drove on to the sand caves of Piusa.

Estonia home page

Matthew Francis home page