Photo: Nele-Kai Loorits
Pirita rand (beach), directly across the water from where brothers Jaak and Erik are playing, is Tallinn’s most renowned. And the purjekas (sailboat) just ahead of the ship to Helsinki is most likely from Pirita jaht/klubinext to it. But news of Pika/kari rand, opened as a public suplus-/koht(swimming spot) in 2007, on Paljas/saare pool-/saar (peninsula), just south of where this shot was taken, is getting around and more people are discovering this untouched coastline and the hoiu/ala (conservation area) directly adjacent – an incredible gem in the middle of Eesti’s capital.
Two bays over (westward) is Kopli laht , home of Tallinn’s second most popular beach, Stroomi rand. And between them lies Paljas/saare(“Bare / barren island”). Quite the misnomer, since it’s neither bare nor an island (any longer). It’s a pool/saar (peninsula), which in Estonian is literally “half island”. Close to 600 people live on the southern extreme of Paljassaare, while in its northern roostikud(reed beds), woods and along its rannik (coastline), 231 species of birds have been registered. (Tallinna Linnuklubi/Tallinn Bird Club’s description of Paljassaare, in English https://bit.ly/2xSzaE2)
Vestiges of military presence, most recently Soviet border patrol, abound here. Long lines of old concrete posts are no longer wrapped up in barbed wire, yet still meander through beaver ponds and past nesting luiged(swans), with many having fallen off the eroding cliff of Kõrge/mäe ots (the Tip of High Hill) into the sea below. You can also find a coastal battery, bits of railroad and Katariina kai(quay, wharf) dating to ca 1915. Continuing the contrasts, the view from the bird watching tower also includes the baby blue colored Tallinna reo/vee/jaam (sewage treatment plant).
In addition to the existing network of trails, there is a new laud/tee (boardwalk) and fences, including electric, to ensure birds their peace during pesitsus/hooaeg(nesting season). While Tallinn continues to grow in all directions – remember the threat uttered by Ülemiste vanake, the old man living in the bottom of Ülemiste Lake? (He has his own Wikipedia entry…), this rocky shored green in the heart of Tallinn will be left to its own (non-commercial) devices. Although nature doesn’t have devices or vices, it only ices – perfect for a hike around Paljassaare’s periphery.