There is so much to see and do on a trip to Estonia. One of our absolute highlights is definitely the Bärenhütte. Because here you have the unique chance to observe bears undisturbed and up close. You can find out how our first night in the bear hut went in this blog post.
Coastal strips and mystical forests
As we leave the Altmõisa külalistemaja Guesthouse, it starts to rain. There is no trace of the past hot days. Our trip today should bring us to Palasi, very close to the Lahemaa National Park. The roads lead us past numerous fields and forests, here and there we discover deer, cranes and many storks. The latter have often made themselves comfortable on hay bales.
The time allows us to make a short stop on the famous Baltic Sea coast. The beach seems to merge directly into the forest here. The area literally invites us to go hiking. In the meantime the sun has come out again. Warming rays timidly flash through the old forests and create a fantastic, mystical atmosphere. After a while it goes on, because today is supposed to be a special day: we finally want to see it with our own eyes. The animal around which there are more myths than almost any other – the bear. In the afternoon we reach the starting point for the bear observation hut.
Arrival at the bear hut
The place is in the middle of the forest, but we were able to find it easily with our navigation system. Peep, our guide explains interesting facts about the shy forest dwellers in fur coats on a small educational trail. What was new to me was that most of the bears in Estonia do not dig burrows at all, but sleep in nests, if at all. However, they like honey at least as much as their comic book friend Winnie the Pooh suggests. And now it finally starts. We quickly fumble our overnight utensils out of the car, of course, cameras and binoculars are also very important. The approximately two-kilometer path to the hut leads us through dense mixed forest. Then finally: Behind a junction it is in front of us: the bear clearing. It looks like a picture book. A river meanders around isolated birch trees. It is bordered on all sides with dense dark forest. We step in and are excited about what to expect.
Can the bear be seen?
After we have moved into our perfectly placed hut, Peep says goodbye and leaves us alone. Alone in the bear forest. The only thing we perceive is the silence of the forest, the soft rustling of the leaves, the chirping of birds. My sister Elisa and I discuss our approach. Everyone should guard one side and let them know whenever something happens. After about an hour, a first forest inhabitant appears. A deer eats peacefully in the grass, after which nothing happens for a long time. The quiet is interrupted by a loud rumbling, I quickly see what’s going on: Oops, my camera and tripod fell over. Oh oh, I hope the bears didn’t hear that. When it starts to rain slightly, Elisa whispers I should come over here, there is something. Indeed, two raccoon dogs are happily marching around. They seem to come from all sides, to disappear in a flash, only to reappear elsewhere. Time seems to fly by. When I look at the clock, it is already half past ten. Slowly a few doubts arise as to whether a bear would still like to show itself for us today. It would also be too cheesy to see this animal out in the open now. And just as I am thinking that our noise seems to have disturbed the sensitive fur wearer, I suddenly see two dark shadows in the forest. It is immediately clear to me what has just appeared out of nowhere. At first Elisa doesn’t want to believe me, but then comes and convinces herself with her own eyes. Two bears. Everyone who is crazy about animals knows that – the pulse shoots up, you are completely excited and everything happens like in a movie. The animals come closer.
Tired but happy
After that we are both on cloud nine, it was a fantastic experience. Bears are supposed to come all night long. The best experience was when a huge specimen lay down in the meadow under the light of the full moon, then crossed the river and after a few minutes disappeared into the deep black forest. Accompanied by an almost eerie silence. The morning greets us with a wild boar that is enjoying a dandelion snack. We pack our things and when Peep picks us up, we are dog-tired, but also overjoyed about the fantastic experiences we had last night. That was just as strong as a bear.
So Estonia is definitely worth a trip this year, as Elisa and Paul can now confirm from their own experience. They will be happy to answer any further questions you may have, including about the flight situation.