Eight days into our journey and I had yet to get in an honest-to-goodness run. The ship’s treadmill doesn’t count. In port in Estonia, I was out the gangway early, determined to find a running route somewhere near the dock.
And there it was. As I walked through the security checkpoint, I could see a pedestrian path across the road.
The first kilometer had a bit of an industrial edge, lightly used and a bit weedy, but I felt perfectly safe as a solo runner. I passed a couple of men walking to work, a mother and young son out for an early bike ride, and several of my shipmates getting in their morning run as well. Further along, a residential area with older homes bordered the path. The buildings displayed architectural elements on old, mostly wooden houses, what you would
expect to see in a fishing port but particular to Estonia.
Where the path ended, I emerged onto a street of new housing that replicated the features of the historic architecture.
Midway along this route and to the left of the path sits a beautiful gate to a park entrance.
I thought perhaps I could add a mile or so through the park, but found the gate locked at this early hour. There was a serenity to that park and I paused at the gate, taking in the beautiful landscape and what may have been a church in the distance.
Moving on and adding a couple of streets to my out-and-back, I threw in a brief run down this colorful pier. With that, I was able to extend the run distance to just over five miles.
After returning home from our voyage, I did some research to ensure I had the correct location before adding this trail to the localeikki site. And, I was still curious about that iron-gated park just off the trail.
I learned the path is named the Culture Kilometre and the Kalamaja area is known for its wooden architecture and its thriving bohemian art community.
And the park with the iron gate? According to Wikipedia, on the other side of the gate is the former site of the oldest cemetery in Tallinn dating back to the 15th or 16th century and the burial place of ethnic Estonians and Swedes. The cemetery was flattened in 1964 during the Soviet occupation. Gravestones were reused as building material. The former graveyard is now a public park with only one identifier to its historic past: a small plaque on the restored chapel located in the park (a building which I could only see in the distance). The plaque identifies the location of the graveyard and memorializes those buried.
Dig a little deeper as you travel and run. History is sometimes just below the surface and just beyond the locked gates.
What is the backstory behind your favorite or newly discovered trail?