Summer Smiles, Lifelong Memories: Throwback to Tarthoven SU

Marysia from AEGEE-Warszawa wrote down some of her best memories from the Tarthoven travelling SU. She was a participant in the Timetravel Through The Flatlands SU, which was organised by AEGEE-Tartu and AEGEE-Eindhoven. Enjoy!

Three weeks after coming back from Eindhoven, I am still amazed by my first Summer University. Memories and feelings are still very vivid, and new recollections pop into my head quite often. Taking into consideration all the sleepless nights we experienced, and the places we visited, it is incredibly difficult to decide about the form and the vibe of this short blog article. To prepare myself for this task, I came back to our shared pictures, played the song “Kergotamine”, and closed my eyes to recall all the essential details. Now, let me tell you a few words about being a part of the incredible Tarthoven team and how it was to visit Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, and the Netherlands… 

The whole adventure began in a small town, Jõhvi, where most of us met for the first time and from where we started exploring the wonders and the history of Estonia. Starting with Roberto’s introduction to the historical background of Estonia, we then proceeded with the visit to Sillamäe and Viivikonna. The towns, located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, populated mainly by Russian inhabitants, once used to store an oil shale processing plant, which was rebuilt by the Soviet Union to extract uranium oxide. After Estonia regained independence in 1991, their industrial activity declined. In Viivikonna, the former mining town, Ida Maria took us on a mind-blowing tour in the ghost town, where we had an unusual opportunity to see almost completely abandoned town and enter the buildings that were a reminder of previous times. Another historically significant place was Narva, the city on the border with Russia, where we got to know our great guide in disguise of a medieval monk, who shared with us some stories and enthusiastically presented his portable car-arsenal-museum. 

Surreal nature, street art and biking

A few days later we found ourselves in the woods – camping at the Lake Peipsi was a surreal and phantasmagoric experience for me. Surrounded by the lake of the size of a sea, beautiful trees, and calming effects of the forest, we had a rare opportunity to detach ourselves from the regular world. We enjoyed Diederik’s and Roberto’s workshops and some of us had enough courage to immerse in the freezing water of the lake and take part in the wife-carrying competition. From the camping site, we moved to the lovely city of Tartu and enjoyed its street-art. At the gym, we were welcomed by the Rafael Nadal cardboard cutout, and got very excited about hot water in the showers! Pub-crawl, geo-caching, sauna-party, night walks, and a short bath in the Kissing Students’ fountain were other highlights of our stay in Tartu. 

Deprived of sleep, we said goodbye to Tartu, and got in the bus to Riga, where we did not even spend 24 hours! Following our detailed program, the next day we were already in Brussels to visit CD house and the European Parliament. As far as I remember that was also the time when the phrase “tiki tiki – miau miau” came into being. The phrase that was going to accompany our group and the gossip box until the end of the SU and even longer! 

In Eindhoven, we suddenly had to switch from walking to biking everywhere. It took some time until we mastered locking our bikes, but eventually, the whole biking idea surprisingly turned out to be quite fun and convenient to the point when we had to return the keys to the bikes, I felt a bit heartbroken. 

Back to reality

Sitting late and working on this article in one of the cafes in Warsaw, I am experiencing an odd and uncomfortable feeling of emptiness, which would have been completely unusual during our Summer University. In this way, I am now realizing that our trip was unforgettable and that I will cherish every conversation and laughs we shared with the whole team. The colors were brighter, the life was more intense, and the cold showers were not that cold with you guys! The program and the organization of this Summer University exceeded my expectations and let me realize how time-consuming it must have been for the organizers and helpers to arrange all the necessary details about our stay in so many different locations! 

Dear Reader, I hope that after going through the whole text, you have a feeling that this Summer University was truly a very special experience for me. Taking this opportunity, I would like to say that I feel grateful and blessed to have spent those two weeks with all of the participants, helpers, and organizers! So, now please find a moment to relax and indulge again in the sweet memories and gezellig vibes! 

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