PILGRIMAGE
A Spiritual and Cultural-Historical Journey
from Pirita to Vana-Vastseliina

Pilgrim’s route

Through Valasti and Kaaruka to Kodasema


We are at Valasti community centre, previously a barn-grain dryer. At some point, the villagers decided to turn in into külamaja – and they did.





The weather is quite windy, but nice. We set out. At the nearby crossroads we choose the road with a grove of firs. A narrow gravel path takes us to … on the border of someone with a remarkable sense of ownership. A no trespass sign, a red-white tape across the path and the approaching fiercely barking huge dog could not be more eloquent. Yes, dear pilgrim, no point getting any closer to the house (Tammevälja farm, according to the Land Board map) with a man armed with an iron crowbar, plus the dog who turned out to be not so fierce as we thought.

On the map, our path should turn right near the no trespass sign. In a breast-high midsummer flora it is rather difficult to find, but after a while we see some sort of wheel ruts. We dive in.
Here are some landmarks to help you find the turning: the no trespass in front, ruins on the left, we turn right. Deep in grass we wade through grass by an oat field to a grove of trees. Through the trees, we come to a beautifully restored big house.



This is the former Aru cattle manor. It used to belong to the owner of Roosna-Alliku manor. It is now on sale. We rest awhile under an old tree in the middle of the yard (there should be a 19th century mantle chimney in the house), trying to figure out where to head next. The path on the map cannot be found. No choice but to walk from here straight to the big road.
We get to the road at Aru bus stop. It takes about half an hour from Valasti. Now we walk about 1.5 km along the road until the sign marking the beginning/end of Valasti village. From here, we take the gravel path on the left and soon find ourselves on the crossroads, then walk straight on – our path is the narrowest.
At Teppo farm we leave the path and keep right, the path runs behind the fir hedge. Once behind the house, we see a path across the field and head towards the mobile telephone mast. It is now 7 km from Teppo farm to Kodasema.





We have reached Kaaruka village. There are farmhouses on both sides of the field. We are on a gravel path, having spent a leisurely hour coming from the big road. Now left! Farms on the right, on the left is Liivalaia – the name of the farm has been carved into a big stone, which is quite typical of the area. Next by the road is a field. At the end of the field we turn right, our path continues at Niine farm along the other side of the field. Now we have been on the road for 3.5 hours.
The other path leads to Kaaruka community centre, but we head for Kodasema.
We reach Jõngu farm. We carry on along the field path – straight on. Forest on the left, meadow on the right. About ten minutes later we come to Pihlaka farm then turn right. Another ten minutes and we are on a big road. Less than 2 km to Kodasema, left from the road. Anyone who wishes to see Kaaruka community centre, must turn right, about one kilometre away).
Kaaruka, too, has its own community centre, an old schoolhouse (1843–1922) and parish centre (1791–1892). A large quilt made by village women hangs on the wall, where each patch tells the story of one farm. The big event every summer at Kaaruka is the day of blacksmiths when people can admire the skills of numerous smiths from across the country.



Kaaruka house offers accommodation as well. (It takes 15 people, sleeping on mattresses, sauna. Price 12 € per person.) Booking required: 53908214, Malle Rooba.




We now turn left towards Kodasema. Soon we cross the border of Peetri parish and soon come to Kodasema.
After 4.5 hours after leaving Valasti we are here.

Daila Aas
July 2017