Monday, August 06, 2007

Saaremaa, the Land of Hobbits. Lovely Estonia.

IStori participated a Floral Tour around Saaremaa, Estonia. Besides gardening, many of the 36 participants are also interested in culture and political history (as IStori), so it was only natural that at times the amazing flora were only sidekicks by the path of Estonia's hair-rising history.

Saaremaa is an island which used to be the most western part of the Soviet Union. Therefore the control there was pretty tight. People were not allowed to go to the beaches after dark "so they could not communicate with and try to jump into the one meter long Swedish submarines", explained my dear friend EN. She is a journalist. She should know.

The weather was lovely: either sunny or slightly cloudy, but very warm all the time.

I missed Miss Funnybunny and Mr HP. They both should have joined, they were about to, but Miss F got a little sick only two days before kickoff. She was quite fine when I left, but we thought it'd be wiser to leave her home. With her dad Mr HP, of course.

Before you start with my photo report I recommend you read the Estonia jokes I have posted here earlier. The famous Lake Kaali was visited by us, too. Most well-known because of the Rüütel-Meri anecdote (at the link), not just because of the meteorite.


Modern windmills just before the ferry to the island of Muhu.
(See? The Estonians are wiser than Finns, again.) We saw quite a bunch of historical windmills, too.

Always walk on the bright side of life.
The toughest Finnish gang claiming the merciless streets of Kuressaari, capital of Saaremaa.


The Bishop's Castle in Kuressaari. Did you know that the Russians tried to destroy this by exploding it, but the brutal idea went down the drain. The castle survived: the drowsy soldiers were more interested in the local beer and eventually were unable to proceed with the destructive plan.

We followed the Russian example by having a lot of beer and not exploding anything.


Konstantin Päts, the president of Estonia from the early Soviet regime welcoming us. He was guarding the exhibition of Soviet era in the castle.


We, the restless garden enthusiasts, went to have a look at a private garden in Kuressaari. A lot of pears will these guys be having soon.

I should have asked if they could send me some in a month when they are ripe.


A most beautiful and peaceful graveyard near Kuressaari. Our guide told us an interesting detail: The best and surest way she – who spoke Swedish like all of us (Did you notice? ALL of us!!!) – she can spot the difference between the real Swedish guys (riksvenskar) and Swedish speaking Finns (finlandssvenskar) is that she will ask the group if they would like to visit a graveyard.

Finns always do, the Swedes never.

I though the reason for the Swedish reluctance towards graveyards is that the Swedes need to have a psychologist with them every time they are to face the fact that we all are going to die, some day... And we Finns never skip a possibility for a little melancholy and angst.


Wanna shoot a film here? Any genre in mind?


At the Good Kaarma ecological soap farm (yep. A soap farm. see the link) there was a hotel for insects. And a cozy bar from human beings.


The Tagaranna fishers' village used to host a fishing kolhos until 1967, when the fish factory was moved to Pappissaari. In the kolhos only there were 200 women working. The good side (NOT that there necessarily is any bad side in 200 women being employed, though) was that there were dances every evening. Probably when the fishermen retourned.

Tagaranna is the only older village by the sea, as during the Soviet era beach life was forbidden and under strict control.


The Castle witnessing
our dignified Swimming Alliance of good and spirited six people taking an early morning swim at 7:30. I am now a proud member of the Youth Section of the Swimming Alliance. (Me, a crumpy, outdated relic?) I wonder how it will be next year when Miss Funnybunny is with. Can the both of us be in the Youth Section?

Or maybe I'll just leave her behind at the hotel when we swim, she might not want to wake up that early anyway.


The museum village on the island of Muhu. The ideal place for the Hobbits: houses with roofs made of straw, lots of places where little people could hide, cosy atmosphere, and cute, tiny beds. According to the guide in Muhu (= the only Finnish speaking person I happened to meet during the tour) the ancient Estonians did not heat their houses but slept tightly together.

No wonder there have always been so many little Estonians.

Tack för Blomsterresenärer! Det var roligt och interessant. Hela gruppen var fantastisk. Solbränd och (lite) utvilad har jag kommit tillbaka på jobbet, men lyckligtvis har jag alla mina 100 foton och anteckningar...

Vi ses!


1 comment:

wordord said...

Tack själv, för ressällskapet och för den utförliga rapporten här i din blogg! Vi ses igen, om inte annat så på nästa Blomsterresa!