…All those places I got found.
Or should I say lost!
I am nominating myself for most disorganised and completely useless traveller of the year. I attempted to take a bus to Pärnu on Tuesday, brought my ticket and then walked straight on to the wrong bus. The alarm bells started to ring when the bus then drove into a ferry which setsail for about two hours!
On arrival the other end a young Estonian (although he couldnt speak English) managed to make it quite clear I was not where I thought. I was actually on a small and very quiet Island called Hiiumaa in the north of the country (see map) – bloody miles from anywhere let alone where I wanted to be. Anyway, thanks to a kind bus driver I managed to find a hotel and shcked up in a cosy wooden apartment for the night with TV and everything. The island is actually a beautiful place, very fresh and very quiet with lovely small beaches and colourful painted wooden houses. It also has mosquitoes the size of seaguls which sucked about three pints of my blood.
So, Wednesday mostly involved more buses and boats and the odd stop to look around random Estonian towns like Haapsalu – a stunning mix of run-down grey tower blocks and more beautiful wooden houses, quiet beaches and a castle. A big one. My final destination (via Tallin again) was a town in the south called Tartu at 11pm and again with no accomodation! I used my best winging-it skills and found a decent cheap hotel, a bar and a bunch of friendly locals who spoke English.
Thursdsay morning was not particuly great largly because my little toes, one big toe and most the inner sides of my feet have now joined forces to create Über blister. Add a heavy rucksac and you can imagen how I was walking. Norman Wisdom comes to mind minus the humour. I also got lost trying to find the train station, had a flat phone battery and top top it off – I realised I had left my cash card 13 hours of boats and buses away in Hiiumaa.
However, all was not lost and my day was saved by Kersti, her four friends and a dog. They had agreed to let me stay with them in a small wooden cottage to celebrate the Estonian mid-summers (Remember hospitalityclub.org?). And so thats what I did. The places was stunning, peaceful and, minus the shock induced when seeing random half naked locals it was nice and relaxing. Throughout the night we ate, walked, had a sauna (well I did – and it was a real wood fire one), had a fire and lost another three pints to the mosquitoes. I also learnt a great deal of crazy Estonian superstitions which are funny to say the least. Aparently their national hero is a rapist who cut off his legs and then got his hand stuch in a rock.
I had been their first HC guest so I hope I didnt put them off having anymore.
After that it was back to tallin to meet up with Andre et al and I spent most of the night chatting to a cute Finnish girl visiting for the weekend.
So now, with 10 crazy days in Estonia behind me (which have been thouroghly enjoyable) I am jumping on a cruise ship to Stockholm. It leaves at 5.30 and drops me off in the morning. Apparently it has a kareokee bar.