Pärnu and Haapsalu
We didn't see much of the summer capital, but I got an impression of
lots of beautiful painted wooden houses, as in other Estonian towns. The lodging
was nearby. It was
raining by now, but still quite warm. We had a barbecue in another wooden shelter
(I discover from a tourist pamphlet they're known as 'grill terraces'),
watching the rain fall on the birch trees. Following my humiliating experience of a
Russian-style sauna in Karula,
I decided to have another go. The sauna here was Finnish-style, with an
unexpectedly deep waterplunge - the first time I tried it I nearly drowned.
But I got the hang of the sauna this time, going back into the plunge whenever
I got too hot, and finally seeing why Estonians enjoy it so much.
Haapsalu is on an interestingly-shaped peninsula, and apparently has a fine
bishop's palace. I saw none of this because I went straight to the
Afrika bar with most of the other males in the party to watch England's
rather dull draw with Nigeria in the World Cup. As the match ended and
England qualified for the next stage, there was a great sigh of relief from the
England fans, which was most of us, and several of the Estonians.
Our trip was now nearly over, but we went on to the Open Air Museum at
Rocca al Mare before returning to Tallinn. This is the Estonian answer
to the Museum of Welsh Life, a group of traditional Estonian buildings
set in pleasant parkland. But many of the buildings Creina and I
tried were locked, so we didn't get much of an impression of Estonian
After this visit, we went back to Tallinn, where the group dispersed, and
Creina and I spent a couple more days.