The one with the Sunshine and Selfies #DAY 3-4
Wednesday 13th September. Day three started with more sunshine in Haapsalu. The apartment was 26 degrees and very warm to wake up to! Vicky, Roxy, and Amy B disappeared off early for a run before everyone got together to head down to the beachfront, looking out towards the many islands for which Estonia is renowned.
Together we found a tiny patch of sand and quickly claimed it as our own for GOLD, sunshine, and selfies. We had the beach to ourselves as Haapsalu is a summer holiday town, and made the most of the empty streets and waterfront.
After our breakfast stroll, it was down to serious business and planning for our school recruitment events over the coming days. The first of these was at the main High School in Haapsalu, aiming to raise awareness of Eesti Gaidide Liit as well as recruiting potential new members.
The High School itself was a beautiful period building, and inside we experienced the calm and serenity of a museum, accompanied by beautiful art, and wide, tranquil halls. The school had been expecting us, and a poster advertising the event was already in place on the main TV loop. We met our first hurdle in the form of the language barrier. Although English is the predominant and first language taught in schools, we hadn't accounted for teenage shyness in the face of 6 strangers. We were accompanied by Mailiis from the EGL who encouraged students over to the table. In the short time we had, we successfully signed up 9 new potential Guides and handed out a collection of badges and leaflets to help spread the word in the community.
After the event itself, we were kindly offered a tour of the building by the school administrator. A surprise treat was hidden around the corner, with the school boasting the highest tower in the town, and after a short clamber through a wooden attic, we were greeted with beautiful views over the coast and town itself from our private viewing platform. We were then led down to the vaults. Pale stone below ground level concealed the perfect rumpus room and den for the students themselves. The first of the rooms held an 'initiation chamber'; a comfy break out room with bean bags and chairs for the students to meet once they first started. Passages led to other rooms including a drum practice room and movie theatre, which we were informed the students used to watch horror films in the evening! Certainly a lovely place to receive an education. We bid farewell to the hospitable staff and headed off for lunch in the still shining sun.
Mailiis led us around to the charming high street. Lamp posts festooned in fairy lights, and a pretty village green provided an idyllic spot for lunch. We found ice cream to munch on as well as having the chance to (semi) successfully try out our Estonian vocabulary to order drinks. Lunch was completed with (more) cake from a French Patisserie, before we took the short trip to the ferry terminal to head to the island of Hiiumaa. Our boat was deserted for the middle of the day, and we had the sun deck to ourselves for the majority of the journey. Sunglasses and musical accompaniment to the journey made it fly by and we were greeted in the harbour by a mermaid statue.
Liina, the previous Chief Guide met us and showed us to her old apartment where she had invited us to stay. We were in for a further surprise when she informed us that she had arranged for a tour of the island brewery followed by supper. We unloaded our bags and headed off to the brewery, conveniently located at the end of the street. The brewery was immaculate, and our tour was led by a cheery Russian host who was the Marketing Director for the brand - Hiuumaa lager and beer. His jovial manner and candid attitude provided an amusing and entertaining tour, highly enlightening to the process of the local beverage processing stages. We were shown upstairs to the restaurant where beer tasting took place and a huge meal consumed.
After our lovely evening, we headed back to the apartment and laid out our beds end to end, with Mailiis sleeping in the kitchen on a pocket sized floor area. Before dropping off, we discussed our ideas for the following morning, and shared our 'Trash and Treasure' routine with Mailiis, the last activity of the day where we write down our best and worst moments to share with one another.
Highlight of the day - Sacha being told by a teenage boy that hearing the English accent was "a pleasure to his ears" and reminded him of a childhood year in Kent.
Stats of the day - 6 bottles of beer consumed (divided by the EGL leaders too!)
8 hours of sunshine enjoyed.
The first High School were excited to greet us. The headteacher had a camera ready and prepared to capture our visit, and we delivered a presentation to the High School age class - 16-18. The students were initially bemused by our presence, until they followed our lead to the foyer where we delivered a session on team building, with the knot game, elephant football, and encouraging the students to make shapes with their bodies as we had in the GOLD briefing weekend. Much fun was had by all, especially the GOLDies involved in the games! The students were still reluctant to exercise much of their knowledge of English with us present, but were handed the EGL leaflets and sign up sheet before we left.
Back on the mainland, we headed to Tallinn together by bus. We bid farewell to Maillis and headed to the more commercial centre of Tallinn to find our new apartment - our home for the next few days. We made it in safely after a long day and much travelling, and tucked up for our further days of adventure to come.
Stats of the day -
Modes of transport - 3 - Bus, Ferry and surprise car journey!