The Training Times at Türi - #DAYS 5-6
Day 5, Friday 15th September. Although we have been in Estonia for 5 days, today marked our first whole week spent together as a team. A landmark for us, but the project is whizzing by at a rate of knots! We had more travel plans ahead, the Eesti Gaidide Liit had planned a meeting for members of the board in Türi, an hour and a half south of Tallinn in a delightfully rural location. In Baltic style, the board had arranged for the meeting to be held in a conference facility; complete with pool and sauna! As the forecast for Türi was drizzly and overcast, we were especially looking forward to the venue.
We were met with another bright sunny morning in Tallinn, and headed off on an exploratory walk to the central station and through the central parks in the old town. A weekend market was in place next to the station and we treated ourselves to freshly made burgers prepared at a gourmet burger bar with vintage coffee. Amy B demonstrated further life hacks in guzzling down her burger from the corner of her wrapper and not spilling the contents!
On the train platform itself, we spotted a bottle recycling facility... before you despair and switch off from the blog now, the machine deserves a mention for the fun and excitement it bought to Amy W and Roxy in recycling their glass bottles in return for a shop voucher! Throwing glass into the crusher and watching this being processed was a suitably satisfying step for the morning.
We were met by Mailiis from the EGL to hop on the train, and fortunately so, as she assisted us in the process of obtaining tickets and seats. We all dropped off at intermittent stages throughout the trip, but made it awake to Türi, at a quiet platform surrounded by low laying wooden houses and rural paths.
We arrived at our hotel, full of anticipation for the use of the facilities. We were the first to arrive so had our pick of rooms, after some time to settle in to our rooms it was time to start off the agenda for the evening - dinner! This was an Estonian pork stew prepared by the Chief Guide's mother, it was lovely to have a traditional Estonian dish following our self-catering. Second on the agenda was our GOLD session. We had an hour slot to train the board on 'learning by doing', the use of the non-formal education method used throughout Guiding. Following introductions including where in the UK we were from, we started off with a quiz, including questions such as: "in which country was Game of Thrones filmed?" and "which country has the longest place name in Europe?" with answers given on a map of the UK. Following this warm up, we tested their communication skills and taught them about UK literature by asking pairs to describe pictures of book covers, and then naming the book. Even more interactive was an activity modelling UK landmarks with Plasticine, an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing. We wrapped up our session with group discussions on how learning by doing differs from school style learning, how this could be used by EGL, and what other topics could be taught in this way.
Following our training session, the sauna was on the agenda! We went to put our swim gear on, and headed downstairs wrapped in towels to head to the female changing room. Walking through the double doors, we were met with suspicious looks that we gradually ascertained was due to the number of layers we were sporting. The rest of the room contained women with no clothes on at all who promptly piled into the sauna together. Needless to say we rapidly departed towards the pool and resisted the calls to join them in the darkness - sans swimwear! We later went back when it was empty and enjoyed our own private sauna session - British style!
We met back with the ladies after the swim and sauna, exhausted after our day and ready for bed. We were subsequently invited to snack and game time downstairs and elected to stay up and socialise, promptly inhaling the Estonian snacks and treats we were plied with! As Estonia will celebrate its centenary soon, EGL will present a board game based on Free Being Me so we discussed how current games could be adapted to this team. In the spirit of sampling the local food and drink we were introduced to the local mineral water, which tasted substantially of salt and was certainly an acquired taste. By the end of the day we were ready for our beds and looking forward to the day of training and planning ahead of us the following day.
#Stats of the day
Estonian Scrabble attempted - 9 letter discrepancies.
Saturday 16th September. Morning came around, and our intense day of training was ahead of us. Vicky and Amy W had survived the nights on their camp beds, however there were some slats on the floor which were promptly replaced! We were met with an authentic Estonian breakfast, complete with a variety of porridges, rye bread, cheese and salami, and fresh fruit and vegetables. We had read on the event that the attendee's needed to 'bring your apples' which we had thought was another interesting Google translation. We discovered that this was actually an autumnal trend and the board had all bought fruit from their own garden that they had grown to share with us.
After breakfast we went straight into the discussions for the day. This was very intense as everyone relied on Estonian, as the older generation of attendees had learned English only as a 3rd language. We had a lot of translation from the younger people present, and this involved a lot of concentration and attention throughout the day to keep on top of. We were actively involved in each session and able to share ideas and plans from simple ideas about the leadership qualification, through to development plans for the Rover Programme, and how the EGL could grow moving forwards. Our post-lunch energiser came in the form of Guiding charades by the Chief Guide and Mailiss - we thought we had done a pretty good job although sadly didn't win ourselves any chocolate.
After a long and intense day, we were in for a surprise treat from the Chief Guide who had bought us all pizza to complete the day. We tucked in gratefully, and were offered more of the salty water to compliment it! We were also very excited to try Estonian apple cake- straight out of the oven! At the end of the day we had in more luck with the kind offer of a lift back to Tallinn by one of the board members. As she only had four spaces in her car, Amy B and Vicky as students were abandoned to hop on the train, and the rest of us piled into the car for the journey.
The drive took a turn - quite literally - within 10 minutes of being on the road, when the sat nav turned us away from the road sign posted Tallinn, and onto a side road. We had discovered on our travels already that the side roads were mostly under refurbishment, and having new tarmac laid between the end of the tourist season and the start of the winter frosts. On a great stretch of sandblasted road for 50km, this made for a bumpy ride indeed, which our host driver approached with gusto, throwing us over the bumps and into the bends with a smile and cheery disposition. The ride was made more entertaining by the approach of a huge Alsatian; we originally thought it was a wolf! The dog ran at the car and chased us a good way down the road before disappearing in the rear view mirror. The drama of the journey made us very sleepy, and arriving back at our apartment in Tallinn we called it a night without our traditional game of Fluxx, all ready for our tourist days off ahead.
Stats of the day
3 Genuine and authentic Estonian meals consumed.
Estonian Charades - Amy W winning 3 rounds despite the language barrier!