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Monday, 10 May 2010

Ode to the mighty Estonian Potato - Hiiuma and Saarema

The Saarema party
Shopping heaven in rural Estonia
Parsema social calendar - They are selling cookers here in 2 weeks.
Quite nice church in the middle of nowhere, Saremaa
The belly dancing gets into full swing
I cant really remember the name of this hotel but im sure its amazing when its not closed
Spudhunters on the ferry
Hiiuma, the smaller of Estonias two big islands, has some spiritual significance for Estonians. So please forgive me for taking the piss out of it here. For outsiders, it's especially famous for its potatoes, and i understand for Jaanipaev (midsummer)

Anyway, i hadnt been there much, so since one friend of a friend was DJ'ing at the mighty island of Hiiuma's only nightclub this saturday, we put the team in action and headed out on the highway, bound for the metropolis of Kaina (pop about 234) the second biggest city on the island.

Coincidentally our hotel was joined on to the club. It was actually closed as May is not yet 'summer' here in the far north, so resembled somthing out of 'the shining' with long corridors of empty rooms.

The highlight of Hiiumas saturday night was a middle eastern night, in the islands only restaurant. (which has pretty tasty food and well i can't really tell you the story about the waitress in this blog..) As we'd polished off our dinner, we tried to politely leave in the middle of the belly dancing show, which was met by stares and comments of 'surely they dont know this is the biggest thing thats happened here since soviet occupation' and things like that....

Anyway following some purchases of Vodka from the supermarket the party started....or at least we started partying in our rooms. At midnight there 8 people in the club, but by 2am the population got up to 15 so then the real party started. Not that we were there. About this time our freind the DJ walked into our room (where we were drinking as the tv had better music) so drunk he tried to urinate on the coffee table, so we understood the party hadn't yet got going next door. He then went to bed, leaving the entire population of Hiiuma who'd turned up to hear his tunes disappointed and seeking legal advice (or most likely taking out their frustrations on the local sheep population)

Anyway guys, the point is, if your coming to Hiiuma looking for some fun (or marriage) with rosy cheeked country girls, it aint going to happen as their older brothers and the guy who has fancied her since they were 3 will be busy cockblocking you with stories about the year they had a bumper crop of potatoes.

However, if you want a weekend getting blind drunk on the cheap, and discussing vodka, and tractors (and potatoes of course) then this is heaven for you.

Next day i left the guys and headed off in Saarema, the largest island and altogether a different fish. I got dropped of the tiny village of Leisi, with the task of finding my way (on a sunday afternoon) to the even tinier village of Parsema, which is right in the middle of the island somewhere, and most certainly has a touch of cannibal incest style in-breeding in there.

These are the kind of places where not only does every family has a retard or two, but here these retards roam the streets, (while us normal guys in Tallinn mostly keep ours in the cellar or attic)

As i started walking the 10km to this village though, i was thumbing a lift, and luckily pretty much every car (all 3) stopped, even though no one was going that way. Most likely they were just gawking at the first foreigner to go there since the vikings. Fortunately none of them were cannibals and eventually an old lady who didnt speak english got me in her lada and took me all the way, even though she wasnt going there (thanks!) So theres my Karma reward for giving a random las vegas beggar $10 4 years ago (why the hell did i do that? im sure he blew it on roulette 5 mins later)

Parsema had a great tractor show coming the next week, but i will miss it unfortunately. And there was one shop (pic), where you could buy vodka, cigarettes, cabbage and potatoes (and actually Estonian wine which i must try sometime)

But the vibe in Saarema is a lot better than Hiiuma. It has a town, Kuuresaare, which even has shops. So the feel, even in the retard villages, is a lot more like they have contact with the outside world. However i dont think their potatoes are quite as tasty.

SUMMARY - If you want great value spa hotels with more than 3 tv channels, visit Saaerama. If you are a retard, drunk or have a potato fetish, then Hiiuma is more for you.

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