Saturday, July 26, 2008

Singing Sands of Saaremaa

We were supposed to be on the 08:45 boat for Abruka, an island off the coast of Saaremaa, a 45-minute trip from Roomasaare Port. Only we were a little late and the boat was already over full when we got there. It didn’t help that there were eight of us. A second crossing at 10.30 was also full so we had to make a quick adjustment in out plans for a days outing with our WWOOFERS.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms had supplied the Kuressaare Mahe Köök (Organic Kitchen Restaurant) with three brave and able young people to help out over the summer. Laura, originally from Iowa, had lived all over the states. This is her first time in Estonia; while Jean Baptiste and Deni were engineering students from France. J-B had worked in the Baltics the previous summer and liked it so much he came back and brought a friend.

BUT Abruka was out – at least for this week, so what now? My favourite part of Saaremaa is the peninsula known as Harilaid. It is officially part of Vilsandi National Park and a European Biosphere. So far this has kept the area safe from the depredations of property wolves that want to develop it for tourism and to line their pockets.

It is also bloody hard to find. We got lost – not lost, exactly, but onto a road that while leading in the direction of the sea was so rutted and overgrown that to call it a road bordered on perjury. Then J-B in the lead car went into a deep mud hole and stopped – less than 100 meters from the beach – in case you were wondering.

We did finally manage to get the car out backward - so off to the beach we went.

BUT this beach was not really part of Harilaid. We could see the Promised Land with its eternally tipsy lighthouse but we weren’t there. After lunch and a swim we set off determined to get where we had intended to be.

After 45 minutes of driving around in circles we reached the park entry gate, decided to postpone walking to the lighthouse for another time and headed – again – for the beach. It WAS worth it.

There were no clouds. The colours were… pastel doesn’t do them justice. Our entire world seemed to be made of melting ice cream; the sky was blueberry sorbet, the dune grasses pistachio and honey while the sand – luscious vanilla studded with seeds from the pod.

AND the sand really does sing. When you walk along it crinkles, squeaks and chirps under your feet.

Photos: 2, 3 & 4 by Alar Alas, #1 by M. Hubbard


Leatherdykeuk said...

What a fascinating traveller's tale. Thanks :)

stephanie said...

Wonderful, Martha! I'm rss'ing this immediately. :)

spacedlaw said...

I am glad yo found it eventually.