Estonian Islands - Kuressaare

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
SYG Hostel

Flag of Estonia  , Saaremaa,
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kuresaarre is the capital of Saaremaa - the big, windy island off the coast of Estonia. The rebuilt Kuresaarre castle is complete with double moat, symmetrical towers and a spiky portcullis dangling at an alarming angle over the bolted wooden doors. It is positioned on a peninsular jutting into the Baltic sea - although here it looks like an enormous lake so calm and smooth was the surface.

The island is mostly forest and farmland with the occasional town. We inquired as to bus schedules to explore the island and were informed that buses would take us to the places we want to go, but they wouldn't come back. Huh? where do the buses go? So we gave up and hired a car. We visited a meteor crater, a 16th century church that looked as if it hadn't been used since the 16th century, the 5 windmills of Angla which were actually only 3 as they were re-building them, and the spectacular limestone cliffs dropping 20m into the freezing, shallow, sea full of swans.

We stopped to walk some of the marked out hiking trails, which all descended a kilometre into beautiful forest, and then promptly stopped so we had to turn back. Haven't really mastered the concept of return as opposed to one way here I guess.

The only hostel on the island is attached to the high school and is like being at boarding school, as it is mostly full of students. It comes complete with stern-looking-but-actually-friendly reception lady who seems surprised every time we want to stay another night.
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