in Prangli, Estonia on 23rd June, 2012

Triin and I originally intended to spend Jaanipäev in the countryside near Paide. We organised a summer cottage from a friend but everyone we knew had their own plans. We were getting invites from others to join them so we went with a group who were taking a boat out to Prangli Island and spending the night in a cottage there.

On Saturday morning Triin and I headed to a harbour in Viimsi. It was pouring with rain so we hid under a temporary shelter while we waited for the boat and the others to arrive. The others from our group arrived in their own cars and most stayed put in them till the boat was ready.

When the boat was ready we queued around the entrance. The rain and wind were relentless and we were getting soaked regardless of what our umbrellas were blocking. One group dropped all their drinks into the sea while climbing onto the boat and ended up fishing them out while the rest of us waited in the rain.

Once onboard we went below deck and I sat next to the very front of the boat while Triin stood in front of me. The small windows on either side of the boat showed next to nothing. Triin and I put on life vests.

The boat then set sail and began being thrown around by the waves of the sea. The rain was still coming down as hard as ever. I think there were four people in total who threw up into the sea.

We had to go the long way around the Island to get into Prangli Habour. The whole time I couldn't see where we were. It was an hour-long ride of trying to ignore a very loud girl screaming and blabbering away next to me and trying to suppress the sinking feeling every time we came off a big wave.

When we arrived in the harbour we dropped our bags of food off in a trailer and ran into a barn and waited for the others. Eventually we set off walking for a few kilometres in the rain towards the place we'd be staying.

When we arrived we were greeted with a summer cottage. The upstairs had a number of beds and below there was a Sauna. Triin and I had a bed next to the chimney for the sauna and it was nice and warm. Outside there was a building with two walls which was a kitchen and eating area. They had a BBQ there for grilling.

My shoes and socks were completely soaked. I only had one pair of spare socks so I tried my best to dry them off. All the money in my bag was soaked as well. In the previous months when I traveling around Asia my bag did a good job of keeping everything dry but the bag itself seems to be letting up in this regard now. I had €100 in €20 and €5 notes on my bed that I tried to dry off for 20 minutes. The cases for my camera equipment were soaked as well. Lucky the kit I use is built for the outdoors and doesn't mind rain that much.

Everyone began to setup a row of food in the middle of the room. I asked a friend if he could go to the cellar where our food was stored and fetch my two bags. He came back saying only one was in there. Another group had taken my bag which had our bucket of marinated meat, bread, cheese, sausage and bread.

I ran around the various cottages asking if anyone had seen the bag. No one knew what I was on about. My friend who's Estonian came with me and we found the guy who drove the food over. He called around to one of the cottages and they said they had my bag. About 45 minutes later they returned the bag with the food untouched. I was really hungry by that point so I was really happy to see the bag returned.

We ended up spending the afternoon chatting away telling jokes and stories while the rain came down outside.

Towards dinner time we headed to the kitchen. I fired up the BBQ and cooked up my marinated chicken. I couldn't believe how good it tasted and how spot-on I got the grilling. I'm always a bit worried when cooking chicken so I'm glad I had this grill nailed. Others had brought other types of meat and salad.

I had two big bottles of Estonian Cider. A mate of mine brought a bottle of vodka and periodically offered shots.

One of the girls I sat near is a buyer for a big supermarket chain here in Estonia. It was interesting in hearing where all their foods come from and how the supply chain works. A lot of people make statements about how all food in Estonia is organic and protest the high costs of food in general. It was good to hear from someone who was actually in the know about these topics.

The big bonfire on the Island was cancelled that night due to safety concerns. I couldn't imagine getting a fire started with the amount of rain coming down.

The next day Triin and I got to have some couple time walking around the Island. We walked for a few hours taking photos and exploring. The island had a lot of snails, frogs and unfortunately, mosquitos.

Around 1:30pm we caught an ATV ride back to the harbour with our stuff. There was a trailer on the back where Triin and four others sat. I sat on the ATV itself with the driver. The boat ride back was quieter. Apparently there were six journeys made that day for all the tourists coming for Jaanipäev and somehow our boat had fewer people than when we originally came to the Island. I walked around the tiny boat taking photos and sat with Triin in the little house on the back of the boat for most of the journey.

It felt so nice to get a ride from some people we'd met back into town from the harbour in Viimsi. When we got home, we threw all of our soaking wet clothing into the washer, put a kettle on and I cooked up some Canadian Kraft dinner as a sort of comfort food.

Around 5pm the rain stopped and the sun came out. It's really weird that almost every Jaanipäev I've seen in Estonia has had tons of rain and it tends to clear up when the holiday is over.

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