In the beginning of August, 1999, when I first stepped out of the bus from Kuressaare at Ninase Holiday Village and took a few steps to the beach, it hit me:
"This is home! I'll stay here!".
The warm, velvety August night. The rising moon. The smell of the sea. The abandoned fishing boat on the shore, painted in the colours of Estonia. The junipers. The smooth, rounded stones on the beach. The air, so easy to breath, filtered by the pine forests. - "This is it. No need for anything more".
I was caught by the "Aura" of the Ninase area. Very well so!
Those happy August days...
A small, cozy wooden cabin... Swimming in the morning... A healthy breakfast... Cyckling, then more swimming... Tourist season almost over for this year... Photography... Trekking in the pine forests... Well, well, look at that: A big eagle-owl just flew over! A nice little afternoon nap in the cabin... A bit of reading... Sauna and even more swimming... When darkness falls, enjoying the services of Ninase Holiday Village's own restaurant... Fresh fish, perch... Roasted potatoes... Delicious Estonian A. Le Cog -lager... As a "Grande Finale", coffee and Belyi Aist -brandy... - Perfect!
And yes, dozens of times have I returned to the district after that first visit...
Luckily, the Mustjala and Tagaranna areas are unspoiled by the mass tourism one finds in certain spots in Saaremaa's capital, Kuressaare.
While it is true that the demands of tourists - especially Finnish ones - have risen drastically during the recent years, nevertheless it is often hard to find from them the willingness to pay for "modern conveniences".
So for those of us who still have in good memory the standards of, say, the 1970s, the Ninase Holiday Village offers pleasant nostalgy.
Ninase is for the budget traveller!
Cycklists, bird-watchers, nature-lovers - these kind of people appreciate Ninase's affordable price-level.
Ninase is an ideal base for day-trips to Northern Saaremaa's many nature attractions: The Vilsandi Nature Reserve with its many islands (bird-watcher's Paradise), to Panga Pank (Estonian national scenery), to Lake Karujärvi, to Küdema Kurisu (where the river "disappears" into the ground in springtime)...
For botanists, late spring and early summer are offcourse ideal times. About twenty different species of orchids are found in Saaremaa!
Remembering one bicyckle trip from Mustjala to Lake Karujärvi once in July...
When I finally got there, it was pouring rain. Not a soul on sight, not even personnel. But the loudspeakers were playing Doors -classics in full volyme! An unreal moment, listening to Jim Morrison for half a hour beneath a roof of a cabin, the rain continuing to pour down on that deserted camping site... - Estonia truly is a country which still can offer SURPRISES to the wanderer, unlike Finland...
The road fron Ninase to the nearest village, Mustjala, has received a tarmac surface. One reaches Mustajala in no time. Things were different in the late 90s, when cyckling on the road was arduous indeed. You find a grocery store in Mustjala. Should the need occur, a doctor is also to be found in Mustjala. The local library ("raamatukogu") offers free internet service.
Busses from Mustjala to Kuressaare and back run a few times daily, and the price is not bad. The busses are an experience in themselves - old 1970s busses from Finland. The afternoon bus to Kuressaare takes the long route, stopping at some small village shop on the way, driving at slow speed. A nostalgic trip, one feels drowsy in the bus, good time to take a nap...
In the evening, return to Ninase...
Time enough for sauna, swimming and a meal before the sunset on the other side of Tagaranna peninsula, a few hundred meters away. Check photo below - gives you an idea what kind of a Show is waiting. "The Greatest Show on Earth!".
Besides Panga Pank on the other side of the bay, Northern Europe's most fabulous sunsets are to be enjoyed in Tagaranna. Here, the sea is wide open all the way up to Finland!
However, presently I am writing these notes in Stockholm, Sweden. Tomorrow morning it's time to start for a hectic two-week sales tour across Northern Europe, from Warsaw to Antwerpen.
Two busy weeks in the metropoles of Europe. Crowded trains, cheap hotels.
Praha and Paris are on the route, but I don't feel like starting for the trip. However, it's a must. Earning a living isn't always easy...
On the positive side, I do have in my wallet a ticket on a high-speed boat to Saaremaa: Linda Line's special trip directly from Helsinki to Saaremaa Saturday, 28. June 2008 at 22.00. It's a dream - the only direct sea transport from Helsinki to Saaremaa this summer! And I do intend to be on that boat!
Certainly, a couple of summer days at the Ninase Holiday Village and its surroundings feel heavenly after two weeks on the Continent!
A well-deserved reward is waiting!