Haapsalus on hea

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Sitting on the terrace of Cafe Hugo on the Promenade

“Haapsalus on hea” means “It’s good in Haapsalu” and it’s the theme sentence of our town because it’s true.

Haapsalu is a really nice summer resort and it is hidden on the western coast of a small country – Estonia. Haapsalu has a long history and it was first mentioned in written documents in 1279. So that year has been considered the birth year of the town and in 2016 it celebrated its 735th anniversary. The main thing that reminds you that you are in historical town is the old Episcopal Castle which is also the venue for lots of well-known and amazing summer events.

Haapsalu became a summer resort in the middle of the 19th century when the local doctor Carl Abraham Hunnius discovered that the local sea mud had lots of treating ingredients in it and after some research, he founded the first sea mud spa in Haapsalu in 1825. In these days Estonia belonged under the rule of the Russian tzar and Haapsalu became the beloved place for the Russian nobility to prove their health and rest from their busy lifestyle. Because of that, the railway was built, and even if the trains are not in run anymore, we have the most beautiful old railway station, which platform was once the longest in Europe. That was the birth of the summer resort which is one of the most peaceful places in the world and still famous for its sea mud and spas.

In summer time the small town, with only about 10 000 inhabitants, is full of small street cafes, concerts, festivals and summer people, who might be the tourists, visiting the town for the first time, the youth who have been brought up here and come to enjoy the summer in their hometown, people who go to the islands and stop for a cup of coffee and tasty range of cakes in their favourite cafes, and lots of fans all over the world, who keep coming back, wherever their life takes them. The most well-known events are the Festivals of White Lady and August Blues, which have been held here for ages, but also the newcomers like the Street food Festival, Italian Wine Days, Yoga Festival, Old Music Festival and lots of others.

Did I say that we don’t have a train anymore, actually we have one and it takes you slowly through the whole town and introduces you with the sights where you can come back walking when you have taken your coffee and cake from your favourite cafe and ready to go and discover this seaside town on your own. The train is called Peetrike, which is a childhood nickname for Little Peter and it starts from the real old train station.

But if you really really like trains, then just turn around the corner, behind the Train Station, and have fun with the old engines which belong to the Haapsalu Railway Museum, which is located in the same building. We did it some years ago.

 

August Blues Festival in Haapsalu

The August blues festival in Haapsalu was already the third for us together. Last year we had to miss it and so it was nice and fresh feeling to jump into all this music, parties and fun again. I have been going to this festival so many times, that it’s hard to count already, it has been held in Haapsalu 22 times already and has become one of our most famous music events and there are lots of fans from different countries who come back every year. 3-13932816_10205159865835578_2791810301530168709_n

For example, our Finnish friends with whom we have special Festival Traditions and so we start our Festival every year from Riika’s garden and then head to some nice place to have the Festival Dinner and get into the right mood.

August Blues Festival starts on Friday with lots of concerts all over the town but the main events take place in the Castle Yard, inside the old episcopal Castle, and I am pretty sure that the medieval walls give this festival a special taste and vibe. When all the performers have been on stage the party continues i the Blues club, which has always been the old Culture House from the 70-s, where some not so well known bands are playing and sometimes they form totally different bands from the musicians who are there. this year we had even two Blues clubs with two after parties, the other one took place at the Old Cinema, which is kind of a night club now, but years ago it was a real cinema.

The festival continues on Saturday with lots of concerts in cafes, on the streets, and of course, in the Castle Yard, and ends with afterparties at the night clubs. So everyone can find something, even if you are not interested in buying the Festival Pass but want to see just some of the musicians.

Irish Dancing

Everyone who comes to Ireland wants to see Irish Dancing, which probably became really famous after Riverdance performed on Eurovision in 1994. That’s why my friends who visited us in July asked us for taking them to see Irish Dance. So we carried out a big online search to see which different places are offering Irish Dance evenings and which of them are not so awfully touristic and expensive. As the Church is in our neighbourhood and despite being a real touristic place is still worth to see, we suggested them two options – the Church and the Parliament Hotel and they picked both of them 🙂

So on a nice warm summer evening, when our friends had just come from a Viking Splash Tour, which they loved a lot, and we had just arrived from our Cork visit, we ended up at the Church and enjoyed some good Irish dancing with a nice dinner, just like any other tourists, and as the other tourists, I also made a video and uploaded it on my Facebook page, where the Curch had also liked it.