Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 50: Kasmu

This morning the heat of the sun beat down on us from the house's loft windows, and for a while there I thought it a bit ironic that it was a sauna house. KP and I decided that in a second floor room like this, where we have the house all to just the two of us, sleeping au naturale would be acceptable... Aunty L would be sad she missed her photo opportunities! But tomorrow night hopefully won't be as stifling as this morning was, if we had fewer layers on. You see, the sun rises in the east, and so we get the full brunt of the morning sun until we wake up. There are covers on the windows facing east, yes, but the hot air still accumulates. Thankfully Markus' mother had left us with watermelon and vegetable dip in the fridge, so we went downstairs and rehydrated with some yummy melon slices.

We left the sauna house and made our entrance in to the dining room of the main house, and breakfast was waiting for us. Urmas was a nice host, he made sure we had everything in abundance on the table and that we had everything we might need to eat. This time breakfast consisted of breads (various types of rye and apricot bread), meat and cheese, yogurt and cereal. And of course tea, too!

Once we got ready, KP and I went for a walk with the dog and Urmas. Then, the five of us trekked to the church cemetery to lay Taat and Memme's stone to rest. On the way there we learned about some of the history of Kasmu as well as relatives who live here. It seems like the whole village is related to us somehow! Not surprising, because apparently some of our family has at least 300 years of history here. They say our ancestors were among the first 12 people to settle in Kasmu. In fact the house we are staying at is on the street known as Kajaka street, and there was a wonderful beach stretched along the backyard for the longest time. During old days, ships were built just outside of the house. But needless to say, we learned a lot about the village. We saw the one house that still has farm animals, we saw the old fire station, the house that Memme was born in, and some other things too.

At the cemetery, we put Taat and Memme's stone alongside those of other relatives, and were made aware that the plots would be made a bit neater in the near future. It was very nice of them. Shortly after arriving, Uncle D lit candles for Taat and Memme, and then we read passages of psalms from the bible. Then we had a moment of silence.

After we explored the church, we went for a walk in the woods! But first thing's first... the church in Kasmu is also pretty old and it has a historic organ and chandelier. The organ is one of the biggest in Estonia, or something. Pretty impressive for a village of 150 people! But we also learned that the small chapel just outside the church was built by a nobleman who died, but there was a scandal because they think he faked his death just to get away from the pressure of Russia. Either that or he had debts. One or the other! But rumour has it they opened his coffin one day and only found a plank of wood. Another story says that a very large boulder just along the coast of Kasmu was supposed to be used as a base for a statue for the Tsar, but it was too big and too much of a hassle to bring to Tallinn. So it stayed there, instead. And the reason there are so many large boulders and rocks is because of the Ice Age! But here in particular because of the vicinity to Finland, they think. Speaking of stones, turns out that you can't remove any of the rocks from Kasmu because it's part of the natural environment here, and it is against the law. So one of our relatives has 600 boulders in their yard!

As we walked along the village and through the forest, it occurred to KP and I that Kasmu reminded us of camping. The only difference is that in Kasmu, there are houses with massive backyards instead of tents and motor homes! And there are also fun little legends all over the place. For instance, we saw Devil's Island (legend goes that a sea captain was trying to escape but got captured on the rocks along the way). We also threw some rocks on to the Lucky Stone pile... but finding rocks meant we had to venture a bit in to the Baltic Sea, because all the nearby stones were already gone. Also, there are a lot of root cellars around and I can't help but be reminded of Hobbit Holes from Lord of the Rings. Not surprising, considering that Tolkien was said to get a lot of his inspiration from this sort of culture.
For lunch we ate a bit late, and had delicious homemade onion soup and smoked flounder, and for dessert we had homemade rhubarb cake. Coincidentally the owners of the cafe we ate at were also relatives of ours, and we even ran in to our cousin Kristina (we would be visiting her tomorrow, anyway). Lunch was great, tasty, and decently priced... but we ate so much we didn't have room for dinner! Thus we just had tea before bed, and then hit the sack.

Unfortunately it seems that Aunty L's condition is not as good as we hoped it would be. They are telling her to go to Canada so that the Travel Insurance company doesn't have to pay for her stay in France, and the doctor is telling her that she needs to go to be with her own Doctor. He's implying that it's a very serious condition. Uncle D agrees, and we aren't going to be taking any risks. Aunty L will go back to Canada. It's sad, but when it's an infection of the bladder, ureter, and kidneys.... you have to take precautions or risk the consequences. So we decided to play it safe, and would rather have her feeling better in Canada than risking getting sick again in Europe.

On the way to the sauna house before bed, I came across a toad! Turns out they really like the yard. I just had to find one of these guys and see if they were just as friendly as Canadian frogs and toads. I think the one I found was a little shy -- maybe because he sensed I ate frog legs while in France?

Lastly, KP and I are quite fasinated by the environment here. The moonlight hits the water, and the sea is so calm at night. The stones are scattered helter skelter along the coast, and I can't help be reminded of a Japanese rock garden -- but in the sea.

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