IPA Estonian Section celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and the Estonian police, as well as the 25th anniversary of Section Estonia by organising a Friendship Week in Pärnu County from 16 – 22 July 2018.
The Friendship Week included a two-day trip to Kihnu Island, inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The island's communal lifestyle, cultural aspects, language and natural environment created a great opportunity to introduce the Estonian culture and heritage to all Friendship Week participants. Kihnu is a unique place in Estonia: as an Island without hotels, all visitors lived in very ascetic conditions - there were no windows in the rooms, the doors were very low, and the toilets were a surprise of their own 😀.
Modes of transport on the island include trucks, with passengers seated on the truck bed, or motorcycles with sidecars, driven by women in traditional folk costumes and the passengers seated in a fish box on the side. For those who were interested, there was an opportunity to go to an Estonian sauna, try seal meat, climb the border guard radar post, from where the whole island could be observed, or enjoy an evening party together with local musicians.
Back on the mainland, in the Estonian summer capital Pärnu we visited the most successful driving school in Estonia, where guests had the opportunity to try their skills on the slick track and also test the importance of safety belts, in case their cars turned on their roofs. This was followed by a trip to the small Latvian town of Mazsalaca, from where we started a 12 km kayak trip on the beautiful Salaca river, during which we also visited the longest natural sandstone cave in the Baltics, with a total length of over 300m.
Later on in the week, we conducted a gourmet tour of Pärnu Museum, with guests being able to trial snacks from 5 different eras ranging from the Stone Age to the late Soviet era. In addition, we went on a little sea cruise on the historical 72-year old sailboat ‘Jenny Kruse’. Those skilled enough could hoist the sails and also lower them when the cruise was over. Last but not least, we went to the Tolkuse bog to walk on its beautiful trails. The largest sand dunes in the Baltics are located in close proximity and presented a fantastic when viewed from the visitor tower - the restless and noisy sea on the one side, and the calm and quiet bog on the other side of the dunes.
During the weekend, we held the IPA Estonia Summer Days, this year held in the Lepanina hotel, which is without doubt one of the most beautiful hotels in Estonia, as it is situated right on the scenic seashore. Approximately 250 people from 16 countries gathered for this event. Traditionally the Summer Days are full of fun and sporty activities, and this year, our participants could take part in a nostalgic retro disco, dance to a live band, and participate in fun sport activities, where nobody was able to stay dry - as the weather was unusually hot in Estonia, the organisers put some effort into making sure that all activities got everyone wet 😀. Participants had the opportunity to try a new water sport called SubPolo, go to sea on a big Sub Board or run an IPA obstacle course. The evening peaked with fireworks.
Sunday morning meant saying good-bye so that and everyone could return to their duties. The feedback we received suggests that IPA Estonia is the world champion of organising Friendship weeks. We will for sure host another Friendship Week on the occasion of our 30th anniversary in 5 years’ time, but in the meantime, we would already like to invite all IPA friends to participate in our next Estonian Summer Days 2019!
Photos from Freindship Week
Opening of Summer Days
Fun relay competition
Awarding and ending ceremony
Photos from Summer Days
Photos made by Rimas Leleckas from Lithuania: https://www.facebook.com/rimas.leleckas/media_set?set=a.2006078146091062&type=3
Photos by Enn Kuusik