Kuressaare is the westernmost town in Estonia and the capital of Saare County. Another name for the town is Arensburg which refers to the Kuressaare Episcopal Castle. This is a relatively unknown name here in Finland, so I’ll stick with Kuressaare. I was there four days in 2015, but at that time I didn’t do any blogging. This means that I’ve never written about the trip anywhere or even edited the photos. I had a good time and came back with a lot of shots, so I’m going to separate this story to two or even three posts.
Day 1 – From Turku to Kuressaare
Our trip began early in the morning from the front of the Turku Orthodox Church, which is just beside the Turku Market Square. This was a bus trip, so we loaded our luggage on the bus and headed towards Helsinki. Nothing worth photographing happened during this first leg of the trip, so I didn’t get my camera out until we boarded the ship.
From the deck I photographed the ever-changing West Harbour of Helsinki, the MS Eurodam and the MS Serenade of the Seas. The sky had a pretty strong “The Simpsons” vibe going on in couple of the shots…
After arriving in Tallinn, we began the second leg of our trip towards the Virtsu Harbour. The drive was rather exciting mainly due to the irresponsible driving style of others on the road. We saw several questionable overtakes and a few outright mental ones. Luckily nothing happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something does happen on a daily basis on that road.
At Virtsu Harbour we took a bit of a breather (and some photos) while waiting for the ferry. The older ferries were still in use in 2015 and took about 55 minutes to reach Kuivastu port. Kuivastu is a village in Muhu, a small island, which is connected to Saaremaa via a bridge. From there we continued our drive towards Kuressaare.
First peek at Kuressaare
We arrived at our spa hotel quite late in the evening and checked in. Almost immediately we decided to go out and see the town in the evening light. I ditched my 24–105 f/4 IS lens for the 70–200mm f/2.8 IS for the evening action because of the better image stabilization and wider aperture.
The first thing I shot was the clock tower of the St. Lawrence’s Church since it was the neighboring building to our hotel. The other thing I noticed right away is the number of handmade details on some of the buildings.
We made our way through the streets to the town square of Kuressaare. Here my lens of choice didn’t shine since 70mm isn’t wide enough to capture a scene like a town square.
Our destination for the evening was the Kuressaare Episcopal Castle. That said, I couldn’t help myself from photographing the quirky and quaint architecture along the way.
The small clock tower is on top of a designer boutique. I don’t know the history of the building, but I’m guessing it hasn’t always been a boutique. The wall painting is on the exterior of the St Nicholas’ Orthodox Church.
For some reason, I struggled with the castle itself. It is impressive enough, but a hard place to photograph. Especially when we were there quite late and the castle was closed for public. Also, the long journey behind me and the fading light probably had something to do with it.
We circled around the castle and stopped to follow some people who were casting metal behind the castle. After that the light was fading fast, so we decided to head back to our hotel.
The St Nicholas’ Orthodox Church is in between the two roads we used to get to the castle and back. It gave me another chance to photograph the church in a different light. I had to take the shot when I saw the last light catching the steeple and the orthodox cross.
Kuressaare is a port town located on an island, so yeah, it boasts an abundance of seagulls.
End of part 1 and the first day of the trip. More to follow soon.