kuressaare, the saaremaa capital

KURESSAARE HAS A RATHER swank, swish, monied feel to it, though not necessarily intentional. Just something about those spurting fountains, outdoor cafes, with patrons who reek of cosmetics and cologne and strawberry-flavored vape, all dressed in muted colors if not black. The speakers are a retro wonderland of Haddaway (‘What Is Love?’) and NKOTB (‘Step By Step’). The houses of the town are tidy, painted warm pastel tones, and cared for, and the Saaremaa capital reminds me of Skagen in Denmark, lots of hideaway getaway back yard gardens and the sea is never far. At the Vinoteek, the dim, candelabra-d interior of which looks like some Pyrenees mountainside tavern, the white bearded bartender informs me that he has no desire to leave the island of Saaremaa. ‘I only go to the mainland for weddings, funerals, and birthday parties,’ Whitebeard says while polishing off wine glasses at blue midnight, ‘and fortunately in recent years such events have been few and far between.’

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