Kivioli Recreation Centre. Photo: kinkekaart.ee
Reede, 03 Juuli 2020 19:00
Estonian Life No. 26 2020 - Vincent Teetsov
“Parim kink on elamus!” signs off an email newsletter from Piletilevi. “The best gift is an experience!” In a lot of ways, I agree. If we have a lot of stuff
lying around at home already, it's a relief to make some memories instead, and do something out of the ordinary. Even when technology and other goods seem to break too easily, we'll still remember good times with our friends and family.
Piletilevi's tagline is scrawled in a curly font over an image of a colourful chair swing. In their promotional images, you'll see ziplines, inner tubes on water slides, boxy race cars, an escape room, a spa, and the shipping crate structures of Aloha Surf in Pärnu. These places have transported the relaxed vibes of California and Hawaii to the shores of the Baltic Sea.
It was the same feeling when I went a few years back to Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno, Italy. The late June sun was beating down on my neck. I'm pretty sure I got a mild case of heat stroke, so it didn't take much more than twangy guitars, a burger, and a cool drink to send me to the Pacific. This kind of magic, made possible by Lorenzo “Surfer Joe” Valdambrini, has swept across Europe. I'm curious as to where it has come from and where it will go.
Of course, fascination with North America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands is no new thing. We can look back at least as far as the rise of jazz and the Charleston dance in the 1920s. In the 40s and 50s, an amalgamation of palm tree postcards, Googie architecture, and carved tiki replicas became symbolic of the future and a bright, amusing existence somewhere far away.
This abridged idea has come back in waves in the 90s and in bits and pieces thereafter. Looking at what's on offer in terms of recreation across Estonia, you'll find whatever you want. Kiviõli Adventure Centre in Ida-Virumaa has a hill and a zipline. In Tartu, you could battle in the armour of a knight with the Estonian Historical Fencing Association. These places, whether independent (as in the Historical Fencing Association) or associated with gift packages, show a wide open future for recreation.
Especially when it comes to kids. Experience-based gifts are suggested as summer presents, for students who have finished up a crazy school year. Physical activities give us something real to do, when so much requires connecting to the internet and watching something. Usually sitting down. Usually at home. Why not turn action and drama into an experience; and further, why not venture somewhere new at the same time?
Actually, one of the gift cards does relate to physical goods: for 109 Euros, you can have a tailored, custom dress shirt made for you at Gowri Style House in Tallinn's Old Town. For 999 Euros, a tailor will measure you and make a full ülikond (suit). Yet, there's something extra significant about it. It's made to last, it's just right for your specific measurements, and you get to be a part of the craftsmanship.
In Estonia, international influences on recreation are just another part of variety and being able to choose for yourself what you spend your money on.
Written by Vincent Teetsov