Estonia: Hiiumaa and the north coast
I had really enjoyed the south coast and Saaremaa and headed to the next island, Hiiumaa. Doesn’t it get boring to always marvel at forests and beaches? See for yourself.
During my wait for the ferry, I had been able to charge all my devices and therefore was relaxed when I reached the next island. Even Estonia hadn’t yet managed to have trees fitted with power outlets.
I wanted to head straight to an RMK camping site on a promontory in the north of the island.
Hiiumaa is smaller and even less populated that Saaremaa. I cycled on a straight and flat trail for 25 kilometers through the forest. It could have been boring had it not been for a large number of cyclists who came my way. It was a mixed crowd and no one carried any luggage.
First came an older German man, than an Austrian couple and finally a young Polish woman with whom I chatted for quite a while about this organization which once a year organizes such a tour. Everyone is most welcome to join.
To celebrate the centenary of independence of the Baltic states, they start in Vilnius, Lithuania and cycled to Latvia to Estonia and were now on their way back. There were about 30 participants and I was glad that we didn’t stay at the same campground.
It was impossible to miss this lighthouse.
It was the lighthouse of Kopu. It stands on Hiiumaa’s highest mountain (67 meter) and the tower is 36 meters high. It’s the highest lighthouse on the Baltic Sea.
From the top one could see the diversity: flat and forest, on the horizon was the sea.
There was only a gravel road from the lighthouse to the campground and I hoped it wouldn’t be crowded. The good weather continued, it was school holidays, and it was weekend. There were quite a few people around. Most spaces at the campground were occupied, either by people or by ants. But there was room for my small tent.
Once again, the beach was beautiful and I stayed until sunset.
Even afterwards it didn’t really get dark.
It was such a pretty part of the island that I cycled the entire promontory and found more lovely places.
Around Kalana it was more touristy and I could have rented a cottage. But why?
There were magnificent small paths through the forest. Some of them gravel but easy to cycle on. I rounded the top of the island and went eastward. First was a turnoff to a wooden replica of the Eiffel Tower. The miniature version at the turnoff was enough for me.
Suddenly it was mayhem. Where did all the cars come from? Fortunately, they all went in the other direction. They had probably arrived by ferry from the mainland.
Kärdla was the capital of the island and had a well-stocked supermarket. Good reason for a break.
I wondered from where to get water and my GPS pointed me to a water source not far from my location. I went straight to it and discovered an artesian well.
From a tap I got amazing water which was fresh and tasty. I filled all my bottles. Now I was ready to continue. I always took the small roads that led inland from the coast and came past many old houses, churches,
Everywhere it was peaceful.
And then the surprise, the camp ground was almost empty.
Maybe because there was no direct access to the sea. That didn’t matter to me today, it was more important that this RMK camping site was only about three kilometers south of the ferry to the mainland.
Even so there was a lot of logging, much forest remained.
Once again, I could charge all my devices and fill the water bottles on the ferry. When I reached the mainland, I was all set and immediately continued.
By chance I had learnt that there was an alternative to EuroVelo 10, a rails-to-trails track.
Which I immediately decided to try out.
In the beginning, from the harbor to Haapsalu it was interesting. The trail was hardly wider than my loaded bike.
I arrived right at the railway station of Haapsalu which today looked more like a museum for locomotives.
I was surprised to see that there were people waiting at 11 am on a Sunday morning. They were sitting in the shade. What were they waiting for? At 11 am a rally of American cars started. I had already seen some examples and really didn’t want to see more. I rather continued and cycled past pretty old buildings.
And then…only flat and straight. Left and right were bushes and fields. In the beginning I enjoyed the quiet and nature but then….
For diversion I started to play with my camera,
I wanted to record nice videos of myself. Never mind the video but here are two photos
And you notice right away, the first thing I needed to learn was to hold the camera straight.
After a few more kilometers and I really craved change and left the rails-to-trails track.
I was so happy to cycle through a few curves
And these giant pink marshmallows added color to the game.
I headed straight north and first came through silent beautiful forests.
You can see that the forest suffered from drought.
Then came meadows with giant red rocks.
I couldn’t understand what the panels explained and I assumed they were boulders.
I really came to appreciate the nice gentleman in his Tirolean hat.
He announced the next RMK campground. This time it was located on a lake. At last I could swim and clean up in freshwater.
I swam to the middle of the lake to fill my water bottle. Even so I filtered and boiled the water, it wasn’t a good idea. Next day I really didn’t feel well. In addition to the usual problems, I had no energy. Nevertheless, I had to continue because I was out of water. I had to rest repeatedly while I packed up.
I felt better after a few kilometers on the bike. After 30 kilometers I came to the first shop where I bought bananas and Coke. That’s always a good remedy with lots of calories.
In Padise I came past an old building. I thought, how interesting and stopped. It was an old Cistercian monastery. Only a few walls remain of what was once a high center of learning. There was no sign that prevented entry and one could climb up the walls at will.
A nice interlude from cycling.
In Paldiski I had more bananas and Coke and was fully restored. My next stop was the RMK in Vaana Joessu Telkin. It was the closest camp ground to Tallin and I assumed it’d be crowded. There was a ban to make fires and that prevented some from camping. It was almost empty.
There was only a young German family which was also cycling.
I enjoyed my evening cup of tea and looked over the sea.
It was now so hot in Estonia that the best hours to cycle were before 9 am. There were bike trails right into town. It was early but I wasn’t alone and the bike paths were much in use.
And it was good to reach Tallin very early.
Even the town square was still empty.
I had a peaceful time to look around.
I really enjoyed Tallin and its interesting museums. On the one hand I wanted to stay but on the other hand, the road called me. More people started to arrive.
EuroVelo10 had too many detours for me and I thought a shortcut would be better. It surely was more adventurous.
First, I was on a road that had just been regraveled and it was almost impossible to cycle. The tarmac had barely started when I reached a barrier. I assumed there was a village but it was a golf course. What now? I didn’t want to backtrack and so went ahead. It was too windy and there weren’t many golfers. No one saw me, well maybe some surveillance cameras.
Then there was a bridge. Oh my, a small suspension bridge. I really didn’t want to turn around. I barely managed to get my bike across the bridge. I hoped that there wouldn’t be a wind gust and I slowly pushed the bike forward. I was halfway, when I group arrived from the other direction. Well, they needed to wait.
They were quite surprised to see me with a bike.
That was enough adventure for a day. I stayed on the road to reach the next camping site at Tsitre Teklimisala.
It was quite busy on this gorgeous beach and many local families seemed to holiday here.
At the end of the beach there was a tower
It was 70 steps to the top from where I had a fantastic view.
I should have come here for the sunset but usually I was asleep by then.
Next day I left my tent and cycled without panniers to Käsmi in Lahemaa National Park. A pretty holiday! Today my shortcuts were a good choice and I had a wonderful tour through the forest.
Before Käsmu there was a great new bike path the went along the bay. There was a viewing platform in the form of a boat.
The town was nice but a bit touristy. I had found a pretty spot by the small harbor where I wanted to take a break. Just then someone started a motor scythe. I spent 30 minutes in the town and then headed back. I had a nice break at the viewing platform.
I had tailwinds that took me back to the camping site and they continued the next day to Tallin. Shortly afterwards I was on the ferry to Helsinki.
I don’t think I need to mention that so far, Estonia had been my favorite place. It really is a wonderful country and I shall miss it.