Jason (+ Bike in Europe / - Bike in West Africa) travel blog

Jason watching the AFL Grand Final

Tallinn - Wooden Apartment Buildings

Scene along the way - From a clifftop

Start: Tallinn

End: Kersalu

Weather: Sunny

Ride: 60km

Awoke at 6am before my alarms went off. Left camp at 7.30am and reached the Old Town at 8am.

Game was already underway when I entered the pub and there was only one other spectator. Eagles were leading Sydney 16 points to 12, but that didn't last long. A few more people arrived by half-time, but still a small audience. Eagles picked up in the third quarter and it remained a tight game. Some Irish showed up in the final quarter to support the Irishman in the Sydney Swans, who had majority support in the audience. And with the luck of the Irish the Swans won. It was a good game, but disappointing for the Eagles. At least we didn't lose to a Victorian side!

Back on the streets of the Old Town around 10.30am and I decided to visit St. Nicholas Church to see the Medieval art collection and silver treasury. It was a small, well presented collected and considering the church was bombed and extensively damaged in World War II, it was amazing that anything had survived. Most interesting was a section of the Danse Macabre artwork.

From the church I went to the marketplace, spread in and around some old plane hangars near the current train station outside the Old Town walls. Various odds & ends for sale including Soviet military items, but I didn't see anything I wanted to buy.

Rode out of the Old Town for that last time. Briefly stopped at the building I had thought was the public library, but it was actually the national archives. Continued my journey past the location of a laundry whose address I had discovered in the Lonely Planet guide for Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania (it wasn't listed in the Europe on a Shoestring guide that I'm using), just to confirm it existed. Would've been handy as I had few clean clothes left, but it was time to hit the road.

Back at camp at 2.30pm following a final visit to the shopping centre to purchase food for lunch and the journey ahead. Took a while to pack and it was 4pm before I was underway.

After a short distance I passed an accident involving a motorcycle. I was on a dual-use path and out of the traffic jam, but nearly had my own accident when a rubber-necking cyclist pulled up in front of me to get a better look. I continued without stopping, but seeing the accident made me focus more on my own safety especially when the path ended and I found myself on a road whose condition declined the further I progressed. However, I found the Estonian drivers to be very courteous and would give me a wide berth as they passed (apart from one driver approaching from the opposite direction who overtook right beside me - it was a shock because it was as if the car appeared from nowhere). If need be I would pull over onto the gravel shoulder if there were cars in both directions.

The traffic declined the further I cycled from Tallinn while the condition of the road varied, ranging from very good to bad. The road went uphill, an easily cyclable 8% slope (The Baltic states are very flat - the highest point is less than 400 metres) and stopped for the view from the coastal cliff. Cars were parked close to the edge, presumably the drivers were unaware of the overhang that I could see from a cautious look over the edge.

A little further along I reached an official free camping area near the beach. It was a pleasant spot with basic facilities, however there were a few campers, probably because it was the weekend, so I moved on.

I had taken a limestone track to the camping area and I continued to follow it because it ran parallel to the road (from the sound of the traffic) and it was nice to be away from the traffic. So nice that I didn't even mind pushing my bike up a sandhill when I finally decided to get back on the road.

Part of the reason I had left the road and considered setting up camp early was because I had been riding into the setting sun and since I was having difficulty seeing, I was concerned that drivers approaching me from behind may not see me. Now however, the sun was low enough to screened by the trees, but it was still light and it was a very pleasant time to ride with little traffic.

Eventually the sun set and it was time to get off the road. I was still on the coast and I found a place to camp under some pine trees on the beach. I faced the tent overlooking the water where swans and seabirds floated nearby (although a bit further away when they became aware of my presence).

Once camp was established, I bathed in the not-very-salty Baltic Sea, ate tea and went to bed as a red half-moon slowly rose up into the star-lit night.

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