Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tallinn

View over Tallinn
 I had booked myself into the same hostel I had stayed in on my way to Finland so arriving in Tallinn now was a bit like coming home. The port is right next to the old town and I decided to have a little stroll through it on my way to the hostel. There it soon dawned on me that my plan of staying only one night in Tallinn would not work out. There was too much to see and managing the steep cobble stone streets with a fully loaded bike was a nightmare..So what the heck - I am in no hurry and the hostel wasn't cheap but affordable with 32 € for a single room compared to Finnish standards. I booked myself in for two nights then.

The Academic hostel was a bit far from the centre but the rooms were spacious and the soundproofing great. But I was soon to find out that the rooms did have one big and unexpected disadvantage: they were incredibly hot! Even when opening the window at night and sleeping naked with no sheet cover I was so hot that sleeping was almost impossible. It was almost 30° C outside but my room was a sauna. Even my last Finnish chocolate melted here!

Tallinn
But wifi was good and therefore I spent a lot of time skyping with friends and surfing the internet while taking a cold shower every two hours. It was always after noon before I left the hostel... In day one I visited the old town. I left my panniers in the hostel and parked the bike outside the city walls to explore the town on foot - a wise decision. Tallinn is packed with tourists in summer and left me with mixed feelings: on the one side it definitely is a beautiful town. Nothing in whole Finland can compare with its mediaeval houses and streets. But Tallinn is in the way to become a tourist trap: you are charged for visiting every little place - even most churches charge admission. Tacky souvenir shops are everywhere and hustlers try to lure you into their restaurants in 10 languages. Plus the masses of tourists are almost suffocating. I highly recommend visiting Tallinn in the off season. In 30° C heat I dragged myself from one place to another and enjoyed the Estonian History museum most. A very creative and interactive exhibition leads you thrush 11000 years of Estonian history. It is very characterising that the introductory movie is called the "spirit of survival".

After another hot night in the hostel I was just bringing down my bike and panniers at the very last minute of check out time when I met some other cyclists - a middle aged Czech couple. Most cyclists I have met so far have been rather unfriendly. Other than hikers cyclists rarely stop to chat and exchange information but this couple was an exception. They had just come back from Western Estonia which is were I was headed now. For almost two hours I was showered with information and left with several of their maps plus ideas for future bike trips!

Tallinn open air museum
Thus fortified I eventually left the friendly hostel - and almost immediately ran into a thunderstorm. I had known it was going to rain that day and in fact I was longing for some rain now to cool off the heat. And the timing was brilliant. I just made it to a supermarket when the first drops fell and watched a true deluge while eating ribs for lunch. When I had some pastry for dessert the rain was already letting up and 10 minutes later it had almost completely stopped. I continued to the one and only sightseeing stop for today, the big Estonian open air museum. Here I was even allowed to take my bike inside and cycle from one place to another. I really liked this place with old houses from all over Estonia and interesting explanations and movies - all in Estonian and English. There was only one drawback: although the museum was open till 8 pm all the houses were locked at 6 pm - when I had just seem half of the place. Maybe I shouldn't have wasted so much time snacking on raspberry bushes...

RMK beach campsite
But I still had some 20 odd kilometres to cycle. I wanted to camp at an official RMK campsite on the beach. I nearly left when I saw a parking lot full of cars and a noisy teenage beach party. But luckily I stayed! The place was huge and I soon realised that no one else was camping. Everyone was here for swimming and sunbathing - and left when the sun set. I spent a peaceful night listening to the sea.

The site was great. Not only was it directly on the beach but also under old growth pine trees. There were picnic tables, dry toilets and campfire sites. There was no firewood when I arrived but it was restocked in the morning. And all this is free! Now I was easily convinced to follow my Czech friends recommendation and stay the next night at the RMK site in Nova.

3 comments:

Amy L said...

Christine - I am using a new weather site that I like. The view lets you easily see lots of temperature info: 10,25,50,75,90'th percentiles for daily high and low, as well as record high and low. On top of that is plotted the forecast and the past actual data.
I mention this because it shows how unusually warm it has been, as you've been mentioning.
http://weatherspark.com/#!dashboard;ws=28685

We leave home on Thursday, headed for Lake Itasca. We're stressed out and still packing!

Amy

Anonymous said...

Hallo Christine, alles super was Du machst. Verpflichtungen hast Du keine in Deinem Leben? Beneidenswert. Oder auch nicht. Je nach Sicht der Dinge.Alles Gute!

Arijus said...

Great end of a trip! Feel like packing my stuff and go travelling again. Once again I am happy I decided to take baltic cycling tour. Hope you are okey.