I‘m currently in Dusseldorf, Germany. We spent a while in Poland to make the most of the cheap food then made our way through east and central Germany.
Estonia is our first Baltic state and marks the beginning of the westward journey home. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe and so we found an abundance of woods to camp in and rarely saw anyone in the evening.
I found my first, and thus far the only waterfall of the holiday in Estonia. I’ve found that the problem with cycling around a sea is that it’s flat and so water tends to stagnate not cascade. Making it less interesting and harder to wild camp.
A good tip for bicycle tourers is to ignore road work signs (within reason!). We were cycling along and saw some signs but decided to carry on anyway, not wanting to subject ourselves to the same detour as cars. A tourer can quickly nip past the workmen before they can blink and avoid going the long way around.
We found that the bridge had been ripped up and that they were in the process of building a new one. Fortunately there was a small pedestrian bridge which we could use. Ignoring the signs saved us a 30 minute detour.
A common sight as we cycled along were stalks beside the road. We enjoyed racing alongside them as they gradually flapped higher. The most I saw at once was seven pecking around in a plowed field.
As mentioned at the beginning, a recurring problem in Estonia is water when wild camping. In an earlier post I introduced the tourers rule that:
“European churches and graveyards tend to always have water.”
In Estonia this rule held true, but not quite to the same quality as before. Many had boreholes with hand water pumps, some had wells and used a log weight system to fetch the water. Many others had similar medieval well contraptions.
With regard to our recent experiences, I am amending the rule to:
“European churches and graveyards tend to always have water, but always carry a method of purifying it.”
Carrying purification tablets or simply always boiling water could be a rule in itself but it is so obvious that I think most people would already be aware of it.
When wild camping was impossible we discovered that Estonia has legal wild camping spots in the woods, consisting of a water tap and dry toilets. Motor vehicles are charged €3 entry but bicycles are free. This website has some interesting information about camping in the Baltic States which is useful if you ever plan to visit: Riga Bike Tours.
At the free campsite we met caravaners doing the exact same route as us, only in a lot less time! Later on we swam in the sea and then had a beautiful sunset, the clouds are the remnant of a freak rain shower that lasted 5 minutes and drenched us during supper.
At Ikla, the border town to Latvia I spotted a cabin hidden amongst the trees. It’s not any kind of tourist attraction but simply someone’s house that has long since been abandoned to nature.
From Ikla we cycled on into Latvia, where the expedition took a turn for the worse…