In the land of flowery fields and wild camping
Estonia! A country so bucolic, fields colored by wild flowers and free camping areas ...
We enter Estonia on July 6, 2015. Seven months after leaving, we are back in Europe !!
The Narva border - between Russia and Estonia - is the most beautiful border we have ever crossed. The separation is done naturally by a river, and on each bank was built a fortress to protect each country. Admire yourself!
À Narva, nous sommes accueillis par Maël, un collègue de l’Esigelec (l’école d’ingénieur de Thomas) en mission là bas. On profite des quais sympas de la ville pour se remémorer de vieux souvenirs et parler voyages. Narva est une ville russophone à 95%, où la pauvreté est assez forte, allant de paire avec l’alcoolisme et le taux de SIDA. Bref, pas la ville où on rêve de vivre. Mais elle a quand même quelques atouts. Par exemple sa plage Narva-Joesuu à 15kms de la ville, où nous passons la soirée du lendemain autour d’un barbecue aménagé au bord de la mer. Le temps n’est pas des plus idéal pour un barbecue, mais c’est un tel plaisir de manger des grillades qu’on oublie vite le vent et les quelques gouttes de pluie. Faute de grille sur place, les garçons jouent aux scouts et bricolent une petite grille en bois qui fait largement l’affaire !
After this good evening, we say goodbye to our friend and pitch the tent for the night.
In the morning, we discover that l'Eurovélo 10 go through there! This road goes all around the Baltic Sea and is very well signposted in Estonia. We follow it all day ... and we continue the following days. The eurovial, it's really cool: these bike routes largely avoid high traffic axes, go through small paths and pretty spots that are not marked in the guides. And what a pleasure to let go of the map and just let yourself be guided by the signs!
In Estonia, what a change in the landscapes from the border! It is much more varied than in Russia: wheat fields, wild fields, a few bits of forest and everywhere daisies, poppies and other wild flowers. We see many storks, and a few birds of prey hovering over the fields in search of their daily special.
The man in all this, manages to put his touch quite delicately, with wooden houses, well-kept gardens (they have to mow every two days to have such perfect lawns!), Shallow wells that are always in operation. , and a few windmills.
Because the wind, in this country so flat and by the sea, yes, it is very present! We ride for three days with the wind coming from one side and then the other, in these bucolic landscapes. But the climate is not very bucolic, the wind brings rain and sun over our heads - but above all a lot of clouds and rain! Despite everything, the view from the tent is the sea every day; And that is cool.
Tallinn, friends, the sun… and even a bit of cycling!
250kms after Narva, we arrive at Tallinn airport the very minute Thomas (a friend of Thomas's) gets out of the plane. We are going to spend a week with two friends in Tallinn, a small Estonian capital - only 400,000 people, which is still 1/3 of the country's population. And for this week, the sun is shining!
We discover a very well preserved medieval town, take advantage of its few lively bars (Tallinn nights are not a crazy atmosphere, but between friends we were able to find our account!). Once again the free walking tour of the city gives us a good basis for better understanding the country and the city. For the night, the youth hostel Red Emperor Hostel offers us space to meet up with friends with a very nice and helpful staff.
In the middle of the week, the four of us embark with bikes on a train that takes us to Paldiski, 60 km away. Return by bike to Tallinn over two days with barbecue on the beach and night for 4 in our tent.
It was nice ; thank you friends for coming and sharing our daily life without complaining too much about your buttocks!
Estonia, continuation and end
After all that, we hit the road south a little tired from this week of fiesta! Our friends, however, won with them the sun they had brought us. In short, it rains, it rains (shepherdess…). For the rest, the road is always pretty, but sometimes a little monotonous. The cool thing is that the cars run well in Estonia, people always overtake with a good distance. We sometimes manage to escape the roads to find lost little paths; or even once, get lost on a stone beach then in the tall grass ...
It is these tall grasses that probably gave our desire for freedom. micro… Who in secret, made a triple somersault from the bike and went to hide in the grass… Something that we will discover 60 kms further on (after putting up the tent in the falling rain, for the first time on the trip I think! )… Serious and hard decision not to make the round trip the next day to go look for him… Considering the incessant rain, he may not have survived his taking of liberty!
So we continue on our way, under a sky that is having a hard time clearing and drying up. Eurovélo 10 obliges, we meet a lot of cyclists who took a few weeks of vacation to come and discover the Baltic States. There are so many that we can't stop each time to chat a bit like we often do ...
A little before Pärnu, in a village, we spend the night camping, the first in months! A little grandma opens her field to travelers, and for € 6 we have a hot shower, a dry shelter with electricity, all with a splendid view of the sea… and the sun which is back! Our only neighbors are very nice Swiss motorhome operators. The next day, we therefore visit the old town of Pärnu under the sun - very nifty -, and enjoy a moment of relaxation at the beach. Very cool ! Pärnu boasts of being the summer capital of Estonia and indeed there is a lot of animation and life here.
The exit of the city is a little less cool, with 30kms on a big road full of trucks with alternating traffic for works in multiple places… But in Häädemeeste (nice Estonian names, eh? Well it was just for example , after I stop with the complicated names), we catch a small road that is too pretty ... with at the “end” a free camping ! Barbecue, wood, wood cutter, dry toilet, tap, free wifi (and ripe wild raspberries)… Estonian luxury! We meet a couple of cyclo from Grenoble with whom we spend a great game night!
In short, we are 15 km from the border and the next day, Wednesday July 22, we cross for the first time in a long time our first border without a border post! Two flags, one sign… Here we are Latvia !
- that's it, we have found l’Europe. And with that, it is also the euro that we find. On the first day, we even have a little trouble instinctively recognizing the tickets! But what a pleasure not to have to convert!
- we were marked by the modernity of Estonia. Of wifi everywhere even on trains, broadband even in remote corners, access for disabled people everywhere ...
- did you know that Skype was invented by Estonian students? (Then bought by the Swedish…) Now yes!
– free campsites... Who takes care of little paradises like that? It's RMK (The State Forest Management Center), the Estonian State Forestry Board; there are many identical areas in Estonia. And we found out that on the last day - the loose! -, But they even have a super well done app where you can find all these “wild” campsites, walks, etc. RMK is a state-dependent organization responsible for the cutting and sale of timber; suddenly, they have plenty of means to create beautiful things and also participate a lot in the teaching of young and old about ecology and forests. They have houses like the ones we had near our campsite, with games, great photos and above all ... a webcam above a raptor nest where 3 babies were sleeping!