• Day20

    Lighthouses, Rocks, Kites and Bumps

    June 22, 2019 in Estonia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    In most of Europe the 22nd of June marks the official start of Summer. That means that it is a common time of celebrations and, in the Baltic States, of massed communal singing. For us the first day of summer dawned fine and clear, but a little cooler than the past couple of weeks.

    Our plan was to transfer by bus to the impressive lighthouse at Saare. This is at the southernmost point of Saaremaa Island, situated at the very end of a very exposed promontory. We arrived in time to step out into the teeth of a force nine gale. Of course everyone immediately checked to see which direction it was blowing. To our relief, it was mostly in the direction that we would soon be riding. If it had been blowing in the other direction, I suspect that we would have just climbed back on the bus and called it a day.

    After a short time exploring the towering lighthouse, we climbed on the bikes, hoisted our spinnakers and set off downwind. It was a wonderful feeling to have the wind sharing some of our workload and we managed to make excellent progress. It was only when we turned off the sealed road and found ourselves bouncing along a rough dirt track that the going got more difficult.

    At one stage we came across a rocky beach where previous visitors had erected hundreds of stone cairns. This reminded me of other places around the world where this is done. It is obviously a manifestation of an innate human need to create order from disorder. I erected a small tower and dedicated it to my new grandson Jossi. I have not met the little guy yet, but hoped that my efforts would somehow be felt by him all those thousands of kilometres away.

    After riding about 30 km, we began seriously looking for a picnic location. In this region public picnic grounds are rarer than pink unicorns. They just don't exist. Since we were in need of rest and some food I announced that the next time we found some mowed grass, we would stop there , even if it was someone's front yard. So that's exactly what we did.

    It was a lovely patch of short green grass and there was no obvious sign of the owners. We figured that if anyone turned up, we would just plead ignorance telling them that in Australia we do that all the time. Fortunately no one showed and we all enjoyed a marvellous time in the sun.

    The rough road continued for a few more km, eventually bringing us to a popular kite surfing beach. Dozens of young kite surfers were flying back and forth, sometimes soaring high above the water and then returning with a huge splash. It was interesting to watch, although we were left wondering how they managed to avoid crashing into each other.

    The final few kilometres of the ride was along a beautifully smooth bike path. The combination of smooth bitumen and tailwind gave us a glimpse of what cycling in heaven would be like.

    Tomorrow will be our final day on the bikes and, by tomorrow evening, we will reach Tallinn, the final destination for this section of the trip. After two nights in Tallinn our group will begin to break up as we head off in multiple different directions. For ten of us, the adventure will continue a little longer as we catch the ferry across the Baltic to Helsinki.
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    Dennis Dawson

    This one is dedicated to Jossi, the newest grandson that I have not met yet.

    Michael Slattery

    Wombats on the beach ? They have big wombats over there ?