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  • Day18

    Saaremaa Cycling

    June 20, 2019 in Estonia ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Our day began with an early transfer from our hotel to the ferry terminal. I was quite sorry to say goodbye to Parnu, as it had really impressed us all with its beautiful parks and amazing wooden buildings. Neverless the show must go on and our Baltics Adventure is now rapidly drawing into its final stages.

    Saaremaa is Estonia's largest island and is situated off the western coast in the Baltic Sea. A fleet of large ferries continually carries trucks, buses, cars and passengers back and forth between the island and the mainland.

    No sooner had the bus driven onto the ferry than the doors were closed and we were on our way. It really is a smooth and rapid operation. After a coffee and a snack from the buffet and about 30 minutes of smooth sailing time, we were pulling into the pier on the island. A short drive in the bus then took us to Koguva Orissaare, where our ride was to start.

    Yet again the sky was clear and the sun hot. A check on the GPS showed that we were around 59 degrees north. We had not expected this type of summer weather this far north. On went the sunscreen and off we went on the bikes.

    The roads were almost deserted. That made for nice riding, but apart from the endless forests on both sides of the road, there was not a lot to see. An exception was the crossing across a long causeway to the larger island. I was just glad that we didn't have to face a headwind as there was no shelter at all.

    After two weeks of daily cycling another problem was starting to manifest itself. Apart from the general tiredness from of sleep, my rearmost body parts were starting to feel that they had been aggressively rubbed with sandpaper. I regularly lifted myself from the seat, but it did little to alleviate the discomfort. I was not looking forward to 53 km of this ordeal.

    Since there are so few towns on Saaremaa, when we finally found a small general store/cafe we did not want to waste the opportunity for a stop. The kitchen was not prepared for a sudden influx of customers and took an inordinate amount of time to prepare the lunches. I think they cooked one lunch at a time.

    Soon after lunch David took off and we never saw him for the rest of the ride. We never can understand why he does this, but it seems to be due to some sort of character weakness that he has no control over.

    The rest of the group rode on together. We had been promised that the highlight of the ride would be the amazing "windmill park" at Angla. That would also mark the end of the day's ride (and the end of my anguish on the saddle).

    When we finally rolled up at the windmills, we all thought that they were rather underwhelming. There were only three of them, and they looked like they were in imminent danger of falling down at any moment. Since we had been provided with entrance tickets, we did go inside, even though you could already see them very well from the outside of the fence.

    A boisterous group of high school students also arrived at the same time and proceeded to clamour over everything. We decided it was time to leave. The sign at the gate said "Thank you for coming, we hope to see you again soon". It seemed a little optimistic to me. I wondered just how many people would feel the need to return again and again. Not many I suspected.

    Our tired group climbed back on the bus, where several quickly slipped into a coma (myself included). We had another short drive to the Hotel Saaremaa, which was to be our home for the next three nights. It was about that time that I decided that I would not be riding the following day. My backside needed a break almost as much as I did.

    Tomorrow will also be the summer solstice - the longest day of the year. Since we already have virtually twenty four of daylight, I would just about give my eye teeth for a few extra hours of darkness. This really is a strange phenomenon, and certainly plays havoc with your sleeping patterns.
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