Southeast First

So finally time to take the foot off the gas. Knowing how much time I had on my hands I decided to not take the most direct route through Estonia. This meant sadly declining the option to ride with two people who were at the cycle touring festival but they were taking the coastal route.

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I dedcided to sort of follow ‘Eurovelo 11’. Estonia has fully ‘realised’ their section of this and it’s well signposted. It might not be cycle paths and quiet roads for all of it but you can follow a coherent route. Naturally I followed the ‘general idea’ of the Eurovelo route, but as I tend to do, I cut corners and went my own way on occasion. In fact I actually seemed to be on national route 6, the ‘Tour de LatEst’ a lot of the time. You can get a free map of that route from the tourist information in Latvia and south Estonia. Most roads aren’t scarily busy and some small roads are unpaved. Roadworks on the other hand are chaotic and ‘interesting’!

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Estonia is great though. Once you get away from the artificial inflation of Tallinn’s capital prices it’s pretty cheap. In addition the landscape is beautiful and full of wildlife. There is a woodpecker on the tree right in front of me as I type. The people are relatively friendly and if you make the first effort to strike up conversation they will happily talk to you as best they can. I’ve been trying to overcome my shyness and interact as much as possible.

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There are also loads of ‘wildcamping’ sites. At their most basic they’re a fire circle, a bench and usually a wood store. Others however have shelters and long drop toilets. No water points though so make sure you carry enough or have a filter. There are two ways to seek out the sites. Either search on the Estonian equivalent to the forestry commission’s website (I’m assuming that’s what this organisation is) or look out for big map boards located in towns, villages and sometimes other places. These usually will show where there are ‘tenting’ or camping sites. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of the sites are by lakes so make sure you take mosquito spray!

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So my route has taken me southeast before then turning back southwest towards the border with Latvia. My drop in speed has also been influenced by a strong headwind from the south/southwest which has made me realise how much I was blown across Scandinavia. The weather has also been odd. Most days are hot and very sunny (I’m burnt, again!). However as the day goes on the wind increases and clouds build. This means late afternoon showers which fade in to clear evenings. Most nights it has then rained again. It can’t make up it’s mind, very English. Although warmer than the UK.

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I would like to be writing profound thoughts and big ideas but frankly I’ve just been enjoying myself. I have been thinking about the future but nothing has crystallised of worth yet. So instead I guess I’ll just write travelogues and extol the virtues of the surroundings I’m travelling through. Lazy evenings spent gazing out across a beautiful lake, listening to music on my phone or just the birds chattering and the smoke from the fire keeping the mosquitoes at bay. It’s a hard life.

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