Biking through Estonia, Day 7, Ever Southwards
Actually the last biking day! We have a pretty good idea about our day, ride to Valgeranna, take in a bit of sun, head to Pärnu before tourist information board closes and then unless there is something to chance our minds, make our way south of Pärnu to Rannametsa for the night. The ride north to Valgeranna goes relatively smoothly with Linda lamenting after her morning coffee. Goddamn addicts. During the ride I'm wondering a bit about the crankiness yesterday, and it's showing a bit today too unfortunately. I'm not sure if it's over the disagreement for the direction or just the trip taking its toll on us not really being used to it. Linda claims that she's noticed in her travels that there are just certain points of the trip when your mental state is worse for no real reason, and they usually happen during the same time periods. I'm unsure of this theory, but since Linda has traveled way more than I, I can't really refute her.
We make it to a golf club near Valgeranna where Linda finally gets her coffee, and I impatiently wait for her to finish a couple cups and charge our phones. I don't really need the battery and I don't drink coffee so I want to get to the beach already! After what feels like ages, we finally head towards the beach, have a bit of lunch and settle in to enjoy the sun. To be honest it's not a very sunny day with a splattering of clouds in the sky, but it's nice to relax for a bit.
Actually in a hurry for the first time
All too soon it's getting past four, and since the tourist information board closes at 6 I think we should get going. Especially since we have about 5km ride left, I want to start get going so we wont have to rush. Linda wants to stay for a bit longer and since we aren't yet in a rush I gladly stay a bit longer since she gave in to me when I wanted to take the longer and more unsure route yesterday. She's earned her rest. I try to nudge her a couple times without result that maybe we should head out, but when it's 20 past five I tell her now we have to go and start packing up. We get to our bikes, change clothes and hop back on them and start riding.
We have about 20 minutes left before the information center closes, and the ride we have left usually takes us about 30 minutes. So we are pedaling as fast as we can and now you can really feel the rough asphalt of the Estonian sidewalks. Usually we baby our bikes a bit on rough sidewalks, but now we don't have the time for it. It also seems in many places there just is a high curb without anything to help with the ride so you drop down to the road and have to climb back up to the sidewalk every time you cross a road which isn't helping a bit. With a few detours and asking for direction we make it with a whole minute to spare! I stay behind to look after the bikes while Linda rushes in to ask for some maps about the area. We've noticed time and time again that the tourist information boards have inaccurate information so it's much better to get the paper maps for the year if you can. Linda chat's with the guy for quite a while and I get a chance to lock up the bikes and join them. I mention the idea of going to Rannametsa and he says it's definitely the prettiest area around. That solidifies the idea to spend the next night there, so we take the maps and thank him for the info he gave.
Linda wants to take a bit of a walk around the town before heading out so we leave our bikes there and venture out. There is a group of people right outside the tourist center watching something so we make our way into the crowd too. In the middle there are people performing, what I presume are, local traditional dances in traditional and national garb. Some of them are quite beautiful and some of the songs played, not surprisingly, quite resemble old Finnish songs. Linda spots a small bar next to the square where you can still see the show and drags us there so she can get her last coffee of the day. I snap a picture of an interesting poster, which probably is rooted in Estonian politics, but I have no idea what's the story behind it.
This might actually be dangerous
It's getting to be quite late again and we have maybe 30 kilometers to go, so we head to a store to get food for the night and morning's ride back before heading out of town. We ride through the residential areas on the out skirts of town and curse the poor asphalt of the sidewalks. We are heading for the Estonian number 4 road which is the biggest route for cargo heading north towards Tallinn, and by extension, Finland. I didn't realize this at the time of course, nor it would've made any difference since it's really the only route, but this is the first time during the trip that traffic was an issue. Trucks blowing past us constantly, with less than half a meter in between. The draft tossing us around every time one passes. It's doesn't really make for a comfortable or a safe ride. I know I mentioned that the pine forests started to lose their magic over time, but with the sun setting the pine forest on our left couldn't look more beautiful or magical, no matter how much you tried to make it so. The green of the undergrowth seems radiant and unreal. Almost like a cartoon or a video game, I don't think I've ever in my life seen such a green color. I'm saddened by the fact that there is no way my phones camera will capture the sight laid out before me, so I submit to this fact and try to make as clear of a mental picture I can, so at least I can remember this, even if I can't share it with anyone else than my dear Linda.
Shashlik and marshmallows
Now we are getting close, checking the GPS and it seems to be right next to the road, so we just keep riding, surely we'll bump into it. There's a bit of a rest area on the road with an information board so we decide to check it out. It shows we are pretty much right there. There seemed to be a small off shoot out of the road up a hill 50 meters back so we double back and I take a walk up it, to see if we are at the right spot. When I reach the top edge of the ridge I see a fire pit, toilet etc. so I walk back down, let Linda know and we walk our bikes up the path. There's even wood there so making a fire and getting the shashlik grilling takes no time at all. The campsite is on top of a ridge, surrounded by other ridges so we decide to walk around a bit before heading for bed. The terrain around is quite amazing, hilly and littered with interesting little details like a half build teepee. We take a small loop around the campsite before returning to finish grilling the shashlik and eating up. Before calling it a night we grill up a few marshmallows which Linda bought. To be honest this is only the second time I'm doing this, and apparently so it is for Linda. She's just having trouble remembering where her first time was. I remind her that it was with me at my old houses yard last summer, which was my first time toasting marshmallows too. We wrap up most of our stuff on the benches lining the fire pit before heading for bed. I'm really happy that we decided to come here, and so is Linda. On the other side of the road there is short nature hike around the forest and a swamp which we both are really looking forward to tomorrow, but first we need to rest.