Rakvere to Tallinn

Day 1
Train Tallinn to Rakvere

There were a few days spare in our calendars and the weather looked fine so we decided to go on a bike trip. Rakvere sounded like a nice place to visit, so we packed our panniers, grabbed our bikes, and arrived in Rakvere by train in the afternoon. Rakvere is a nice Estonian town with the usual wooden houses and one of my favourite castles. It is partially ruined, and is set against a foreground of green grass over small hills and a moat. I found myself wishing I owned a holiday house in the town.

We stayed in a nice guest house in town. I’ve no idea how we found it, but I can recommend that friendly and cheap style of accommodation.

Rakvere Castle

Day 2
Rakvere – Võsu

The plan was to follow the number 4 bike route towards the coast and then the number 1 route back to Tallinn. This is not a particularly direct route, but certainly a scenic one. The number 4 route is signposted the entire way, although at one point a sign had gone missing and we went a few kilometres before realising we’d missed a turn.

We passed through quite a lot of wheat farming land in the morning before we reached the coast. It rained quite heavily at lunchtime, but luckily we were under cover at the Altja Kõrts (something similar to a pub) until the rain petered out. Otherwise Altja was a lovely seaside town with old log fishing cabins.

Millerine at Altja Kõrts

Millerine at Altja Kõrts

Millerine checking out a well near Altja

Millerine checking out a well near Altja

The road winds along the coast. It was quiet, flat, and scenic. Basically everything one could want in a lazy day of cycling.

We stayed in a campground outside of Võsu, a few metres from a creek (Võsu jõgi). There were no toilets, but otherwise it was nicely set up with an under cover area with a table, and a metal bbq type enclosed fireplace. These both came in handy, as again it rained but while we were under cover. Campgrounds in Estonia are free and comfortable, but they can be hard to find so it’s worth doing some research first. We found this campsite on the RMK website, which is difficult to navigate, but has good information for the state forests.

Day 3

Võsu – Viimsi

It would have taken a couple of days of cycling to get back to Tallinn if we followed the bike route around the coastal peninsulas. As the weather seemed destined to provide more rain we decided to fast track it home via the highway. On the way we visited a small waterfall, but it was mostly a direct fast and flat ride home. In terms of distance it was the longest day off riding we’ve done, so a satisfying end to a nice few days away.

Slovenia and Croatia: Day 13 – Cres Island

Cycled Krk to Valbiska
Ferry Valbiska to Cres
Cycled Cres to Osor

Date: 28th May 2008

This day was quite a killer due to the heat. There was a short ride to the ferry terminal, then a ferry to the nearby island of Cres (the ‘c’ being pronounced like the ‘z’s in “pizza”). By the time we made it off the ferry it was getting towards the middle of the day. The first 8km or so off the ferry was a steady climb and the heat was really getting to us. We were a little disheartened by the time we got to Cres town. The Melbourne couple we met on the ferry Matt and Vanessa seemed to fare a lot better on their 8 speed commuters!

We spent the whole afternoon drinking beer, eating icecream, and trying to hide in the shade. We couldn’t catch a ferry out of there though, so our only option was to continue riding down the island. The first 12km was uphill, but then it was flat along the top of the island. There was a fantastic bit of new smooth road which was easy riding.

Osor was another well positioned campground near a town. Although the town of Osor wasn’t as nice as Krk, it had its charms. It’s a small town of about 80 people, with a centre square with stairs leading into it and a couple of small cobbled streets. The town guards a small bridge over the channel between the islands of Cres and Lošinj. We enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti with a couple of beers as we watched the sun sink below the waves.

The Campsite at Osor

The Campsite at Osor

The View from our campsite

The View from our campsite

 

Slovenia and Croatia: Days 6 and 7 – Bled

Train Ljubljana to Bled

Dates: 21st and 22nd May 2008

It didn’t look like there was anything interesting between Ljubljana and Bled and the weather was still bad, so we took the train. There was a short ride from the station to the town, which we rode to before going to the campground. Bled is incredibly touristy, but with good reason. Bled lake is quite small and very photogenic, with its island and castle. There are also a lot of adventure activities like canyoning and white water rafting.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled, with the island and castle in the background

On the first day we had a few drinks and chilled at the campground. In the evening I went for a bike ride up a nearby very steep dirt road that went for about 5km before opening out to a very peaceful meadow with a few buildings. It was a rough track and more suited to a properly equipped mountain bike than the 1.75″ slicks I was using. The ride back down was still very fun though.

On the second day we visited Vintgar Gorge a short distance away from Bled. It’s a lovely narrow gorge with a walkway following along the rapids, ending at a waterfall. Our photos don’t do it justice, and I highly recommend this place.

Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge

In the afternoon we went white water rafting on the Sava river. It was far from extreme, but fun nonetheless. We finished up at the farm of the people who run the place. They had a heap of animals running around, and they gave us a shot of their homemade spirits which was impressively strong, but reasonably drinkable.

Bled was perfect for a relaxing escape from riding in the rain. The lake was beautiful and the campground was one of the best we visited on the trip.