Ben had another big work day on tap today, so I spent a good part of the morning wandering the old town on my own, browsing through souvenir shops and eating through a ridiculous pile of pastries. Touristy though it may be, old Tallinn is impressively charming and has been the perfect place for us to rest, work, and sight see for a few days while Ben catches up with his work and we recharge.
When afternoon arrived and Ben finally broke away from the computer for a bit, we decided that we wanted to see a more natural side of Estonia and so we piled on our unloaded bikes for a day trip. We rode the thirteen kilometers out to Harku Nature Park. The ride itself was a bit of an adventure, a mix of busy industrial city, cute wooden neighborhoods, and terrible dirt paths through spindly woods that seemed an awful lot like nature parks themselves. Even the paved roads were pretty awful, in most cases less comfortable to ride on than the Swedish dirt paths we’ve been getting used to.
The trail itself however was lovely, well maintained and well marked. Our online research indicated that the park would include bogs, forest and sand dunes: all common geographical elements of Estonia. When we arrived, we noted that we couldn’t read the signs and hoped that it wouldn’t be too hard to find a bog. Sure enough, about fifty feet away we found our first one with a duck floating through it. Shortly thereafter, sand dunes appeared through the dry woods.
We rode a five mile loop, taking in the eclectic mix of landscape, amazed by the diversity. It was a lot different than anything we’ve seen before. We completed some pull-ups on the nearby fitness equipment (our return to GPP Fitness is nearly upon us and we’re going to get our butts kicked!) before heading back toward the hostel.
The ride back was even more interesting than the ride out, a mix of cycle paths, sidewalks, dirt tracks, and busy highways. The roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks here seem to be built without any common goal in mind and the whole thing was chaos as we rode up and down curbs, down staircases, and around randomly placed barriers. It doesn’t make for fast cycling, but we sort of love disorganization which is Eastern Europe.
Finally, we tucked in for the night so Ben could get back to work, leaving me with days of journaling to complete.