First time visiting foreign country in more than 2 years! Tartu is second largest city in Estonia. It has very long history since it got the city rights in 13th century and it was already quite important town for Teutonic order. Only place/ building that is left from medieval times is the fortress hill and the cathedral that stands on the top of the hill. It is quite interesting church because it’s mainly ruined but one part of the old church is reconstructed and they are still using it! We came to Tartu by car to spend 2 full days exploring the area. And The city of Tartu is not that big so we also checked Lake Peipus (Lake Peipsi) and few villages close to it.
We also checked the Tähtvere park and the area of National museum. That museum is quite amazing building (Built in 2016) -to take a picture of this I should have my Drone with me! But you get the idea from the picture in Wikipedia.
Then on the second day we visited Lake Peipsi. The first village that we visited was Räpina (Sillapää Loss), then Mehikoorma lighthouse and Meerpalu rand, then Kavastu Praam (manual ferry) and finally Alatskivi Loss and Kallaste rand.
Estonia is not very big country but there is so much to see. You should stop in every small village and probably you will be surprised by the history or by the people! And it’s only 2 hour ferry trip from Helsinki Finland!!
Balaton & Heviz Decided to take a little bit easier day now. We rode only 170 kilometers: First to the Lake Balaton and then to Lake Heviz. We came to the lake Balaton straight to the Tihany peninsula (actually I don’t know what the peninsula is called but this Tihany village is there anyway!)
From the south-end of Tihany you can take the ferry to the other side of the lake. It seemed that the ferry was full all the time! (but I didn’t check the price…) I tried to find the highest possible place (or road) from Badacsony Vulcano to see the the views to the lake.
There is quite many nice photos that people have been taking from that mountain… But this one is simply the BEST! In the forest we saw some instructions how to move and behave there in the mountain… Hungarian should be a relative language to Finnish but I didn’t understand anything!!
Because it was quite hot day -maybe something like +32 celsius, we started to think what would be a nice place to cool down a little bit? We found this nice lake to take a swim:
Lake Heviz is the biggest thermal lake in the world. The water temperature is +32 celsius! We had a hotel room just beside this Lake/ Spa… In out holiday this was maybe one of the “biggest tourist attractions” with such a many people everywhere. The route for this day was like this:
Made few mistakes! Planned a long route with 2 times crossing the Russian border… Ooops! But I’ll tell you later about it.
First there was a ride from Plinkses to Klaipeda harbour, and from there we took a ferry to Curonian Spit. Ferry costs 3,35€. And after we arrived the spit there was a roadtoll (5€/ bike). And we also had to pay the toll again in Russian side (that was a little bit more than 4€). The road in Curonian Spit is beautiful, it even has some corners and uphills-downhills.
We stopped in one beach to take some pictures of the Baltic ocean. We also stopped in Nida to buy something from the shop.
After Nida it was time for the first border check-Ins! These first check-Ins took about 1h 30mins! Then we’re in Russia!!
And this is the worlds biggest castle in Malbork Poland.
But before we could ride in Poland we had to cross the border again! The Russian side of the border was ok, (quite fast) but then the Poland side of the border-check was with a very long line!!! We had to wait more than 2 hours!!! What a catastrophe! We were so late in our accommodation! It was 9,30 pm and we started 8.30 am and there in the middle we moved from timezone to another…. so it was more than 14 hours of ride!!!
Note to myself:
– If you’re about to ride Curonian Spit, you better have 1 whole day to do it!
– If you’re about to cross the Russian border twice a day, don’t ever think it’d take 2-3 hours! It will take more!
Then we continued to Rummu Quarry. It’s an old mining quarry and a prison area but it’s been closed many years now. The quarry is filled with crystal clear water and I took a swim!
All the gates and possible routes through the old prison area were closed, so we choose to ride to the “backstage” and from there we could see the area nicely!
The white mountains on the left is the waste material from the limestone mining.
From Rummu we took a ride to Paldiski and the lighthouse on the north side of the (ugly) city. The cliffs to the Gulf of Finland are spectacular here!
Then we had only the final leg to the Tallinn and a little time to visit Lennusadam -the seaplane harbour. This is a huge museum in a spectacular place. I really recommend to visit there! (https://motocaching.net/en/cache/view/id6950)
We had 4 days ride through Estonia and a small part of Latvia. It was 1100km’s all together and still I can say… If you ever come to Estonia with a motorcycle don’t expect too much about the roads… But what you really should do is get to know the possible places and sites in every village and city beforehand! There’s something very interesting to see almost everywhere!
Then we started riding the route for saturday. First we took nice road from Turaida to Saulkrasti. This would be very nice… but the pavement is so bad condition that you have to concentrate to keep the bike in balance and you can’t really enjoy the long sweeping bends. (https://motocaching.net/en/cache/view/id6830). From Saulkrasti you can find a monument of finnish bomber Junkers JK-274 crash in 1943. It is quite interesting to find finnish language in the middle of Latvia! (https://motocaching.net/en/cache/view/id6124)
And in the north side of Pärnu we took a short visit in Villa Andropoff, this has quite interesting history but it didn’t give me any shivers. Looked like old Spa or something…
The Beach in this Villa was fantastic! Many kilometers of white sand everywhere.
Finally after a long and quite hot riding-day we arrived to Haapsalu. We visited the Haapsalu Episcopal Castle. Last time I was here (20 years ago?) it was only the ruins of the castle but now there was a museum and many different parts of the castle where you can enter. The bell tower, the hospital, the cathedral, the dungeons… we’re almost running everyhting through and still it took more than 1 hour! The entrance fee to the museum is 5€ and I really recommend to visit there!
Quite many riders from Finland have been riding in Estonia too. But usually it’s only riding through as fast as you can! Riders from Finland are coming to Tallinn by ferry and then they ride straight to south!
But what if you’d stay for awhile?
It is true that there are not too many roads with nice corners in Estonia! But it doesn’t mean that riding here would be totally boring. The best curvy roads are in the coastline east from Tallinn (https://goo.gl/maps/n7Ej8PAaqb92) but you will find some nice roads also in Otepää area and in the Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands. Sadly it is also true that if you find a nice curvy road it is quite possible that the pavement is not in very good condition.
But what is it then that makes the riding not boring? There are few good answers to this:
1. Estonia was a part of Soviet Union before 1991. There are many very interesting places to see: some abandoned nuclear missile bases, military fortresses, harbours, military airports or a submarine base.
2. Tallinn and Tartto are old Hansatowns. That means there are so many historical spots to see. There is also an old castle in Pöltsamaa, Haapsalu, Kuressaare and many, many other places too! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Estonia)
3. Prices are very cheap! Last summer (2015) me and my friend stopped to eat something in Rakvere. We parked the bikes in the centrum and we saw a restaurant. The price for a russian kind of meal (some potato sallad, vegetables and a meat-saslik) was about 8 euros!
4. The nature is surprising! There are some cliffs, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, forests, very nice sandbeaches and so much more surprisingly beautiful places.
5. Huge motorcycle meeting in July in Jögeva! Usually something like 2-3000 motorcycle riders meet every year.
Sehe’s quite young girl from Melbourne Australia! And for some reason she desided to come to Europe and make a 3 months roadtrip here. And what a wonderful trip it was!! http://www.bikergirl.me/ Here’s the route she made (or I think this is the plan):
From Slovakia to Hungary and to Romania like this!
Very nice day… also very hot day! First we had some Slovakian roads with not so tight corners until we got to the road 576 from Vechec to Herlany. That was pure adrenaline with very nice bends!
Then there were few more when we crossed the border to Hungary. But soon after that Hungary was boring with full of straight roads and no mountains at all. This is how it was all the way to Romania.
We rode through Tokaj -village. It was strange because suddenly I was thursty! But actually the only thirsty-one was the motorcycle! This is somewhere in the middle of Hungary after filling the tank. And finally we arrived to Romania and a city called Satu Mare. Hotel Aramia parking places.
This was a quite long day. First almost 300 kilometers of straight road in Poland. We got some rain also… but then suddenly the road was full with nice corners! The last 150 km’s we rode in Tatra mountains! This was the route.
In the beginning of the day we were all smiling. Sun was shining.
But then started the rain and we had to put on the rainsuits.
But at the end of the day the sun was shining again!
Here’s one video from the Tatra mountains, road is still a little bit wet.