Week Fourteen: Muhu, Saaremaa & Hiiumaa

03/07/18-09/07/18

Countries: Estonia

Distance: 359.2km / 224mi
Elevation: 683m / 2,240.8ft

No, those aren’t the names of Dan’s imaginary friends, they’re the names of the three Estonia islands we cycled around this week. Yes, Estonia has islands! We were surprised too. We were also surprised to learn that there are 2,355 of them. Most of them are uninhabited, but some have quiet, sandy beaches, coastline cycle paths and incredible sunsets over the water. Just what we needed. 

Before we made the short crossing across the Baltic sea, we got Dan a new wheel in Pärnu, since he didn’t fancy giving unicycling a go. The mechanic at Veloteek hand-built a new wheel, using our hub, in an afternoon. Easy. This quick fix will get us to St. Petersburg, where we’ll look to getting a new, stronger rim posted out to. 

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Now back to the islands. In total, we planned a 400km loop of Muhu, Saaremaa & Hiiumaa, mostly following the EuroVelo 10, with the occasional detour to see some sights.    

The weather has been on our side so far. Dare I say it?... We've had no rain whatsoever! We've also lucked out with wild camp spots. In fact, Estonia rivals Denmark when it comes to wild camping, as they also have a government agency that maintains the forests, as well as providing free huts and campsites to stay at. The RMK, the Estonian forest agency, even provide you with free, ready-chopped wood to throw on your camp fire and, what's more, they've also created an app showing you the exact location of every type of camp spot. 

We did come across the freakiest loo at one of these camp grounds this week. It was a dry toilet in which dung beetles had burrowed in and made a nest *shivers*. There was something unnerving about sitting blindly over a bowl of bugs like that. It freaked us out so much that we skipped on our morning poop to cycle 15km to the nearest cafe with a toilet. In our haste, our order got lost in translation, and rather than just getting one black coffee, we got two black coffees and two slices of vanilla cheese cake. For breakfast. For €8. Beats the bug though.

 Kaali Krater is a group of nine meteorite craters, thought to have been created 7,500 years ago. The main crater has a diameter of 110 metres, which is the 8th largest in the world. 

Kaali Krater is a group of nine meteorite craters, thought to have been created 7,500 years ago. The main crater has a diameter of 110 metres, which is the 8th largest in the world. 

 Despite the RMK app, we did struggle to find a wild camp spot one night, and inadvertently visited Piretikivi Boulder, which we camped behind. According to legend, the wife of Suur Tõll – a giant hero in Estonia mythology – was carrying rocks for a sauna stove, when her apron strings ripped, causing her to drop this rock on her foot. 

Despite the RMK app, we did struggle to find a wild camp spot one night, and inadvertently visited Piretikivi Boulder, which we camped behind. According to legend, the wife of Suur Tõll – a giant hero in Estonia mythology – was carrying rocks for a sauna stove, when her apron strings ripped, causing her to drop this rock on her foot. 

 Built in 1933, the Kiipsaara Lighthouse was around 150 metres inland. Over the years, sea erosion has now left it 100 metres offshore. With little support remaining, it also leans to one side slightly. 

Built in 1933, the Kiipsaara Lighthouse was around 150 metres inland. Over the years, sea erosion has now left it 100 metres offshore. With little support remaining, it also leans to one side slightly. 

 Then there was beautiful sunset...

Then there was beautiful sunset...

 ...after sunset...

...after sunset...

 ...after sunset.

...after sunset.

I’d be lying if I said the World Cup hasn’t dictated our rides this week. We calculated exactly where we’d need to be in order to get WiFi and electricity to stream the matches – with a cold beer in hand, of course. 

Watching England beat Columbia did come at a price, however. To get WiFi, we had to sit outside, where my legs were offered up as banquet for mosquitos for ninety minutes, plus extra time and penalties. It wouldn’t be so bad, but I seem to have an allergic reaction to them. Dr. Google reckons its the protein in their bites that I can't handle. For three nights my legs felt like they were burning. I literally slept with wet dish cloths wrapped around them to keep them cool.

 Watching England beat Sweden in the sunshine. Then we watched Croatia beat Russia during sunset. 

Watching England beat Sweden in the sunshine. Then we watched Croatia beat Russia during sunset. 

 The best beach bar on the worst campsite. The showers were so gross, we only showered once – and they had the cheek to charged €2 for them!

The best beach bar on the worst campsite. The showers were so gross, we only showered once – and they had the cheek to charged €2 for them!

With a few days left on the islands before we head to Tallinn, we're now racing to the next beach campsite, to watch England v Croatia in the semi final. It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming, our £10 bet is coming home!