Day 4 of my cycling trip:
Today was by far the best of my cycling trip. Beautiful weather and somewhat warmer temperatures, as well as a subdued wind made cycling heavenly. The sun and the wind were caressing my face, the land and the landscape had beautiful spring colours and even the lovely landscape of Hiiumaa contributed to my elation by not challenging me with hills over 5 m of elevation gain (and even those were rare). The perfect day for a perfect cycle tour!
Since my legs were still a bit shot from the exertions of the previous day, I started late at 12:00 noon on my trip. I had a lengthy breakfast, a writing session and even observed an elk (moose for North Americans) as it came closer and closer to my camp-spot and eventually bolted when I rattled my cooking equipment. I also tested my solar panel and found it worked fine.
Starting my cycling of the day, I soon came onto a very impressive avenue of oaks which went for quite some distance. Usually, in Finland when you see such a tree lined avenue you know that a manor house is coming soon. The same here, after some time an imposing manor house came into view: Suuremõisa manor, which once belonged to the Ungern-Sternberg family. This family of Baltic-German nobility is perhaps best known for one of its, let’s say it so, more exposed members: Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, which had also been called the “Mad Baron” or the “Bloody Baron” (and no, Bloody Baron was not invented in the Harry Potter books). It surely makes for a good reading investigating this white Russian warlord. Leaving the manor, the oak-lined avenue didn’t stop for almost 10 km. Part of it converted into a cycling path, but by far the most of it is just declining beside the main tarmac road now. This avenue is so spectacular that surely somebody must find the time and the money to preserve it. Not much later, I passed an area which clearly had the feel of an old, neglected park. And indeed, in the middle of it was a huge memorial to “Johann Köler”, perhaps the most well-known Estonian national painter.
Indeed, the whole island had the atmosphere of a land forgotten in the “fin de siècle” (19th century of course), where ladies in white dresses are strolling in well maintained parks, talking what ladies talked at the time, while their men, in black dresses and smoking pipes talked politics of the imperial court in Moscow and how to keep the serfs working for nothing.
Hiiumaa is flat and better cycling country than the Netherlands. There is almost no traffic, and no cycle bridges go over railway lines and motorways, like in the Netherlands. The landscape is beautifully pastoral, and it seems that this island has been forgotten by the tourist industry. I was totally smitten by the beauty and tranquillity of this little piece of land in the Baltic Sea.
From the island I took the ferry to Saaremaa, and I found a fairy-tale RMK cottage close to the ferry port. It was time to cook a meal and to go to bed early.