Story of Saaremaa
Lena and I were on a visit to Estonia.
We decided to go there at the very last moment. Even though it is a high season, it was easy to get accommodation booked in a post corona Estonia. We decided to take two nights on the biggest island in the Baltic states. I have been to Saaremaa a few times with tour groups, but for Lena, it was the first time.
An adventure that we did not plan.
As I Guided several groups to Saaremaa, we both thought that there is no need to plan anything special and that we will do everything on the spot. The only thing we prearranged was an apartment in Orissaare and another one near Pidula.
Orissaare appeared to be a small place on the water, but we were surprised by the cleanliness, maintenance, and accuracy of the evening. Starting from our one night stay holiday house ending up with small and a strange-looking harbor area. All in all, we were very pleased with a modern and spotless holiday home, and it made us a good mood for the rest of the day.
We stopped to buy some food to have breakfast and just a few hundred meters after the coop shop saw a welcoming Kohvik (coffee in Estonian). They served a variety of omelets, pancakes, and porridge. They even passed a coffee test:)
Well slept and well eaten, we hit the road. Saaremaa is a paradise for cycling, biking, and small road drivers. The area of the island is about 1100 square miles, and the population is spread in many small villages and single farms. So there are many side roads connecting these settlements. I find it very relaxing to drive on these forestry roads.
The first pin on the man was to a small village Kakuna. Actually it is so small that we did not realize that we passed it already. “Should we go back?” I asked Lena. “No, it’s ok, you can go ahead”.
Men do not admit that they are on the wrong road
For good or for bad, I looked on the map and thought that I could use a short cut to our next destination. From an asphalt road changed to a regular gravel road. In a few minutes, the way became narrower, which made me a bit nervous, but the scenery got better and wildered every few meters—seawater on both sides of the road and a small field with wild bulls and cows. We felt like on safari. Our SUV was shaking on a lousy path, but the atmosphere topped by beautiful low clouds was very uplifting.
How do you make yourself relaxing? We stopped a car and stepped out towards the water. We just stood there enjoying the wild nature of the western Estonian middle of nowhere. Time is passing when you experience things. We continued with the same road till the falling apart wooden bridge.
It was quite a dilemma, to cross it with an SUV or to stay on the safe side and make a u-turn. Two bikers from Latvia drove by and pointed on a closed gate down the road. So the answer came on its own. We turned the direction and stayed on the safe side.
To the lighthouse
And again I opened a map and dropped a pin. It fell on the lighthouse about half an hour’s drive away. On the way, we have visited a former Viking village, turned today into a playground.
Trying to find the lighthouse, we drove using a navigation app and arrived at the end of the road. Let’s walk from here! But I checked a map, and it looked that it is too far and were getting hungry and tire. So I decided to drive through an even narrower path that In the previous episode. Bushes were scratching the sides of the car. Lena did not feel good about it, but I continued moving forward. Finally, I stopped when the road became terrible. We walked down, thinking about how to u-turn a car on such a narrow space.
In a few minutes, we found a great piece of the road, but it faces a powered fence against animals. The lighthouse was still a mile ahead, and our car was behind, stack on a narrow road. We decided to relax and lunch, in the hope that a solution will come on a full stomach.
It happened to me many times – give it a minute, and it will solve itself. We were sitting on the ground and eating when two people came out through the closed gate; they explained that it is allowed to go inside, but we have to keep the gate closed. That is what we did, although Lena worried that I would get struck by the electricity.
We ended up safely reaching the lighthouse, and it all was worth an effort. Low clouds made a unique scenery, quite a simple beam has not much of a value, but I was thinking of people who used it for navigation on the cold waters of the Baltic Sea.
In the capital of Saaremaa - Kuressaare
Our next destination was the most significant settlement on the island. Kuressaare is home to several SPA hotels, a beautiful but small old city, and the most preserved Knights fortress in Estonia. You can spend a day in Kuressaare visiting the history museum in the fort and walking around and having lunch on the main street of the city. After a recent renovation, it became very welcoming and pleasant to spend time.
check out Jerulita Tours enrolling Estonia
Baltic States Tour
Russia and the Baltics Jewish heritage tour
Baltic States by bicycle and by bus
watch the video episode from Saaremaa
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