Viva Estonia

I had the warmest welcome in a country so far.

It started just before riding from the boat, I met a great guy who was also searching for his bicycle that was hidden behind one of the giant waterproof doors of the cruise ship. His plan was identical to mine. He rented out his apartment and started cycling around Europe. His departure was from London and only a few weeks difference with mine. The only difference was that he did it the way it should be done, light bike, minimal luggage, nicely fitting in a few bags. So not like me, moving half a train around.

Tallinn

We decided that the best thing to do was take a coffee. Although I took a milkshake, as the weather was more fit for such a drink. For that we went to a quite popular market near the station of Tallinn. As I’m getting used to the attention my machine is attracting, we sat down a bit further to talk about what brought us here and what we are looking forward to.

Until now people just looked at my machine ( I should find a name for it!) and took pictures. But as we headed to our bicycles, to continue each our way. The crowd started gathering around the bikes. A few other travelling cyclist stopped to talk, some Belgians reacted to the flag at the end of my trailer. And others just were curious about the what, the why, or the where,…

There was one local who asked with a big smile, and big hands I felt when he shook mine: “Do you really need ALL that stuff?” I answered that I had the bear minimum, one couldn’t expect to go travelling without kayak or freediving gear, can one?

Suddenly I got what would turn out to be a golden tip, he talked me about Rummu quarry and how that is the diving spot with the best visibility in Estonia, and only 50 km away.

It took us even a few hours before all questions were asked and pictures taken. The afternoon had already been consumed, when we finally hit the road. As there was no plan for me, the Rummu quarry seemed perfect.

After a gentle 50 km cycling through a nice landscape on some descent roads, I came close to my destination, when my gps tried to send me through some gated abandoned buildings. It took me a few minutes to find an entrance near the beach where I was welcomed by the staff of Rummu Adventure Center. So the quarry was privately owned, but was made accessible for a tiny entrance fee.

The abandoned buildings were a prison camp that was operational until 2012, the quarry was part of the camp, and flooded so quickly that there was no time to get all machinery out.

I needed a place to camp, and I was offered to stay at the site, and was invited to put my tent wherever it suited me, which was great! The crew was very helpful, so I planned to go diving the next day en also do nothing.

As it is a quarry, there was no patch of gentle grass to be found, so I had to secure my tent with some stones, as it was a windy day. Finding stones on the other hand was no problem at all… in a quarry.

The first morning I had breakfast before the gates opened and was invited by the crew for a coffee, while they prepared the new working day.

Fishes in the trees

The diving spot is called “the underwater prison”, which is a great, catchy name. The closest part is not much more then 7m, so you don’t need the most advanced freediving skills, but even then it is breathtaking. On the one hand, there are the buildings, part of the wall and all human constructions, frozen in time. On the other hand there are trees everywhere, forming little underwater forests.

This was without a doubt my best dive so far. I haven’t had such an experience yet, even some fish came to me, in stead of fleeing away.

That afternoon, besides go shopping for some food, as I wasn’t prepared to stay 2 nights, the aim was to do nothing.

Unfortunately doing nothing is something I find extremely hard to do. Just when I got back from the shop the opportunity fell upon me to visit the abandoned prison camp. It was another very strange place. This time there was air enough, but still some parts took your breath away.

Rummu abandoned prison

The 2 days spent in that fascinating place will definitely stay in the highlights of my trip.

Een gedachte over “Viva Estonia

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