Bikes&Lights. Day 2. 3 lighthouses of Hiiumaa island.

Well, hello, rain! – we said while sticking our frozen noses from double blankets.
The night has brought cold and gloomy skies were spitting raindrops into the window. For breakfast we had hot oats and tea. And also some thoughts about the benefits of traveling by car with bicycles.

We took a ferry to get to Hiiumaa – the 2nd largest island in Estonia. It was our first and longest ferry ride and it costed us 24 euros for a car and 4 passengers. And for sure it was the slowest ride during the trip ))) While guys watched videos from yesterday inside, Tasha and Mila did their best to enjoy the sea in the company of wet and ice-cold wind.
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IMG_2016-05-11 11:17:21The freezing brought a nice surprise – a lighthouse listed neithen on the Internet nor in our lighthouse passport! It stands on a desolated island Rukkirahu since 1940. There’s nobody and nothing on the island – no people, no other buildings or even trees. This little lighthouse has been a brave and lonely guide for ships for 76 years.

40 kilometers road to Tahkuna – our first Hiiumaan lighthouse – was pretty dull: nothing but green pines. But once the rain calmed down a bit, real wonders started to show. A flash of bright flowers in the wood, picturesque Estonian farm-houses and – hello! – a shy horse! Not shy enough to refuse our red apple treat though =)IMG_2016-05-11 11:17:57
Bromptons started to give travel signals from the back seat. Okay – some warm clothes on and here we go cycling! The wood turned out to be alive and full of vivid timber scents and sweet flower aromas, voices of birds and whispering of sea, which was hiding behind the trees. These are the wonders you can never see through the car window, but once you go by bike – here they are!

The closer we got to Tahkuna cape, the stronger the wind and the rain became.

We arrived hardly moving the pedals. Tasha was grateful to her heavy, but warm and dry boots, which helped her to cross Iceland. But Mila realised that Baltic April is not a friend to her summer slip-ons – her feet turned to ice near the lighthouse. Not hard to tell which girl is a skilled traveler! 
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There was no time to rest – Vasya and Vadim weren’t assing about while waiting for us. They have been preparing for shooting. We had to stick our wet hair away from our faces and fight the wind once more – for the camera this time. The wind kept carrying away our hats and words, so some shots had to be made over and over again and the most popular word of the day was “Whaaaat?”

As all Estonian lighthouses Tahkuna is open for visitors starting from May, 1st. Vainly we knocked the doors of all buildings around the lighthouse hoping to meet the lighthouse keeper – the cape was completely empty that dank day. Maybe for the best – not climbing the top we saved ourselves from being carried away by the wind!

We have to admit that storms and lighthouses are so good together! Especially such stately and handsome ones, as Tahkuna. Waves were damping our shoes, wind ripping cameras from our hands, but the lighthouse stood still and indifferent above our hectic set. Nothing distracts it from its vital mission – to guide the ships in cloudy grey mist.

A plan to picknick on a beach failed. Good for us we stuffed our bags with instant protein and Bite bars – these quick snacks were a great support for us caught by bad weather and hunger in the middle of nowhere. Some hot tea – and here we go again!

The luck kept following us: we got to climb the next lighthouse, bright-red Ristna! Approaching the lighthouse we noticed its door was wide open. Inside we’ve met… no, not the lighthouse keeper this time, but some guy who was repairing the facility. No excursion this time like yesterday, but plenty of time to explore the lighthouse from the inside, to enjoy the view from 37 meters height and to make many fun shots – as bright as Ristna itself.

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IMG_2016-05-11 11:17:32By the way Ristna and Tahkuna are almost brothers. In 1871 Russian government bought two iron lighthouses at the World Excibition in Paris. The order was built at the Eiffel factory. Tahkuna was mounted on the homonymous cape which was very important for navigation, and smaller lighthouse Ristna went to Kopu cape.

This cape is famous for one more lighthouse – the next one in our journey.

Kopu is the oldest Baltic lighthouse and 3rd worlds oldest! Even its looks show its age – huge counterforts make it look both like a rocket and like the famous Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

It took almost 30 years to build Kopu on the highest hill of Hiiumaa. It is still the highest Baltic navigational light. The lighthouse is not that tall – only 36 meters, which is shorter than all the other lighthouses on the island. But the height of the hill brings the light on the mark 102,6 meters above the sea. The lighthouse is rarely used for navigation these days, but it is an important historical and cultural landmark of Estonia.

There are many facilities around Kopu – a gift store, a cafe and a museum. Of course, all are closed unntill May, 1st. But we were happy to use a picknick spot to finally make our camping dinner – some macaroni and canned meat, tea and our favourite sweet bars.It was a little sad to look at the top of the lighthouse and wonder what a beautiful view is waiting for us there. It would cost only a couple of euros to go up if we arrived 1 week later… But we will also have company of many other travelers.

The population of the island is about 10 thousand people. Obviously, they gathered in some other place, because all of the places we have visited were completely empty.  Next time you want to enjoy solitude don’t follow the trend of visiting Tibet – it’s stuffed with people! Go to Estonian lighthouses in April. The whole island was our personal playground! IMG_2016-05-11 11:17:43Our personal lighthouse, our island… Guys supposed they could leave their expensive camera alone to shoot timelapse and in 4 hours come back and find it untouched. Well, maybe forest animals were into photography and could take the camera – we decided not to check this. IMG_2016-05-11 11:17:50

The illusion of an uninhabited island stayed with us even in a village hotel.
The cold and the rain washed away our thoughts about putting up a tent. We booked a hotel on the go – thanks, , GoodLine for letting our plans be spontaneous! But upon arrival we have found ourselves in front of the locked door of a big beautiful building. We called the number on the door and got some strange instructions: the code from the door is here, choose any rooms on the 2nd floor, put the money on the coffee table. And here we are all by ourselves in a huge hotel!  

At first we ran around, choosing the best rooms and yelling like indians who met the city comfort for the first time. Well, that’s how we felt after a freezing day in the woods!
Hot shower and an optimystic weather forecast for tomorrow brought us back to our civilized selves. Tasha and Mila made a firm decision to put on dresses the next day and to ride bikes as much as possible to catch up with the missed kilometers on the wet roads.
Little did we know that most of the way the next day our bikes will ride on us… But this is the story for the next post!

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