Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Käsmu peninsula, Tallinn in beautiful light.

The first rain free day. We biked through the forest and down the Käsmu peninsula visiting old wooden houses. Stopped by a small lighthouse. Had a very expensive coffee at a Bob Marley cafe in a village, so strange to hear those reggae beats in this landscape. I bought local raspberries, strawberries and cucumbers from a small stall where women were selling produce, and picnicked on the beach.

We saw the beauties of Tallinn in strong bright sunshine. We have fantastic views from the cathedral and castle areas and could see the architecture of the town with the 15 century castle and narrow streets. We went into the huge Russian orthodox cathedral atop the hill and ended in the large square in the lower town. Had a beer here with David and Maureen just enjoying the atmosphere. Our hotel is in the port area and we walked back for supper there. The hotel is a standard clean light modern Scandinavia type with few luxuries.

Chatted to Maureen as we were cycling about my father’s book Annie Matthews and there were parallels with her own family. She was born into a poor catholic family in Wales and several of her aunts had been governesses. She has written a book about her experiences called "Ten pound Pommies" which was the cost of going to Australia in the 1960 's when the government was encouraging migrants from Europe.

My first impressions of Tallinn are that it is busy port with lots of industry. The town has very modern suburbs with factories, feels far more developed that Latvia and Lithuania.

Overall impressions of the trip, excellent combination of biking and cities. We could have had more free time in the cities, it would have been improved by a lot by an extra day in Riga. The hotels could also have been more central, on several occasions such as in Kaunas, Riga and Klaipėda. The last night in Vihula manor was excellent. I have been surprised by the beauty of the evening light and enjoyed walking around cities in the evening. I have also been surprised by the fine botanical gardens. The cycling was also pleasurable because there was little traffic and motorists were very careful of cyclists.

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