After breakfast at the Forum, we headed back to the bus stop where we had gotten off the day before. It was pretty easy to find the bus we needed and luckily the driver was a really nice guy. He helped us load our bikes and we were on our way. Despite the fact that we were now on the Balitic Coast and the EuroVelo Hansa route should pass through Riga, nobody had heard of this, so we decided to go with the bus again today. Based on what we could see of the highway heading up the coast, we were happy to be on the bus. There was some more construction, and the traffic seemed pretty heavy most of the way to Ainazi.
This small town on the border was smaller than I expected. They had a nice bilingual sign telling about the few attractions that they did have to offer. These include an old wooden building, a naval museum, and a pier. Although the Baltic Sea was only a few hundred meters from the road, there was no scenic overlook or beach to take in. We sat down at the local diner for a bite to eat. Luckily the girl at the counter spoke some English because we only knew how to read salad, chicken, soup, and mushroom. I ordered the mushroom soup and mom had the fried chicken. I thought the food was pretty good and we both enjoyed the rhumbarb bars with a coffee.
One kilometer out of town we enterred Estonia and started cruising up the Via Baltica. This is the road that we had been avoiding the last couple days. Luckily, there was no construction on this stretch, traffic seemed light, and there was even a nice shoulder for us. After 20km on this road, we headed toward the coast, back to the smaller road which didn't have services at the border. We immediately found a sign for the EuroVelo route that we had been looking for. It seems like as of July 2006, Estonia is still the only country which has signposted any bike routes. After another 20km on this quiet road, though, the bike route just dumped us back onto the highway, though.
The highlight of the afternoon ride was running into two other cyclists on the road to Tallinn. Pierre and Yoel were carrying a bit more luggage and riding heavier mountain bikes, so we caught them pretty easily. We were happy to find that they spoke English and were heading in the same direction. It seems they had been riding since May 5th. They started in southern France, road across Italy and around all of the new EU countries of the east before making their way through Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia like us. We traded all kinds of stories about our rides and quickly finished the second half of our short day.
When we arrived in Parnu, we all realized that we had no Estonian money, so we exchanged some at the bank just before it closed at 6pm. I also spotted a ferry boat agent that was open, so I went in to inquire about boats to Stockholm. It took a long time before I realized that we had few options and we were running out of time, since it was Friday night and we wanted to travel Monday morning. Nevertheless, I did not buy anything, but went for a beer with Pierre and Yoel instead. They went on to look for a place to camp while mom and I checked into the Estonia Hotel.
Parnu is quite popular with older Finnish tourists who come for a good mud bath and a little relaxation. Many of them were staying at our hotel and we saw the main spa complex, but we opted for just a hearty dinner and some rest. I could see how someone could enjoy a few days in this town combined with some exploration of the surrounding parks and backroads.