pre-day, from Tallinn to Altja

„What country is this? Here are no mountains, only endless forests and mire swamps..." (Siiri Sisask, free translation, the song)
Why will you be walking, a friend asked me, is there no motorway? Of course there is, but there is also the trail. ('because it's there' – George Mallory)
I’ve walked the first part of this trail in July 2010, 80 km from Oandu to Aegviidu. Trail ended there at that time and it was prolonged until Latvian border only last year. A party of celebrities traversed it with a medium-size media campaign in August 2012 and after that many have followed, writing much more interesting blogs than the public-event-one.
The first part of the trail is very beautiful, going through bogs and past small lakes. The rest should be some uneven quality scenery.
The official home page says something like this: RMK hiking trail is the first trail going through all Estonia. The 370 km long walk starts in North-Estonia, in Lahemaa National Park, passes through thick forests of Kõrvemaa and the mightiest bog landscape in Europe – Soomaa National Park. After that it continues in forests of Pärnu County until it wiggles its way to seaside villages and beaches of the beautiful Liivi Bay. The trail traverses six counties, two national parks, nine protected areas and ends on the Estonian-Latvian border in Ikla village. The trail is marked with signs. Roadside information boards tell you about forestry, culture and recreation.

Though the trail starts in Oandu, there’s a non-official 3,5 km extension to Merinõmme beach in Altja. It’s the northern land border of the country. Of course I start there.
It is possible to travel to Altja from Tallinn by bus. Route information is available here: If you opt for the bus then there are a few things you should know about Estonians. First, Estonians usually need a lot of personal space. In a bus they indicate this by placing their belongings on the chair next to them and then pretending to be deaf and blind. Second, for some Estonians it is strictly forbidden to wash themselves. You can smell them out from far, especially in summer. It is better to do so before you happen to sit too close. If you discover one of those too late, all other seats might already be taken (see under: first). Otherwise, Estonian buses are just fine.
During my bus ride towards Altja clouds present themselves in all kinds of colors and it starts pouring with rain by the time the bus arrives in Altja. The rain stops the moment I enter Altja pub. I’m soaking wet and have a nice dinner.
It’s surprisingly warm by the sea. After a quick swim I sit on a rock for a while and watch six young ducks eating something from the bottom of the sea. Waves move lazily and some sun starts to appear. Then it turns quite windy and then the wind dies down.
1st day, 30,16 km from Altja to Nõmmeveski

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