/ Estonia

Former military area Paldiski

Trip to Rakvere was long gone which meant it was time to explore some other place near Tallinn. Someone mentioned to me a former soviet military base area Paldiski. The same name town used to be center of the military area with no civilians allowed to get in. Now when it's freely accessible one can see the remnants of soviet military and nice coast that was in a sense protected from people up until recently.

Public transportation from Tallinn to Paldiski

Together with Juraj we decided to go there for a day trip by a train from Balti jaam train station. We bought the student tickets online for about 2€ (regular is 3€).

The trains are pretty new and very comfy. They are not particularly fast though. They serve more as a city train, which stops kind of everywhere, so it makes sense. At school we learned from one of the teachers that Estonia bought them from the money they made by selling the CO2 emission credits. In reality pretty much everything train related looks quite new in the country, which is nice.

The orange Elron train

There wasn't much to see in the town itself. The train station looked pretty abandoned. In a parking lot nearby port we found couple city tour buses with Moscow decorations. In the middle of the town was small supermarket and new office building around it, but other that that it looked mostly the same as one would expect from town 30 years ago. Even some of the cars driving the streets were from that time.

Imprint in the stone below cliffs

With nothing else to do in the town it was time to head out to the coast for our day trip. Before we came we checked that what to see and how to get around. It's pretty simple. Just follow the coast line and you will find bunch of nice places along the way.

Most of the west coast are cliffs rising from the sea with narrow stripe of land between them and water at some places. At some of them you can climb down and see the cliffs from bellow which is very nice view. Also it's easier to capture the cliff from below. At one place we even found very big imprint in the stone. Unfortunately we were unable to figure out what that was. If if was from an animal or if water carved it.

Old abandoned housing and old lighthouse

With couple kilometers in our legs we arrived to the lighthouse site. Originally there was stone lighthouse right at the edge of the cliff. Nowadays it's still there but the edge of the cliff moved below the building so it's falling apart and will eventually fall to the waves of Baltic sea. Visibility was pretty nice and the new Pakri lighthouse was opened. For three euros we could get another exercise for our legs and climbed all the way to the light that navigates boats to safety.

That's one hell of a flashlight :D

Already when coming to this place we saw wind-farm in the middle of Paldiski peninsula. You can feel the wind down at the coast very well. But only once we climbed to the top outside platform at the lighthouse we could experience the true power of wind that turns into electricity in these machines.

From wind to electricity

Reaching the west most tip of the peninsula near the lighthouse, we turned slightly back towards mainland and followed the northern coast with sandy beaches. Kilometers of sandy coastline with pine forest all along presented beautiful place to rest and enjoy the sea. Unfortunately at this time of a year (end of April) the weather was still quite cold and with the wind on top of it, swimming was out of question for us. Sadly I must say.

Sand, stones, pine forest and sea all around!

At least we had very nice coastal hike with couple snack breaks and exploration of this a bit forgotten place. Most of the visitors end their trip at the lighthouse. But that's not the case for locals. We were walking down the coast when an old SUV appeared from the forest and was heading towards us on the beach. As far as I can tell, local Estonians just drive everywhere. Even to the beach like we just saw.

Proof that Estonians drive everywhere.

By the time we reached the other cliffs on the north side of Paldiski peninsula we met couple more cars. They were either just driving on the beach or going to picnic sites in the forest. In my view it's just crazy. They have this pretty forest with calm and silent beaches and they ruin it by driving cars here. Am I the only one who doesn't get it?

Fallen cliff

Later that day, we found collapsed cliff which was accessible from below so we could climb it and see the structure of the stone. My brother (geology student) would probably know more about the compounds or what the stone is made of. For me it's more about the graphical structure that I can photograph. And I must say I liked the structure here.

With sporadically working GPS we only guessed where we were and decided to turn inland so we head towards the train again. After all it was getting late and we were getting tired. Here I realized that my original idea to walk all the way to Keila waterfall area wouldn't work. Once back home I checked the distance and it would make 40+ kilometers of walking for the day :D.

Leetse monastery

Walking inland we discovered ruins of old monastery that was probably abandoned quite long time ago. On the way there you can also see remnants of the soviet military base scattered among the forest. None of them are particularly photogenic though. The Leetse monastery on the other hand was nice place, hidden from the wind in the forest as a bonus. Yay!! :D

This is what happens when you drive to forest

The monastery was probably currently used for some events from time to time hence the wooden platform inside the walls. Outside we found abandoned truck. One just has to explore such a thing, right? :D Unfortunately it didn't start. When we had enough of fiddling with the car it was time to head back towards our train. After some more walking through the forest, stopping at couple more interesting urbex style places we reached the main road towards Paldiski.

The traffic was quite small. Luckily we discovered in a map that there is a train station in the forest closer to us than Paldiski so we went there instead of walking couple more kilometers on the asphalt. The train leaves approximately once an hour and we came just after one left :(. Anyway we spent our time discussing our childhood baby fairy tales which are typical for our home. :D

With train coming and taking us back to Tallinn we called it a day. And for this time that's it my friends. Hope you liked this trip and as always if you have questions let me know at my FB.

The trip
Ondra Brem

Ondra Brem

Information technology student above everything enjoying traveling, photography and playing ultimate frisbee. Born and living in Czech Republic, but counting the Earth as home.

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