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A lamentably irregular photo blog, presenting half-dozen selections from my archives and/or recent travels. Find more at www.timbirdphotography.com

Apologies for absence. I haven’t been blogging for a while, but a long weekend of cycling and hiking on the lovely island of Hiiumaa off the Estonian Baltic coast has moved me to share some shots.

We reached Hiiumaa by bus from Tallinn, the capital. The bus ticket includes the hour-long ferry ride from Haapsalu on the mainland – itself worth an exploration, with its old wooden quarter, intimate local bars and castle. In the island ‘capital’ Kärdla, we stayed at the Kaptenite Villa (their website seems to be under maintenance currently, and it was formerly known as Villa Loona), a very hospitable guesthouse run by mother and daughter Maria and Sigrid, whose breakfasts lived up to their ‘luxurious’ billing. Highly recommended as a base for a visit.

Like its bigger and better known neighbour island Saaremaa, Hiiumaa was a ‘closed’ island during Estonia’s Soviet era, with military bases dotted around the coastline. This ‘closed’ status, which forbade visits by foreigners and most Estonians, means that the natural environment is especially well preserved.

My friends and I rented bicycles and braved the elements (Estonia in the spring can be cold and blustery). Here are a few highlights:

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Tahkuna Lighthouse, one of several lighthouses on the island and the site of a memorial to the wreck of the MS Estonia in September 1994.

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The entrance to a military museum near Tahkuna is marked by a Soviet tank with flowers placed in its barrel.

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The shingle spit at Sääre tirp, with millpond calm to the east and angry seas to the west.

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Barrel chalet accommodation in the community of Kassari.

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Grazing sheep at Orjaku

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Wild spring flowers – cowslips and forget-me-nots – in a meadow close to Kärdla, Hiiumaa’s main town.

I strongly recommend a visit to Hiiumaa. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to an Estonian treasure. Welcome back, and please share, shout, tweet, hoot and Google Plus as much as you like – but please give credit where it’s due and remember copyright is MINE, ALL MINE!

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