Welcome to Estonia! 

Mo Cycling day 9/92 km

Well this is the third country I’m visiting and it welcomed me after the inspiring hostel with some positive highlights…

The cyclepaths were better than the street (only once) but the best of all – there are signposts for cyclists and the first time on the whole journey the ‘R 1` is also mentioned!

So I cycled along fantastic landscapes on good roads (even the 12 km of gravel were better to cycle than in Latvia) – and my phone connects again like in Lithuania automatically with the net – very chilled now…

So I knew already that my path will lead me to Rõuge where a campingsite also offers bungalows – and as I’m still not really fit I phoned already in the morning to check this – and it’s great! Just 15,- €!

I’ve seen also on my map that there is an Information Centre but didn’t know exactly what about. Well, it’s about the region in the past and a newly built watch tower with 2 platforms in 18 and 27 m height.

 

On my way back to the campingsite there is also a small museum about the 100 year old water mill – so the owner of this and the camping allowed me to have a short look.

Leaving the Gauja National Park 

Cycling day 8/90 km

Today was a little bit boring as the weather wasn’t that nice and I knew I had to cycle about 30 km on gravel – the aim was to reach the estonian border and to get to Valga, where I got again a small hostel. This was – let’s say interesting – as it was in the back of car garage so there was work going on till 9:30 pm…but don’t worry, be happy! 😀 

The Gauja National Park said one last time good bye – it was the second time I’ve seen the river and short before that the sky send me a 10 minutes greeting – but this was effective enough having to dry my clothes again… 

From Sigulda to Césis 

Cycling day 7/49 km

Today I was really happy to see the sun when opening the tent as the night was f***cking cold and I’m nearly to caught a cold as there were about only 7 degrees C.

Jumped in the nearby supermarket to get some food and – a Schwalbe ‘Moby Dick’ tire – not that unflatable like a Marathon Plus but a Schwalbe 😋

Cycling afterwards to the station I’ve missed to do what I usually do when I take the train – check the platform and how to reach it. So I was 3 minutes late and had to wait for the next one in 2 hours time. But there was a funny surprise – there was no water on the toilet but you’ve got free WiFi 😂

After having – again – great sweat stuff from a small bakery I started knowing that there will be some ascent and 27 km of gravel – but it was most of the time okay. Just once I’ve layed down…thankfully there was just sand and not gravel… 

Finally after 50 km I reached Césis and my booked Hotel as I need not to have that cold night again. 

Here some pics from the Gauja National Park – hope to see some more of the park tomorrow as today it was just once… 

Here you can see the church of Césis…

Here are the caves of Ligatne – great! 

Cycling to Riga with a rest day

Cycling day 6/100 km

Yesterday I’ve started in my small hotel in Kandava and was lucky to cycle through woods. So at midday I took a coffee and wanted to start again – and here was this ‘soft’ feeling – flat tire number 4.

I went on again with wind from behind so this was great to reach in a quick way the coast of the Baltic Sea again. Here you enter the road which guides you around the Sea – not so nice as you’re always in the woods on a big road…but – unbelievable, after about 50 km the back tire was flat again so I changed tube and tire – after that I go on and till now it works… 😬 

Entering a small town I found a shop to get some tasty sweats from a bakery – the sun was shining. But after finishing that it started to rain really heavy so I was thinking about how to deal with the wet stuff on a campingsite – but luckily they had built up a tent for me… 

So today I’ve had a guided tour through Riga and it’s a great town. Here some pics… Tomorrow I’m going to take the train to Sigulda and explore the Gauja National Park – looking forward to it.

A stork, 2 flat tires and a great lands and unknown wind from behind 

Cycling day 5/110 km

So finally I sit after a great dinner in my small hotel in Kansava/Latvia – but the day was – let’s say ‘interesting’.

After having a real cold night I pack my stuff together and started cycling. So it supposed to be 100 km today.  Always on good streets I first bought some bread, cheese and non-fairtrade biscuits.

As I wanted to check whether the campingsite is open I tried to use my phone first time in Latvia – but it didn’t work. So I cycled on and suddenly it felt again ‘ soft’ – damn, the rear tire again. As I’ve got now a little bit of routine I changed it. 

But what happened now? I’ve been up to 32 km/h – with a medium afford. I was really glad – today it wasn’t that cold, the sun was shining – a great cycling day.

But than there came up a sign with my destination – 10 km more than I thought. So the wind from behind was good to be in time as I’ve told the lady from the hotel I should be there around 7 pm. 

I came through Kuldiga with its famous bridge – a really modern and nice city. 

Unfortunately a few kilometers later there were again a slightly soft feeling with the tire – and yes, this was the 3. time. I think this is because of an old repair kit – hopefully. 

And I’ve seen this day many storks – fantastic animals. So, enough for today… 

Exploring Liepaja and rolling through Latvia 

This morning just a few pictures as I’ve got about 100 km to cycle and some ascent to do… 

On Saturday I’ve arrived in Liepaja and met my couchsurfing family. Monta took me into the city and showed me around the old town and former military base.

In the evening there was a fantastic music night all around the town and the museums were open and free. 

After having left on the next day I’ve made 80 km to the north where I’ve found a small campingsite – only for me with showers as it is still of season. A camper couple from Bavaria on their way to Russia invited me in their warm camper as I had to wear a hat because it was so cold… 

From Klaipeda to Nida and back 

So in the morning I’ve started my trip finally with my recumbent bike and took the small ferry to the spit – with many school kids who went to the delfinarium.

After having left the crowded space I’ve entered the national park which had an outstanding beauty. This day the weather wasn’t so good and therefore the sensations where – let’s say medium but really nice. 

You cycle along the dunes for about 54 km and find great options to climb the dunes to have a great view. So after cycling nearly to Nida I had the strange feeling that the suspension is really soft – but thankfully it was just a flat tire and as it was only a small hole I could make my way to the campingsite. 

In the evening I met a swiss couple who do a really great trip for one year around Europe and perhaps they will make their winter holidays in Marrokko. So their where many stories to tell and we sat around our tents, cook some pasta and had a great view in the evening from the nearby dune. 

On the next morning we had together our breakfast with real espresso and decided to cycle together to Klaipeda as we had the same way. So we visited the Grey Dune and could see the Russian Federation not far away. 

We continued our journey accompanied by great sunshine and 25 degrees and I got a sunburn. 

The cyclepath is known in that area as the best part of the whole journey between London and St Petersburg and we enjoyed it very much.

So we reached the small ferry I had yesterday already and drove over to Klaipeda where we had  a short look to the city as the both hadn’t seen the city before. They wanted to go to a hostel and I continued after saying good bye to the next campingsite, about 10 km away. Cycling through woods again it was a real pleasure. But – the couple had to follow me as the hostel was fully booked and we sat together again. In our neighborhood there were two camper also from Switzerland so we sat together and they invited us for an absolut great dinner – wonderful. They made a BBQ, we had delicious wine and a good beer…after a while a french guy came along and we started a talk with him – so finally this day finished again at 11 pm – and now the blog is written and I can fall asleep in my huge tent… 

Let’s go to Lithuania! 

Finally I’ve started my trip with the longest preparation time I’ve made till today. I hop on the local trains to Munich where I’ve had my traditional beer with a cold pice of pizza and jumped on the Nightjet train to Hamburg. 

Waking up on Tuesday morning there was rain – like it was predicted. I took the a train to Kiel and cycled to a small bicycle shop where I’ve ordered already a spare mirror for my bike as there where no ones in the shops around my home to get in that short time. 

Having some hours to wait in rainy Kiel I’ve had a look around and found the Nautical Museum including the nearby town museum. Very interesting to find out some facts about ships, the history and the present. 

Now the time had come to go to the harbour to check in. Many lorries where already waiting and a bicycle. I met an older lady who’ve made so many trips in her life so the 2 1/2 h just went by with many stories. 

On the ship I’ve had a wonderful cabin for my own with a shower and after cultivating myself again there was a great dinner and some outstanding views of the harbour of Kiel departing Germany. 

The sun came out and so we had some wonderful views of the coastline and later on a good lithuanian beer at the bar. 

This morning after having a great breakfast we had a little bit of sunshine and finally in the afternoon we arrived at the harbour of Klaipeda in Lithuania. 

After having left the ferry I’ve met a really friendly couchsurfing couple with a great dog and a 6 year old kid and they showed me around the old town of Klaipeda and its history – absolutely fabulous! 

So tomorrow I’m going to take a small ferry to the curonian spit and do my first real cycling day down to the south to Nida where I’m going to camp one night – looking forward to this great adventure! 

Cycling for “Doctors without borders/Médecins Sans Frontíeres”

As I´m going to cycle around 1.400 km I´d like to encourage you, my friends and visitors of this blog, to support the “Doctors without borders” with a donation of your choice.

I got the idea of collecting donations from the german long-distance-cyclist Peter Smolka who is travelling right now in Turkey. You can find is journey here:
http://www.tour-de-friends.de

MSF-Unterstuetzer-Logo_Rot+Schwarz_CMYK

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is a private international association. The association is made up mainly of doctors and health sector workers and is also open to all other professions which might help in achieving its aims.

All of its members agree to honour the following principles:

  • Médecins Sans Frontières provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of gender, race, religion, creed or political convictions.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions.
  • Members undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic or religious powers.

So I kindly encourage you to visit my (german) donation website to leave a few Euros… 🙂

My donation site on Doctors without borders (german)

Part Two – From Valga along the Lake Peipus to St. Petersburg/Russia

Having left the outstanding Gauja Nationalpark I´ll have a closer look to the city of Valga.
Following the national estonian cyclepath 3 and 4 I´m going to visit Tartu.
Here you can find a city where many students present an open-minded culture and I´m looking forward to visit this interesting big city.
At the beginning of the preparations – as the author of my travel book recommends you – I´d like to visit also Talinn by bus. But unfortunately I haven´t got enough time to do this.

r1_estland_uebersicht

We get back to the Lake Peipus where I´m going to meet a very ancient culture – here the people live a very simple and poor life by growing and selling fruits and vegetables.

At the northern part of the lake I´d like to have a look at a bird protection area – sounds interesting. Reminds me on the “Reservé Africane” in the south of Bordeaux… 🙂

Only a day ride away I´m going to reach to northern steep coast of the Baltic Sea and will camp there again. After this I will approach the border to…Russia.

r1_spb_uebersicht

On this part of my trip I won´t have any cyclepaths – it´s not common to cycle  in Russia.

The cycling club “Velo Piter” from St. Petersburg tries hard to find a good alternative for that Route. These 173 km are sometimes a little bit difficult because of the quality of the streets.

But there is a route where you can get to Peterhof with its outstanding castles and from there it is recommended to take the local train for about 30 km to my great destination – St. Petersburg!

I´ve booked already a hostel in the 5th floor – and of course they haven´t got an elevator!
But this is just once so this famous city will be the absolute highlight of this trip where I´m going to stay for 4 nights.

Finally I will jump on the St. Peterline ferry to Helsinki and from there with Finnlines back to Germany where – after staying a night in a youth hostel in Lübeck – the train will take me back to home – hopefully!

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