Category Archives: Russia

Entering Russia in Ivangorod visiting Petergof with its castle and approaching my destination of the tour – St. Petersburg

The long way back home from St Petersburg 

So after a last night in my cosy hostel I took my time to find the way to the harbour where St. Peterline ferries leave Russia. As I was already used to it I preferred the wide pedestrian ways and reached the terminal – of course in my wonderful rainclothes. 

Crossing the border control with my huge luggage was no problem so I took a shower in my cabin and enjoyed a last russian beer and phoning to german friends. 

As we left St Petersburg we’ve had the last views to the harbour of this great town.

Enjoying dinner in the evening I had to go to bed early as we approached Helsinki at 08:00 h – so breakfast was already at 06:30 h and it was a real pleasure to see the first small islands short before we arrived in Finnland. 

As the ferry from Russia arrived in the central harbour I had to cycle about 20 km out of town to another terminal but it was a really nice trip as I’ve had wonderful sunshine, perfect cyclepaths and a great landscape. 

Having enough time to go there I explored Helsinki – great city worth coming back to have a closer look.

And finally I had the chance to make a rest next to a small lake in the sun – enjoyed it so much after having cold and rainy weather… 😬 

After check in we had to wait about 2 1/2 h for boarding and there were german bikers I could talk to who had been traveling also to Latvia and Estonia. 

So next day we arrived in time in Lübeck in the late evening and I took a regional train into the city where my youth hostel was booked a long time ago. Great place to stay. 

But – having a look for the train next day the ticket machine told me that the train will be in time – but without a cycle compartment. Great! 😀 So on the next day a friendly lady at the ticket office told me I had to take the night train as the day trains where fully booked – with bicycles. But it was great fun as I met a cyclist from Lübeck who was starting his trip to Italy and a girl from Hamburg so we enjoyed this trip talking about recent and coming up trips. 

So finally I’ve reached my destination Traunstein 23 h later but with an huge backpack full of stories of this trip  – great to have done it!

In the end I’d like to thank all the friendly people I’ve met on this tour for accompany me and having a good time together – it was a real pleasure to hear new stories from around the world and get to know people from many corners of this cool planet! 

Thanks also again for your donations for ‘ doctors without borders’ – a great help for humans in need! 

See you soon on the road – enjoy the summer!

3 days in Petersburg 

So this is the final evening before starting my way back to Germany – and of course the forecast for tomorrow says rain… 

So on my first day off I’ve been visiting Peterhof and its fountains and taking the way back to the town by a fast (old) boat.

Yesterday there was an overview of the city on the plan which lead me along the Newski Prospekt where my hostel is situated to the Isaak Cathedral and to the river Neva. Here I’ve visited a part of the Eremitage which is called Glavnyy Shtab. 

And – as a must-see for an cyclist on the Euroroute R1 – I’ve visited the starting point of this international long-distance cyclepath – the main post office. 

So after a long day walking I jumped again in this pulsing city to have dinner and later on the evening you’ll find young musicians on the pedestrian – absolutely fabulous! 

Finally today I went into the Eremitage again but this time I’ve chosen the main building called Winter Palace. It took me about 2 hours to visit one part with an audio guide and afterwards I had booked a guided tour which lasted another 2 1/2 hours – but we were just a group of 3 so it was perfect. 

Now I was really finished but the Isaak Cathedral had to be seen as tomorrow I’m going to go into the opposite direction. Unfortunately I was a little bit late so I couldn’t visit the roof of it – but I’m not sure if I even would have been physically able to do it… 😬 

So tomorrow afternoon I’m going to catch the St Peterline ferry to Helsinki overnight, cycling out of town about 20 km to another harbour and take the ferry to Travemünde/Germany. Here I am going to sleep also in a hostel and take the train on monday morning back to my hometown which I’ll reach about at midnight – forecast says thunder and rain….:-o 

Finally I’ve jumped into the huge city – St Petersburg, you’ve got me! 

Cycling day 15/105 km

Starting in the morning in Gurlewo it was – as usual – a cloudy sky above me and I began my last cycling day…

A great breakfast prepared by an english speaking guy from Usbekistan made me ready to take these last 95 km – even at 11 Degrees C and sometimes wind from the front.

So on this trip there weren’t so many highlights but an old castle which was more or even less restaurated – the entrance fee was as high as a coffee at the station in St Petersburg… 

And the roads weren’t that bad – of course there are lots of big wholes in the street but even with a recumbent and a trailer it was no problem to get through – just to mention that as there were some stories on blogs and from other travelers… 

I’ve enjoyed cycling a last time even in the full rainclothes and the trip went by on my mind. Around tea time I’ve arrived at the old station of Peterhof and had to wait for nearly an hour. There I’ve get to know to an russian guy who is working for an internet magazine and I’ve told him about couchsurfing. 

And than, the time went by quickly, we arrived in…St Petersburg, my final destination! 

I got my stuff into the fifth floor to my hostel at the Newski Prospect and jumped into the street to get some good food! 

And of course I found an vegetarian one by coincidence – surprise, surprise!  😀 

So here you’ve got some impressions from this huge city – cycling through the chaos wasn’t that difficult than in Rome – nice surprise! 

So good night from Russia – looking forward to explore this marvelous city the next days… 

Welcome in Russia 

Cycling day 14/47 km

So today I’ve made my breakfast in the small hostel where kids were running around and the guys who drunk beer till about 1 o’clock in the morning were still sleeping. 

After buying some food I got a little bit nervous as I’ve read and heard stories of problems with cyclists crossing the border with big luggage. 

But – the estonian send me after a short conversation into the – empty – car lane I could use after that the safe pedestrian way to the russian authority. And – they were just smiling about my recumbent bike and after filling in the registration card (which didn’t exist anymore according to my travel agency!) I just went through – and here we are in RUSSIA! 

Here I’ve met a russian cyclist on his way to Talinn and we had an interesting conversation about where to cycle… 

So I went up to Iwangorod to look for an phone shop to get a sim card – and here we go.

Finally I started cycling at about 1 pm and the first stop was in the next big city called Kingisepp where I’ve visited an old church – and of course the next pics were taken with me by the locals who haven’t seen a recumbent bike yet.

After having lunch I jumped on the road – but now I’ve realized that the sunday traffic would be more than around midday – but it was okay and so many people greeted me with a smile – which I haven’t experienced by far in the other three countries. Sometimes the people even looked at you when you’ve asked a question. 

Finally I’ve finished my cycling day in Gurlewo where I’m going to spend the night in a small hostel which belongs to a filling station – but really nice, friendly english speaking people and good food 🍲!

By the way – I’ve just realized that tomorrow will be my LAST cycling day with around 95 km! I can’t believe it that this adventure – well, the cycling part – will be history tomorrow evening. 

Good night from Russia! 😀 

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!