A Travellerspoint blog

Day 60

Pärnu

sunny 4 °C

We got up slightly earlier this morning as yesterday was a bit excessive!
We had a lovely breakfast of fried potato cakes and frankfurters made for us by Jana. We then had a chat about the days destination and slowly got packed up.

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We had made the decision to cut the journey to Tallinn in half and stop at a holiday resort on the coast recommended to us by Igor. So we set off North towards Pärnu around 12ish and found our way out of Riga. After only 15 miles we had a little issue with a couple of Police Officers! Something to do with speed I think and were on our way again.

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Lunch was soon after in a small bistro just off the main road and from there it was non-stop to Pärnu. The road surface was extremely good and with thick forests on either side the ride was very pleasant. There was a few frozen lakes around as well with the odd nutter sat fishing in the middle of some!

We crossed through the Latvian/Estonian border without even stopping and arrived at our destination at around 6pm. A very helpful couple guided us in as we were slightly lost upon arrival!

We relaxed in our ample hotel room for a couple of hours before venturing out into the Baltic conditions outside to find a bite to eat.

118 miles ridden today.

Posted by EdAndJames 00:35 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

Days 58 and 59

Riga

sunny 5 °C

We left Liepaja in the morning after a good breakfast and it was very cold outside so we wrapped up warm. Halfway to Riga we found a really nice spot for lunch and took it easy there for a good two hours to ensure we arrived in Riga when our host Igor had finished work.

Igor guided us to his parent's aparment (Alex and Jana) where we showered before heading out onto the town. Riga was very quiet, but we found a lively bar and sat down for a beer. A couple of Russian girls on another table bought us some nasty shots and that set us off down a road which ended a few hours later with Ed and the bouncer carrying me out to a cab home! Alex and Jana were very understanding and helpful and let us sleep it off today (day 59). We didn't emerge from our room until 16:30 . . .

Igor phoned and asked why we'd moved our bikes from the car park last night and got us extremely panicky as we hadn't moved them at all. We got ready to head over to the car park before he called back and said April Fool!

When we could brave the outdoors we went out for some food with Igor and his wife Lena at a great place with huge halls of food and a band playing. After that they dropped us off at a spa where we spent a couple of hours moving between jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas and pools and emerged thoroughly relaxed and ready for bed again!

Perhaps this photo will make up for the April Fool - Igor in his more embarrasing long-haired days!

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Posted by EdAndJames 14:24 Archived in Latvia Comments (1)

Day 57

Liepaja

We had breakfast in a great cafe nextdoor to our hotel with good food, good music, comfy chairs and georgeous waitresses - perfect!

We set off from Kaliningrad and within the hour we had reached the coast again - the first time in just over a week and quite a relief to have made it across continental Europe without being stopped by weather on the way. The Baltic sea lived up to its name - it was freezing.

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We took a road along the Corunian Spit or Korshkaya Kosa today which is a thin strip of land 100 km or so long but only 1000m or so wide and in places even less. It has some of the biggest sand dunes in Europe and lots of trees which sadly obstructed the view for most of the day!

Halfway along, Russia became Lithuania and the Russian border guards had a good chat with us about the Premiership (Chelsea and Pavulychenko popular) and after looking at the map of our route so far called us champions! We liked them!

The difference was immediate - the road surface was much better, the speed limit higher and the small towns more catering to passing hungry bikers! After a late lunch we took a sand track to the Baltic side for a great view and got slightly bogged down (photos to come) before enjoying the final 10 km or so to the tip of the spit. A short ferry across the 100m or so and we rode North.

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Stopped in Liepaja for the night, a town famous for its Latvian rock and making a good impression immediately with a hotel called Liva (pronounced Leaver) and a stunning receptionist. I think 2 months on the road is beginning to take its toll!

161 miles today.

Posted by EdAndJames 13:05 Archived in Latvia Comments (1)

Day 56

Kaliningrad

Today we tried again to see the GP, but again failed! Oh well, we found the result out on BBC World news slightly later.

Apparently the clocks went forward over Saturday night so we ended up leaving an hour late! Nothing like a bit of forward planning.

We departed Vilinius in a Westerly direction and the roads were single track with the forested landscape surrounding them. It was still cold and there was the odd frozen lake dotted around. The landscape then opened up a touch as we drifted towards Russia.

We tried to stop at a lovely looking spot for lunch, it looked like a massive log cabin and with lots of cars in the carpark we had high hopes. The smell of a wood fire also inticed us in. The restaurant was however closed for a big function and we ended up having a kebab down the road in a car park!

After this there was a hundred miles left or so to the Russian border. We arrived here at around 5pm, we'd heard that it may be tricky getting through and even with our Visas it still took 2 hours. Once again though we managed to charm some of the border staff and in the end they were very helpful and they enjoyed our story!

The first bit of Russia gave us the similar sort of feeling we had had in the Ukraine with flat plains and flaming fields but even more so perhaps was that around the first corner we drove there was a cop standing slightly hidden, aiming a speed gun at us! Luckily we were both on best behaviour and we cruised past without being stopped.

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It was around 80 miles to Kalinigrad with took around 2 hours as the roads had a 45 mph limit on them and we were wary of the crafty cops.

We checked into Hotel Kalinigrad at 9.30pm and low and behold found a replay of the GP on TV so ended up watching this before going out for some late food and a lovely relaxing beer.

225 miles ridden today.

Sent from my iPod

Posted by EdAndJames 01:30 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 55

Vilnius

snow 1 °C

We set the alarm earlier than normal (not that we don't set the alarm early normally - Greeno!) so that we could sit up in bed and watch the GP qualifying! Unfortunately the coverage wasn't shown on any of our channels much to our dissappointment.

As we were getting ready to leave, the snow flakes that were falling had to have been some of the biggest both of us had seen! As we relunctantly packed up the bikes, we considered staying in Minsk for another day. The bikes had similar ideas and took a bit of persuading to get going.

We had a quick bite to eat at a service station on the way out of Minsk, the weather continued in Daria's words to be "disgusting!" Outside Minsk we ploughed through snow field upon snow field and even passed a few people fishing on frozen lakes! In some cases they looked dangerously close to running water.

The weather gradually improved and by the time we reached the border it was dry and the sun was threatening to come out.

The Belarussian border staff were a nice surprise and had a bit of a laugh with/at us, which we just played up to.

18 miles down the road was Vilnius, where James had been 2 years previously at the end of February with his cousin's Ka and G and the temperature hadn't got above minus 14 degrees! This time it was 4 degrees and quite pleasant!

We checked into a guest house close to the centre of the city and are now sat underground in a typical Lithuanian restaurant.

125miles knocked out today.

Posted by EdAndJames 15:05 Archived in Lithuania Comments (0)

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