Unfortunately, we get undesirable advertising entries over and over again on our visitors' book side. That's why we switch your greetings reely afterwards. We are always very glad about greetings from friends and thanks for your understanding. Bea and Pit
From Südjütland we enjoy the driving over the islands Fünen, long country, Lolland, Falster to Köge on Zealand in the east in comfortable stages. We experience the island differently. As in the remaining Scandinavian countries lawn is mowed what holds the stuff. Gigantic surfaces rasp tractor mower noisily on golf lawn length from. The tractor with earphone radio for many Danes presumably is simply the nicest in the gardening. In Lolland we go on partly bad streets, here and there junk lies around the houses and many villages look a little inviting. To experience especially well with the bicycle.
Virtually impertinent weather luck – after the pair of drops shortly after Hirtshals spoils to us the sun for three weeks with summery 20 to 24 degrees – almost let’s forget of many Wet Norway.
The nights become noticeably chiller. The tent is wet in the morning inside and outside. We find time, refine the technology with the dry, creep between outside tent and inside tent and pack our "house" almost drily into the bag. Need makes inventive and in dealing with water, in the meantime, we are deer.
In the morning our ferry to Bornholm leave the harbour at 00.30 o'clock in Köge. The happy chance to meet us Andrea and Linda, two German ladies respond to tour, in the afternoon in the small town. We have a lot of time up to the departure. A beer and two hours later we say goodbye with an embrace. It was nice to get to know you. Good trip!
Nevertheless, amusing, as well organised and quickly the gigantic ferry "Hammerodde" (fits, or?) in three hours unload and will load. Between truck and many containers it really has place for two Bicycles with luggage. In the big cubicle with bed bunks we curl up in the sleeping-bags and let weigh from the distant diesel engine hum softly in the sheep. Bornholm we come!
Look back on Norway
The beauty of nature and scenery in Norway was a force for us! Day by day to experience new views, the sun and rain at the same time, for days rain, apparently in the sky leading streets, many, many metres height, rapid departures, big and small ferries, dreamlike camp places and sundown’s on lonesome coasts and fjords – all that in nearly eight weeks and to process is not easy for us.
The resignation have made easier to us the enormously high prices, the reserved Norwegians, a loose contact with money (prices are rounded up), 25% of value added tax, often modest line of products, empty shelves and limited shopping possibilities, the laborious purchase by beer, wine and spirits (besides: according to UN Norway has the worldwide highest standard of living – for the fourth time). Norway is an experience which we would not miss.
Denmark is different. The country should be above all level (we also thought). If it has no mountains, however, this still is not called long that there are no gradients. And, yes, wind gives `see also (a little bit more, than supposed). Immediately from the outset we probably feel in Jutland. This lies not least with the good cycle track net and the maps in addition. Several official routes, however, above all on the North Sea coast, are without tar layer. With a lot of luggage not the yellow of the egg; we ignore them. Also the cycle tracks which drive down in high streets are noisy and more having to go than being allowed. Thanks to GPS we find countless small little pastes with very little traffic.
From Hirtshald to the Baltic Sea rolls `see with tail wind, then from As to Fjaltring back to the North Sea one to step hard means. We have time, let float.
The bicycle driving is pure rest to mountainous Norway. Gigantic wheat fields, to vast cattle pastures, some maize, oat, a few sugar beet fields and small little villages – we stroll per day hardly more than 50 kilometres. Spend the night never is in Denmark a problem. There are a lot of very big camping places. Sometimes we are the only one with tent. The alternative for us are "resting places", natural camps off inhabited areas, mostly with water and toilet. They cost nothing and only few tourists get lost there, because they are difficult to be found, at least without exact describing. (There is in a book to which we agree for days).
Impressive and new for us were the wide sandy beaches by the North Sea. Wildly and vehemently the waves whip the shore, stormy wind blows sand in the eyes and us almost from the feet.
Luckily the wide dunes on the west coast bridle the violent North Sea wind something. We feel often, nevertheless, as if we only had to break in our high-spirited become pushbikes. Some drivers mine apparently, we circle to the fun swerving lines and only one close driving past would bring the donkeys on the wheels to the reason. Without for hesitation Pit one or other would step on the big toe. Better nobody stops.
After nearly 12 `000 kilometres without flat foot it gets Pit in five days three times. Malefactors are enormously sharp splinters of flint. The tyre looks as if somebody had abused him as a base to the onion reaping. No question, the next record is pre-programmed, there helps no shivering and hope. In Söndervig Pit need a new tyre has to go here, immediately. Unfortunately, with the bicycle rental company (www.söndervigfahrradverleih.dk) no suitable tyre is in camp. The German owner promises „no problem, today I go to Ringköping and bring you new to the camp site“. The tyre is freely delivered to tent in the evening – great service! Many thanks, now it rolls again really.
Two days of being lazy (Wash, shopping, stages plan, tubes mend, HP update, Statistic post lead, mails write...) on Fanö, a small island before Esbjerg in Südjütland, soul and legs are good. We enjoy the wide beaches and observe seals on sandy benches in the mud flats. Actually, Denmark did not stand on our travel list of presents – we would have missed a lot.
We want during the next weeks over the Danish island spring cross-beam to Poland. Warsaw and Cracow should be especially nice. And if everything claps then it further goes to Budapest.
Adj ø Norway, velkommen Denmark!
In the evening with a good six hours of delay, we leave with the only for three weeks in service standing "MS Stavangerfjord" rainy Bergen in the direction of Hirthals in Denmark. The Bicycles are stowed away in the ship belly and we sit on deck 10, (finally), behind a beer. The find the right lift make thirsty. Do we lack the cruise experience?
The air armchairs are comfortable, but for sleeping... the cabins were sold out, unfortunately. After half an hour Bea lies in the centre aisle and Pit finds a hard and uncomfortable base between the rows for "sleeping". (We are only one handful of travellers in the space). A cap sleep and 15 hours later puts on the ferry in Denmark, our 20th travel country.
Namsos - Trondheim – Molde - to mountains
(21st of July - 4th of August, 2013)
The weather becomes better from day to day. Better is called for us, finally, no more rains. However, the meadows remain for days marshy. The street 720 along the Beitstadfjord is narrow, traffic and moderate gradients hardly has. Once more appears that unnoticed and therefore a little known side streets are true bicycle tidbits. Pleasure driving purely! Norway is here like the Emmental, a region in Switzerland. Deep blue and with many islands spreads of the Storvatnet briefly before we the Trondheimsfjord reach. The sweat flows in streams with much better as if the rain runs in the shoes.
The more to the south we come, the more difficultly becomes the Wildcampen. Every spot is used agriculturally or blocked off with "Privately". To come near to the water is nearly impossible. Quite not easy to find a camping place there are not many and if, tents are not accepted. Never then less, Trondheim is not so far anymore. There we will rest one day. We are tired...
In Molde we whip our tent beside from Conny and Claudio from Spiez. After one month of bicycle driving without rain (this is really!) they further want in the north. If your tour and Norway enjoys and do not allow to spoil for you from the rain – which remains, unfortunately, not saved to you during the next days – the bicycle driving! All the best, Conny and Claudio.
With the MS Trollfjord we sail to Bergen.
After five months mail and skypen we may close Alexandra and her Christian again in the arms. To the least three days stroll together, cook, enjoy. We've missed you badly..
5th of August we open to other shores.
Dank weather, palatal joys and a birthday
(Bode to Höfles, 7th – 20th of July 2013)
Since Andenes on the Westerälen islands the dank weather has pursued us. Nearly three weeks rain, grey sky, clouds, wind and only 10 degrees during the day. Yes, we are fed up! After the great spring weeks in the Baltic States, in Sweden and Finland and the hammer weather in the Nordkapp... the weather fall had to come sometime.
The special lighting conditions give to the sea and the coast a drama which there is only here in the north. One scene seems more mystically than the other. Glistening sunrays break for few seconds by pitch-black clouds, sea and country shine golden brown and at the next moment a rain wall pushes in the scene, as if there had never been the sun. We being astonished and fascinates right in the middle. In the quarter of hour tact the sky pours out tub-wise waters more than two bicycle drivers. It has to take off no sense the soaking wet rain stuff if it does not pour sometimes. The next washhouse is already in the suit. The tumult in the sky fascinates and moves in spell and drily everything becomes over and over again. But, finally, three weeks are enough, so e thinks.
Free Cabins are rare. In Bode is not to be concluded last available; his last guest has forgotten the key in the trousers bag. At last luck for us. Nevertheless, on the objection meant as a joke of Bea, this discount would have to give; the renter really settles to us a lower price. Maybe also because to us Dario Cologni, our Swiss world class long runner and his duel with Petter Nordhug is a concept.
Coastal road Nr. 17 is still our route. Stepping is never dull. All the time the street changes the direction, only the wind blows constantly in the face. No notion like this comes. Every evening if we make the statistic, there are to be taken down between 500 and 900 metres height. We are mostly tired and broken like after a quick hundred. A tour cyclist (teacher, record cyclist, record speed skater, record jogger, Record-Inline skater...!? we learn at less than five minutes) which we meet, drives per day (and at night, because of the wind ) 180 to 250 kilometres. Moreover, he is a vegetarian. No notion like he to the necessary calories comes. Long-distance drivers meet us daily various ones, most with lighter luggage than us. Some create just one nod as a greeting, must unwind the planned kilometres suppressed. Sometimes we meet strange people.
The rotten and chill weather stops. We find 70 kilometres after Bode on the Kjellingstraumen north camp, a small camp site with comfortable day room, with effort spots for the tent which are not underwater. Wet all over we are filling our home in the morning into the bag. Do get it dry it is impossible at the moment.
The home Mos camping, two kilometres has earned a special mention before Brönnöysund. Anna Jensen has furnished the little cabins with a lot of devotion affectionately. The whole camp site is maintained very much and clean. Spend the night absolutely recommended. After every street bend a new, overpowering look at mountains and fjords – nicely that we have time and can drive the wild-romantic route. Now and again there are tunnels, some nearly three kilometres long. Thanks too few traffic never a problem.
Today Saturday, 20th of July, Tronfolger Haakon of Norway celebrates his 40th birthday. Everywhere in the country parties rise, thus also on our camping place. A Norwegian refreshment bar with music and dance, this we do not miss. And because it anyway still... oh, we leave this. The bicycles stand in the dry and we enjoy one more rest day more.
Camping in the north,
as we do
Over and over again we write from wildly Camp, from “little cabins" on camp sites, from kitchens and warm day rooms. Here a little bit more info’s in addition.
In the free nature we camp and the rest enjoy, dear one and make this often. The “every ones rtight” is in Scandinavia since decade’s firm equipment. According to the law it is allowed to all which are on the move without car to spend the night two days in the nature. However, are about to follow some basic rules (private reason respect, 150 m of distance dwelling houses, care with the fire make, no wood hit and div. other restrictions). Up to now there never was a great thing, problems.
Showering and laundry must wash be (before we cannot smell ourselves any more...), for this there are enough camp sites. Various ones are given neither on maps nor in lists – pleasant surprises for us after a long bicycle day. In the north most camping places have a kitchen with several cooking facilities and a day room. It’s very welcome in rotten weather very and always a meeting place with other Tourists without camper. If it has Internet, and this does not have it on all camp sites, then at least in the day room.
A specific feature and during rest days and rotten weather (like now) welcome, are the “little cabins" on the Scandinavian camp sites. With moisture and wind of all sides’ four walls, a heating and to have a bed, the absolute luxury! According to camping and equipment (and size, clearly), the prices are also luxurious and not payable (for us). With luck and sometimes negotiate, are easy Cabins (two beds and a cooking opportunity without getting hold of water connection) from approx. 70 sFr.
From Bode on Costal road no. 17
Soon after Bode the wetter becomes clear. We have selected a real bicycle route titbit to us with 650 kilometres of Costal road No. 17. The distance too shortly before home Trondheim should be according to describing one nicest from completely Norway. The route causes some trips by ferry; the street is thereby relatively expensive for cars. Good for us. Campers are to be found clearly less than on the Lofoten. We pay, by the way, with the bicycles the pedestrian's rate on the ferries. However, this is almost the only inexpensive in Norway (for us).
Vesterälen islands and Lofoten
Our route on the Vesterälen is nice, but is not breathtaking. Several straight lines with headwind are not the yellow of the egg. We did it: 10 `000 driven travel kilometres! On it we enjoy in the evening a drinking mug wine from the cardboard box. One allows himself, otherwise, nothing. With Stokmarknes we place with the ferry on the Lofoten. The expectations are big. The island group is somewhat of the nicest what one can experience. Yes, the Lofoten are impressive. However, for us they well join on the seen up to now and experienced, particularly do not stand out. Sometimes steals over us the feeling to be on the move even with the bicycle still too fast. Every day there is to process many impressions. From Svolvaer to Flakstad we struggle on 100 kilometres over bumpy headwind, how seldom. The invisible devil comes always from the front in which direction we also sweat away. Several times the smallest way is almost too big, of the click pedals get out advisable. Only with effort it does not go in the roadside ditch. Finally, the camping comes to Flakstad in view. The weather is reparative (rain, strong wind), will remain thus during the next days. Well, we make it to ourselves after a night with a lot of wind in the day room comfortable. One break day is due. Laundry and prepare night food (e.g., steak, vegetables, pasta, meatballs with potato floor and tomato salad) once more in a kitchen. In addition wine (see above). We feel great!
From Tromsö to the cricket fjord, ferry to Andenes on the Vesterälen islands
We have decided to go very near on the coast to mountains. The street becomes a good 15 kilometres to Tromsö narrow, strongly rises and the best for us, there is only very little traffic. Up to the Gryllefjord and to the ferry to Andenes the stages are dreamlike. Every day one says, several metres height climb. The street is never level, the sweat flows in streams. For it incredibly nice valleys, lakes, wide bays with white sand and over and over again. The places for camping it are according great – certainly we have found the nicest ones (it seems to us). Oystercatchers hatch quite near and we marvel at the well disguised eggs, then we leave alone the nice birds. In Andenes the campers and the coach tourism have us again. The weather overturns. Deeply black clouds hang on the cleft mountain slopes, promise nothing good. Then at night on 2nd of July it becomes stormy. The idea to put the tent near by the sea on a hill is good because of the mosquitoes. The whole night was heavy wind with rain. We still have everything, nothing is broken.
Fjords and Tromsö
Along the Altafjord it goes in the narrow long fjord, mostly near in the water and without gradients. In the great warm, almost hot weather there flow the first sweat drops. Now and again he gives a hard time to us a lot of camper traffic. Some come with the overtaking dangerously near. The look in the rear-view mirror is not so breathtaking as the fjords marvel at, but a must. Every day tour bicycle drivers meet us. None has time for a few words, a pity. Only few holiday's weeks presumably have at disposal most and to fulfil a daytripp. We enjoy to have time and also to stroll sometimes. The cliffs become more and more mountains, snowy fields and there is cold hoist from 300 m ü. M. The weather becomes more changeable, now and again a shower forces us in the rain trousers. At the third night after Alta there is in the evening a thunderstorm, pitch-black sky and bumpy hoist shake hard the tent. We crouch in a passport crossing in the tent and Pit cannot force itself to cook in the rain. In the Lyngenfjord there is the first and in the Ullsfjord the second ferry to Tromsö. Every curve, every hilltop and every passport crossing opens new views so great! And over and over again splendid flower meadows line our distance. The branch line (ferry from Olderdalen) is ideal to the bicycle driving. Very little traffic, nature, nature and nature again. In Tromsö, the most northern town of Norway (approx. 71 `000 inhabitants) we rest one day. On Sunday it goes for direction Andenes to the Lofoten.
From Hammerfest to Alta
After a good five hours on lake we do not leave the ship reluctantly. Andre, the Belgian whom we met three days before has travelled with us. To Alta there is twice wildly to tents on really nice places. Reindeers gaze to us at nature purely, view about fjords and to morning food curiously. A few kilometres farther a resting place, time for the midday picnic. We do not trust to our eyes, there is not this, nevertheless - really we meet friends from our village! Tallness, Hello, and after food a coffee in the camper (it catches in to rain), there we do not say no. Annemarie and Martin, many thanks for the fine bottle of wine! In the evening Bea has conjured for it specially fine food. Good trip and greetings in the native country, Annemarie, Martin, Pia and Marcel! Alta is ideal for a break. The legs still feel very heavy after three strenuous days. Finally, wash laundry, bicycles control, dry the tent, make purchases which update homepage and prepare the next stages (above all the care with food is tricky and requires planning). And then the feet high-level laying and read... we feel great....
The Nordkapp Great –
we did it !!!
On the 18th of June, 2013, 12 o'clock we stand with bicycles, bag and stack at the Nordkapp. 71 ° 10'16" latitude north, 2.095 kilometres away from the North Pole. Indescribably – we are there - really. What a great feeling, what a beautiful weather. Exactly four months ago we have left Istanbul, there are 6088 kilometres by bicycle (from home 9226 km), 31 `797 metres height climbed (since Switzerland 61` 751), have changed two tyres (no other breakdowns) and both some kilos "lost". We feel excellent and are simply contented and happy. We meet Ruth and Herrmann from Fribourg with her camper again. they have invited us The day before on the way spontaneously to the coffee. Thanks Ruth and Herrmann that we might be staying in your rolling Home by cafe and some food! We go in the afternoon back to Honningsvag. Mostly it goes downhill, but just not only (see above). The other morning we will take the Ferry to Hammerfest.
In the Barents Sea
On the 16th of June we reach theBarents Sea in the Porsangerfjord in Norway and cross with it the 70th degree of latitude. 91 kilometres constant On and From, headwind and refines 8 degrees – a long bicycle day comes to an end (sometime there rejoices Bea „ 9`000 kilometres – juuhuu!!“). We meet Andre, a Belgian on big tour and Ricke and Jan, put up Dutchmen, on the way on a chat. By the way, remarkably: Most travel meetings on two wheels are at our age or older and on long tour. Welcome to the club! We still have to go a good 130 km up to the Nordkapp. To Honningsvag there are five tunnels to drive through. Well lights up (the tunnels and we) this is no problem, only the traffic – especially the Motor homes. The longest one, the Nordkapptunnel, is nearly 7 kilometres, drops precipitously to 212 m under the sea level and then rises always nicely with 10% 3 km to the exit. Among Nordkapp cyclists a special subject, nightmarish and, nevertheless, amusing. We have been told, to cross the tunnel very early in the morning because of the traffic and the noise. We camp quite near with the entrance. Get up at 04.00 o'clock and start the big adventure. We roll precipitously down. Possibly so it must be Jules Vernes „trip to the centre of the earth“-. Exhausted, the last forces mobilising, finally, finally, the daylight comes to view. On 31 end kilometres up to the most northern point of the European mainland it goes only properly to the thing. In the nicest weather and without traffic in the early morning we climb metre around metre. After every bend still comes a "trimming", one more curve – does it never stops? And hardly on a plateau highly gasped – the cape is wide behind already by view and on the same height – the street drops unexpectedly and rises kilometre further again. One knows with the walking. So come on to the bags and no tiredness pretend.
Ivalo, Inari, border to Norway
On the map Ivalo and Inari look as if these were places with a certain infrastruct ure.Really there is a good handful of houses and maybe two stores with a basic offer of food. How much we are spoilt, nevertheless, from home. At least, Pit finds a reserve spare in Ivalo (not folding, unfortunately).
The weather changes on the way to Inari. The temperature falls about good 15 degrees in the one-digit area. The damn cold
wind blows in the face, in the sky dark clouds go hunting and a few times we slip sharply along a rain front. A lot up and down about long straight lines, above all, however, the bumpy wind makes
the legs hard. In the Inarisee Andre from Gera meets us. He is also on his first big long tour. The next day we talk to Laurent. The French is on the move for five years, now with his
80-kilogramme wheel on the way to Istanbul. To North America and South America he cycles through Europe, wants to have walked round later eastwards and sometime the
Norway! Our 19th travel country greets us with warmer, sunny weather. In Karasjok we shopped in the supermarket. The fact that it becomes (even) more expensive was quite clear to us. E.G., cost 1 kg of tomatoes 7.50 sfr; 1 kg of bread from 6.40 sfr; iceberg lettuce, 400 g - sfr of 4.80; potatoes, 1 kg from 4.80 sfr; RedBull, 0,25 l - sfr of 3.40; milk chocolate, 200 g - sfr of 4.80; beer 0,5 l-can of from sfr 3.80-5.50. Well, quit expensive for a bikerbudget...
Rovaniemi, elks, racing animals and the second coat tear Approx
another 650 kilometres up to North Cape, a stage aim in summer. Now after 1340
kilometres in Sweden (since Stockholm) we are in Rovaniemi, the official native country of Santa Claus and capital of Finnish Lapland. Here in the Arctic Circle we insert one break day. Seven days of pedals, rains and headwind have demanded us – to charge time, the batteries. But the efforts are worthwhile: Flower meadows with many, many "Ankebälli" (troll flowers); wood, as far as the eye reaches, interrupted by small and big lakes, brooks and rivers.
Scandinavia has his own charm. One succumbs to him or can start nothing with
it. Unusually hot days lie behind us. The locals hope that already the summer has not been, so we do. About the 21st of June the Tourists are lying round to themselves there on top on thefeet. That`s definitively nothing for us.
With the nicest sunshine we cross the northern polar circle shortly after Rovaniemi –
today it rolls almost by itself. A wide back has absolutely also with the bicycle driving his (wind) advantage. Abruptly, approx. 50 km to Rovaniemi: „Uhhh, lie, elks!!“ Really, in the bushes something off the street appear twoheads and four big ears. One quickly went away, the other one stare at us for several minutes. Great! Now daily we also hit on reindeers. Neither trucks nor cars impress them largely; they stop in the middle on the street and hinder the traffic. Two Bikers, however, unknown beings, before it fly they timidly in all directions of it. Why do dogs also not tick thus?
Now and again we sight under to many, many campers single Swiss Scandinavia drivers. The glues on our guards are obvious too small; we give up the wave sometime. For it the Dutchmen who have appealed to us in Rovaniemi day invite us on it on the way spontaneously to coffee and cake. „If we meet you, I make a coffee“, promised Corrie – the gesture has pleased us very much! Thanks, family Schipper.
It gets a good 100 kilometres before Ivalo Bea: the rear tyre has a tear. Exactly immediately like with Pit before days. We mount the second spare, now nothing more may happen. In Ivalo or Inari substitute has to go here, hopefully... Still during the repair Heinz, tour cyclist from Dornbirn joins, to us. In the evening on the camp site in Tankavaara time remains to philosophise with him on the travelling and especially the bicycle driving. Good trip, Heinz, and already lets the Nordkapp greet from us!
Who knows the north, knows around the Moskitos and other tiresome engravers. (They look, e.g., like braking, only much greater, can keep up a quick bicycle tempo which after breath circle struggling Bikers in the dream and with a simple-minded stop pitilessly knife – really common, hardened nasty moskitos). The camping in Tankavaara lies in the wood (thus an idea one must have only) and is a mosquito Eldorado. We can join in the conversation from now on in the matter of raid attacks of the pests. After a quiet night in the sure tent we clear out in the morning very quickly. Coffee, morning food, bottom put some ointment – everything is stroked.
On the 3rd of June we enter with Haparanda, completely on top in the Gulf of Bothnia, to Finland. We count the 18th country on our tour. Bicycles are very popular Finland. The good road, good marks for bicycle drivers in the numerous cycle tracks are absolutely great. The ways are not always very good, so we change sometimes to the high street.
To Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle these are a good 100 km. Since we pedals in the direction of north-east the wind blows hard and without break in the face and drives rain clouds in front of us. Luckily they discharge only at the following nights. We lie in the tent with the dry and listen in to the patter to the tent.
Yesterday we meet Petr from Czechia, he is on his travel from Helsinki to Stockholm. His colleague from Poland was in the Nordkap and approaches us – maybe we will meet him too. The classic Tour in the high north draws every year many Long-distance bikers. Where are you from? Where do you go? How long are you on the move? Classical questions. Bicycle driving connects, about all frontiers and language boundaries away; every meeting is special and makes curious. For weeks we were on the move alone, such meetings have missed.
Tomorrow Friday, 7th of June it goes on through Finnish Lapland. From today till the 6th of July the sun seems 24 hours on
the day. At night we can sleep, nevertheless, strenuous hours on the bicycle provide for it during the
Bit by bit the settlement becomes less, towns are completely absent. Clear that camp sites and with it Internet receipt lie only every few days in our reach. We wish great holiday's weeks and summer weeks our fellow-passengers, even though WE have booked the sun now 24 hours on the day – see you later!
Meetings and the first breakdown
On the 30th of May a Dutchman with bicycle and (very) light luggage overtakes us. Usually they are two. His colleague takes it rather comfortably, makes now and again break, takes photos and cannot be put under stress, and this irritates him. In the afternoon one finds himself somewhere. We talked a few minutes and is at five minutes except view. (With the shopping about evening we meet his bicycle colleague. With one smiling he tells that they are reeled yesterday 160 km and have found at 23 o'clock only in a coach small house a sleeping place. Besides, the both do not have a tent; sleeping-bags? – We doubt it. They started in April in Casablanca, Morocco. The both are, by the way, around sixty (!) and it’s not the first tour.
After Pitea it goes to Lulea, the provisionally last bigger town in Sweden (for us). On one of the biggest camping places of Sweden and after a fine dinner we enjoy the evening with reading, until it started raining the whole night sometimes more, sometimes less. It didn’t stop in the morning. After 81 km in a record tempo (it "rains" only once on the day) till Kalix, 50 km before the Finnish border, and as soon as we arrived it stopped. We are wet all over, the tent also (from yesterday). Since the 25th of April we had only two days rain..
Shortly after us a German camper rolls on the place. With a chat in the day room, Gabi and Doris invited us spontaneously to dinner and we enjoy it very much. For Gabi a dream has come true with the camper. In Germany, flat and pieces of furniture has sold and she is for one year on move. Till the end of June Doris will be with here. We enjoy the evening with good food and a glass of red (or were it several?). Many thanks to both of you, also for the morning coffee!!
Two days ago the first breakdown after 8`000 kilometres. The rear tyre of Pits bicycle has inside a 10-cm-long tear. Luckily the defect did not appear while setting off. The spare is quickly mounted.
After a grey day we enjoy further warm spring weather (to 20°C during the day). If it`s possible, we cycle on small streets and leave the E4 to the truck- and holiday traffic. We meet two Swedish ladies on lunch time. They are on the way to Stockholm.
Sometimes to find a place for wild camping is not easy. The nicest corners are more and more private.
Yesterday, on the 28th of May, we are on the move exactly 8 months and shortly before the midday we have 8 `000 trip kilometres on the Navigation (incl. two months of Istanbul-winter break). Only eight months? If we look at our diary with all experienced, we feel to be on the move already much longer. A lot has got a rhythm. Everybody does his duties with the tent are based, cooking, packing up in the morning. From six to seven hours daily in the saddle determine the daily routine. To choice the distance is sometimes not easy. Should we take the high street with a lot of traffic or should we take small streets which mean the route will be longer at least with additional metres height, however – short routes and time against nature – we always take the right way. Sometimes there a lot of talk between us, distance is difficult; we are on the move as a team, there we must find us together over and over again. However, travelling with the wheel also welds together. Many nice moments, views and meetings offset differences more than. No, we have regretted up to now no day. Even the cold and uncomfortable winter weeks on the trip were important to become acquainted and to plumb his borders. We still enjoy travelling together.
Originally it was planned to drive E4 along the east coast of Sweden on the Main road. A lot of traffic, only two lanes, almost no side stripe and mostly a guardrail hold us from it. We make way on the old E4. Around not big detours to pedals, we search where possibly small side streets. And if it rolls then so nicely, almost without traffic, the tar layer is abruptly to an end and we bump over natural streets. If the roadway is dry, this drives itself rather quickly. With moisture the progress becomes a viscous matter, there runs the sweat. We bite countless hills high. After six hours in the saddle the legs are like lead and the bottom hurts. Breathe deeply and further. Picturesque scenery and a lot, a lot of nature compensate us every day. Sweden is nice!
We enjoy the rest day close to Sundsvall in a Cabin on a big camp site directly by the sea. The camping opens only on the 15th of June; nevertheless, we are welcome and pay thanks to Bea `see to negotiations talent a more favourable price. Seven days go puff and strength has cost. We are leached out, the tent is wet (rain and fog at night before with the tent in a lake) and the clothes urgently have to go in the machine. In the morning we started with thick fog and grey-black sky. In Sweden it is in the weather just "nasty" like in Switzerland... at the moment.
After a quiet and nice night journey with the ferry we reach Stockholm on the 15th of May with sunshine and warm temperatures. Capital of Sweden appears in the nicest spring dress. We do not stay, nevertheless, long and hope the town to let quickly behind ourselves (we were years ago already in Stockholm). It comes just differently. In spite of prepared route on the Navigation we circle for hours by suburbs and remove more or less all streets which there are. It seems to us anyway thus. Either streets are forbidden for bicycles, or the great cycle track net tempts into the deviationism of the distance. This irritates immensely.
Then on the second day it advances more quickly and bit by bit the strong traffic also becomes less. We enjoy wild camping and the same cooking in the evening. Places for spending the night are always found. The Swedes are bicycle drivers; there one may also ask with private sometimes for a place.
Even side streets are in a really state. Only the constant pulling and under it – never long, however, for it toxic precipitously – and the steady headwind brake our quick tempo. Today, on Whitsun Sunday, we have special luck and find a camp site completely for ourselves alone. We are the only guests, get the keys for the day room, can use the kitchen, charge our devices and look in the evening the final play in the hockey Switzerland Swedes. Magnificently! „The keys tomorrow please in the drawer beside the door lay“, with it the render wishes us a nice evening. We are alone on the place. Once more we estimate the big trust.
Close to Haapsalu, on the west coast of Estonia, we find a nice sports facilities and leisure arrangement for spending the night. To stay at the tent was not possible, but to rent a small garden house was no problem, although the place will be open from the 15th of May. Astrid, told us, the shower will be ready later on the evening, and what a surprise – she puts on the sauna, exclusively for us! After nearly 100 km by bicycle a special pleasure for us.
As we have two day time to Tallinn and take therefore a longer and more lonesome route on a small side street along the coast. Marshlands and a lot of wood line the street, now and again sometimes a car, no one else. Once again a sign „Esteem of elks“on the next 5 km. We grin and make jokes whether the Estonians mean seriously and whether there are generally such big shovel antler bearers here. If we saw, nevertheless, sometimes one! And then it happens - Abruptly, we don`t believe what we see, a big brown bear puts hundred metres in front of us over the street! We were speechless and suddenly we stop and wait. What`s now?. Do follow their maybe still young bears? It doesn't matter. With a rotten feeling and a little faster than before, we further roll on. An Elk we expected, but not a bear.
In small Estonia (45% of woodlands, only 4`000 km2 bigger than Switzerland) there are approx. 200 wolves, many lynxes, approx. 10`000 elks and against 800 brown bears, number rising. The preparation on our 16th travel country was not optimum.
Two days of break in Tallinn for recovering and tarpaulins of the continuation of the journey. We are glad about it. The capital likes right away, not only because of the warm spring weather. It is unusually warm for the season with 6°C at night and during the day to 17°C, one explains to us. In summer is to be calculated on max. 21 degrees. We enjoy the generous green arrangements, stroll by the winding Old Town and make a curve around the first touristic groups.
On Tuesday we take the ferry to Sweden.
Estonia (7.5.-14.5. 2013)
Shortly after the Estonian border a great cycle track on a hardly used street begins along the Baltic Sea. The sign-posting (for bicycle drivers) meets all the wishes and whenever possibly we get own track, above all in villages and towns. The Estonians have a heart for cyclists; thus we were not spoilt for a long time any more.
The weather is nice and a lot of sun so for days we sleep in the tent. On the coast there are marvellous places to camp in the wildness (is permitted beside Scandinavia also in the Baltic States) with direct sea impulse is just great. We enjoy the sundown with a cold beer in front of the tent.....
There are many camp sites but unfortunately the most of them open at the 15th of May, to late for us. Simply ask, usually it works. Indeed – and this is rather laborious – toilets, showers etc. are not yet in pursued..... To improvise is everything and we always find a way.
Latvia (29.4.-6.5. 2013)
After eight days in Lithuania we crossed the border to Latvia. In fact, we have reached our 15th travel country. As forecast, the street is a big rag rug on the first 15 km. Almost no traffic and no possibility to change money or to find a cash dispenser. The only one was out of order for the day.
It was great spring weather with at rather cold wind.
The infrastructure in few villages and small places is very scarce so it means to us, to purchases early and fill in the stocks. Today we would like to camp. Unfortunately, we found no suitable place (during the past days is found there were the most great wild camp sites). In Birzai, there should be a campground. When we asked for a place they told us this one is only for campers available, to put on a tent was impossible, so we had to take a room. At least, we enjoyed our food and beer in the pavilion, after 107 kilometrer! The next night, shortly before Riga, we sleep in quite an easy Cabine on a raft – something new for us and almost similar as in the tent.
Riga has a nice Old Town and one day off was enough for us, even to visit all the interesting places. The nature is closer to us than the tourist bustle.
Next Friday we hope to reach Tallinn. There we will take a break for two days and then take over by Ferry to Stockholm.
Lithuania (from april 2013)
It`s great, there is on the internal-European border Pole's Lithuania no duty control – we couldn`t almost have stopped. The wind has blown us on the 23rd of April from full cheeks formally about the land border. After two days Lithuania we are rolled up this Friday in the capital of Vilnius. For one week the sun is our companion. We like Lithuani, hilly over and over again, small lakes, very good streets and almost no traffic. Small fields not so gigantic ones like in the Ukraine or Poland. The houses become more coloured and almost everybody has a pond with matching sauna.
Vilnius has more than a half million inhabitant, is one of the oldest university towns of Europe (university in 1579 founded). We enjoy walking through the comfortable Old Town. There are more than 50 churches in the city. We enjoy the sun and can feel the spring is coming up soon.
We rest for two days in Vilnius, we also control the bicycles and we sent some luggage at home to create place for food. The weather should remain warm and next week the camp sites will open up, so that means for us - Finally, we camp!
We create the crossing of the border to Poland during unbelievable 15 minutes! One had pre warned us that is to be calculated according to time of day with long waiting periods. The long personal column with the Polish duty we may handle and use the wheel chair passageway.
As already three years ago with the summer tour in Masuria (see homepage) we feel fine welcome and immediately. The country quickly seems to adapt itself to the west-European standard. Good streets, almost everywhere lodgings and many shopping possibilities go on to us the trip simply. And, finally, also spring like 20 degrees to the pedal – simply great.
Along the border river "bug" we roll northward. What offers us the nature between Hrubieszow and Wlodawa, is overpowering. The thaw has forced the river from his bed and has put gigantic regions under water. Wide distances with birches, at the moment follow big pinewoods, unfortunately, still without foliage. We see beaver's lodges, geese and other water birds and over and over again abruptly deer and roe deer herd in big jumps taking the flight. Widths of parts along the street marshlands and as nature reserves are expelled. We accept with pleasure that the street is bad by sections and the headwind lives in the forces.
Unfortunately, the extreme southeast of Poland has to offer not only great nature. Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor lie on our route. At the moment of the Second World War there were at these places big concentration camps and destruction camps of the Nazis. Anyhow the horror does not want to fit of that time in our trip and the miraculous scenery from today. Thoughtfully it makes always.
We slowly approach the city of Bialystok and are glad every day anew in the wide scenery with big fields and a lot, a lot of birch forest and coniferous forest. Thus bicycle driving gives pleasure! Certainly, the mild spring weather and unusual high temperatures serve theirs for the pleasure to be on the move. Simply allow to enjoy and warm itself the "fur" of the sun - seldom before we have experienced the spring so intensely.
Lviv/Lvov 7.4.-9.4., with Myron, Tamara, Roman and friend Christina (and two cats and dog Pound)
On mediation of Warmshower Slawik we may enjoy the hearty hospitality of Myron, Tamara and son Roman. Myron, a corroded cyclist, sits in a year more than 10 `000 km in the saddle (with 64). 20 km of working way daily included. Our hosts live in a prefabricated building from the Soviet time with little comfort and with her bicycles on the tiny balcony (ours just still have place). We may book the room and use the canapé as a bed. Both cats want to go all the time with us in the room on discovery tour (or is it only of the warm heating because of?), our luggage examine and spread on our clothes. So we had to put away everything.
Lviv, formerly Lvov, lies by the river Poltwa (Peltew), about 80 km to the east of the border to Poland. Some west Ukrainians who see themselves compared with the widely Russian-speaking population in the East Ukraine as the real Ukrainians call them even the „secret capital of the Ukraine“. The Old Town is on the list of the UNESCO-world cultural heritage. Lvov is marked since very long time by the living together of several people. Till the 20th century there was beside the Polish population majority a big portion in Jewish and besides different minorities of Ukrainian, German or Armenian population. Today Russians, Byelorussians and Poles live in the town almost excluding Ukrainians, but also. The Old Town is stamped by Renaissance, baroque, classicism and art nouveau.
Finally, we also come to the pleasure of Ukrainian kitchen! Borsch (Ukrainian borsch exists of unfermented beetroot, onions, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and some beef, prepares as a soup), inlaid aubergines, cabbage salad with carrots, egg salad with wild garlic and spring onions, buckwheats and a big chicken (have never seen such a gigantic thing) Tamara dishes up us. Hmmm, this tastes! As a breakfast meal for us, however, rather need getting used to... Pound (our dog friend under the table) may hope for one or other mouthful.
On the Tuesday evening Myron his bicycle colleagues would like to be in the club guests from Switzerland introduces. Whether did we not read a small paper? At short notice Buhh, the wish comes. But yes why not. Will somebody be there who translates? No problem. In short time an easy presentation is ready with PowerPoint.
The evening becomes rather amusing and our bicycle friends from the Ukraine are attentive and interested listeners. It has given pleasure, even if with a lot of improvising to us.
A few corroded insist it on accompanying a piece with the bicycle to us on the Wednesday morning with the resignation of Lviv. We get so much attention not all days. Many thanks, dear friends!
At mild 10 degrees and the sun we create on the way to the border to Poland 5 `000 trip kilometres. A good glass of wine in the evening rounds the day.
By the way, the international biker's meeting takes place in summer, 2015 in the Ukraine, close Lvov. (www.turystycni-marky.com.ua). This year the bicycle friends meet in Yverdon/Switzerland. Including also eager with wheel from Lviv. They are glad very much about Switzerland unknown for you.
Snijatin-Kolomea-Ivano Frankiws`k-Dolyna (3.4.-5.4.)
The snow of the last days is away, for it melts water on the street and gigantic puddles. In the outskirts of Tschernowitz we leave the wavy cobblestones with his missing stones, finally, behind ourselves. The street to Snijatin is better than fears. Nevertheless, we go very carefully because – and this is treacherous – on good segments abruptly waves in the layer and gigantic holes follow. With quick tail wind and little gradient 35 km are made quick and the hotel is found same.
The Ukrainians meet us not exactly with frothing over friendliness, are rather uncommunicative and outdistanced. If then, how today in the adoption, unfriendliness comes in addition, Bea already changes in the Swiss-German and the tone becomes a little pure. We agree what we wish. The restaurant in the house is closed. Is there another restaurant in the place? Shrug... The dinner with bread, sausage, cheese, a tin of clay and red wine of the Crimea also tastes in the hotel room – Cheers!
To Kolomea there are 45 kilometres, it rains almost the whole distance. 5 km of building site demand of us everything. Incredibly how much mud broth as the street can catch. If I fancy this (Pit): In Switzerland millions of tax money are squandered for luxurious traffic-reassuring measures and here the traffic is slowed down absolutely for free and very efficiently – traffic reassurance on in Ukrainian.
To Ivano-Frankiws there are 73 rain kilometres. We are glad that the temperature during the day was almost mild 7 degrees; it lets itself, nevertheless, well to pedals. We let out breaks, come rather sometimes at the hotel and hotly take a shower. (Last night we spent at the hotel with no water, because of a burst pipe, the WC bowl the glasses lacked with it a lot also the heating and finally. It is not available for two years, according to the very nice young Receptionist in laughing. We take it with humour). In the morning only one “cat's laundry” because the water what came was just brown and we took it from the drinking bottle.
To Dolyna these are 58 km and 511 Humph. It was quite strenuous, because the street requires all attention. Thus driving gives little pleasure and from the scenery we do not get a lot. The Ukrainians meet us rather indifferently. It is a pity, the country makes for us a little attractively.
Tschernowitz Ukraine, 28th of March – 1st of April (Break because of winter again in burglary)
Around half twelve we set off with Ciprian, our taxi driver, in Suceava. The bicycles are well protected in the Dacia. The street is free of snow and ice and mainly dry. We passed the Rumanian border quickly. For the Ukrainian one we spent almost 45 minutes.
We get the first taste about the bad streets in our twelfth travel country very quickly after the boarder. (We have been told about it, but the reality is much worse. Parts with big holes follow largely and deeply, children could play excellently hiding.
Ciprian, thanks for the service and a lot of success with your travel enterprise (www.hellobucovina.com). We have liked it very much in the Bucovina!
Suceava (21th of March)
For days we pursue the weather report more carefully as well as already. This Friday it is snowing and the temperatures should fall during the following days in the cellar. Down to minus 16°C at night, during the day clearly in the deficit area. For the moment the feet to the heating hold and wait. We have time...
As announced the winter was back again. The streets had to be closed for trucks. Only slowly the winter becomes more merciful and admits a little warmer temperature. We have one week of compulsive break behind ourselves. Tomorrow it goes by a taxi in the Ukraine, to Tschernowitz. Although we have a very great hotel in Suceava, it becomes dull, nevertheless. Too far from the town and places of interest we crouch most time in the room and read or plan the next stages.
In Tschernowitz the break is extended till Monday, then, finally, the weather should make riding a bike again possible. So we hope...
Harlau, 19th of March
Our street touches the place Targu Frumos only (the hotel lies 3 km before the town). We pedals we with the nicest sunshine and spring like 12 Gran. To have the pleasure, the wind sometimes comes from the back. We could get used to it. Along wide fields and above gentle hills the street for small places winds to Harlau. Today these become only 30 km.
It comes just differently than planned. The only hotel in the little Town is closed and derelict. There are not other overnight possibilities; a taxi driver lets us know in German. To all evil it still catches in to rain - cleanly. Botosani (with hotels) is 50 km farther good. What else, rise hard in the pedals and hope that on the way we will find a place to stay. After one kilometre the Taxi driver from just now stops and invites us in his house. There is nothing to consider! Constantin and Angela greet us in her house on the warmest one. We get the familys sitting room. After a hot shower we got a welcome drink from own cherry. Constantin works as an outpatient clinic driver and on the free days as a taxi driver. With his both jobs and the part-time work of Angela as a nurse they can live in such a way that they look contented and happy. Robert and Miruna, both children, learn diligently in English. We talk well and feel really fine at their home.
Dear friends, thanks a lot for the great time we could spend together with you and your children in your lovely house, many thanks for your big hospitality, you have spoilt us very much! Thanks elso the given nuts and the sweet Sherrys – every day we enjoy a little of it – stay with our thoughts of you.
Romania and his people surprise us once more absolutely positively.
Botosani, a smart small town, welcomes us after exactly 50 diverse and sunny kilometres with the first raindrops. An hour before, by a photo stop, a police car holds in front of us. A young policeman (investigator in civil) is interested in our trip and we chat a few minutes. He pockets our calling card – maybe we hear sometimes from him. At the hotel we were very surprised when we find his invitation for a beer in Botosani by E-mail. From the beer become later a pizza and a rather comfortable, interesting evening. Dragos, thanks for the good and interesting time we could spend together – what a great time.
Iasi, Romania, (16th of March) - Targu Frumos, (18th of March)
Then from the train became the coach, or better, the minibus. Half an hour before 12 o'clock, the intended departure time, we were at the railway station, the tickets to Iasi already in the pocket. But where is the big coach? „Coach accident, coach bumm-bumm!, broken, do not go“!? They explained us. Only the small Ford sprinter, 11 places and almost no cuddy, stands there. Departure time 13.00 pm. At last we thread Bea `see bicycle and all luggage (!) behind purely, Hp` see bicycle gets the very back four seats. After four hours of rough streets, cold feet and border control we reach Iasi. Constantin, our flat renter, is the complaisance in person. For us Swiss bicycle driver he has freed the flat (i.e., guests requartered) and of course we may take the bicycles to ourselves in the room – certainly is sure.
Iasi is a university town in the north-east of Romania in the region Moldavia and the capital of the circle of the same name. Historically it was the most important town of the principality Moldavia. Iași has a population of 280`000, is therefore one of the biggest towns of Romania and is valid as his cultural capital. Many Rumanians personalities and artists lived, studied or worked here. We are surprised once more: clean streets, cultivated green arrangements, imposing churches with wonderful mosaics and paintings. The theatre and the cultural palace with his imposing tower are very worth seeing.
On the journey to Targu Frumos we meet the German long-distance driver Florian (www.reisetrubel.blogspot.com). He is on the move since the 1th of March and would want in approx. one year to South-East Asia to pedals. 100 to 130 km is his day stages. All the best, Florian, on the voyage!
We crossed the border to Moldavian (8th of March)
We need 20 minutes crossing the border to Moldavia, a nice welcome all over. Along the river Prut it’s a small street which leads us by small, very long-pulled villages. Hill up and down, the many rough increases go to the legs and in addition we are covered by few traffic with thick clouds of dust. The street is in such a bad state and many deep holes make the driving difficult to us. Seldom we have been shaken thoroughly thus. If this goes on so...
From Cahul we change in the direction of red street to Chisinau. We hope for better streets and overnight possibilities. There are in the country no rooms to rent, never mind hotels and its much too cold for camping. Unfortunately, the elective street on long distances is in an as bad state like the yesterday's one. It shakes and shakes continually; the arms almost drop to us.
We change on red streets and hope for it that these become better and there are hotels or pensions. Unfortunately, the elective street on long distances is in an as bad state like the yesterday's one. It shakes and shakes continually; the arms almost drop to us.
From the small town of Comrat gigantic vineyards line the street, almost as far as the eye reaches. From the light red we treat ourselves to now and again a bottle. Although a little bit crossly for our taste, the wine is drinkable – and above all again payable, in comparison to Turkey. Before Comrat a farmer waves to us to his house. Russian? Roumanian? No, German or English. So there was no chance to talk together. Unfortunately, we cannot take the offered eggs; as we stay in a hotel. But one, two glasses of red of the barrel, this fits! Bea stows away a bottle of wine in the pocket. Anyhow we drive the last kilometres on the day laxly and this circle of the street holes goes almost by itself...
To hotels there is something else to tell about. Yesterday was the first question: "Are you married and do you have children?", "Yes, of course" on which we get a double room. As religious Baptists it was apparently important for the renters. Today, in Hincesti, this happens: We didn`t knows if there is a hotel so we asked the police, friend and assistant, and they calls up and provides the only hotel in the place for us. Really! The lodging seems closed, but after a phone call the owner with son appears translator. „How long want you to stay?”, “one night”, „one night “?,yes, is this a problem?“. „No problem, no problem. So the first three hours cost 300 Leu, every other one...“, „please you simply say us the price of a night!“. „The first three hours cost 300 Leu, every other one...“. Thus the conversation revolves itself for a while (In the meanwhile Pit guards the quite unloaded and at the hotel to stowed away bicycles with luggage). After ten minutes appears furiously Bea. Immediately charge and set off, they want to duff us. The room should cost 160 Euros, they completely crazy! „No problem, no problem“, the both explained after we started to get our stuff. After loud there and here we rent the room for an absolutely reasonable price. Luckily it is not "worked" at the hotel on Sunday evening. We are alone in the house and enjoy a quiet night in the warm room. Who does a trip, that can experience what – how true...
To Chisinau, the capital City of Moldavia, the sky remains murky and grey and the weather foggy-wet. The area loses every charm. At shady places still snow lies now and then. In winter the roadways are strewed with sand. Now he lies in heap and embankments along the street. With the big puddles gives one mush, he could not be more tenaciously. Bicycles and pockets look suitable. This can live in the travel morality. Small differences of opinion about this Like and Where further become quick to the quarrel.
After four days in a comfortable Hostel in the capital, we want to take on Saturday the train to Iasi, immediately after the Roumanian border. The streets are better and the alternative distance in the Ukraine offers more possibilities for spending the night. To tents is not possible at present, unfortunately, almost. We do not give up hope for a quick spring.
Tulcea – we are in the Danube delta! (5th of March)
The weather is on our side. For six days the sun seems almost always, indeed, it is damn cold. At night there is light frost (makes no difference to us), during the day then hardly more than 4 degrees plus (we are well equipped). The steady headwind which blows icily from the north allows cooling down us. After 6 to 7 hours in the saddle, we have frozen solid in each case and just still tiredly. We like the almost endless width in the north-east of Romania. Gentle hills with fields up to the horizon pass, all dozen kilometres sometimes a village with a few trees, otherwise nothing. Seldom have we driven thus many kilometres straight ahead. If nothing makes, we take a break from everyday and the legs simply step...
With Tulcea (approx. 230`000 Einw.) we reach the gigantic Danube delta with his countless water arms, wide marshlands and a biosphere reserve more than 50`000 ha enclosed. In summer there is a big offer of boat tours; at the moment nothing gets rid and us of two strikes once more than lonesome Tourist. After one day of break on Thursday it goes the last 100 km up to the Moldavian border.
Istanbul lies more than 900 km behind us and today sometime, we didn`t realised, the odometer jumped over 4 `000th brand.
On the 7th of March we enjoy a great stage to Galati. Already in the morning it has about 10 degrees, during the day pleasant-warm 17 degrees. Finally, some spring!
The Danube delta always in the field of vision, we cycle by small villages and wide vineyards – and against the wind. Everywhere shoots are cut and big surfaces dry grass and shrub work are burnt down. Biting smoke blows over and over again above the street in our noses. Often we look around many decades restored: Reed covered houses and stables, constructions from rammed loam, grazing goats and sheep, geese on the street, horses and carts. Only the high street is tarred. Everything makes a peaceful impression on us – we feel fine. Galati we reach with the ferry over the Danube approx. 1 km wide here.
We crossed the border Romania (2th of March)
After approx. 50 km. The street along the sea (more than 10 km longer than planned) is almost free of traffic and level. Indeed, the endless straight lines are rather boringly to the driving and the sea appears only in the end. At least, there is quick tail wind; we make easily kilometre and many wind turbines in the street wave after us.
No long “Ramba-Zamba” on the internal-European border. The customs officer is rather uncommunicative, for it many dogs with loud barking welcome us to their country. We take it as a good omen – welcome to Romania! Mangalia is known for his big dockyards. Welders work on gigantic pots immediately beside the street; waving and whistling we are welcomed. No time to loose, the first raindrops fall. We went faster again and rush in the town. Even the suburban curs are able to do us sometimes. We went faster and hardly took notice of that (once more) dread us dreary surroundings. Tomorrow it goes to Konstanza.
Konstanza receives us with sunshine. Thus we would want bicycle driving (approx. 10 degrees more would be quite impertinent). We are surprised how cleanly and in which good state the streets are. The houses are around something better in shot than in Bulgaria. We really like the family pension were we booked in.
First the good news in front: Bea`s knee is again very well. The side effects of the hepatitis vaccination were really obvious guilty for big pains. We`re very glad about it, so the tour can go on without pain. The weather has also changed - and how! Finally, the rain doesn`t bother us. In spite of frosty temperatures in the morning, we enjoy the open scenery with gigantic fields and wide oaken woods, with sunshine and tail wind (mostly...). What the fog has hidden to us, nevertheless, before everything!
In the meantime, Varna lies behind us and the border to Romania immediately in front of us. Varna (approx. 350`000 inhabitants), third-biggest town of Bulgaria, is worthy of notice, by the way. A nice city centre with boutiques, good restaurants and also a sandy beach of the finest was a big surprise for us after the grey monotony in the suburbs. The summer tourism apparently has a big and positive influence (beside the developing contributions of the EU, gets on).
Now we are curious as we will like Romania. We have decided to abandon all prejudices and to hand over our tenth travel country simply on ourselves.
Istanbul – Tsarevo (Bulgaria) 18.2.-24.2.2013
Miriam, Tuna and Halis dismiss us warmly with the traditionally post poured water to the departure (this should protect on the trip and provide for a healthy return). Many thanks for the gesture and the good wishes! We will miss you too. After the journey along the Bosporus with sunny weather and 4 degrees, we cross a nice green belt recreation area with a lot of wood – a relief after so many weeks of busy town life. To Kemerburgaz we have to go on a four-lane and very busy street, which has a wide breakdown lane which we can use. Presumably we wear biking to gigantic disposal area for domestic waste and rubble of Istanbul there was only big trucks to overtake us. In the late afternoon we found our hotel without problems and we were the only guests. 77 km and around 575 hm, not bad for the first day. The road to Saray goes through a hilly area and some small villages. Always up and down, very strenuous, troughs open wood – and the sun! We reached Saray around 18.15, tired after 88 km and 869 hm, and Bea’s left knee gives a hard time badly. (The vaccination one week ago possibly has an influence.) Definitely the tour entrance was not ideal after two months without any biking and it was quite a hard tour with many metres height. The pressure of time to quite the border in the visa free time of 90 days means we have to go now places in addition to. To Kirkareli the street stretches over gentle hill trains, often through wide fields and small villages, up and down again by bright beech wood and oaken wood. The sun warms us a little, what we enjoy at the cold temperatures (approx. 4 degrees). Halid and Armagan, friends of Miriam, invite us to the dinner and organise for the next day a free transport up to the border (We would not like to drive the precipitous street in favour of Bea`s knee,). Once more we enjoy the great Turkish hospitality! Many thanks, Armagan and Halid... and sorry for the circumstances because of the overnight stays. On Thursday the driver fetches us as promised. The PW seems too small for the bicycles, the luggage and us three. Oh miracle – everything fits purely! Bea and Pit sat together on the front passenger seats, small but there was no other choice. Good bye Turkey, we will be back again, we enjoyed very much to be guest in this great and nice country. In Bulgarian, the streets changed and we got uses to holes littered "street". Many curves, the everlasting pull and it was quite a hard time for Bea’s knees. Practically there was no traffic, maybe all 15 min. a car. Good for us then we need to let out the whole street around the least big holes. It was a very nice tour through a lot of wood and hardly settles. After 67 km, 649 hm and 6.5 hrs we reach Tsarevo. Bea had to struggle through at times and suffer; the knee has swelled and hurts very much. One day of break must be.