Venice

Date: 18 – 23/09/2017
From/To: Prague – Venice
Distance: 195 Km
Total Distance: 16066 Km
Weather: Cold, Drizzle, Rain, Windy
Road: Paved

 

We said good bye to our host Blanca. She had to go to work and we started to pack our bikes.

The weather forecast was predicting rain, so we put our rain gear on, just in case.

It didn’t rain, but it was cold. On the way we found the ‘Motorest U Dubu – E 55’ restaurant, so we stopped and had some nice lunch.


Not long after we arrived in Austria, problem was now to find where the vignette- Required as proof for maud payment were sold. You need the vignette to travel on the Austria highways. Normally you can buy them at the patrol stations, but there were no petrol stations after the Czechian border. No surprise, comparing the petrol price in both countries. Anyway, it took us an hour to find a petrol station that sold the vignette, and another 30min before we found a petrol station that sell the vignette for motorcycles J

In the evening it started to rain, so we stopped in ‘Eben im Pongau ‘ looked for an accommodation. We found a nice hotel but the weather forecast for the next day was dim. Rain thew hole day, from Eben to Venice. When we started the next morning it was raining, the temperature was around 5 degrees. The snow line was dropped over night to 1000m , so we started to see white trees left and right from the highway and the temperature dropped to +0.5 degrees. Lucky there was no ice on the highway.

The rest of the right was as expected, rainy. We arrived in Cavallino, a peninsula in front of the Venice.

 

The next day the rain stopped and the sun started to come out. From our hotel we could see the mountains close by.

 


At night we had some sea food platter in a nice restaurante nearby.


The after was the day, we went to Venice using the public transport. Here some pictures approaching Venice with the ferry.


Below a picture of the famous sigh bridge-Ponte dei Sospiri .


Below you can see a prisoners hand, the last time before he went to the prison cell …, or it might be a tourist J.

And here is a picture from the famous ‘Piazza San Marco’ and the clock tower.


It started to get flooded, as it does twice a day. On the right picture you can see the water rising.


Here is a closer picture from the St. Marks Basilica.



I liked the channels, here particular with the reflection of the house in the canal.

Sigrid had to feel if the water is cold… it was. J

The pictures below from our way to the Rialto Bridge.


And here it is, the Rialto Bridge. On the left hand side you can see the middle of the bridge with shops and on the right hand side the outer stairs.



The mandoatory picture of us on the rialto bridge.

In Venice there are no roads, so the parcel delivery is done with boats and from here on a sack truck by foot. The right picture shows the garbage collection points. Here comes the garbage boat and picks up the rubbish and recycling material.


Some customer got wet feet when having dinner when the high tide started to come in.

And there was the house with the hands rising out of the water. It is a statement of the climate change impact and the rising sea level effecting Venice. The hands meant to support the side of the building.

The end of the fish marked, the left over fish was donated to the seagulls J

Just some building on the canale grande.


Narrow streets in Venice.

Some more canals.


And a dead end, we have to go back J


The old house facade was expose, it looked more impressive then the new one. And Sigrid with the lion on the ‘Piazza San Marco’


After so much walking, we sat down on a nice coffee at a channel. The weather was just perfect.

And we decided to have a gondola tour.

Here we are just passing the sigh bridge, and on the right gondola traffic jam.


 


At the end of our gondola trip we went up the ‘St Mark’s Campanile’, actually… we use the lift J. The view was stunning, particular at the end of the day. Below are some pictures from the top.


After all that hard work we sat down and had a glas of wine, as a finish of a marvellous day.

On our ferry trip back I saw metal Rino in a park.

Sunset at the harbour, when waiting for the bus.

Tomorrow we will start our way back to Berlin, maybe with a short detour over the Garda See.

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Prague

Date: 14-17/09/2017
From/To: Dubrauke – Prague
Distance: 195 Km
Total Distance: 16066 Km
Weather: Cold, Drizzle, Warm, Sunny
Road: Paved

We left Dubrauke in the afternoon, after Marion left for her physio therapy. It started drizzling on the way (we have our personally cloud) but it stopped when we arrived in Prague. Here we had our first traffic jam for a long time. We were greeted by Blanca on arrival at the booked accommodation. There was a pool and a hot tub to relax. I didn’t feel that well (got Sigrid’s stomach bug), so we deferred the hot tub session.


The next day we explored Prague. There was a subway- the train, not the restaurant..- close by, so we hopped on it and arrived in the city within 15 min. Since we didn’t have a map, we just guessed the direction and stumbled over a small marked with all sorts of art and food.


After we found the tourist information, we had a map and some directions. First we looked at the old town hall with the astronomical clock build at the beginning of the 15th century. The clock has two dials, one showing the position of the sun and moon and other astronomical details, the other is a calender dial, representing the month. Each hour, there is “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork showing the figures of the Apostles. By chance we were there right at 12:00, as you can see there was a large crowd to see the ‘Walk of the Aposteles’.

 


Unfortunatelly they renovated the town hall so we couldn’t appreciate it. Anyway, there is the picture from both of us in front of the old town hall and the old town square.

 


On the square was as well the ‘Church of Our Lady before Týn’ (I love wiki). I took the pictures only of the small spires, because they look like out of a cindarella movie.


We found wonderful restored houses walking through the old town


Sigrid found a devil and had to hold it on his horns

We found the fireman sculpture rescuing a victim from fire. I it was at the top of house


When we enquired in the tourist office if there were free guided tours in Prague, we meet Jan. He was very friendly and knowledgable. He just returned from China, so we spend quite a bit of time in the tourist office to talk about Prague and the possibility of traveling on our own through China. .

From here we walked to the Charles Bridge, well that was the plan. We must have turned somewhere too early; we ended up at this monument, which looked rather interesting.

From there we could take a picture of the Charles Bridge from the side.


This is the bridge tower, the entrance to the Charles Bridge.

On the Charles Bridge there are a lot of sculptures, each is fascinating on its own right.


This is the other side of the bridge, the entrance to the little city.

Uphill from the little city, there is the Prague Castle

The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. It is more a castle complex, with a cathedral inside. You can see the tower over the top of the main gate.


The cathedral and one of the gargolyes.


Looking a bit closer shows how much work is put into all the details


Here is the cathedral from the side with the St.Vitus tower, which can be climbed-We’ll leave that for another day….

On our way back we realised how deep the subway goes, the escalator was long and steep.

The next day we took the tram to the city when we came across this lightning rod on a car park. It was in the middle of a staircase. I would use the elevator instead of the staircase J

.

Back in the old city we noticed at one house some windows only painted J


We came across this restaurant where you eat in middle age style, no forks and knives, use only the hands.


Back in the castle we visited the church treasury; it is one of the most extensive treasuries in Europe. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures. There was at least one guard in each room who was watching you. So the only picture is Sigrid at the entrance. I was impressed by the craftsmanship of the 10th century.

We thought we need some exercise after so much culture, so we climbed the ‘Great Tower’.

At the top we were exhausted, but the view was worth it. On the left is the view down to the square and a bit of the ‘Little Town’ and on the right both towers of the cathedral.


A view over Prague with it bridges.

On our way we found again an Irish Pub J But we didn’t go in, there was still too much to visit J

We hopped onto the ‘Funicular Railway‘ to get onto the top of the ‘Petrin Hill’ were a small Eifel Tower is located.


Here is the tower from the bottom. We didn’t climb up since we already had a great view over the city earlier in the day


Next we went to the other side of town, to the ‘Krizikova Fountain‘. The fountains are located in a park and they have a show to different types of music. Since it started to get cold, we picked the earliest show, it was classical music. Below you can see the setup before the show.

I liked the idea to use water as a screen and projects short movie scenes on it. This reminded us at the ‘Bellagio’ in Las Vegas.


The following pictures are from our way back as we passed a brigde. The buildings looked nice, I liked the purple towerJ

And the Prague Castle at night.

Tomorrow we pack up and leave for Venice. Apparently it should be warmer there -we shall see…

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Visiting Family in Dubrauke

Date: 11- 13/09/2017
From/To: Przewloka – Dubrauke
Distance: 719 Km
Total Distance: 15871 Km
Weather: Sunny
Road: Paved

During our ride from Andrew to Dubrauke, the GPS started to play up. After 150km it showed roads which didn’t exist and was consistently recalculating. I realise that the scope has changed and the GPS used the world map as back up. So I used the GPS as an direction indicator, which didn’t work so well when going through a major town. At the end we managed and stopped on a ‘Windmill hotel’. The interior was down my alley, in the eating area there were some water basins, with small waterfalls and in the hallway were some tables with china on the ceiling, were the cups had some bulbs in them and were the actually lights.



Two days later we arrived at Marion’s and Pitschl’s place. Marion just has started her REHA for her new knee replacement, but she organized to have a day off. When we arrived, she was just having a training run on the road and was surprised when two motorcycles pulled up close to her. Here is the first picture with Pitschl, Sigrid, Rico and Marion.


Not long after, Anke arrived with here daugther Tara-Marie.


Marion and Pitschel had organized dinner for us, so we had dinner together before we continued to talk. By this time, Katia was waking up, she had night shift and was sleeping all day. I hope we didn’t disturbe her sleep too much. Here is a picture of them both with Sigrid.


And here is the youngest member of the Förster family and we convinced Anke’s Sohn to sit on the bike.


And here is a group picutre with everbody who was visiting this day.

We were talking for a long time and looked at some pictures from Marions and Pitschls travel. They traveled a lot in Europa and gave us some ideas.

The next morning Marion had to go to her Reha, so we waited with her for the pickup.


After Marion has left, we packed up the bikes and made our way to Prague.

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Meeting Andrew and Margaret

Date: 09- 10/09/2017
From/To: Vilnius – Przewloka
Distance: 501 Km
Total Distance: 15152 Km
Weather: Sunny
Road: Paved

We left Vilnius relatively early and had lunch break just before the border. There was a Doener shop, with American touch. The interior was like an old American Dinner and opposite was an old American school bus parked. We enjoyed the little break and continued to the border.


Well, I passed the sign but Sigrid stop just in time, so I turned around and could take the border shot (no, nothing to drink).

The next stop was at a road house. Sigrid mentioned it on her Facebook, what is missing here. Well it’s not that my ice is bigger than Sigrid’s, and the bikes are not parked in the shop and we are outside, no, we didn’t wear raingear at all and instead of having a hot drink we had iceceam J

At the evening we arrived at the Village Andrew was living in, he picked us up from the chapel and guided us home. The right picture is a bit short, Andrew is on the left hand side, just outside the picture J


Next day we visited with Andrew his home church, quite interesting. It is in an imarcular condition. We witnessed a service, and the church was so full that people were standing during the whole service.


After visiting the church, we had lunch and picked Margaret up from the bus stop. She had visited her Mother first before she joined Andrew. On Andrews farm is still a well, here is Sigrid trying to fetch some water without getting knocked unconcious.


After a short rest we visitd the part of forest that belongs to Andrew. He had the exact measurment, so we counted the step and found his section. During the walk we talked about what to do with the forest. Wood harvesting is the obvious answer, but I wouldn’d have a clou how to do it, so Andrew explained how he has done it hundreds of times with his dad. I was keen to participate in it, unfortunatelly harvest time is in January/February, so at this time we will be at home in Australia.


Andrew pointing out a field that belongs to him as well. Back home Andrew started a BBQ and we had some meat and some ‘Moonshine’. Well the night was long, and the morning too early.


The next morning we packed ‘slowly’ our bikes, said quitely good bye to Margaret and Andrew and left ‘slowly’ J

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Vilnius

Date: 07- 08/09/2017
From/To: Riga – Vilnius
Distance: 295 Km
Total Distance: 14651 Km
Weather: Sunny
Road: Paved

We found a spot to stop on the border.

The ride into Vilnius was much nicer as Riga, it seemed to be more wellcoming and the drivers seemed to be less stressed. We arrived at the booked accommodation and our host gave us some hints what to see and some nice traditional restaurants.

Since there was still daylight, we had a brief walk to the edge of the old town. Sigrid started to feel unwell, she must have gotten a stomach bug. Close to our accommodation we found an Easter egg sculpture. It signifies the restoration and revival of this part of the Old Town.

We had a look around and found a couple of old churches. Since we didn’t had a guide, we wouldn’t have any information about them, but still the looked quite nice.


The next day we organize a map and off we went. First we found the ‘Oldtown’ pub, it seems to be a pub for bachalor parties J

We had a guide now, so at least we could look up the churches we came across. Here are some pictures of the ‘Church of St. Casimir’, the first and the oldest baroque church in Vilnius.


Some street with nicly restored houses and some art on he side of the road.


At lunch we went to one of the recommended restaurants. Sigrid ordered a soup, I liked the plate it was served inJ. When finished with the soup, eat the dish J


And there was some pork with beet root and some cabbage, it tasted quite good particular the crackling.

After lunch we went to the ‘Cathedral Square’, where most of the attractions were located. On the left is a picture of the ‘Bell Tower’ and on the right the main entrance of the ‘Cathedral’


There was an option to climb the bell tower, so we did. On one of the level there were bells hanging with a clople to play with them. Sigrid couldn’t resist, well I couldn’t either, but there are no pictures of me J. The small bell on the rigth if from the 15th Century. On the right is the view up into the bell tower. This is the wooden structure we would walk up.


Here are the wooden framework form the top. You can see the bells on the top and right of the picture. To put it in perspective, these bells were around half a tone each. The biggest bell did weigh more then 1.5 tones.

The view from the top was great. We could the square and the castle..


The old clock work was still there and the small bell, which rung every quarter of an hour.



Next we had a look inside the cathedral. It was quite impressive, but we had seen so many beautiful churches, that it started to feel a bit like same old, same olde.


Next we had a look at the ‘Vilnius upper castle’, which included a steep incline.


Th view from the top was better then from the bell tower. The tower is on the right picture.


We could see the ‘Church of St. Anne’, which is one of the most intersting Gothic churches in Lithuania. Our accomodation was close to the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, which we could see from here.
From here we could even see where our accomodation was


And Sigird dicovered the Vilan and by zooming in with the camerea, there is a coffee shop at the river.

So we went down and were headding straight to the coffee, were sitting in the sun and had some ice cream. There we were sitting for a while, enjoying the sun.


After it started to get a bit cooler, we walked home. Passing a carpark, that was covered with a screen with pictures from waterfall.

And we saw some rings hanging under a bridge, not sure if this was art or had some other functions. During the time we tried to figure out what the rings were, a Wiking boat was passing by J, looks like a boat tour on the Vilna.


And here Sigrid got framed J

Well, we forgot the map at our accomodation, and as it turned out, I made some additional sight seeing on our way home. I thought we had to visit the ‘Gate of Dawn’. As you can see, we made it and it was sort of on our way J.


Tomorrow we will leave for Poland, to visit our Australian neighbour at his farm in Poland.

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Riga

Date: 04 – 06/09/2017
From/To: Tallinn – Riga
Distance: 310 Km
Total Distance: 14356 Km
Weather: Cloudy, Sunny
Road: Paved

Today we head for Riga, the capital of Latvia. Below you can see the border between Estonia and Latvia, which was single lane traffic, since they tried to extend the highway.

Riga is a big city and we felt it as soon we entered it. The traffic was hectic and people were quite pushy. At our accomodation we were welcomed by our host and could park the bike on the property in front of the flat. That was great since we didn’t have to carry all the luggage upstairs.

 

After we settled in, we walked towards the old city. Since it was late, we just walked to the train station and back.


On the way we found these two nice shops. One was a bakery and the second one a game café, with exceptional cocktails, as we were assured by some young guys when we took a picture of the sign.


Below are just a couple of pictures taken by nicely restored houses.


The next day we walked up the old town, got to the tourist office and followed the yellow brick road J, a maped out walked where we would see most of the Riga inner City attractions. Below some pictures takes of the old town.

We were surprised to find so much german heritage. Some house have german verses over the entrance.

The ‘Balsam’ is a type of ‘Schnaps’, I would say similar to ‘Jaegermeister’. And again, some traces of German in Riga.

 


These are beautiful restored houses.


And here is the ‘Freedom Monument’. It symbolises the suffering of the Latvian people on the way to freedom.


Below is the famous ‘House of the Blackheads’ which was currently under reconstruction, so they hang a screen with a picture in front of the building side. These houses were errected in the beginning of the 14th Century, and got demolished during the second world war, but were now reconstructed.

 

Below is Sigrid with her famous dress (would fit with the chariot from St. Petersburg:-)

Below some more impressive buildings.

 

And we found a playground with sculptures of a small dragon and an amadillo, which Sigrid tried to pull back J


And here is Sigrid, checking that the playground is also fit for heavy children.

The ‘Key of Riga’ was just a nice restaurant close to the market square. On the right hand side is the marked square with an old fire engine that had a sort of Flower Power painting at the back.


And there was the knitting shop, there was everything nitted. I guess if you stay to long there, you would be knitted in, as you can see happened to the horse.


There is a monument for the ‘1991 Barricades’. In 1991 the Baltic states fought for independence, in Riga they protected strategic important buildings with barricades.

Here are the three brothers, it is the oldest building complex in Riga (15th …17th century)


And here is the ‘Big Christopher’. By a legent, he was the founder of Riga.

The Big Christopher was on the ‘Daugava’, so Sigrid couldn’t resist and had to feel the temperature. At the back you can see the modern Riga with some fency buildings.

Beeing after Lunch time, we had a look for something nice, so we found a restaurante in the cellar. Sigrid is trying a traditional (colourful) soup. J


And after lunch we found that sign, so we couldn’t resist. It was so romantic that I forgot to take pictures from the inside. I can only say, it is worth it J


On our way home we found some more town walls and Gate towers.


Walking through the park we found a larger group of people shouting. When we looked a bit closer, we saw that they watch a basketball game, and were supporting the Letvian national team.

Sgirid posing with with a french guy J

The sculpture of Barcley de Toley, he was the invetor of the scorched earthpolic, which was important to Napoleons defeat.

Some more nice churches, each of them is amazing in its own rights, but after so many churches, they start to look all the same, still beautiful.

This would be a cheaper accomodation J. Really, it is opposite of our accomodation, seems that the insurance is dragging their feeds, it was burned before 2011 (first google street picture).

This is our accomodation, just at the back of the park.


In the park, close to the fountain and some pokemon gyms, there was a nice coffee, which had a great pavlova and coffee wih authentic Latvian Balsam J

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Tallinn

Date: 02 – 03/08/2017
From/To: Helsinki – Tallinn
Distance: 5 Km
Total Distance: 14046 Km
Weather: Cloudy, Sunny
Road: Paved

In the morning the ferry arrived in Helsinki and I was happy to see that both bikes were still there without anything missing or damaged.

I had ‘Sibelius Monument’ earmarked to visit. When we had a closer look, it looked like somebody has welded old flues together and sprayed them silverJ. Actually, the pipes resemble organ pipes and the face is the face of Mr. Sibelius, a famous Finland composer.

 


From here we returned to the harbour, and after finding the right gate, the ferry was coming in with not much time to spare. The ferry was new, and the interior was impressive. Bummer that the crossing takes only 2.5 hours.


And this was our first view onto Tallinn. I felt a bit like we had our private rain cloud with us again this year.


We arrived at the prebooked flat. The host did welcome us, showed us the flat, gave us the keys and we settled in. The next day we decided to walk to the old town, it was less then 6km. On our way we came across a street fare, so we made a small detour. It was a bit early and not all stalls were open. There were some intersting art stalls where we had to buy something (small). Lucky enough


The first monument we came across was the ‘War of Independence Victory Column’ at the ‘Fredom square’. It is a pillar out of glas squares with a cross on top. It should remember all people fallen during the war of independence (1918-21 -Wiki is great). Not far from the Freedom square is an old Bastions Tower (Kik in de koek).


From here we entered the old town, it looked quite nice considering that a large part of the old town was destroyed during the second world war.


Some sovenier shops come up with unique exhibits.

Next we visited the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, it is the largest Cathedral in Estonia.

 


On our way back we passed a couple more town walls with intact guard towers.


And there are the monks, some sculputers in the Danish Kings Garden.


We discoverred a restaurant on the town wall, so we had a look. On the left you can see the first steps, after that it gets really steep, but there is a chain to hang on.


The view from the restaurant was great-the prices were as high as the view, so we gave it a miss.

This is a sculpture, representing the Danish flag falling from the sky during a battle, which encouraged the troops to win the battle.

This is a rain gutter of a church, I thought what a great idea.


And here it is, we found an Irish Pub with a happy hour J

Not far from the pub was a pedestrian path with a square plate for important historic dates. Looks like the guy putting the stones down must have been in the pub before, since he put the events for 2384 and 2418 down J

From here we walked to the other end of the old town. I like the narrow streets and the small yards.



Here we are at the entrance of the old town. The two watch toweres in the foreground.

When we walked home, we passed an art museum, with a piece of Berlin Wall and some suite cases. Sigrid tried to pinch one.


We found as well a sculpture with two boys, which sort of reminded us on the Angry boy from Oslo.

Next we will travel to Riga

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St. Petersburg (Day 2)

Date: 01-02/08/2017
From/To: St. Petersburg – Helsinki
Distance: 0 Km
Total Distance: 14046 Km
Weather: Sunny
Road: Paved

After a nice relaxing night on board of our ferry we hopped off the transfer bus at the same point as a day before, the ‘Issac’s Catherdral’. This time we decided to have a closer look and climb the tower and have a look inside the cathedral. So we purchased the tickets and off we went.


As you can see, Sigrid is fitter then I am, I needed a rest on the handrail J


Here we are, finally we made it.

The view was great. Here a view onto the ‘Isaaks place’. Looking around we could see plenty of palaces and golden church towers, some we could identify, some we couldn’t. The turquise and green church towers of the ‘The Savior on Spilled Blood’ looked interesting, so we earmarked it for a later visit.




After we came down from the tower, we had a look inside the cathedrale. Lucky that we took a guided tour otherwise we would have missed quite a bit of information. The first stop showed us how the cathedrale was constructed. There was a huge wodden frame build to errect each of the giants columns before the walls were build, which was the first time that this appoach was used. On the right hand side you can see the model of the dome.


Below a model to scale, made by the architect.

Here you can see the pillar and the dome.


The huge door is covered in reliefs, we had to get closer to appreciate it.


Here a view onto the altar and a close up some sculptures. The heads on the sculpture are acutally paintings.


After so much information we went out and had a look at park just behind the cathedral. There were multiple sculptures and Sigrid couldn’t resist sitting on the camel J


From here we went to the ‘Hermitage Museum’. We decided no to visit it, since that would take us more then the rest of the day to get through it. Since we had to be back at the boat at 17:00, we opted to have a look at other places. But on the ‘Palace Square’, just in front of t the Hermitage museum, Sigrid spotted a ‘Cinderella’ cart, so we had a look at it. Below are some picuters from the ‘Palace Square’ and the surrounding buildings.



During our walk, we did find plenty of larger and smaller channels which I didn’t expect.

And then we came to the ‘The Savior on Spilled Blood’ church. This church was built on the place where ‘Emperor Alexander II‘in 1881 was fatally wounded.



And here is the place where Alexander II was wounded. This was a foot path bordering a channel. To get this place covered by the church, the channel was narrowed and the foodpath closed.

On our way back we saw multiple fountains and scluptures, but we were headding back to the bus.


With just enough time to spare before we had to be at the bus, we found an Irish pub, so we had to try the food and certainly the beer (might taste different in St. Petersburg) J


The ferry left on a beautiful sunny evening and looking from the ferry you could see multiple historic buildings on side with some modern alterations J,


The sunset on the ferry was just nice.


Tomorrow we are back in Helsinki, we will get on our bikes (if they are still there) and hop onto another Ferry to Tallinn.

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St. Petersburg (Day 1)

Date: 30 – 31/08/2017
From/To: Helsinki – St. Petersburg
Distance: 0 Km
Total Distance: 14046 Km
Weather: Sunny
Road: Paved

We packed our gear, this time we parked the bikes in front of the house and one person was always there, so we can’t get another parking ticket. We had some time before the ferry to St. Petersburg goes, so we went to a bank to pay our speeding fine. Better to have it done and forget about it. Inside the bank Sigrid is sitting on the ‘Straffbank’ J. German joke, it means is the penalty bench, where the word bench means as well bank.


And he was standing on the side of the car park and on the right is our ferry.


So we parked the bikes on the long term car park, got everything we needed from the bikes, put the cover over and left. Everybody was saying the bikes will be ok in Helsinki. We hope that they are rigth.

We settled in our cabine and not long after the ferry left the harbour. We were not sure about sea sickness, but the Baltic sea was extremly flat, so we didn’t notice that we were on a boat.


The next morning we arrived in St. Petersburg. The building must have been fantastic when it was build, but at the moment it looked very neglected.

So we had some coffee and waited until we could disembark and waited even a bit longer to let the first wave go. Well…Still at the passport control was a long queue, and it took us two hours before we were finally in Russia. That is not too bad, we had worse in central America J, As soon we left the building, we hopped onto the shuttle and got off at the ‘Issac’s Catherdral’

We didn’t have any plan of St. Petersburg, so we looked for a tourist information. When passing a hotel we ask the porter, he mentioned that they had very capable Concierge and we should go inside and ask them. I wasn’t sure, since this hotel looked very expensive. When we entered the hotel, a woman was approaching us and we told here that we were looking for some information but we are not staying in the hotel. She nodded and ask us to follow her, then she offered us two seat on the Concierge desk. Was that a trick? Would they charge us after the service? Well, even if, it would be worth. The Concierge put a two day visit together, considering the weather, the current time and our budge constrains, unbelievable. He had the prices, the schedule and place where the hydrofoil would leave in his head, amazing. So we said thank you, and left. No charge, just very friendly people. So we walked to the place he described and boarded the hydrofoil to go to the Peterhof Palace.

The trip booked from the ferry would have costed each of us 120Euro, the ticket for hydrofoil and entrance fee was around 30Euro. On our way we saw the old sailboat replica and we earmarked it for later. Wepassed as well some fancy buildings,


Some of them reminded me of Dubai J


45 minutes laterwe arrived in Peterhof castle. First we had a look at the main path leading to the castle. The path was lined with plenty of water foutains and golden sculputer.


This is a view from the castle to the sea, where the boat was.

We had a tour through the castle, but is was forbidden to take pictures. There was no chance not to obey, since there was at least one guard per room. It was really impressive. How much work was in there to build rooms like this, with all the preccious stones, wood and gold. Next we had a look at the rest of the garden. There were multiple founains, each different from the other one. First we had a look at the Dragon Cascade or The Chessboard Hill. The dragons looked really cute.


Next we passed the ‘Roman Foutain’ and the ‘Pyramid Fountain’


the ‘Sun Fountain’


the ‘Umbrella Fountain’. This is fun for kids, since the water stops and you can step under the umbrella and then the fountain starts again. The time you have to go under the fountain varies, for the enjoyments of the kids. Well, all of the sudden the big kidSigrid was under the umbrellaJ


Then there was the ‘Firs Fountain’, which looked like trees spraying water,

And the ‘Great Orangery’ fountain. I guess, in the old times they didn’t have any water restrictions J


Then we hopped onto the hydrofoil and on our way back we passed our ferry.

The boat dropped us off in the center of St. Petersburg from where we walked to the ‘Peter and Paul Fortress’. On our way we passed plenty of building which we would like to visit, but two days are not really enough to see them all.


As planned we passed the sailboat replica, which houses multiple shops, a fitness center and a restaurant. The small canon was just in front of the replica.


Before we entered the frotress, we passed a place where people were throwing sticks at some piles of smaller wood. As it turns out it is a sport here. Well, there was a description, all in russian, but it looks like that there are different formations of small wood pices that has to be washed away with the thrown stick (I guess)


Here a closer look at the fortress wall.

In the fortress there were plenty of art exhibited.


Unfortunatelly the history exhibition was closed when we arrived there, so we just took a picture of the figuriens in front.

Here is Sigrid holding the chathedral tower J and the cathedral in full view.


Here Sigrid found some more art J



Below is a scematic of the whole fortress, which is quite big.

And at night we had a clear sky with a beautiful moon, I couldn’t resist to take a picture of it.

Below are multiple pictures from St. Petersburg at sunset.


At our way home, we passed the ‘Palace Square’ and we noticed as well that St.Petersburg has plenty of small channels lining the city.


And we passed the Hermitage museum.Well, either we do that tomorrow and nothing else or we have to skip it.

Arround 10PM we hopped on the transfer to the ferry and got on board without any problems. What a beautful day.

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Running from Winter to FineLand

Date: 25 – 29/08/2017
From/To: Kautokeino – Helsinki
Distance: 1535 Km
Total Distance: 14046 Km
Weather: Sunny, Cold, Rain
Road: Paved

We sat out the rain in Kautokeino for a day and were contemplating to wait even a bit longer but checking the forecast we realised that the temperature would drop dramatically. The temperature was predicted to be close to freezing -2 degrees until lunch time the day after , so we decided to leave.


A the start of our ride the temperature dropped to four degrees for a couple of hours.

Here a quick shot from our border crossing.

Here we had a short stop at the petrol station, with some warm coffee. Not long after we passed the Arctic circle, this time on the street.


The campground that we earmarked for our stay was completely booked, they had a meeting of Norwegian motorcycle riders and only some ‘Luxury’ cabins were available, which was really outside of our price range. So we had a short talk with a couple of riders before we continued to the next camp ground, which was in woopwoop. Here we found a fantastic cabin, with its own sauna, and a marvellous view from the balcony.


We liked so much that we stayed an extra day. The next day we started early. When we were riding in the back streets, a nice windy road through beautiful forest, I was day dreaming, well, until a guy with a yellow vest jumped on the road and waved his arms franticly. It was a copper and I had to blow. At this point I thought that’s it, but after the result was negative I was invited to sit in the police car. The officer told me that I was speeding. I must have overlooked a 40km/h sign, doing, well let’s say double that. He said that with my excessive speed I would lose my driver licence L, he doesn’t like to do it, so he recorded the speed where I wouldn’t lose my license, but I got a fine. He did ask a couple of questions, one was my monthly income???? As it turned out, the fine for speeding in a 40 zone, regardless how much, is 240Euro, or 18 day sets of your income. So my income was not high enough, payed just 240Euro and so did Sigrid L. Apparently the highest fine in FineLand was 103.000 Euro, so 240 Euro are not too bad. Here you can see the nice copper which jumped in my way and on the right hand side, Sigrid being processed J


Close to Helsinki we got onto a highway where you could legally drive 120km/h J. We arrived at our booked apartment in Helsinki. We parked the bikes so we could see them from the balcony.


Here is the sign on the parking lot.

To make things worse, in the morning we had a parking ticket, 60Euro/person. First we thougth it was because the parking inspector couldn’t see the parking disk, after tranlating the fine, we found out that parking for motorcycles was not allowed here, only cars and trucks (bummer). These were the most expensive days during our trip.
Anyway, we went with the public transport to Helsinki. First we stopped at the Helsinki Cathdral, which was impressive, but it was quite crouded as well



So we were headding for the side streets where it was less crouded. During the walk we found a seal eating a fish. Sigrid is trying to get a fish, which didn’t work. So she tried it again with the next seal.


Below are some nice pictures from Helsinki

When reading the map, a local approached us and gave us a tip to go to one hotel, use the elevator to go to the top level, then walk another level and there is a coffee. So we did. The view from there was great. We saw the roof with small glass pyramids on it.


Here is Sigrid leaving the coffee.

Some more sots from some sculpures and some faces at the house entrance.


We hopped onto the ferry to have a look at the Fortress of Suomenlinna. This is a fortess that was used from the Swedish and the Russians, depending who was occupying this island at the time.

First we visited a small island connected via a bridge. There was the marine accademy located, not much to see except two old cannons and a sculpture.


When we walked to the southern end of the main island, we came across an Norwegian submarine from the second world war. Certainly we were keen to have a look at it. In this tiny boater were twenty man, with maximum 16 bunks.


From here we continued to the southern tip, where the defence walls and cannons were. Sigrid is waiting to ride a cannon ball trying to imitate Münchhausen.

On the left a picture from one defence section and on the right, the Kings Gate.


On the ferry on our way back we found a pool in the middle of the habour, it was one of the public pools and saunas in Helsinki.

Before returning home we had a look at the Uspenski Cathedral which was nice to look at from the outside but closed. After walking back to the Central station (picture on the right) we caught our bus home.


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