Travel log

Back home
I crossed the border at the Czech-Saxon-Bavarian border tripoint, heading to nearby Aš. So, with a small detour, I linked the most eastern and western towns of the inter-war Czechoslovakia, Jasina and Aš. And on my way back to Prague I verified that in Czech we have something for every taste – for example: mountain pastures in the remote border area, a bit excluded locality of Aš, where time slowly peels colours off the signs of night clubs and pawnshops that flourished during the just-post-communism era, medieval castle in Ostroh, beautifully repaired from a ruin thanks to stubborn volunteers from late eighties, pensioners’ spa atmosphere in Františkovy Lázně, in contrast to the luxurious spa for noveau riche Russians in Carlsbad, cycling trail in shadow of trees around Ohře river, which…
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Germany again
I continued south via very relaxing cycling trails along the Oder meanders, most of the way in a pleasant shade, and turned away from the river just before Berlin. Berlin clearly demonstrates that it is the capital of all federal offices, all German hipsters, as well as those who arrived to Germany from Turkey, Poland and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, you can find places in the busy city where you can have a calm rest. And they are also well prepared for cyclists here. After inner Berlin I stopped at the seat of the German emperors – Potsdam – a town from all sides surrounded by parks, river and canals. While local palaces may not match Versailles in spectacularity, it seems the Kaisers decided to compensate that by…
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Poland

Poland

Along the coast, over the islands of Usedom and Wolin located between the sea in the north and the lagoons at the mouth of the Oder river in the south, I got to Świnoujście. Here they also have no bridges, but the city ferry is free to use. There I turned south towards the Polish-German border on the Oder, arriving into the port city of Szczecin, which, while a sea port, is quite deep upstream on Oder. I just quickly passed through Poland towards the Oder-following bike trails back on the German side of the river. But on the way I had after a long time a chance to buy supplies for reasonable prices.
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Eastern Germany
After some time spent in rich Denmark, Rostock made really East German impression: an industrial harbour, infrastructure more for cars than for people, housing projects made of prefabricated blocks.
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Denmark

Denmark

To Copenhagen By a ferry I arrived in Helsingor, which, unlike the Swedish side of the strait, boasts a mighty fortress. While going south via Sweden, the Nordic wooden houses gradually disappeared, being replaced with half-timbered and brick walls. And here in Denmark this Hanseatic style really dominates. Right in Helsingor, besides the fortress, there is a beautifully preserved old centre with lots of such medieval houses – there was nothing like that in Scandinavia. While in Denmark there is such a centre with perfectly preserved and actively used historical houses in every town and village. The next thing noticeable in local towns is the cyclist infrastructure, even better than in Scandinavia. Into the residential neighborhoods leads a way accessible by car from one side only, but pedestrians and cyclists…
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Sweden

Sweden

From the Norwegian border fortress Fredriksten I followed the strip of long Bullaresjön lakes all the way to another fortress, Bohus, which was captured by Swedes and thereafter it was use to watch the border from the Swedish side. By the way, regarding lakes, since Belarus I could practically any time stop by a lake or at least a river and have a bath in perfectly clean water. Sweden is the last place where this is possible, in Denmark are already just green ponds with water very far from clean, just like home. And then to Göteborg, where I, among other things, joined other visitors – mostly children – to crawl through the ships in local open-air maritime museum. While getting further south away from Norway, some pleasant things like…
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Norway

Norway

Nordland I disembarked the ship in Harstad and continued south over the district of Ofoten. Some time ago I was nearby at Lofoten. And while then I had the impression that here beyond the Arctic Circle is already the wild north, now when arriving from Lapland and Nordkapp I had the opposite feeling of coming back to comfortable civilization – lots of villages, shops everywhere, reindeers replaced by sheep, horses and tractors, grass grows on meadows. The same day I sailed again (a small rural ferry), and the no-cash strategy from Belarus worked again: while the ferry is not free here, only at the pier I realised I only got cash in Euro (as otherwise they accept cards everywhere throughout Norway) – when I offered those, the ferry captain decided…
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The Harsh North
From Finland to Norway I did not expect a significant difference between northern Finland and Norway, yet the border crossing is noticeable. In Finland, there are already just a few remote houses and reindeer farms for every 100×100 km, otherwise all that is here is just for the tourists – a perfect straight road and a couple of stops around it. In Norway is the road more casual, the reindeers here are just the wild ones and instead locals breed sheeps, horses and use tractors. Then the landscape changes again at the coast, which I reached in Lakselva. The last trees disappeared, leaving just the green rocks above the fjord, the dark blue lakes, the patches of snow, the green-blue sea below. Going north… Nordkapp is the northernmost place in…
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Lapland, Finland
Rovaniemi functinos here as a starting point for tourists of all kinds heading beyond the Arctic Circle. That lies 8 km north from the city and leads through a commercial village of commercial Santa Claus, where carols are played and each cottage has a plastic Christmas tree even in the summer. Beyond the Circle there is no larger town (if you do not consider area as a measure of size, as for example the village of Inari formally covers an area of ​​17 333 km²) and the small ones lie 100 km from each other. If someone is looking for solitude, I can highly recommend this place. Basically, there is absolutely nothing here, only trees and water, sometimes mosquitoes and horse-flies – and yet it is somehow terribly beautiful here and entire…
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Finland

Finland

The border crossing yet again means a contrast. On the Finnish side a cycle track leads all the way to the border crossing and on grandpas ride on it on roller skis (sic, not skates), villages are tidy, neglected industrial sites disappeared, hybrid Toyotas hum on the roads.
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