Travel log

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…
Read More
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…
Read More
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.
Read More
Russia from Petersburg
Saint Petersburg The atmosphere of the Petersburg streets, with its classicist houses and palaces surrounding the river and its many smaller channels, works best when the evening sun colours the facades into orange-pink and glitters on the channels surface.So it is very handy that the summer sunset lasts here for hours beyond midnight. What on the other hand spoils the atmosphere is the fact that even the very historical centre was changed into land of cars. So on a stroll around the streets you need to watch the traffic rather than the architecture and every 50 meters you need to stop for at least a minute on pedestrian traffic light. Hermitage Same as Louvre is a must in Paris, here it is off course Hermitage. In square metres only sligtly…
Read More
Russia to Petergof
At the border I again witnessed an interesting contrast. At the Estonian side is everything tidied up, town and fortress looking forward to tourists, children swimming in the border river, the sun was shining. On the Russian side lots of barbed wire, trucks parking place and you can only get to the fortress by a large circle around all of this.
Read More
Estonia

Estonia

I Expected Estonia to differ from Latvia only by the name and language – but the difference is surprisingly more evident. The first spotted difference are the roads – the lesser roads in Latvia are just soft sand, in Estonia new tarmac everywhere, plus often new cycling lanes. And the overall atmosphere appears already Scandinavian – most of the houses repaired, majority of them having Scandinavian style wooden planks walls, all around is clean, all gardens carefully trimmed. The nights are already light. Roads are quiet, through the nature, weather is reportedly above local average for June, hills are short – everything ideal for leasure cycling. First I climbed the highest mountain of Baltics, Suur Munamägi (also here was the impression Scandinavian: compared to Belarus is this small hill pretty…
Read More
Latvia

Latvia

I passed Latvia over its eastern edge, away from most cities (not that there would be so many of them in Latvia). So the landscape was similar as in Lithuania, with the lakes diminishing when coming from the south, but this was compensated by the last lake around Aluksne in the north. In Daugavpils I stopped at an extensive baroque fortress, which was visibly still actively used up until the end also by the soviet army. The fortress is still home to many locals. The municipal buildings are slowly being reconstructed. The last town before the border is Aluksne, situated at the aforementioned lake. While going there my chain broke apart, possibly because of not that expert installation of it in Kiev. Off course it broke just at a start…
Read More
Lithuania
Vilnius Immediately behind the border starts sharply higher population density and just a short distance from the border is Vilnius – lively and cozy town inside historical settings. The short distance nicely stresses the contrast in atmosphere compared to Belarus, where everything is soviet-style monumental and nearly no historical buildings made it through the war. First I arrived to Užupis, originally a poor, even earlier Jewish suburb and now the main bohemian-touristic focus point. Then I detoured to a water castle Trakai, on an isle in the middle of a lake that again has beautifully clean water, which is from all sides surrounded by more isles and more lakes. And finally I came once more back to the Vilnius old town. Eastern lakes From Vilnius I headed back northeast through…
Read More
Belarus

Belarus

First impressions from Belarus: better roads than in Ukraine, more polite border guards, more tidy towns and villages, …
Read More