Archive for 'Poland'

WARSAW to BEIJING

It is 6,404 kms from London to St. Petersberg.  To some, this may seem like a lot – there are shorter and easier ways – but this is the distance we covered, and what an incredible adventure it has been…

We cycled through 14 countries, following a mix of pilgrim trails, trade routes, alpine passes, famous rivers and historic cities.  The experience challenged and amazed us.  On many occasions, it opened our eyes.  We twice had friends come and join us, and made new friends along the way.  It showed there is still adventure to be had, even in the most developed and populated parts of the world.  This continent, like South America, has been worth every push on the pedals. Europe – west and east – we crossed it.

Leaving Warsaw, we headed north into the lakes area of Eastern Europe.  These stunning glacial lakes, too many to count, extend all the way from northern Poland, through the Baltics to Russia.  We were back adventuring again – camping free wherever we wanted, and braving icy cold morning swims.  In between, we passed through forests, rich farmland, quaint villages and historic old cities.  The kindness and generosity of the people here, has continued to amaze us.  Eastern Europe has been a pleasant surprise.

It is no wonder rural Russia came as a shock.  Run down, tired and miserable feeling – we were glad it would only take a day and half to reach St. Petersberg.  Russia is a country of contrast though, and this introduction, versus the major cities, couldn’t highlight this better.  In Moscow, we were fortunate to have some friendly faces to stay with.  Esther, Chris & Helen went out of their way to show us what is spectacular and unique about Russia – you haven’t lived, until being beaten with birch sticks in a banya!

Getting our bikes on the Trans-Siberian proved a lot easier than feared.  From there, the relaxing monotony of train travel took over.  For six days, we lurched 7,865 km across Siberia, watching Europe slowly turn into Asia.  While “trained out” by the end, it was a great experience and we would highly recommend it.

Now in Beijing, after 9 months, and having clocked up 14,609 kms – almost double the Trans-Sib – we are half way home.  Does it get any easier?  If we can get out of Beijing with this Chinese character map, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Keep the comments and emails coming.  They are much appreciated and a real boost.

Safe travels,

Jules & Jess

Eastern Europe's Lakes District

Eastern Europes stunning Lakes District

 

Trakai, Lithuania

Trakai, Lithuania

 

Back free camping again

Free camping and adventuring again

 

Something smells good

Something smells good

 

Koalas... out here?

Koalas... out here?

 

Europe - we crossed it!

Europe - we crossed it!

 

Celebrating...

Celebrating and seeing the sights...

 

...St Petersburg

...St Petersburg

 

...Moscow

...Moscow

 

Esther, Chris & Helen - you folks really made it !

Esther, Chris & Helen - you folks really made it !

 

Supplies for a 6-day train ride

Supplies for a 6-day train ride

 

How will we ever get these bikes on...

How will we ever get these bikes on...

 

Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia

Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia

 

Travelling 1st class for a change

Travelling 1st class for a change

 

Reading, eating, sleeping...

Reading, eating, sleeping...

 

Watching Europe turn into Asia

Watching Europe turn into Asia

 

 

Beijing - finally

Beijing - finally

 

Colourful hutongs

Colourful hutongs

 

Fast paced shopping

Fast paced shopping

 

Plus ancient reminders

Plus ancient reminders

 

Enjoying it

Enjoying it

 

And having fun - wax on, wax off!

And having fun - wax on, wax off!

Get your motor running

BUDAPEST to WARSAW

They say a change is as good as holiday – and they’re not wrong!  Having Julia, Jim, Tim & B join us for the ride from Budapest to Warsaw, was a great reviver and a lot of fun!

There was no slacking though.  In just under two weeks, our bikie gang, crossed three countries – Hungary, Slovakia & Poland – and covered 936kms in total.  The ride had it all, heat, cold, wind, rain, mozzies, nowhere to sleep, trucks and some of the worst roads we’ve ever seen.  But we just got on with it… helped along by a meal or two out, plenty of Polish beer and a lot of laughter.

It was cycle touring at its very best.  Great work folks!  Champion effort and you should be very proud.

For the highlights – we took in the historic cities of Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw.  Cycled along the Danube, climbed through the Tatra Mountains – riding over a 1200m pass – and lastly weaved our way through stunning farmland and forests to Warsaw .  What better way to end, than to arrive just minutes before the actual Tour de Poland riders, and finish in front of the same screaming crowd!  (ok, maybe screaming at us to get off the track, but anyways…)

Eastern Europe has been a real eye opener.  Despite being more developed than we had imagined, it feels like we are back “adventuring” again.  If that makes sense?  The generosity of the people we’ve met  is simply unbelievable.  Like Filip, who led us through town in his car to make sure we didn’t get lost, then met us a day later with his girlfriend, Magda, to celebrate Jim’s birthday in true Polish style… with lots of vodka!  We thank them both, for an incredible evening and one we will never forget.

It is just the two of us again now.  We keep heading north through the Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia – finishing our European leg in Helsinki, before catching the train to Moscow and onto China.

Thanks again for all the support.  We are almost half way now…

Lots of love and safe travels

Jules & Jess

The Biatches - ready to roll!

The Biatches - ready to roll!

 

We are not lost, I think?

We are not lost, I think?

 

Jess & Julia cruising

Jess & Julia cruising

 

Jess & I, getting ready for the mountains !

Jess & I, getting ready for the mountains !

 

Julia at 1200m - we cycled this far uphill !!

Julia at 1200m - we cycled this far uphill !!

 

Slovakia's High Tatras

Slovakia - The High Tatras

Free camping in Poland

Free camping in Poland

 

Lunch number 1

Lunch number 1

 

Rural Poland

Rural Poland

 

Cycle touring at its best

Cycle touring at its best

Cycling makes you this hungry !

Cycling makes you this hungry !

 

Only two matches !

Only two matches !

 

Filip & Magda, we thank you both...

Filip & Magda, we thank you

 

Happy Birthday. This vodka is goooood !

Happy Birthday. This vodka is goooood !

 

A Tour de Poland finish !

A Tour de Poland finish !

 

Quick get off the track, the real riders are coming !!

Quick get off the track, the real riders are coming !!

 

Warsaw - we made it !

Warsaw - we made it !

 

Best Mates!

Best Mates!

 

Waving goodbye... just the two of us again

Waving goodbye... just the two of us again