After only a few hours of sleep, we wake up to the sun beaming on the tent. The sky is clear blue again, even in the direction of the water it looks clear. We hurry up eat breakfast, pack the camera, our rain jackets, snacks, a bottle of water, our water pump/filter and the 6-liter
For the last few days, I've had a really hard time figuring out what time it is... because no matter what time it is, the sun is up!
It is already making its way across the horizon early in the morning when I first open my eyes, it follows us all day while riding our bikes, it shines when I get hungry and when I get tired, it even still puts a spotlight on me when I sneak out of the tent to go pee in the middle of the night. Even since before we have ever entered the Arctic Circle in Finland, we caught ourselves riding until close to midnight without a worry in the world: we do not have to worry to find a camp spot before it gets dark and we do not have to worry about breaking up camp before
We are slowly snaking our way along the Porsangerfjord toward Nordkapp. Navigating around this area is pretty relaxing and easy, since there really is only one road leading up to Nordkapp. However, the road is following the coast along every curve of every small, little bay, which sometimes means we can see the road across the water for many miles ahead;
It is still early, when I wake up to grey clouds, threatening to release more rain on us. I scratch the new bumps on my legs and arms and swat at the few pesky mosquitoes that have found their way into our mosquito-net enclosure to torture us all night. After successfully assassinating the little critters, I change into my riding clothes and look for the midge-net and long-sleeve windbreaker in hopes to fend off all the other bloodsucking critters that are stalking us right outside the net. I really love the net! It has become my little save-haven and lately, I even wish I could make a whole suit out of it; especially, when taking a break in the woods from riding or while trying to eat a meal in peace.
Our ferry to Helsinki was scheduled to leave at 12:20. Like usually, we arrived at least an hour early. At the gate, we were told to bypass all the cars at the passport/ticket control and to head to the ramp so we could get situated before all the trucks and cars boarded. Once at the ramp we met a group of other bike tourers, a father with a couple of daughters and their friends--must be a brave man to tour with a bunch of teenage girls! We all boarded the ferry together.
Today, we are going to enter another country and start bicycle touring in Estonia. Leaving and entering new countries within the EU or within the Schengen zone is pretty uneventful, if not plain boring since there are no more passport controls. If it were not for the blue, plain signs announcing the start of a new country, we wouldn't even know, that we had entered a new Baltic state.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Entering Estonia[/caption]
Cycling through Estonia was pretty uneventful. We mostly stayed on the EuroVelo10 along the coast, which led us through a few small villages. It followed small quiet country roads and took the occasional detour on dirt roads closer to the coast. Estonia was just as flat as the
Today we are going to cross into another Baltic state and continue our bicycle touring through Latvia. Our nicely paved road turned into a bumpy ride shortly after crossing into the country. The road suddenly resembled more of a patchwork blanket than a motorway. It also had a set of deep groves from years of cars and trucks wearing it down, which sometimes made it difficult to stay out of the main traffic. Later on during our visit in the country, we were told, that the
Before we left the campground in Sulwaki, we met another bicycle tourist from Britain, who just made it to Poland from Sweden through Finland and down through Lithuania. He had no good new for us. According to him the weather was pretty nasty for the last few weeks and he had nothing good to say about bicycle touring on Lithuanian roads nor did he think the people were very open or friendly. Supposedly most everybody just showed him the cold shoulder, looked very stern and he never got a hello back...We hope that maybe, he just had a few bad days of cycling. Well, lets see what we'll experience while bicycle touring Lithuania.
For the next few days, we continued bike touring through Poland and slowly worked our way east across Poland to reach the Lithuanian border.
The riding was fairly easy along quiet, paved country roads that led through several small villages and past unique half timbered churches.
The following morning and after a short cycle up the Oder, we decided to cross over the border to start bike touring in Poland.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Pangeas at the Polish border[/caption]
As soon as we crossed, we lost our nice, quiet bike paths and had to share the road again. Fortunately, the roads were quiet and the drivers kept their distance.