- Dec 10, 2006
- Reaction score
- Munich, the beer capital
- BMW F700GS
Due to the present Russian war against the Ukraine I thought it might be of interest to take a look at the Baltic states.
Since they share their eastern border completely with Belarus and Russia and having experienced roundabout five decades of Soviet dictatorship since WW II they naturally fear a new aggressive reaction from the Russian side.
Having visited most East-European countries from Poland down to Bulgaria I decided in 2018 to travel north and have a look at the Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and maybe extend the ride to Scandinavia.
My route went from Munich via Vienna, Bratislava through Slovakia, where I found a room just south of the Polish border in the Tatra mountains at a price similar to South African accommodation.
Early next morning saw me on my bike zooming across Poland, like the day before roundabout 800 kms, to southern Lithuania.
Typical for these rural areas are little wooden houses
Next stop was the capital, Vilnius, where I found a viby backpackers. Only young people. I felt like the grandfather to all
Some sights of the city:
Lithuania had a rough time during the previous century, invaded from the Kaiser Reich, then from Poland, after that the Nazis and finally occupied by the Soviets. The latter gave them a hard time. It seems as if the Baltic people hate the Russians even more than the Nazis. The Nazis “just” deported (and murdered) the Jewish people – the Baltic people were considered as “Aryans” and subsequently in high esteem to the Nazi doctrine.
The Independence Square
This plate marks the starting point of a chain of people, hand in hand, connecting all three Baltic capitals, from Vilnius right up to Talinn in their quest for freedom in the end of the 1980'ties.
Starting early the next day wasn't early enough. The daily traffic rush was at in full go. I stood behind an elderly man waiting patiently at a huge 6-lane traffic circle. Suddenly he made a dash. So did I, but unfortunately he jumped on the brakes again and – bang – I bumped against his car. The GS was ok, but the car's bumper had nearly disintegrated. Waiting for the police caused an even bigger traffic jam ;o) but the old man wouldn't budge. Only when the cops had arrived was he prepared to come to a compromise and accepted some Euros to fix his car.
Travelling northwards I passed the centre point of the EU, whereby I don't know if this still applies after Britain's walk-out
A beautiful wooden church on the way and a bit later the fire fighters of a small village with an old Magirus Deutz in mint condition. These guys were really proud of their fire engine!
Further north you come across the famous Hill of Crosses, a sign of peaceful resistance. The Soviets bulldozed the site several times, but the next day the first crosses and rosaries would reappear again.
Another little wooden church along the route.