Two days after autumn equinox; twelve hours between sunrise and sunset; fourteen hours of daylight, and dwindling. Temperatures around fifteen Celsius. The season has arrived with on time showers — though it’s sunny today. Location: Kostrzyn, a town on the east shore of the Oder river, border with Germany. Behind me, Gorzów Wielkopolski with its antisocial dwellers; ahead, the monotonous German perfection. But I must confess that, for the first time, what with the Lithuanian devil on wheeels and the Polish heart of darkness, I feel relieved and happy coming out of the Eastern Block into more civilized Europe. Continue reading “The traveller’s autumn”
It is said that, when the Polish came to Landsberg for repopulating the town, they found the empty dwellings as had been left by the germans when hastily evacuated them: furniture, belongings, pantries and even –in some homes– the meal in the plates at the table; as if a ghost town whose dwellers had suddenly vanished. Thousands of Germans had had to flee in a hurry at the approaching Soviet troops.
Indeed, at the end of WWII the jointed governments of USA, URSS and UK, self-righteously redrawing the European borders in the Potsdam Conference, decided to generously gift Poland with a strip of German territory from which its inhabitants had been kicked out. In this strip of land was, among others, the town of Landsberg. The Polish renamed it as Gorzów Wielkopolski. Continue reading “Gorzów Wielkopolski: Heart of darkness”
Here and there, through the layer of clouds, a few sun beams shine on the land, cheering up the countryside. Behind me, noise of passing cars and lorries. I’ve pulled to the shoulder for a moment, right after leaving behind Vilnius’ outskirts, and take the day’s first notes. I’m heading Marjampole for merging into the E5, one of the most important highways in our Union, neck of land between–so to say–continental Europe, on one hand, and the Baltic & Scandinavia on the other; the only route–and bottleneck–linking those two halves of our common space. At both sides of the isthmus, there lies the no-go zone, hostile and barbarian land: Russia-Kaliningrad to the west and Belarus to the east. Continue reading “Upon the trodden track”
I leave fair Viljandi behind, and head to the southeast of Estonia, where the roads –I’ve been said– are less boring, have curves and even slopes. And, indeed, it turns so; but because I always take by-roads, now I’ve ended up in a long stretch under construction near the Latvian border, which I hope Rosaura will overtake without any mishaps. I’m afraid I’ve too often temped fate along this long journey, and I’m just too lucky not having yet got a flat tyre; or perhaps tyres are much more hard-wearing than we think.
This region between Viljandi and the southeast border, mainly rural and agricultural, is scarcely populated or developed. Maybe that’s also why it’s so nice: farms and fields alternate with woods and groves in a suggestive mosaic of colours and textures; there are picturesque housings, barns and wharehouses, always wooden and often colourful; some of them look like a Western’s set. Continue reading “Latvians, embrace consumption!”
Here I am–almost one month later–in the ferry acoss the Baltic, from Finland to Estonia. On my way north I sailed with Eckerö and now I’m taking Viking Line, which from Helsinki to Tallin costs 54 bucks. That’s the problem with sleeping until late: everything’s more expensive. The morning ferry, Eckerö’s, costs only 35; and there’s also another cheap one in the evening, but arrives late at night and I’ll have to make a stopover in Tallinn, which I don’t want to.
One month in Escandinavia. Thus said sounds like little, but I feel like if it had been double: I’ve gone through all of Finland from south to north, I’ve done a considerable part of Norway’s litoral, visiting many fiords and islands, including the famed North Cape, I’ve then crossed Sweden and then again part of Finland; I’ve met people, visited friends, and I’ve even taken some short brakes from riding the bike for a few days. That’s why it seems impossible all that has taken place in just one month. Continue reading “Summary of Scandinavia and impressions of Estonia”