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XCovlov70
06-06-2013, 06:47 AM
Stage 29 Raiskums - Riga (62 Miles)

Labrit (“Good Morning”)

Sorry to have to leave Apalkalns Camping but time waits for no man and we have a reservation at City Camping Riga which is our next stage so we hit the road again at 09:00 this morning….

A short drive today but the last section is literally through the city centre which I was in truth a bit hesitant about when I thought about the possibility of the amount of traffic we could be running into although ‘rush hour’should be over by the time we get there.

First really ‘smoky’ chimney we have seen on all this trip, I think the place must have been burning some old oil of some kind…..

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While we could see the communications mast and microwave dishes at the top of this tower we were puzzled as to what the 3 ‘lumps’ could be as they all pointed in the same direction…

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New roof on this farm building, all in wood….

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It wasn’t very long before road number 3 came in to join number 2 and we entered the outskirts of….

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While we stayed on the right as directed by TomTom to get to the campsite we still got into the centre a little bit further on….

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Just after we came to the road works and nose to tail traffic while the outbound traffic was quite clear….

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Getting around normal buses and trolley buses was ‘fun’ but at least when you indicated the drivers behind or at the side of you let you out to complete the manoeuvre, but you still got the one or two who just pulled out with no indication before hand….

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I got the traffic lights sequence right in the next picture as I needed to make a right hand turn and being at the front was a good move…..

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Just as my good lady took this next picture we had a procession of police cars and long Mercedes cars go past in the bus/taxi lane with all the horns going, probably diplomats who were late for breakfast…..

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Another left hand turn followed by lane changes and we are passing over one of the iconic bridges in Riga,

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Move over to the right hand side as we exit the bridge, another right & left hand turn and Oops. We find ourselves at the back of the campsite. Quick 180 degrees turn, thankfully there was a turning place at the end and we found the entrance …

The campsite is at the side and to the rear of the exhibition centre, that is quite at the moment but an exhibition is planned in a couple of days, so I am rather glad that we will not be here as I think getting out could be a lot worse….

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Next stop tomorrow is a look around the old town, on foot…

Labvakar (Latvian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-06-2013, 10:35 AM
Stage 29A “A Day in Riga”

Labrit (“Good Morning”)

Having checked in at Riga City Camping while I got ‘offered’ the City Bus Tour tickets at the campsite, but to make sure that if we wanted them then please make sure we got them there, I thought sorry ‘Shank’s Pony’ basically both me legs takes me to places the bus don’t go, so that is what we will do enjoying the sights, sounds and aromas as we went!
I was about to say ‘smells’ but had second thoughts, still the fish market was a perfect example for that! ….

OK! Walking boots on and off we go across the bridge we cane over for starters…..

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As we walk across the bridge dodging between the bicycles some of whom expect ‘right of way’ by ringing there bell we spot the Tallinn Ferry & a French Cruise Ship registered in a place I have never heard of called Mata Utu which I understand now is in the Southern Ocean, somewhere?…

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While down on the promenade we find the founder of Riga…..

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While looking over to the other side of the river we see a couple of hotels and Oil Magnate Offices….

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While walking along the outside of the ‘Old Town’ the view is much nicer….

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Then making our way up one of the streets…..

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The bells on the end of this building rang out the ‘Clock Times’ on the quarter, half, three quarter and full hour and the serenade was quite nice, but it took a bit of looking around to find out where the sound was coming from, especially if you had come from one of the side streets….

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The place where the first New Year’s Tree was sited in 1510 in Riga…..

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Another one of the churches this one you could climb the tower, for an extra fee, having paid if you wanted to look around the inside of the church, we declined both options….

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Little nice simple carved horse outside a souvenir shop…

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Next stop was the main Riga Market and it was HUMOUNGOUS in its size!
The 3 buildings looked like very large Aircraft Hangers with a 4th at right angles to the other 3 that were lined up alongside each other, if you can work that out, but then there were outdoor stalls as well?

You could tell as soon as you entered the first that you were in the Fish Market….

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Fruit & Vegetables

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Outdoor section

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Bread & Confectionery

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More outdoor stalls….

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Then in the near distance we spot this building…..

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While close up it reminds us of one that was if not exactly that same it was a very close replica that we saw in the Science Park in Moscow a number of years ago on a long weekend visit, this in Riga is also part of the Science University….

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While next door is this rather well decorated church…..

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While on the railway line was the ‘Oil Train’ that must have been around 1Km long and was Northbound….

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Then a short while later we see the same train (Nearly!) but Southbound….

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Walking back through the town all the city gardeners are out in force getting the flower beds nicely in place….

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Then we come to Riga’s Nativity of Christ Cathedral where a rather officious man approaches me, points to my clothes and refers me to the notice that tells me ‘shorts are not allowed, but I was not allowed to go to the ‘Candle Store’ as identified on the notice to wrap my offending legs in a skirt, so we left….

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Next stop was the Freedom Monument, with a very smart Latvian Soldier mounting a guard at each of the front corners. We found out that they remain at attention for 1 hour and are then replaced by other soldiers for the next hour….

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Followed by a short stroll along a section of what is known as Riga’s Canal….

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Into Livu Square…..

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While the side streets produce some rather nice architecture…..

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Then in this shop window we see all these dolls in national costume….

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Next up was the ‘Powder Tower’ formally called the ‘Sand Tower’ but renamed as it held gunpowder but is now the Military Museum (Free entry) and a place worth visiting if you get to Riga as the exhibitions are excellent…..

I will just let the pictures roll along…..

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Someone across the other side of ‘The Pond’ might recognise this piece of kit…

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While this rather large ‘Gun’ called ‘Dora’ required not one but two sets of rails to be transported, which I think would have made it rather difficult to get into position….

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While there was collaboration with the forces across ‘The Pond’….

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There was also collaboration with the UK and ‘Sandhurst College’….

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Lunchtime in the basement café of the Powder Tower…..

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With a bowl of Latvian Bean Soup with croutons that was very nice and quite filling…

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The soup was so filling that after it we went to a small park near the canal and taking out our sandwiches it was not long before the little sparrows came right up to our feet and started looking up as we munched, next thing we know while holding a large crumb of bread between our fingers was…..

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WOW!!!!!!! That was truly magical.

While this bridge and the railings were quite interesting…..

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Leave a message on a lock and put it on the bars! (Beats postcards, if you want to leave it in the same place)……

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Walking back along the canal we see this rather nice little Japanese building as Kobe in Japan is ‘twinned’ with Riga….

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Finally back on the bridge back to the campsite with a look back to the Old Town of Riga and Riga Castle in the left hand corner which is currently undergoing an EU Re-fit….

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Next stage tomorrow is Koknese…

Labvakar (Latvian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-06-2013, 10:28 PM
Stage 30 Riga – Koknese – Bauska (162 Miles)

Labrit (“Good Morning”)

I was not sorry to be up and away this morning, after 2 nights here, even though we thought by setting off relatively early we would miss the ‘rush hour traffic’ which was not the case.
In truth the campsite did not impress me with its ships ‘Containers’ for WC’s, cold water washing for eating utensils in sinks that are out in the open, and showers that are a good way from the campsite pitches.

Our intention was to get to Koknese that was around 65miles away, which was no problem, except when we got there the lady at the campsite told us that she was expecting around 100 fishermen for a contest and even if we stayed it could only be for 1 night with a very early leaving time tomorrow morning so we declined and headed for the next planned stop at the campsite near Bauska that thanks to TomTom not taking us across country put another 100 miles on the journey instead of a possible 60…..

Getting out of Riga was just as tricky as getting in with the volume of traffic…..

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Riverside apartments as we travel alongside the Daugava River.….

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Then we get to Ogre where we are very close to the river and it looks quite high….

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Roadside ‘Strawberry’ sellers…..

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Large farm buildings but looking a bit sorry for themselves……

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While a bit further we come to the first set of roadworks that are digging up that much you are down to a single track, but at least it had traffic lights controlling the traffic flow each way….

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It wasn’t much further and we came to the campsite we could not really stay at due to the fishing contest, so it was turn around and back through the road works, before we turned left of the road to Riga and started to make our way partly across country passing this first quite large Hydro Electric Dam, with a 4 meter high tunnel across the back of it….

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Then shortly after we came to the next set of roadworks with no traffic control and large square and rectangular patches of the road surface that had been removed to a depth of around 2 to 3 inches. While we stopped 3 behind the vehicle in the picture 3 vehicles behind us tried to come around us and through but had to reverse rather sharply due to oncoming traffic, the drivers have all been booked for appointments at ‘Specsavers’ to help them next time…..

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As we got to the left turn after around 1km we had the first traffic light in front of us with a notified 6 minutes delay from red to green!

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Nearing the end of controlled section and we find a 40 Tonne Truck blocking the road as he is trying to make a right turn from a side road and cannot get around due to a red and white bollard that is just about to be smashed by his trailer wheels, so he has to stop, get out and move it himself to allow him to continue and get back on his side of the road letting us through!

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Get that lot out of the way and we come to another Hydro Electric Dam where you can drive across the top of the dam…..

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As we got to the sign in the next picture we made a left turn so didn’t get to do the drive across the top of the dam…..

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Passing a couple of old style shops we then get on one of the main routes between Latvia & Lithuania, so there were lots of heavy vehicles on the road with the usual ‘ruts’ in the tarmac to keep you in line……

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Finally arrived at ‘Nameji Camping’ which is a small family run site with a large pond where you can hear the Bullfrogs croaking away so will pay a visit tomorrow to see if we can spot any for a couple of pictures, meanwhile here is a quite nice Sunset to be going on with….

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With now being ahead of ourselves we will be having a couple of days R&R here as it is nice and peaceful, while the next stage takes us into Lithuania…

Labvakar (Latvian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-07-2013, 09:17 AM
Stage 30A “A Day in & around Bauska”

Labrit (“Good Morning”)

After the rolls of thunder, but thankfully no rain it was a very peaceful night last night, while the first stop this morning after breakfast was the Tourist Information Centre in Bauska….

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Bauska Coat of Arms….

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While across the road if you fancy a ‘quick one’ and are NOT driving then here is the local Pub…..

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Then just down the road is this church that has been re-decorated but then we saw the windows which it looked like had been missed….

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Continuing down the road….

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We come to the river….

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Then as we turn and face left, there between the trees is Bauska Castle….

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While after a short walk we see the details outside….

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Up the drive to the ‘front door’ we go……

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Rather glad this gun was ‘plugged’ if you live on the other side of the river now!

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Reach the front door while the ‘Price List’ is conveniently positioned inside….

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So we settle for the ‘Birds Eye View’….

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While inside was…..

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Walking back into town, we think this was the house that the lady in the TIC mentioned that is the oldest in the village….

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Then we find the Lutheran Church, and what a difference in the ‘Welcome’ from Riga!
While I still had my shorts on the 3 ladies inside all said nearly in unison ‘Labrit’ (Hello/Good Morning) as we went through the door with big smiles, asking us where we came from while giving us the history of the church in English, and would we leave some comments in the visitor’s book, which was a pleasure to do…..

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The history of the church that started in 1591……

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While the picture did not turn out too well the paintings on the woodwork were good….

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Off again via a different road to the centre passing more quite old houses as we make our way back to ‘Flamenco Red’…..

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Next stop which was 12Km out of town…..

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Park up outside and walk in over the bridge and via ‘The Yellow Brick Road’…..

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We find the ‘Plan’ of the ‘Place’ or should that be ‘Palace’…

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Then turning around we see that while the main buildings are kept looking nice, the outer buildings are falling apart….

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While following that road we come to the main gates….

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Certainly one ‘Bird’ is staying free of charge while keeping warm on the top of the chimney…

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Then inside the square we get this view but as one side is identical to the other, then I only took one picture….

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With some smaller residents in the corners of the walls….

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Bird’s eye view of the rear gardens….

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Then a flatter view….

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Then a couple of the rooms, but note there is no bed so ‘Bed & Breakfast’ is not an option here….

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Time to exit and head back to Bauska, where coming back we spot this church, but it was all locked up even though the gardener was in cutting the grass….

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Make our way back to the campsite…..

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Then after a bite to eat we set off to have a look at the wildlife in the pond….

Beady eyes…..

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I’m hanging in the water keeping cool, what’s your excuse?…..

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Sunbathing….

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I’m a BIG BOY now, and it was!

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Little Dragon Flies….

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That’s it for today. Haven’t got a clue so far as to what’s happening tomorrow…..

Labvakar (Latvian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-09-2013, 05:49 AM
Stage 31 Bauska (Latvia) – Šiaulių (Lithuania) (69 Miles)

Labrit (“Good Morning”)

As we were packing up yesterday evening after having a totally lazy day we had a visitor in the shape of a Dragon Fly who seemed to have a fascination with the guy ropes on the sun porch and could not stay away from them…..

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The following morning we were up and away by 08:30 and with the border crossing not very far away it wasn’t long before we got there, but as Lithuania is now part of the EU then all activity was ceased and we drove straight through instead of having to veer off right into the checkpoints…..

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Then into Lithuania we go.….

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With the next destination on the first town ‘sign’ we come to….

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Followed by a traffic island that has been taken over by wooden cows….

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Nice piece of old style transport out for a Sunday Drive….

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While very soon after we came to the next campsite which is a small tarmac square on the grounds of a Motel with EHU (Electric Hook Up points) along one side….

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However only found out after checking in that there are no kitchen waste water or chemical toilet ‘dump’ facilities at the site, you have to take them with you!
Glad we are only staying for the 1 night!!!

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After getting set up and putting 5 litres of water into the tank in the ‘Tin Tent’ we found out that the walk to the ‘Hill of Crosses’ should be around 20 minutes (Turned out to be 45 minutes each way) so off we went following the footpath alongside the main road……

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We pass over a small river and in among the reeds are some small blue dragonfly….

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Little bit further and it was a right turn following the sign.….

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Just as we turn right we spot this stork on its nest with a baby whose head we could just see over the edge, there were 2 baby storks but only one kept its head up over the edge…..

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2km later we arrive at the car park, and after looking at the prices considering we spent 30 minutes looking around then £5 for 1 hours parking seems a bit expensive, and that would have just been for our unit, as we also noticed two coaches parked up along the main road, one of which was at the campsite having lunch with his passengers as we got back!…..

There was even a charge for using the WC at the Information Office…..

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Firstly a bit of history about The Hill of Crosses…..

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The as you walk along the footpath the sight grows in front of you…..

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End Left hand corner of the footpath….

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End Right hand corner of the footpath….

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While this young lady plays some rather nice music on her string instrument…..

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Going up the central stairs…..

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This is the view across to the other side of the hill…..

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With some specific pieces that come from all around the world……

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While another church congregation arrive to place their crosses with the others….

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We have an even shorter trip tomorrow as we plan to stop at the campsite we had originally planned on the other side of Šiaulių which will give us a chance to go exploring the town….

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-10-2013, 09:42 AM
Stage 32 Šiaulių - Plunge (72 Miles)

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Back on the road by 08:45 this morning having said our ‘Goodbyes’ & pulled out of the Motel ‘Tarmacadam’ campsite, with some extra weight on-board due to no liquid waste dumps being available, while the planned campsite south of Šiaulių we find does not take ‘Tin Tents’ they only like Tents & Campers, so we opt to carry on to the next campsite on the plan which is: Žemsuodos kaimelis....

Short distance to first village we actually got to go through as all the roads so far have been through open countryside……

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As we then saw this very large building we thought at first it was a block of flats needing a good coat of paint….

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Then as we came around the corner we saw it was a factory that needed more than just a coat of paint….

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Couple more left and right hand turns and it’s Whoaaa there ‘Train Crossing’….

While the warning lights and electronic bell on the crossing seemed to be ringing for a very long time before this double engine appeared pulling no less than 78 Wagons, all with Russian writing on the side….

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Quick wave to the Engine Driver (Brought back nice old memories!) and as he goes past he gives a ‘Toot’ on the horn and smiles through the side window after nearly making me deaf….

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Over the ‘lumpy rail crossing’ and carry on through the roads as we start to come into the outskirts of Plunge….

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Main street through Plunge…..

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Then shortly after back out into the countryside we go….

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Next left hand turn saw us into the entrance and down the roadway to the campsite….

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Check in, pitch chosen and get set up, including locating the ‘liquid waste dump’ which we nearly pitched up over [nonono] …..

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After a nice cup of coffee a short stroll around the campsite provided the following interesting ‘features’……

Self-contained wood fired, towable, Saunas…

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Japanese Bath……

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This is the ‘Water Heating Equipment’ that is also wood fired which given time can get the water extremely hot…..

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Horse and cart…..

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BBQ area….

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Not quite sure if this is a carved self portrait of someone on the campsite…..

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Hopefully off on another trip to see part of Russia’s history tomorrow, but thankfully don’t need to apply for a visa to get there…..

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-11-2013, 10:09 AM
Stage 32A “A Day in & around Plungė”

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

As we arrived at our next campsite yesterday at around 10:00 we saw two men cutting up timber on a powered saw blade for firewood, at 18:00hrs they finished for the day as the woodpile had grown by around 18inches higher, today they were back again and started at 08:30.

In conversation with a few people who spoke English we very soon learned that salaries in Lithuania average around €300 to €400/Month, I will leave you to do the conversion as it ain’t much when you do……

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First stop today was the Tourist Information Office which is on one side of the entrance to Plungė manor homestead which is 58.3 hectares in size and was ‘Duke M.Oginskis manor ensemble’….

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Walking along one of the paths you quickly come to ‘The Clock Tower’ which is now the town library…

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While a bit further on is the ‘Palace’….

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Which is currently undergoing a complete European Fund refurbishment, as the place has been gutted on the inside….

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View from the rear of the Palace across the artificial pond to the Stables

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While the water lilies open up in the sunshine…..

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View back from the Stables to the Palace…..

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One of the 7 cascading ponds connected by stone bridges….

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Next stop after a short road trip was……

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The entrance road used by the Russian Army Heavy Transport vehicles hence the reinforced concrete….

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Then from the viewing tower we see the 4 Nuclear Rocket Silos in the forest of Plokštinė….

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Construction was started in September 1960 in the village of Plokščiai and completed on December 31st 1962….
Each of the 4 Silos was targeted on a certain country, namely: Norway (Top left), Spain (Top right), Germany (Bottom left) & UK (Bottom right).....

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Silo cover, weighed 200 Tons and took 10 minutes to open, while the rocket took 12 minutes to be made ready, 30 Minutes Total time before lift-off…..

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OK ‘signed up’ for the tour which unfortunately was in Lithuanian but with the explanation provided by the lady tour guide before we went in and the information in English on different boards which I have tried to take the pictures of, so I hope you can read them, then off we go inside….

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As we go in we pass through 3 Steel Doors with thick concrete sections between each door…

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While this soldier sat at the desk gives us the once over….

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First stop was the equipment room used for the preparation of each missile…..

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The tour group in the room that was used which is now used to show details of how the Cold War evolved…..

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The happenings of the ‘Cuba Crisis’……

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With the map of Cuba…..

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Next stop…..

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4 crews for each silo performing different tasks, which are explained later while each crew worked 6 hours on duty….

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Next stop Fuel Filling Control…..

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While the actual hall/room is used to show additional items as quite a lot of the equipment was destroyed……

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A cutaway model of the 27meter Rocket Silo…..

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A 1/10 Scale Model of the Medium Range Ballistic Missile ‘SS-4’ armed with 2-megaton power thermonuclear warhead…..

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While we go down to the next level…..

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Breakdown of troops and officer divisions…..

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Communications node…..

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While off we go along another corridor, and I forgot to ask what all the holes in the walls were for before we left!

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Energy (Electricity) production and distribution…..

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The room from a photograph…..

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Now with displays of home guard safety items as the original distribution equipment was destroyed as the soldiers left…

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Power generation room…..

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With a rather large but sad diesel engine that will never run again…..

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Silo ‘Tunnels’….

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Compressed gases details that were needed for each rocket…..

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Stepping through the doors that were less than 5ft high, at the end of the ‘Postern/Tunnel’ into the Rocket Silo…..

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The angle of the Silo bottom…..

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Looking down the Silo from the top…..

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While over our heads is the 200Tonne Silo Cover that would have opened and closed…..

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Recommended to be used while carrying out any work inside the Silo, the ‘Safety Belt’….

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Rocket ‘alignment’ to hit the target….

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The next two pictures were taken at the top of the Silo showing the Degree markings that were used by the soldiers for alignment. I shudder to think how long they had to get out after this was completed before the button would have been pushed!

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Finally a rather poignant description of war from Albert Einstein……

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We are off on a 'Diversion to plan' tomorrow as we are 'Going to the Seaside' for a couple of days as we are slightly ahead due to a couple of campsites not being available!

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-12-2013, 09:36 AM
Stage 33 Plungė – Karkles km (48 Miles)

Labas Rytas (“Good Morning”)

After a longer lie in we hit the road by 09:30 waving our goodbyes as we climbed out of the campsite leaving the toilets and showers behind that had now been cleaned for at least 2 days behind, (Bad hygiene procedures annoy me!!!)....

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Second hand clothes market that seems to be coming more popular here as in other countries as prices rise much faster than salaries…..

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Rather nice building….

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Out making sure the vegetable crops are going to be good enough to put on the table for ‘Home Grown’….

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WOW! Section of ‘Motorway’ but only 2 lanes….

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Reached a point where if you were a certain size vehicle you had to pay a Toll for using the ‘Motorway’ ….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S33-6.jpg

But didn’t apply to us so we kept going…..

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Screwed up initially the exit we should have made but having spotted a ‘Traffic Island’ (Doughnut!) we made the correction and ended up on the correct road!….

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11Kms later of rather narrow road, we arrive, check in and get set up on our next campsite called ‘Ziogelis Camping’….

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Down at the beach which is around 600 meters away we see….

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On the beach at more or less the water’s edge are all these what we think are Mayflies, which are dying or dead……

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S33-15.jpg

Coming off the beach via a slightly different route we pass the cemetery with a rather unique water well very close to the entrance that people can draw a bucket of water to use for flowers on a person’s grave…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S33-16.jpg

Meanwhile after a visit to the local shop I spot a drink that is made from Water Melon but is classed as a Cider, (Well that is what the lady in the shop called it!) and having never seen a Melon Cider before I decided to give it a go!

OH Boy! The Melon taste was there but it tasted nothing like Cider, still it kept the kidneys flushed so that part was helpful, but I don't think it will be repeated….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S33-17.jpg

We might try a trip into the city tomorrow, but no guarantees, as weather forecast is not good…..

Labos Nakties (‘Good night’)

ssicarman
06-12-2013, 09:20 PM
Your first picture of the campsite. The smaller dark car parked on the side of the trailer. Is that car actually towing the trailer?

XCovlov70
06-12-2013, 10:02 PM
Your first picture of the campsite. The smaller dark car parked on the side of the trailer. Is that car actually towing the trailer?

Yes it is.

In the UK both the 'Caravan Clubs' recommend a weight limit for the trailer that is normally 80% of the car, but over here in Europe it doesn't seem to matter.

We have been surprised a number of times by the size of some outfits as the caravan seems to be as heavy if not heavier than the car! :eek::eek:

XCovlov70
06-13-2013, 10:27 AM
Stage 33A “A day in Klaipėda”

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Decided this morning as there was no sign of the promised rain, to take off and go into Klaipėda for a look around, so set up ‘City Centre’ in TomTom and off we went....

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Not long after and we are there in the centre, which as it happens is the Old Town…

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Nice floral Boat….

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Followed by Ladybirds to keep the bugs off the floral Boat….

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Coming from the Port via a lift bridge is this tributary ….

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The cobbles while looking nice were quite difficult in places to walk on….

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Old Town map on the side of the building….

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On this road is the Tourist Information Office, which was quite handy….

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Then following the road a bit further we come to the Town Square…..

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Old Theatre, now a restaurant…..

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Pictures of the town in days gone by…..

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Carrying on further around we see these stone troughs with small water fountains….

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Walking further towards one of the main roads it was like swimming through floating cotton wool pieces that were coming off the trees, and you had to keep your mouth shut or else!

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Then we find the Old Market…..

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We think this kiosk owner might have gone off for more supplies?

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Had to start making our way back into the Old Town as the Parking Meter was running down….

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Then we find this large basin a bit further up the tributary…..

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While on the green grass inside the hedge was a church that was completely destroyed but they are hoping to rebuild….

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Then around another corner we see this….

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It’s a Chimney Sweep, and if you get to touch one of his coat buttons at New Year it is supposed to bring you luck throughout the next year….

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I’m glad we left ‘Flamenco Red’ where we did after seeing this…..

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While then making our way to the harbour….

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Lots of cranes for offloading of ships…..

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Cruise ship ‘Silversea’ registered in Nassau….

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While a bit further along but we could not get any closer was this Lithuanian Naval Ship ‘M53’….

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While getting under way was the Vehicle Ferry….

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Time ran out for us at this point so we had to hoof it back and go off to the local supermarket for some fresh victuals, before heading back to the campsite…..
It also looks like we could be in for some rain tonight as the clouds have rolled in and the wind is getting up!

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-14-2013, 05:00 AM
Stage 33B “A side trip to Palanga”

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Very overcast this morning with a chance of rain, so we decided to stay local and go and have a look at the ‘Seaside Town’ of Palanga which is quite close to the campsite…

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Park up on the outskirts of town and walk in as it was not far.…

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Passing the 4x4 Off Road ‘Young Members Club’ getting ready for a day out!

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View across the town square….

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While a short distance away was the biggest second-hand clothes market we have ever seen….

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While the traffic entrances were closed off with some nice floral displays…..

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And this nice outfit on the other side of the road, but the horse was missing, presumed off for a late breakfast….

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Old War Memorial with ‘Hammer & Sickle’ centre piece…..

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While there are some more very nice floral displays along the main road….

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Coming to a red brick church….

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While just a few yards away down the road was this rather nice Bird Statue….

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DIY Pedal Hire Cars for getting around town…..

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Nice little children’s fairground…..

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As we make our way towards the seafront we see these pictures on the wall of again ‘Bygone Days in Palanga’….

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With a couple of the buildings as we walk along the road…..

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With the small river alongside…..

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Just then the rain started to arrive so it was about turn and head back to the campsite, and on the way for a minute I thought we had been transported to another country as we passed these Donkey Engines in a field by the main road back…..

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Now back on the campsite and the heavens have opened up to a good drop of rain which is a pity, but it will be back on the road as it’s time for the next stage tomorrow…..

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-15-2013, 10:07 AM
Stage 34 Karkles - Šilinė (111 Miles)

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Up early and away by 08:00hrs this morning as we understood that a large party was expected at the campsite for a golf tournament, and within 8 miles we went onto the ‘Klaipeda Motorway’....

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The Motorway lasted for around 85 miles of today’s stage and like most roads of this type was rather uninspiring…..

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We did notice that unlike a couple of countries in the EU the road building seems to be ongoing in Lithuania as we spotted this new bridge being constructed, while on the other ‘side roads’ the Pothole Repair Men were out in force even on Saturday!….

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After arriving at our next campsite which is called Honey Valley, after just getting set up we had another visitor hanging onto the sun canopy guy ropes, and it was only after looking at the picture that I noticed the damage to the upper left and bottom right wings of this Dragon Fly….

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While the campsite looks like this, and it is really a very nice place and setting….

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While over on one side of the campsite is this rather nice Tree Stump, with a little secret…..

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Around the back is this little ‘entrance’ to inside…..

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When you open it you see the Honey Comb waiting for the Bees to come along and fill it with their honey, and they will as the campsite owner sells the honey from his Bees and I must say it is rather nice, having bought a jar and made a ‘Honey Butty’ (Sandwich) for a snack!….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S34-9.jpg

Meanwhile, as it was Saturday we needed to make a trip to the supermarket for some groceries, so off we went to the nearest town which is ‘Jurbarkas’ parking up when we got there opposite this old building that was showing signs of its age…..

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While a bit further along was this fountain, pond and flower garden.
The shopping had been done by this time so we were strolling around the place….

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The town seemed to have a lot of flats for accommodation near the centre

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While we then saw this gentleman ‘testing’ his Scythe on the grass outside one of the blocks of flats….

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As there was no Tourist Information Office in the town so no town plan could be obtained we just had a look around a number of the roads……

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While wandering around we did see some older property like these timber houses but they were surrounded by the multi storey flats….

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Spotted the Fire Station only because they were putting one of the engines back in its garage…

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While back at the campsite we got back in time to see the Bride and her Bridesmaids as her wedding celebration and picture shoot was taking place….

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Hopefully further wanderings tomorrow by foot if the weather is kind and stays dry, so 'Flamenco Red' can have a day off! [thumbup]…..

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-16-2013, 10:59 AM
Stage 34A “A day around Honey Valley Camping”

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Woken this morning to the sound of rain on the roof of the ‘Tin Tent’ which kept going until around 10:30 when it stopped and about an hour later the sunshine came out, so after lunch we set off to have a look at a couple of castles in the area....

The first one in the little village of Raudone….

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Where part of it is now a basic school…..

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The Mill, now disused and boarded up….

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While at the side is this rather well carved tree trunk….

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Making our way to the Tower as you could climb up to the top for a good view around the area we pass this sign pointing the way….

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Then we see the stairs, all wood and a few loose…..

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Up and out of the doorway and onto the viewing platform with this view….

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While out on the river this operation is taking place which we could not see in the grounds….

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Looking back across the village we see this rather nice house….

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Then it was time for the downward trip…..

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At the bottom was this collection of the family that lived here……

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As we made our way back through the corridors to the outside again we passed some of the children’s work displayed on the walls…...

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With a final look back at the castle….

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We went off to find the Gediminas Oak Tree that is mentioned in the information plaque, and found that it had ‘died’ and broke the fence surrounding it when it fell apart…..

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While in another part of the park surrounding the castle is this memorial to Russian Soldiers who died in WWII…

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A bit further along the pathway is this Lime Tree Grove…..

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Taking a short walk around the village before we went to the next castle these are the sights we saw….

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Back in ‘Flamenco Red’ and making our way out of the village we come to this piece of road that is all large stones, and going over it you really got ‘Shaken and not Stirred’ by the time you got to the bottom…..

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Next stop was Panemunės pilį….

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In the pond just in front and to the right of the tower in the previous picture are Bullfrogs and they are well camouflaged…..

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Inside the castle square you can see how the EU Funding has started to renovate the outside of the building along with some of the inside, but there is still a lot to do…..

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Special exhibition in part of the un-renovated section which was modern art for which I must admit to having no interest in, however the 5 pointed start in Lithuania according to the young lady selling the tickets to the castle signifies a person, namely: Head, two arms & two legs….

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First stop after getting my ticket was to visit the….

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Looking down through the grill, I am not sure if you ended up in this part….

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Next stop was climbing a lot more stairs up the…..

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With the following view at the top….

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Then managing to open a window…..

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You can see into….

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While inside coming back down you notice a difference in the portals in the wall….

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While at the bottom are these implements of old battles….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S34A-46.jpg

Upstairs was some of the ‘modern art’ displays, but I was more interested in the frescos and I hope they are eventually restored….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S34A-47.jpg

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S34A-48.jpg

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On the road again tomorrow for the next stage…..

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

ssicarman
06-16-2013, 06:38 PM
As usual another nice batch of pictures.

XCovlov70
06-17-2013, 10:44 AM
As usual another nice batch of pictures.

'Dospedanya' Comrade! (Hope the spelling it correct!) :D:D

XCovlov70
06-17-2013, 10:59 AM
Stage 35 Šilinė - Trakai (96 Miles)

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Another early start as we wanted to be at the next campsite if possible before lunchtime which would give us the afternoon to do some exploring of the area including the big castle of Trakai…

Yet another building enjoying EU Restoration funding….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-1.jpg

While this got a coat of paint from the owners …..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-2.jpg

As we passed this church it looked very similar to one in a place called ‘El Rocio’ in Spain….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-3.jpg

Not long and we are entering the outskirts of Kaunas…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-4.jpg

Where it was only a very short distance to the Motorway where we get behind this Truck.
While the Trailer was made in Holland (That was on the large Mud Flap across the bottom)
The advertisement was in German, and the whole unit had Russian registration plates on it!

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-5.jpg

Very soon you could tell we were getting closer to Vilnius as the churches started showing the Onion Domes…..

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Not far to the campsite now and this ‘Sun’ carving appears on top of the hill…..

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Shortly after is the campsite entrance which is pisted road full of potholes and quite narrow but thankfully nothing met us coming the other way…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-8.jpg

While we checked in and found that the price quoted in a telephone call yesterday was incorrect, it was more expensive, while so far it’s also the most expensive campsite we have stayed on in Lithuania, the next picture was taken after we got back from our afternoon excursion to Trakai as a Rally had arrived at the campsite and all the members parked close together so that they could open their windows next morning and shake hands wishing each other ‘Good Morning’….

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After an early lunch we set off into Trakai and as we found a place to park, spotted this vintage car…..

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For anyone who doesn’t recognise it, it is a Wartburg (2 Stroke Engine), I would guess around 40 years old, made in Eisenach (Germany)

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-12.jpg

Moving to the lakeside in Trakai, it did not take long to determine that it was a ‘Tourist Trap’…

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-13.jpg

While these two kind gents from the USA gave us a chuckle as they tried on a couple of special hats…..

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Then looking across the lake is the Castle…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-16.jpg

Making our way over to it, we spot this Duck with her brood….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-17.jpg

While a nice ‘guardian’ keeps an eye on the bridge to the castle….

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Then having paid the ‘Pensioners Entrance fee’ we get inside and see…..

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I couldn’t quite get the high parts in so had to take them separately.….

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While across the bridge and through 3 gates then into the square Tower we went….

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Inside it looked like this

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-26.jpg

First stop was…..

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Next stop in the basement was…..

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Various ‘pots’ were on display with coins from different periods on display….

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While in the museum was this rather nice clock…..

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Then came a model of the castle before it was restored…..

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And now after the restoration…..

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While some of the original inhabitants of the castle were the Tartars….

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More museum pieces of smoking pipes…

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Then we see a dining set….

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My apologies for this next picture that did not turn out right. The colours on the coach & four were very vivid….

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Followed by a couple of nicely decorated vases that did turn out alright!

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-46.jpg

Glassware…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35-47.jpg

Step aboard for a trip around the lake and a couple of beers in the process if you want….

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Back on the mainland it was off into the village of Trakai itself…..

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While this rather good carving was outside the Fire Station….

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Then we found the church which was heavily decorated inside…..

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Time to head back to the campsite for dinner, and sort ourselves out for a public bus trip to Vilnius tomorrow……

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-20-2013, 09:22 PM
Stage 35A “A day in Vilnius”

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Coming this far East in Lithuania it was a forgone conclusion that we would end up in another BIG City and this time it was Vilnius. We took the bus in, but it was the wrong one, so we ended up with a 40 minute walk to the Old Town, while we caught the train back, well it was all part of the ‘adventure’…

Off the wrong bus and hoofing it, we soon pass the blocks of flats….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-1.jpg

While a bit further along the road we see a number of the older generation sat on the wall trying to sell produce from their gardens to get some money…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-2.jpg

High rise flats from the Soviet era….

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Then looking back along the road we have just walked along…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-4.jpg

While next was truly the only real ‘Onion Dome’ church that we saw, and there are a lot of churches in Vilnius…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-5.jpg

I found the scaffolding intriguing to say the least as it was all made with pieces of wood, and quite a few were just slices from a tree trunk!
No doubt a Health & Safety ‘Official’ would find some regulation that would not allow it in any other country, but as one of the men said “If there is a problem, then the wood ‘talks’ to us, steel is silent & just collapses” .….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-6.jpg

As we start to come into the Old Town, the roads get narrower…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-7.jpg

While the first of many churches comes into view it is closed up…..

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A bit further up the road you could hire a ‘Segway’ for an assisted tour around the city…..

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However if you did then you might get just get a ticket!!!

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-11.jpg

Yippee, a pedestrianized part of the city!...

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-12.jpg

While of the 5 signs on the pole, 3 of them point in the direction of different churches….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-13.jpg

Town Hall in the middle that has the Tourist Information Office in, with a sculpture of modern art along the path….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-14.jpg

Square in front of the Town Hall….

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Bottom Right of the next picture. Some would say ‘Good Old George’…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-16.jpg

Then looking across the front of the Town Hall is this view….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-17.jpg

Then up the left hand side is this view of the Astoria Hotel….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-18.jpg

While over to the left is….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-19.jpg

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A bit further along is the Lithuania National Philharmonia building….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-23.jpg

Gateway leading to another church, which we did not enter….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-24.jpg

While further along on the left was…..

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Next along the road was….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-33.jpg

While in the museum was this rather nice clock…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-34.jpg

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Then we came to….. While to get to the centre inside over the archway you go in a door on the left then follow a corridor and up some steps….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-37.jpg

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The small metal hearts on either side of the Virgin are from families who wish to remember relatives who have passed away…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-40.jpg

This is the view from the other side of the Gates of Dawn…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-41.jpg

Time for a coffee, and while hunting the coffee shop we pass this shed with the firewood in, so not everyone is using electricity or gas, even in the city!

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-42.jpg

Then we see find the Train Station…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-43.jpg

Bit of a nightmare for drivers with the two pedestrian crossings coming together in a ‘V’ and yes you did get the odd driver who didn’t bother stopping when people were on the crossing!

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-44.jpg

Walking further on we pass some nice architecture on this building….

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Finally time for some lunch which was enjoyed while sitting by this rather large Egg….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-46.jpg

Next was the only Synagogue left in Vilnius while there used to be quite a few…..
(The information plaque while difficult to read was sadly not photographable)

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Then on the ‘non-tourist route’ we pass some of the rundown buildings as we make our way further into the old town….

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Back into the ‘fashionable street’…..

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Next up was Gediminas Tower set on a 48 meter hill and is the only remaining part of the upper castle…..

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Then after a rather nice ice cream we strolled over to…..

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While strolling on a bit further we spot this rather nicely decorated tree, but not sure how the trunk manages if it is still growing….

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While directly opposite too it was…..

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While there are 2 churches and a basilica, this is the inside of the church on the left in the picture after the next one….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-59.jpg

The church in the centre of the next picture is part of a friary that is ongoing…..

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As we entered the gate of the larger church we found a man on the ground asking for money to sadly support his drinking habit, which you could discern from other people you saw in the city with the brown bottles in their hands, and the glazed look in their eyes….

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As we came away and looked back you could then see how big the Friary is…..

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A nice flower arrangement in a historic place…..

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This next picture is the history of the place…..

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Off around the corner we come to another Orthodox church, but again without the Onion Domes on the top…..

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When we spotted this next sign we thought we were about to enter another country and wondered if we would need our passports!

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The for something different we found the market…..

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Finally back to the station for the train back to Trakai and we see this train that looked quite new, fenced off from all the others with a security guard and special train conductor as its destination was Minsk, and I remember passing a Border Control door as we made our way to our platform…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-72.jpg

Looking across to Vilnius Railway Station on the right of the station is this building, don’t know what it is, but the statue of the ‘Howling Dog/Wolf’ was very striking…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-73.jpg

While just a bit further over to the right was this old engine….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-74.jpg

Then on the other side of the tracks was this old ‘Steamer’ which reminded us of the engines we saw in a railway museum in Ulan Bator (Mongolia) so I would not be surprised if this one also made its way across the Russian Steppes at some time……

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-75.jpg

Not our train but it still looked good…..

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-76.jpg

Finally back at Trakai Station, after a bit of a jerky ride as the train pulled out of each station after stopping….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S35A-77.jpg

As we settled down for the evening we heard this loud ‘ROAR’ and found a hot air ballon climbing over the trees around the campsite before it ran into them!

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So with a final view over Trakai and the lake with the hot air balloon floating off to come down elsewhere it’s time to start getting ready for the final stage in Lithuania tomorrow…..

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Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-20-2013, 10:19 PM
Stage 36 Trakai - Seirijai (72 Miles)

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

While we did plan to spend a few nights at ‘Slenis’ as no maintenance had been carried out at the campsite for some time, and having a shower on our first night I was not impressed when the water rose to a temperature that was not far short of scalding hot and could not be adjusted, so between that and the incorrect information about the cost, we decided to leave. :mad:

OK on the road again by 08:30 for the run to Seirijai, before the rally members decided to leave …..

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Off to the local village….

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Re-chipped road surface with the speed supposed to be restricted to 40Kmph but in trying to keep up we found we were rolling along at more like 60 or 70Kmph….

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg497/eurorider2/SBST2013/S36-4.jpg

While a bit further along we came to the section were one side of the road has just had its bitumen coating before the tarmacadam is applied, however oncoming traffic was expected to travel along it as there was no traffic control, so some drivers were coming towards you with their offside wheels on your side of the road, while not slowing down and remaining on your side of the road!

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Just entering the outskirts of…..

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We found out later after we went back into Ayltus from the Tourist Information brochure that the sculpture in the next picture is of ‘Patrimpas’ who is the ancient Baltic god of spring & fertility!

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Around 40 minutes later we turn left onto a side road that is just wide enough to take the wheels on the ‘Tin Tent’ without going into the nearside ‘piste’….

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As we get around the next corner it was slow down time…..

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Shortly after we pull into the campsite pulling up with this carving staring at me as I go to check in….

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With the cabins and the trees I could not see where the actual pitches were for the camping section, then with the owner we set off on a 600 meter walk to get to the places, but as we had to go around the perimeter it took a bit longer on ‘Forest Tracks’ to get to the places but ‘Flamenco Red’ just ‘growled’ quietly and in no time really we were there…..

Up along the tracks in the middle to the open pitches…..

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While the ‘open’ pitches go off in the distance……

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Choosing a large pitch we managed to turn around and get in while the ground erupted with Mosquitoes, large flies and Horse Flies of the type that bite! So we sat there for about 15 minutes till they settled down, and then got set up, but as the temperature was around 29C the first job was to get the windows open and the nets in place to stop the little buggers coming inside!…..

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Having got set up after lunch we decided having found that the facilities were back by the bungalows and the site has no Interent we were only going to stay for the one night instead of the planned three, a trip into Ayltus for a bit of shopping and a look around was OK for the afternoon, so off we went…..

‘Town transport’ as this little bus came direct from Sweden and still had the license plates on!...

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Komsomol Square in 1978….

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Now called Rotuses Square.….

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V. Kapsukas Street in 1974….

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Now called Jotvingiai Street today…..

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The Angel of Freedom statue, erected in 1929 to the people who gave their lives for the freedom of Lithuania…..

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With the plaques on 3 of the 4 sides…..

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The ‘Dead Bell Memorial’ it unites all the memorial symbols of resistance fights scattered throughout the city, and is dedicated to all political prisoners, deportees, partisans of Dainava military district and the Lithuanian Army rebels of 22 – 28 June1941…

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The plaque on the rear of the Dead Bell Memorial…..

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The National Awakening Movement cross near the Dead Bell Memorial…

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The ‘Green Gymnasium’ which was first established in 1919, and then got the building in 1925 using material from the former Military Barracks it is now the School of Fine Crafts with the wood carvings outside…..

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While outside the building materials ‘Supermarket’ are a few trucks with log loads waiting to offload maybe?

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After trying for over ¾ of an hour to find the Jewish Genocide Cemetery that was created after mass graves were found in the Vidzgiris forest, we had to give up. Asking directions to the street that the cemetery was in produced various sets of directions in how to get there, none of which were correct, while the Tourist Information Office booklet gave no map.

Which made us think as we then returned to the campsite that maybe like this ‘Forgotten Memorial’ that we came across on our way back that had no information at the site, as it appeared that plaques that were on the wall had been removed or stolen.
It was now a similar story for the Jewish Genocide Cemetery….

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Next stage tomorrow sees us in Poland….

Labos Nakties (Lithuanian ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-21-2013, 10:38 AM
Stage 37 Seirijai - Giżycko (105 Miles)

Labas Rytas (Lithuanian “Good Morning”)

Back on the road by 08:15 this morning, as the other small ‘problem’ was there is no Internet at Seirijai, and having been off now for 3 days there is a significant backlog for the update.

Setting off this morning we were under the impression that the Lithuania – Poland Border was around 22Km away when we saw the road sign, but I think because we went across country we got there in less than the 22Km, as from the sign it appeared in no time at all…..

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While there was not even a sign of any Border Controls except for Trucks we were in….

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Following initially the signs for Suwalki (Suwałki)!

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“Turn left in front of the church, and watch out for traffic on your right”!

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“Ere, this be Farmin Countryside so you can expect to meet us as you roll along!!”

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Large grain silos on the outskirts of the town….

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While on the other side of town we come once again into the ‘Roadworks’….

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In parts it was really ‘up & down’ over the workings while the 10 Tonne Truck went through a Red Traffic Control Light at one section getting in front of this interesting trailer …..

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Back on the good road……

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Then we see two of them Farmin type vehicuules comin toward each other, and they was waving to one another!…..

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Right hand turn just ahead while the Market was at the top of the road!...

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Now just gone around the town of Giżycko and turned into the road to the campsite to find more roadworks, with again no traffic control even though one side of the road has been completely removed. It was like being back in Morocco but if anything worse thanks to the narrow lane and lumps and bumps as you went over it…..

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While the entrance road to the campsite was not much better…..

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Get on a pitch having got through the security gate with only instructions in Polish and get set up.…

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Then went over to reception to register and was asked to pay for our stay of 3 nights, but for anyone coming to Poland with an outside of Poland Credit Card, be aware that there is a nice ruse to improve bank profits by putting the amount through in your Home Country Currency but at a very poor exchange rate when you check the details later!

You are supposed to be offered the chance to pay in your own currency or the currency of the country but nothing was said other than 'Pin Number'! :mad::mad:

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-21-2013, 12:20 PM
Stage 37A “A visit to The Wolf’s Lair”

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

Today we went off to see…..

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I didn’t realise it at the time but thanks to TomTom we approached the place by a back route that the ‘Tourist Traffic’ don’t go as it was through the forest on a road made of cobblestones for around 3 miles, which was quite fascinating…..

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Finally after a bit of bumping around on the forest road we end up in the entrance and crossing the railway line which is no longer used….

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Entering the car-park we find a slot, pull in and set off to have a look around….

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The first thing we spot is the BIG map of the place which was really too big to use in one picture for the details of the bunker locations, so I broke it up into 4 pictures to use with the legend of Numbers to Bunkers if you follow me?

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Follow the ‘Plan of Site’ detail if you are interested to find the specific Numbered Bunkers.

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This picture shows the now ‘Restaurant’ that was previously Number 1 on the ‘Plan of Site’ which was formerly the SS-Escort Detachment Barracks and is one of only a few buildings that are still in one piece as you will see in later pictures…..

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Set off on the marked trail around the site and the first thing you see is….

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Bunker 2….R S D & SS-Barracks

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Bunker 3, or what is left of it, while it was the bunker where the assassination attempt on Hitler was made…..

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The next two pictures show Bunker 13 (Unlucky for some as we say!) Hitler’s Bunker or rather what is now left of it…

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Bunker 12 looked a bit interesting as we could see a round hole that looked like a window, but not sure if it was. The bunker was on the Plan of Site as the ‘Flak Bunker’?

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To give you some idea of the strength & thickness of the reinforced concrete that was used in the construction of the buildings…..

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I must admit that I was beginning to find looking at smashed up lumps of reinforced concrete quite boring, so as we were making our way around it was nice to see at least one nice specimen of the wild life out and about and ready to have its picture taken…..

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With a couple more lumps of smashed up reinforced concrete behind us we came back to the car park to get back into ‘Flamenco Red’ and head back to the campsite, but we had to ‘Stop’ and check that no trains were coming before crossing the railway lines after the car park!

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Then back on the Forest Cobbled Road.…

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We passed this part that looks like a Mangrove Swamp!

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Then we spot on the other side of the road lower down the bank….

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A guard’s bunker also with reinforced roof…..

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I have to say that for me the visit to the ‘Wolfsschanze’ was disappointing as I thought there could have been more interesting information around the site about each Bunker, but as guided tours were also being sold in your language then it might have reduced the business prospects for just looking at a lot of reinforced rubble that once played a part in history.

P.S. I still don’t have a clue of who or what turned it into concrete rubble?

P.P.S. The rain has finally stopped after an intense storm that came through the campsite with Thunder & Lightning, but at least it took the temperature down a few degrees from 33C to 25C in about 30 minutes!

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-22-2013, 09:54 AM
Stage 37B “An afternoon in Giżycko”

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

After sorting and doing some laundry this morning we decided as the weather had improved considerably from last night to go into Giżycko for a look around the town starting with the Revolving Bridge as we go in….

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With the wheels underneath that it turns on…..

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Having found somewhere to park, we set off to have a look around passing the outdoor market and these very colourful floral displays….

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Then making are way up the main road through the town we pass this rather tempting set of pools that forbid swimming but say nothing about having a paddle, well the thought did cross my mind as it has been another hot day!....

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While a bit further up the road is this quite small but nice church….

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Then to the right is…..

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After going in and paying the entrance fee we see this drawing of the water tower…

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So as there was a queue for the lift we decided to use the stairs…..

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Then on each floor as you go up there are items on display that forms a museum….

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Reaching the very top, the inside of the roof looks like this….

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While the view outside on the platform was quite something…..

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With a closer picture of the vicinity….

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While the ‘5 A Side’ football matches were in full swing across the road….

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Then with a final clear look at the Water Tower, we made our way for some lunch…

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Back down the main road looking for a suitable eatery…..

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I settle for a typical Polish dish in the ‘Mazorian’ style which consisted of potatoes, meat, & mushrooms with a cheese topping, and it was both delicious & very filling, while my good lady had a Hawaiian pizza that was by its taste made with completely fresh ingredients, even the pizza base!

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Then to settle lunch, we took a stroll into the newer part of the town where like a number of other cities across Europe shops and offices remain unoccupied, while flats remain unsold….

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With another ‘paddling opportunity’ it was time to make our way back to the campsite and collect the washing….

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Hopefully if the weather holds out we will get to the main objective of coming here tomorrow, which is…..Sorry if it rains we ain’t going, so I had better keep quite!

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-23-2013, 11:08 AM
Stage 37C “Feste Boyen (Twierdza Boyen) & a bit more of Giżycko”

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

Breakfast over after a not so quiet night but at least the forecast rain has not started as we head off for a look around ‘Feste Boyen’ which is a rather large fort…..

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First entrance gate through the outer wall….

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While the next thing we see as we come out of the short ‘tunnel’ is what is called a ‘Caponier’ but it looks like a bomb proof shelter…..

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While a ‘left turn’ takes you into the main entrance and more gates ….

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Rather large Hinge Pins to hold the gate up…..

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While we managed to find an example of the gate at another entrance…..

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With a small drawbridge that is operated by a hand crank mechanism on each side.…
(It did cross my mind as to what would happen if the winding was not synchronised?)

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Up to the Kasa to get the tickets with only discounts for Students and Residents we then find that the leaflet describing the place and all the buildings is only available in Polish. :o:o
However outside the Kasa on the wall is this very large plastic picture with the descriptions in 3 languages, but as I explained to the lady it is a bit big to carry around the place instead of a leaflet in your language, and taking a picture was not a viable option to be able to refer back to it as my magnifying glass was back at the campsite….. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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First stop was inside the ‘Galeria’ were we hoped to see some information about the place, but again no English descriptions could be found….

However there was this model of the place which was about the best view we were going to get as Mother Nature has claimed the place back to a large extent with very high trees and plenty of other vegetation all around…

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Next stop back outside was into an Observation Post…..

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A 'wet tunnel' but not sure from where the water was coming….

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Led up to a very rusty ladder that could not be reached and an even rustier ‘tube’ leading to an opening at the top…..

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The view across to the Amphitheatre and ‘Bastion Recht’ which was one of the 5 corners/points of the Boyen….

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This was the second large entrance…..

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While looking down into the centre of the fort where a number of different sized buildings that were basically falling down, some of which were numbered the others you had to guess what they had been by studying the plan and working it out from their location….

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Then as you got down to ground level you see the ‘Warning Signs’ forbidding entry into them…..

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From the leaflet and the size/location we were able to determine that the building in the next picture was the ‘Arsenal’….

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Looking like a disused warehouse in a city that had let the Graffiti Team into for a free paint job!

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With not much else to see or try to understand we climbed to the top of the inner wall for a last look over the entrance.…

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Then both disappointed and frustrated after our visit to the fort we went back into the lakeside part of Giżycko, and were surprised at not many people being about even though it was after 10:30…..

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Down on the lakeside was….

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While a bit further along was the ‘Fire Boat’….

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Next door on the quayside we think these were the Police Boats…..

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While back a few yards was the Fairground….

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Time for a coffee, so we headed back and alongside the canal….

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Rooms to rent alongside the canal…..

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Keeping an eye on the swing bridge while a coffee was enjoyed in the café opposite, we then made our way back to the campsite before the rain started to come down, but at least it brought the temperature down with it!

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Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

P.S. After something like 3 HOURS of trying to ‘Upload’ 30 pictures, with your friend and mine ‘Photobucket’ today’s update is in! [cussing]

XCovlov70
06-25-2013, 11:29 AM
Stage 38 Giżycko - Elblag Canal (124 Miles)

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

Yesterday was a totally lazy day spent around the campsite and a quick trip into the town for a few last minute shopping items before we started packing up to be on the road today for the next stage.

However yesterday afternoon I was fascinated watching an ‘Ant’ carrying what I think was a piece of food that was larger than the ‘Ant’ across about 6 inches of the grass watching it struggle over obstacles when it would not give up was amazing, even when it fell over or off a piece of grass it did not let go of the Large White Piece of food!…..

The White Piece of whatever is just above the Ant, held in the pincers of its mouth in the picture below….

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Back on the road and I think we caught the campsite by surprise this morning being ready at 07:45 to leave, the ticket given to us to get out past the security barrier did not work, so once again we had to return and get another!

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While we could see some mist on the far side of the lake at the campsite it wasn’t long before we ran into it on the roads, along with the rain….

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Even this lady at what we think was an Olympic Pool was struggling to stay out of the water!...

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While we were secretly hoping that the Concrete Mixer Truck in front was not about to dump a load of fast setting stuff and give ‘Flamenco Red’ a pair of Concrete ‘Boots’!…..

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Wonderful piece of innovation on our right hand side was this lady cycling in the rain with a plastic bag over her head but lifted at the front so she could see where she was going even while riding with one hand!.....

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Still trying to work out how the BIG stone was placed on the bricks underneath?

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Then we arrived at ‘Elblag Canal’ which is quite unique, in that there are ‘Dry Sections’ between the ‘Water/Canal Sections’ so a Boat has to be transported in a ‘Cradle’ over the ‘Dry Sections’ by a very clever pulley system….
However as we found that it is being ‘Refurbished’ as depicted in the pictures below, then the link to the YouTube Video was far better than me writing a load of words to try and describe it! I hope you enjoy the Video…

You Tube Link: Enjoy! We did, but we might come back for the 'Full Experience' and hop on a tour boat! [thumbup]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5786_h7j_YE

Refurbishment by Skanska….

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Walkway to start of refurbishment….

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Like a lot of canals looking at this section you can understand why the ‘clean-up/refurbishment is required …..

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So with some time once again on our hands we decided to head for the town of….

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But more of that tomorrow as the heavens have just opened up again and someone upstairs is using a very LARGE watering can on us at the moment with the associated ‘Thunder’…..

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-26-2013, 10:25 AM
Stage 38A “A day around Elblag”

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

As the campsite is only 500meters from the Old Town in Elblag we decided to give ‘Flamenco Red’ a day off and use ‘Shank’s Pony’ (Our feet and legs) and walk into the town along the side of the canal before making a right turn up into the old town….

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In the next picture is the first of two lift bridges that open and allow boats to pass through…

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The boat in the next picture being one of them with the lift bridge behind….

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Scale model of a section of the Elblag Canal showing the mechanism that is used to haul the boats up and over the ‘dry sections’…..

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View from the first lift bridge to the second….

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The bridge control room…..

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Moving through to the Town Hall we find this scale model of Elblag from the 1940’s....

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While outside is some of the architecture surrounding the Town Hall….

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Then we set off to St Nicholas Cathedral which has beginnings in the 13th Century and a bell tower that is 93 Meters high….

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Sadly the picture does not do the colours in the stained glass window justice but I think it was down to no lights being on inside the church….

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Similarly with the icons in the next 3 pictures….

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Small side chapel just inside the entrance…..

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Architecture outside the cathedral…..

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Time for coffee and a nice slice of apple cake….

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Market Gate with a special story…..

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The Baker journeyman…..

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While just around the corner is the manufacturing district…..

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Turn right and you are back in the Belgian/Dutch influence in the architecture….

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Then further along in the newer part of the city we find a small market….

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While walking around the younger part of the city it seems older than the ‘Old Town’ if you follow me?

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Inside the entrance to the City Theatre

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While next we come to the main Roman Catholic church…..

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After then getting a coffee from a BP Garage Coffee Bar, we turned left and went through one of the old town gates…..

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Going into one of the residential areas of large houses some of which were now set up as separate apartments….

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Elblag Council Offices…..

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Another Council Office…..

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With a Gas Light from 1914 on the corner…..

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That had the ‘Gas Mantles’ in the top, and a small flame to ignite the gas at night, so it was still in good working order!

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While just 50 yards away was the Tram Stop…..

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Followed by a very nice floral display a bit further on our way back to the campsite….

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Where the heavens have just opened up again, which saves me having to wash the grit off the ‘Tin Tent’ from the trip over yesterday!

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
06-30-2013, 03:55 AM
Stage 39 Elblag - Torun (122 Miles)

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

As it was our last night at Elblag Camping I suddenly realised that a couple of pictures had been missed of the campsite, and with so many units arriving today, the place was filling up, which makes me wonder if we will be OK tomorrow at the next campsite?

Anyway without any more ado her are a few pictures of the place……

Entrance……

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Turn through 180 degrees and this is into the campsite area…..

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Facilities block with well equipped Kitchen and around 10 cabin style rooms ….

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How to watch TV in a smaller ‘Tin Tent’!.....

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I could not believe the size of the tripod with such a small satellite dish…..

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Now back on the road to Torun, passing some brightly painted blocks of flats in one of the outlying villages from Elblag…..

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The coming into the outskirts of Malbork....

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We spot the Polish offshoot of one of the BIG Supermarket chains from back in the UK…..

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While back in the countryside we pass this roadside shrine…..

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Next up was the local Fire Station.....

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Thankfully still on the right road ‘No 91’ but every so often would be an overhead gantry with cameras on and we think that it was for Toll Collection on vehicles over 3.5 Tonnes in weight, luckily we are less than that so don’t have to pay…..Phew!!!

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Garden Centre delivery of the covered picnic table….

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Nicely decorated Water Tower also assisting the Mobile Telephony Network…..

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Fairly new section of road which again was outside the city, as inside the cities the roads are not that good with deep ruts that you have a job to control with your steering or the roads are like a patchwork quilt with all the pothole filling that has taken place…..

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Factory specialising in garden buildings just happened to have a Windmill on site….

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Torun ‘City Limit’….

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Oops, for a minute I thought we had been transported very efficiently to Vietnam!...

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One of the old city trams that are still running…..

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The main road bridge into and out of Torun that is constantly full of traffic…..

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Left turn just after the bridge onto a side road, then missed the next left turn into the entrance road to the campsite, so made use of a disused house driveway to turn around, then got it right to the campsite entrance! Phew!....

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Party time with an outside BBQ, as all the schools in Poland finished for the start of their Summer Holidays today…
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So with a bit of advice from reception we went on a pitch around the back of the Hotel/Camping that will hopefully be a bit more quite when the party gets going….

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As Torun is a UNESCO Heritage City then we will have a trip in tomorrow for a look around….

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

Currently have very slow Internet Connection so next update will be ASAP on hopefully faster connection!

ssicarman
06-30-2013, 10:21 AM
A nice variety of pictures again. Interesting to see the campground ones. Here it is rare to have a campground that has any amount of nice grass never mind being allowed to drive and camp on it. We have really only been on two campgrounds that were similar, one in Green River Utah and one in the Black hills of South Dakota.

XCovlov70
07-01-2013, 07:17 AM
A nice variety of pictures again. Interesting to see the campground ones. Here it is rare to have a campground that has any amount of nice grass never mind being allowed to drive and camp on it. We have really only been on two campgrounds that were similar, one in Green River Utah and one in the Black hills of South Dakota.

I think in that case that if you got over this side of the 'Pond' even just into the UK you would be pleasantly surprised at the amount of grass on some campsites.

We have been on fields with 6 inches of grass while others the campsite owner becomes a PITA as they are out cutting it to make it like a Bowling Green every 2 days while the noise of the mower is totally frustrating! [nonono][nonono]

XCovlov70
07-01-2013, 07:22 AM
Stage 39A “A day in Torun”

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

Back over the bridge we came in on yesterday and we are more or less at the start of the Old Town of Torun which is a UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage listing from 1997….

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Then turning right off the bridge we come to one of a number of gates around the town….

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With a quick look back down to the river…..

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We come to a Town Plan of the Old Town but it was a big too big to fit in any pocket….

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As we made our way into the Old Town we pass this building just simply called ‘Leaning Tower’ while it looks like it was constructed like that....

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Next stop was the Old Town Hall as the Tourist Information Office was on the opposite side from which we got a smaller pocket sized map of the Old Town, but then found out that the Free Internet in the centre of the Old Town was rather slow and laborious but at least it was working which was more than the campsite’s was….

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Seizing the opportunity and before a certain group of people who you will read and see later virtually took it over I found that the Clock Tower was open to climb the stairs and have a look over the city, so here goes, hope your legs & lungs are in good shape?

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As I got to the Bells in the next picture it must have been the right time as I nearly ended up deaf when they started ringing!

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The clock mechanism…..

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While in the next picture, the black box in the middle with the black rodscoming out of eah side was what controlled the ‘Hands’ on the four clock faces on the tower…..

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If you suffer with Vertigo then skip the next picture, quickly!!!

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360 Degrees around the tower over the city……

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While on the way down we see one of the larger bells that has been disconnected…

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While not far away is one of the many brass statues in the city…..

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The pigeons getting a drink and also keeping cool…..

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Then we see the competition to find ‘The Toughest Firefighter Alive’ with Firemen & Women from 12 Countries taking part in a 3 Day competition in which all the events are carried out in FULL Firefighting Uniform including Air Bottle and Helmet, however the first ‘test’ in the pictures below included a Breathing Mask fed from the Gas Bottle on the Fireman’s back!!!

The two firemen, one on the Red mat and the other on the Blue, start by carrying at a run, two FULL 5 Gallon/25 Litre containers from the bottom of the tower weaving around the traffic cones to the top of the course.

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They then pick up the Fire Hose in the middle and drag it back to extinguish a ‘pretend fire’ which has been set up as a target, and having accomplished that they then take off at a run up the stairs of the Tower, while at the top they have to haul up from the floor using a rope a dead weight.

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On the way down again…..

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Having reached the bottom of the tower, the next part is to then drag a full size and weight Human Dummy back up their side of the Red or Blue mat to their respective ‘Finish Lines’….

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While the competitors are checked to make sure they are OK, the Human ‘Dummies’ are that heavy that they are transported back to the tower on a trolley!

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Moving on we come to a sculpture of a Donkey that was used in old Torun for punishments when defiant guards would be sat on the back of a wooden donkey with a metal plate fixed to its back with weights tied to their legs in order to increase the severity of the punishment….

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Passing another of the town gates…..

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We see on the outside some plaques that we think indicate the height of the river in certain years when it flooded…..

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While back inside we spot this studio but not sure if they specialise in funny pictures?

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Nicely decorated building….

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Understand that this is the Court House, which the guide book doesn’t mention…..

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As….The Prison is next door in the circular building with the covers on the windows and the armed guard under the cover just to the left of the twin lamps on the lampost…..

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Directly across the road is the University of Nicholas Copernicus…..

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While the statue of Nicholas Copernicus is outside the Old Town Hall….

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Making our way to the old Market we pass the Theatre….

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Then come to….

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While just up the road is the Market that was very busy……

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Making our way back into the Old Town we come to…..

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A little further down the road past the Cat’s Head Tower we see this happening just inside the gate…..

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Climb inside, close the flap, inflate with air, seal the hole, roll it over the wall and you are off!!!
It looked like ‘FUN’ but Boo Hoo I could not have a go…..

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It is a special school for Down’s Syndrome children who were celebrating their anniversary from when the school started….

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While along the wall a bit further along we were being watched…..

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Then although it was a bit late in the afternoon we fancied a Polish lunch….

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LARGE ‘Russian’ Dumpling with Mushroom sauce….

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3 Small Beef Filled Dumplings with a Garlic Sauce…..

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Both meals were delicious and very filling!

While a couple of feet from our table was…..

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Then looking through the glass plate in the floor the water is still running…..

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Back outside after struggling to extricate ourselves from the restaurant chairs we see this rather nice building…..

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The turn a corner and see another part of the competition where the Firemen after attaching them to the engine driven water pump at the bottom of the road, have to pull out straight 3 lengths of Fire Hose that have been connected together by their brass couplings…

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While next. You might have noticed at the bottom of the previous picture the brass ends of 2 fire hoses inside small red markings on the ground? (There were 2 blue markings with hoses in just out of picture on the other side of the road) They have to be rolled up and placed in a wooden box before sprinting to the finish line!

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‘GO Canada’! (But in all fairness he was struggling!)

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While around another corner this little dog patiently waits for his master to return

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Our time in Torun came to a close so off we go back to the campsite to prepare for the next stage of the tour….

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-01-2013, 07:28 AM
Stage 40 Torun - Przesieki (133 Miles)

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

After a ‘rough night’ at Camping ‘Tramp’ last night thanks to some men who were staying in the campsite bungalows who do not give the ‘23:00hrs Silence’ rule any credence and kept their conversation going till 04:00 this morning I was glad to be on the road again…
So for our last night in Poland we set off at 08:00 this morning in the rain, and headed for Przesieki and the campsite at Motel Drawa….

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Not long down the road and the rain had stopped but we weren’t sure what this building was going to be, but as we went passed it looked like the construction had ceased…..

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The next country is getting even closer……

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We think this was the warning sign for a Truck (Lorry) Check Point…..

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It’s Cherry Season Time in Poland so along the roadside are vendors selling the cherries from off their fields/orchards…..

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While a little bit further on TomTom decided to ‘Take a short cut’ across country!
You will notice that the centre white line has disappeared…..

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So we had to allow for not LOW Bridges but LOW Trees.....

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Left? or Right? Come on which turn do I take?…..

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It was the Right hand fork so we were still on the Tarmac & not on the Piste….

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While the road seemed to close in on use…..

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Next village with some curios looks from the local inhabitants as we passed through…..

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Finally got back to a minor road (The white centre line reappeared) ……

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Then back to a main road as you only get double white lines on main roads, which you are NOT supposed to overtake vehicles in front of you on, but Polish drivers like to break the law on that one as it has been happening with traffic in both directions on double white lines .....

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Numbered and named blocks of flats, presumably to help the Mail man…..

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Finally arrive at the next campsite…..

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Next stage is into Germany tomorrow!

Dobry Wieczór (Polish ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-01-2013, 11:58 AM
Stage 41 Przesieki – Brandenburg an der Havel (191 Miles)

Dzień Dobry (Polish “Good Morning”)

Much better night last night in the campsite at the Motel Drawa, only problem was that the electricity dropped out a couple of times during the night which set the microwave off like an alarm clock…

Back on the road this morning at 08:30 with both TomTom and the fixed GPS in ‘Flamenco Red’ turned on, reason being was that TomTom initially said 224 miles while the fixed GPS said 192?
After a bit of re-planning with TomTom the trip came down to 182 miles so we kept both on to see what happened….

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Interestingly as we get closer to Germany ‘Netto’ Supermarkets start appearing who are a German based company……

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While the roads we travelled on were quite narrow it didn’t stop the BIG Trucks from making their way along them, and some of the drivers were not hanging around, only slowing down when there was a ‘Safety Camera’ in the village….

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While this first tractor driver pulled over to let faster traffic through…..

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The second one kept going…..

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Not sure if this was a disused church or water tower with the shape of the lower windows….

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Anyone for porcelain ‘nick nacks’?…..

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Finally reach a now silent and what seems to be deserted Border Crossing….

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While the remains of an old Boyen Fort similar to the one we visited in Giżycko appear on the Polish side of the bridge across the river between Poland & Germany .....

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Then after crossing the bridge and a few more meters we are in….

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It seems that now Germany has a new ‘invention’ designed to satisfy drivers who claim that 'A Tree Jumped out and hit them' so that will keep Car Insurance Companies when you have an accident with a tree slightly happier? Well maybe! [sly]….

If you go faster than 80Kph, then these trees on a number of roads we travelled on are designed to jump out and hit you! WOW!!!!:D

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While it was a Ford, it looks like a Model ‘T’….

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A forest of very upright Fir Trees…..

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WOW an Autobahn with no tolls……

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Old water tower at the side of the Autobahn on the south side of Berlin….

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Finally following TomTom as the fixed GPS got it wrong! We arrive at the next campsite which is actually on a Boat Harbour….

Entrance gate….

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The view as you turn into the site, while the ‘Pink’ building is a very nice facilities block with very clean, toilets, showers & fully equipped kitchen, and all for €10/Night….

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Oops, just going through a rather heavy ‘Tropical Storm’ with Thunder, Lightning and very heavy rain as I do the update!

Hopefully tomorrow will be better for a look around Brandenburg an der Havel as it looks like a nice place….

Guten Nacht (German ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-02-2013, 08:25 AM
Stage 41A “A day in Brandenburg an der Havel”

Guten Morgen (German “Good Morning”)

While last night the Thunder & Lightning along with heavy rain returned a couple of times today the skies are cloudy but bright with the sun poking through here and there, so we are off into the Neustadt & Altstadt of Brandenburg an der Havel for a look around…..

Making our way from the campsite as we turned right it was straight into the apartment blocks from the old East Germany….

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While a bit further was the first of a number of Towers around the city…..

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With one of the canals off to the right….

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Then we are in the main street looking down and up…..

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With the first of several churches as we started the 2 hour ‘City Walk’….

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While on the other side of the road to the church were more of the apartment blocks…..

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Then we turn right along one of the canals…..

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Finally coming to the lock gates and an interesting memorial on the right hand side….

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On getting closer to the memorial we could see writing in Russian as well as German while behind is a cemetery with Russian Soldiers graves in, that sadly appears to receive no maintenance…..

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Continuing along the trail we have by this time passed a number of buildings that are also in need of repair or were shops that have closed down when this building is seen on the left again in need of some TLC but could be made to look quite stunning….

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Like other cities we have been in, the Trams are still running here, but not using all the rails/tracks that are in the city, presumably due to cutbacks…..

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Up onto one of the main bridges looking each way on the river……

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Floating ‘Mobile Bungalow’

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Bit further around and we spot “Plauer Torturm” another Tower….

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Next up just around the next corner was the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Aldstädt Markt….

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With two of the three sides of the Aldstädt Markt….

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While on the third side I bump into an ‘Old Friend’…..

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Moving on we come to “Rathenower Torturm”….

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Then around the next corner is…..

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As we then make our way around to the the bridge that will take us over to the ‘Dominsel’ and see this rather nice old Cadillac with a little Elvis look alike hanging from the rearview mirror …..

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While across the water are these rather nice waterside apartments but they are quite expensive with not many being occupied…..

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As we cross the bridge on the walking tour we see this rather old small building that still has some character.….

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As I saw the ‘Dom’ before we got close I took the next picture, getting close it was not possible to get a decent picture as there was not enough space to get it all in!

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Extensive refurbishment going on inside….

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Then coming away on the tour trail we see this……

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WOW! A very old water pump, and it was still working as I found out by pulling and then pushing the long handle…..

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Interesting little building in the next picture that we had to go and ask in the Tourist Information Office what it was for as there is no information!
There are 2 sections of water in ‘BadH’ and this tower has equipment inside that measures the height of each section and displays the result in the round window on the front with two ‘Hands’ one is Black and the other is Red for each section.

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While by this next tower we saw ‘water gates’ that could be raised or lowered to adjust the water levels in each section….

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Finally on the last leg of the walking tour, it was then time for a visit to the local supermarket, followed by some late lunch and then back to the campsite…

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Our next stage tomorrow is back to a place we used coming as we set off, but there is no Wi-Fi or Internet access so there will not be any update there or at the next overnight….

Guten Nacht (German ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-04-2013, 02:10 AM
Stage 42 B-a-d-Havel – Rheda-Widenbrück (220 Miles)

Guten Morgen (German “Good Morning”)

While it was a nice early start this morning leaving the campsite at 08:00hrs it wasn’t long before we ran into that nasty wet stuff called ‘Rain’ which was not that good for my good lady and the pictures…..

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The next picture was off an Army vehicle (In the middle of the raindrop!) that was part of quite a long convoy and was the only one painted in desert colours……

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While a bit further up the road the 3 ‘Lumps’ looked a bit like oversize Shrapnel Hats for European Politicians!!…..

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After a couple of hours it finally stopped raining and we got some dry roads….

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Not much longer, and we arrived at our overnight halt in Rheda-Widenbruck that we used on the way out…..

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Before we set off this morning the services of ‘Flamenco Red’ were once again called upon to cook a Chilli Con Carne Lunch for us as we travelled along, and once again the results were very pleasing, except this time the meat was Pork and not Beef which was a first for us but quite palatable, then after that it was off into the town to see if there were any changes from when we came before……

This building has considerably moved on in being refurbished…..

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While down the road at the side, which we missed last time are these rather nice houses the majority of which were built in the 1600/1700’s but have been refurbished since….

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We saw 3 of these water pumps but this was the best, which we think is still working although this one was locked…..

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While inside a corner shop with BIG windows we see…..

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As I took the picture of the house above from the other side of the road, I looked down and saw two brass plaques in the pavement outside the house remembering 2 brothers aged 40 & 42 who lived in this house and were sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1938 and then deported to the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942…..

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This was their house ‘No 10’ with the two plaques in front of the door…..

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While a bit further down the road is a Museum with items outside although the Museum was closed….

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We think the small door in the apex of the roof was for storing grain in during the winter….

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Then after a last coffee it was back to the ‘Tin Tent’.

Last night in Germany tonight, then it’s off to Belgium in the morning….

Guten Nacht (German ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-04-2013, 07:42 AM
Stage 43 Rheda-Widenbrück – Neerkant/Asten (128 Miles)

Guten Morgen (German “Good Morning”)

WOW! On the road by 07:30hrs this morning, but this was partly due to the noise from Trucks in the large car park starting up and moving out, followed by ambulances going past with sirens blaring out as they made their way past the car park and across 2 sets of traffic lights….

Not long before we are heading into the Ruhr Valley with the power stations and industrial factories of Germany, even if it was a misty morning……

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While I think my good lady was hoping that the Power Pylon in the next picture was going to light up like an early Christmas Tree! The BIG bit behind was a ‘Gasometer’….

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Relatively short while after and we are on the German/Netherlands Border….

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While it was only a short time then before we are on the much narrower roads towards the next overnight halt…..

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I was rather glad due to the road width that we did not meet a Truck coming the other way, although we did meet a car with a trailer who seemed to have difficulty moving over and putting 3 wheels in the ‘piste’ at the side to be able to pass by safely!

While not wishing to upset the cyclist we stayed behind for a bit then got waved through....

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Finally pulled into the entrance, as our next halt is on a farm called ‘Wetlands’ as it is in a conservation area that is currently being restored as a ‘Bog’ for wildlife…..

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Looking back up the entrance road to the farm…..

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As we are here for just the one night we chose the hard-standing part as opposed to the green fields…..

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While this rather large Rabbit appears from underneath a nearby table that was keeping the sun off…..

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Then the Rabbit sees the Cat and starts chasing it, but not sure if one was male and the other female…..

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Haven’t got a clue how old this Motorhome is, but it is a Peugeot….

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While I did find out that this quite nice ‘S122’? Volvo is 47 Years old and still in constant use. Currently runs on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) as it was converted some time ago but still needs Petrol to start it up…..

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Goedenacht (Dutch ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-05-2013, 08:54 AM
Stage 44 Neerkant/Asten - Ypres (151 Miles)

Goedemorgen (Dutch “Good Morning”)

Managed to stay in bed a little longer this morning as the campsite was Luvverly and quiet!
Setting off at a little before 09:00, while thankfully it was a ‘dry run’….

Light traffic on the motorway for starters but it did get considerably heavier as we got further along….

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Relatively short run to the Dutch/Belgian border crossing…..

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While the wind turbines lined up like soldiers from an alien planet along the road with two little bright winking lights at the top like a pair of beady eyes!.....

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Motorway ring road around Antwerp which you had to get in the correct lane rather quickly and with the volume of traffic building up it was tricky with everyone crossing over in front and behind you…..

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Next up was the Kennedy Tunnel and we needed to be in the middle lane not this one!…..

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Being ‘fenced in’ by trucks as we came through the short tunnel made it a little difficult getting over into the next lane but we made it just in time before the lane veered off to the left as we exited the tunnel!...

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Bridge ‘Artistry’ with slow moving traffic on the other side of the motorway…..

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Then we are at the exit for (Ypres) lper – Centrum….

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Then rolling down the road that would take us into the centre as the spire in the distance is right in the centre…..

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We pass one of the many Forces WWI & WWII graveyards that are maintained by the UK War Graves Commision…..

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Shortly after that we turn left, then right into the road leading to the entrance to the campsite for the next two nights…..
Then after getting booked in and set up it was time for lunch, shopping and a BIG liquid ‘lunch’ for ‘Flamenco Red’ which thankfully was a lot cheaper than back home!!!

Goedenacht (Dutch ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-06-2013, 09:48 AM
Stage 44A “An afternoon & evening in Ypres”

For us this is definitely one of the highlights of our trips East or North as we like to come to Ypres to offer a ‘Thank You’ to the thousands of men & women who were killed in WWI & WWII to protect and continue the freedom that we have today.

So after lunch we set off into the town hoping to see some parts we had not seen before on previous visits but also to look in more detail at others we have seen before as there is normally something that you have missed…..

The first picture is of the Menin Gate which contains the names of over 55,000 men whose remains were never found……

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While inside are the wreaths that are presented by different groups during each evening’s remembrance service…..

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If you then go up the steps in the middle of the gate and onto the upper outside you will come to a model of the Menin Gate that has a couple of plaques inscribed in Braille to allow people to feel and understand which I think is wonderful….

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Then moving into the centre of Ypres is the main building which is quite stunning…..

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Then we spotted this small sculpture at the end of the roof (In the red circle)….

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That up close looks like this….

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Walking further along the main street…..

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Then as we get up on the city walls we find…..

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With a view from the city wall across a large expanse of water separating it from the outer roads….

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Further along is one of the number of cemeteries in and around Ypres, but this one is on the ramparts in a really nice position where men from all regiments, ranks and countries lie buried…..

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While further along is this strange sculpture….

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As the time moves towards 20:00hrs the crowds start to build up at the Menin Gate for the short Remembrance service that has taken place every night since the end of WWII in good and bad weather…..
While in the middle of the picture are the representatives of the groups who will be laying mainly Poppy wreaths at the gate……

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By 19:50 both ends of the Menin Gate are closed to traffic as people stand in the road….

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Then at 20:00 Hrs. 4 Buglers march into place and play ‘The Last Post’….

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After which a few words are said followed by a minute’s silence, then a piece of music was played by this lady on her violin….

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As the music finished the representatives where then called upon to go up and lay their wreaths and there are 6 different groups represented in the next picture….

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The Buglers who are all Volunteer Firemen then close the short service with ‘Reveille’….

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By coming to the Menin Gate at the end of a trip it is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ to the men & women of all ranks & a number of nations, in the armed forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom was kept, otherwise I doubt if you would be reading this as we would not be doing the trip or writing about the ‘adventure’…..

So I hope you will also offer a small ‘Thank You’ after reading the following words and maybe reflecting for a minute on how lucky we are…..

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

Next stage will see us back home…

Goedenacht (Dutch ‘Good night’)

XCovlov70
07-07-2013, 01:28 PM
Stage 45 Ypres – South Wales (UK) (273 Miles)
“HOME RUN”

Goedemorgen (Dutch “Good Morning”)

While this morning was another early start we were to find out later that it was not worth it as we were hoping to get a slightly earlier train but due to the volume of traffic returning we could only travel at our allotted time….

So off out of the campsite by 07:30…..

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After a slight deviation due to some roadworks in Ypers we get on the right road passed this traffic island with two metal horse statues….

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While a bit further down we start passing the Hop fields that is used in the beer making industry over here….

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Nice quite roads! Well it is early and Sunday morning….

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Short time later and we are crossing the border into France….

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With small villages set back from the main road….

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Off the ‘Route National’ road and onto the Autoroute but this section is a non-toll road part which is nice! ....

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Nice ‘lookout post’ but haven’t got a clue what they are looking for when whoever gets to the top?…..

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OK move over to the right hand lane as we are approaching ‘Le Manche’ the Tunnle…

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Then follow the ‘Reserve’ lane as we have a booking….

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Get to the check in and up comes the reservation by name as there is a camera that reads the registration plate then the computer brings up your details on a LARGE touch screen, but it only offered us the reservation time we had in our booking due to ‘heavy traffic’ so we then had a 2.5hr wait in the large car park…..

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Next stop French Border Control where we were just waved through after flashing the red passports…..

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While UK Border Control did check the passports, the next stop was the ‘Gas Check’ to ensure that your Propane Gas Bottle/s are turned off as you cannot run your fridge or any appliances on gas during the crossing, then it was round and get onboard.….

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While we were around 15 minutes late in departing we also had a slight delay when we arrived in the UK as they couldn’t get the exit door to open automatically, so they had to get the cranking handle out and do a ‘manual open’!…..

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Up the ramp, turn right and you are heading for the exit and the Motorway (Freeway)…

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While this was the traffic going in the opposite direction, shortly after we were in the same position as we entered yet more ‘roadworks’ with a few broken down vehicles causing absolute mayhem all in 30C!.....

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With the overhead panels advising of yet more holdups, we got off and went around some of the ‘back roads’ across country to get to our next Motorway….

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Arriving at the Second Severn Crossing which is the ‘gateway’ into South Wales it was not much further after the bridge to our exit, where this tour ends,

We travelled 7,075 Miles or 11,386.11Km while ‘Flamenco Red’ once again never missed a beat, but is now having a little rest, a dam good wash, brush up and a fully deserved service!…..

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OK, so as ‘Looney Tunes’ said “That’s all Folks!”

But……
The next ‘Cross Country Tour’ is planned, trust me….
While from ‘The Blues Brothers’ the words were…..’It’s a hundred and 6 miles to ??? We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of chewing gum (I don’t smoke!) we’re wearing sun glasses & its dark!…..Hit it’

So for the answer to the ‘???’ you will have to stay tuned!

Good Night (Finally: English ‘Good night’) and spare a good thought for the guys and gals who made our trip possible, but they never got back home?

ssicarman
07-07-2013, 03:02 PM
Thanks very much for taking the time and trouble to post all the pictures. I know that it takes a good bit of time. It is appreciated on my end of things. It's the next best thing to actually traveling. Hope that you enjoyed the trip as much as I/we did.

XCovlov70
07-07-2013, 09:38 PM
Thanks very much for taking the time and trouble to post all the pictures. I know that it takes a good bit of time. It is appreciated on my end of things. It's the next best thing to actually traveling. Hope that you enjoyed the trip as much as I/we did.

Hi 'ssicarman'.

Thanks for the message and the feedback it is appreciated. [thumbup][thumbup]

You are right Photobucket can be a pain in the *** at times, especially when you are halfway through an 'upload' and it tells you your "Album is full, upload failed" :mad::mad::mad: