Post Nordkapp Blues
What do you do when you have achieved your first goal? you have got to the magical place that you have talked about and planned to visit for so long?
What do you do after that "yes we made it moment", what do you do when you realise that you can spend months on a bike traveling with your wife on her bike and not kill each other?
Now this may seem a bit odd, but we went a bit flat, a bit what next??.
Having lived and worked for so long on someone else clock, with their rules and regulations, having to be somewhere at a certain time or having a specific goal to work towards, having done it and then having no real direction, no rule clue other than lets travel and have a bit of fun, well its a lot harder than you might think.
After seeing some of the best bits Norway had to offer and enjoying the 3 days of summer sunshine ( a Norwegians words not ours), we had time, no real place to be but a general idea to head South.
So we visited the Turpitz museum, did a bit of wild camping, rode some wonderful roads, enjoyed the sunlight at midnight and generally we were having a good time, we even made fire and washed in melted snow streams fresh off the mountains.
We had no real plan except to enjoy ourselves, but us being us fate decided to play its hand and the big GSA developed a fault with no abs or servo brakes, as our front tyres had worn again with a strange pattern we started to look for a BMW dealer, with Tallinn,Estonia
being the nearest.
Now Norway, Finland and Sweden are big places, with lots of long straight roads, tons of trees and some of the most aggressive mosquitos its ever been our misfortune to come across, bite?? oh yes they did.
It took us several days and yet another ferry to get to Tallin, where we had an appointment with BMW booked for a Monday, we arrived on a Friday and spent several days sight seeing and cycling around the city, cycle fit we are not.
All motorcyclist will agree that any trip to a main dealer is a time for worry and trepidation, which needs careful checking of the bank balance for those unexpected and expensive repairs.
We arrived the BMW dealership as requested at 10am and we were all booked in by 10-30.
Our hopes briefly rose when Steph bike appeared outside the shop with its new front tyre all fitted after approx 60 mins, but as time went on, we just knew that the bill was climbing.
Some people may say it is somewhat irresponsible of us to set off on a trip with limited mechanical knowledge and they are correct, however the fault with the GSA, was a small rubber seal that was letting water in and this was effecting the electrics, not sure bush craft mechanics would have fixed that.
Eventually the GSA was fixed and after paying a second hefty bill in a language we did not understand our trip was back on.
We decided that some more off road riding was in order and we had looked into an off road school/rental in Lithuania, called Enduro Lithuania.
We made contact and decided that a 3 to 4 hour off road ride would be more than enough for us. We stayed with the owners , Kristina and Paulius at their wonderful home , with their family and we were made to fell like welcome guests.
The next day and after a wonderful breakfast we were taken down to the garage and kitted out for some enduro action.
These enduro bikes had so much more skill than we did, but lucky for us the instructor Remigijus Deinoravicius
Was a great teacher and a patient man, we had a great time despite our very limited skill set and we rode trails and obstacles that we would not have attempted before.
We even managed to fall off without hurting ourselves or damaging the bikes
We cannot recommend Enduro Lithuania highly enough, it really is a fantastic well run place, but if your anything like us, ie not in the first flush of youth , not used to riding off road, with a limited skill set expect to be tired and hungry afterwards.
That evening Kristina insisted on giving us a lift to Trakai despite it being her daughters birthday. Trakai is a nice place, with a castle a little touristy but with lots of local history, we had a good walk around and some decent food and chocolate, including a little birthday gift.
We also got to see the Hill of Angels, which is a very peaceful hill top where local artists have carved or crafted images of angels and people come from all over to be at peace and offer small gifts to the angels.
Whilst we were there a large selection of Lithuanians decided to take part in a national pastime, hot air ballooning, it was quite a thing to see so any from such a wonderful location that the image taken did not do it justice.
We are quite taken with Lithuania, they are are warm friendly people living in a very nice place, that have a different outlook and attitude to life than us from the UK.
We moved on heading South, with campsites in Poland
Here we were surrounded by the Finnish 2cv owners club rally, never seen so many 2 v's in our lives, we also ate some excellent cheap food from the campsite restaurant and drank some very good beer. Poland is a warm hospitable country, even if the roads are not biking heaven, or maybe we are just a bit spoilt after all this time on the road.
We continued South, with the aim of coming back to the wonderful Motocamp Bulgaria and attending the Horizons unlimited meeting in Romania, we also with much regret booked a ferry back to the uk.
Our travels would be no fun without a bit of satnav shenanigans, now then we a love hate relationship with our Garmin satnavs, and speaking with several other travellers it would seem that this is a shared relationship but sometimes it takes us places we would never go , like a out of the way ferry crossing, like something out of the Austrian outback, thanks sat nav
Bikes all loaded up on the ferry ready to go
Booking.com also throws up a few cheap treats, this place in Poland was excellent value and did good food.
We are now back in Bulgaria after a very painless boarder crossing, we are running from the thunderstorms and planning our next stage of adventures, South America, we are talking to others who have traveled, nearly all have good ideas or bits of kit, some which we will use, some not but its good to talk with like minded people from all countries who just seem to be more open people simply by traveling by motorcycle, we recommend it.
Finally a couple of images for our children who are massive Depeche mode fans, its in Tallinn, so start saving kids.
and one more
To all the people we have met on the road and all the help and advice we have been given , thanks and hope to see you on the road some time.
Neil and Stephanie