Versya

My slanted Life

Dune

Is it the late evening walk yesterday? The time zone change?
Or, just the cloudy weather outside? It’s not easy for us to get up today, except of course Renate, she’s already awake for a long time. We still wonder, how does she do it?
Surprisingly, on this side of the border, there is also a sumptuous breakfast, so it’s more of a northern “problem” and not limited to Poland alone?
But the better, we cherish it and get onto our todays ride.

It’s cloudy, but it’s not raining. Therefore we load our motorcycles and start our tour through the Nemunas (Memel) valley in a westerly direction. We haven’t left Kaunas yet, and the rain starts.

 

Through the experience of the last few days, we have become wiser,

stop immediately and put on our raincoat. A truly wise decision, because shortly afterwards the water comes down in an intensity that still puts yesterday’s rain in the shade. The visibility is reduced to a few meters, but thank goodness there is so little traffic that we simply continue on slowly.
About 1 1/2 hours later the rain finally gets weaker and turns into a regular rain.
It’s a pity, because the Nemunas valley is very scenic and the villages along the way have their own flair. Only petrol stations are rare.
So we drive to Pagegiai, approx. 2 hours or approx. 150 km from Kaunas, until a Milda petrol station nestles on the road as a rescuer in the wet emergency.
At the beginning the shop is completely overwhelmed with us 3 girls in “Marshmallow costume”, but in the next half hour the petrol station is a dry hoard, with hot drinks, snacks and rest.
We watch the locals coming to the petrol station with their old and new vehicles, filling up a little, but spending much more in the shop. Since Poland, we have also noticed that consumption of food, beverages and “other” goods normally exceeds the cost of refueling by far. Shopping at the petrol station seems to be IN here.
For us hectic people: refuel, went into the shop, pay, get out, get up on the bike, leave! This is a nightmare when goods are still being searched for, food ordered, etc…. But today we have time to observe this calmly and we see that the communication between the petrol station attendant and the customer, and also between the customers themselves, is an important part of the ritual. Somehow this is the information hub of Pagegiai (at least for the men) and radiates a mighty calm.
That’s why we are being sampled like aliens, but also greeted with a smile. Women on motorcycles are probably not likely to have gotten lost here quite often, This is acknowledged with a nodding and here and there also with questions.
Where from, where to? Alone? These are the most frequently asked questions in English. The vocabulary is poor, in our Lithuanian language knowledge, as well as in the English language of the locals, so a big exchange is almost impossible, but we can understand it anyway – at least I hope, in retrospect 😉
The rain is coming to an end and so we take off our rain gear again

The rest of the route to Klaipeda is remote from the river and therefore not so attractive, and the route also takes an unexpectedly long time: Many small villages, more traffic, which becomes even more intense around Klaipeda, and as a special surprise my navigation system freezes before the right exit/departure to the Curonian Spit. Mistake detected, and blue-eyed into the traffic jam of Klaipeda, and so we promptly almost drove into a barrier zone (the old town). After that we looked for a shady place and started up the navigation system again. Which, of course, brought us to the landing place of the ferry to the spit, in the shortest way.
Together with the other commuters and tourists we pay our fee and are squeezed onto the ferry. On the other side of the river a large construction site awaits us, through which we are still struggling on the first kilometer. In order to end up in front of a toll barrier, where another fee is demanded, before we are allowed to continue our journey on the spit. (No serious sums in total, it’s only a little bit cumbersome to dig up the money)
We continue our journey and have a view of the lagoon and then, after a relatively high dune pass, we have a glimpse of the Baltic Sea through the forest again and again.
Since the tourist caravan in front of us is only stressing, we stop in the middle of the road at a pedestrian crossing (where from, where too, it doesn’t show in the moment) and decide that we are looking for the baltic sea now. The forest opens up quickly and a staircase path to the dunes becomes visible, which we simply follow.
Arrived at the ridge a stiff breeze blows into our faces, the wind is very strong!
Unlike Krynica Morska, there is no need to defoliate, the motorcycle robe fits quite well to the temperature and wind and so we march down the steep stairs to the beach to take some photos again. A long Sand beach, as far as the eye can see, wonderful flowers and plants on the dunes and far and wide (except us) nobody! Wonderful.
We enjoy the view of the high waves and the rushing of the wind. But we still have a part of the way ahead of us and so we leave after about 30 minutes to get back to the engines. 15min later we arrive at the Russian Border. With this we have successfully circumnavigated the enclave of Kaliningrad!

Of course, we take some souvenir photos and then we start our journey back. It was planned to climb a large dune, but there are no parking spaces for motorcycles and all car parks are subject to charges. For climbing a dune on foot (max. 53m!) okay, no, thanks.
Su is still looking for souvenirs in Nida, but there is no space for motorcycles as well, so we park in a bus stop fork and wait for Su. We glimpse other female motorcyclists for a moment, but somehow they disappear in a shop from our field of vision, were they perhaps Wimas?
The day is already well advanced and we still have the trip to Palanga on our schedule. Klaipeda was more or less fully booked and therefore it has become the next coast town -Palanga – for tonight.
But first we have to head back to the ferry and there we have a bad surprise: Upfront the ferry a 1 km long traffic jam has formed, and on top of that, regular customers (yearly ticket owners) are driving past us on an fast lane to the front. The temptation is great to drive forward too. But the hatred of all motorists in the queue would probably be enormous. Since there are three of us, we have at least the opportunity to chat with each other, but it still takes an eternity until we are finally on the ferry.
Now, that we have really lost some time, we drive the last part of the way on the expressway to Palanga.
Hotel Tauras is found quickly. This time we have a room on the ground floor again with a view of the car park. Since we have a balcony too, we decide to go shopping and have dinner on the balcony.
In the nearby supermarket, the wall of alcoholic beverages is very impressive, but also sausage, bread and cheese are to be found in many variations and so we stock up and return to the hotel.
We make ourselves comfortable on the balcony and enjoy the delicious food we have bought.
After that, we’re full to the brim. When we check the beds, we notice that one of them creaks terribly. Since the apartment consists of two separate rooms and double beds, we exchange the beds, because with one person the creaking is almost non-existent.
Since the day is still young, we go to take a look on the baltic sea. We know the approximate direction. Fortunately, we find a kind of corso that is dotted with restaurants, souvenir shops and many people. We walk along this path towards the sunset, and right, behind a last hill the Baltic Sea lies in front of us, again. The wind is a little bit friendlier than in the afternoon and with sunset. This is wonderful for us landlocked countries.

As the breeze is still very cool, we enjoy the atmosphere for a short time and then retreat to the hotel.

Tomorrow we will be back on our planned route.

Weather: Rainy and stormy, later cloudy and sunny

Temperatur: 17°

Through Masuria, Tour to Wima Rally 2017, Day 4

Yesterday I was thrilled by Masuria, the landscape and the small roads were nice to drive. At least with Su and me, because with the Versys a standing driving works very well. In addition, woman immediately sees more of the area, and that is actually very attractive. It reminds of the Waldviertel, only with more lakes, old avenues and even fewer people. So in sum almost equal; -)
Renate disagrees with her hard-suspended Duke and the hard seat, so she has to step off the gas again and again. But she also liked the area very much.
So it was clear to us, after a short voting round, that we are not going directly from here via Suwalki to Lithuania, but we are doing an extra lap.

Since the big lakes in front of Gizycko were only grey in grey because of yesterday’s heavy rain, we decided to make a spiral to the Lithuanian border. This will make the journey to Marijampole a little longer than planned, but it is still easy to make under normal conditions.
So we get up early and are happy about the nice weather outside, maybe it will be another warm, sunny day for us?

First of all, there is the breakfast, which is once again served in the form of a huge buffet on the ground floor of the hotel in front of us. It’s probably a Polish specialty.
These oversized buffets, with a strong emphasis on the hearty side, are a wonderful opportunity to eat all day long.
And so we always come with a little snack along the way throughout the day.

The hotel staff has been very friendly and courteous since our arrival. This makes it all the more irritating to hear an outraged German pensioner at the reception who complains loudly about the fact that her towels from last night have not yet been changed. And now I want to talk to the boss, who of course you don’t understand German; -)

I wonder why some of our dearest relatives still don’t get this:
German mentality exists only in Germany – and possibly still in the USA. All other countries have a national culture that can, but does not have to, be compatible.
The nicest sentence is always:”With us in Germany we do so… /would not be possible….” omg, why do you go abroad then?

But back to something more enjoyable, our tour.
After breakfast we turn back into motorcyclists, load our motorcycles and drive out of the yard to head south first towards Orzysz. Just like yesterday, the winding road leads us up and down hills through a mixed landscape of fields, forests and lakes. Again and again we can catch a glimpse of a small pond.

Afterwards we drive around the big lake in the south (Sniardwy) on the relatively small roads, with the farmhouses appearing again and again on the way, and also the old avenues are back again. Then we head north again via Mikolajki to Ryn, and continue to Ketryzn.

This would close the circle with our tour yesterday. But we drive curiously further north through Wegorzewo. We had hoped that buildings from the past would also be visible, but unfortunately the city was only colorless and dreary. So we immediately went back to Goldap, which is already on the border with Russia. enclave of Kaliningrad.
The city is beautifully beautiful and nestles in the hills of the countryside.
Why are we here, anyway? Of course, first and foremost because we want to go to the Wima Rally in Estonia, of course, also because we want to get to know as many corners and angles of Masuria as possible, but also because we have closed the enclave as close as possible to us – unplannedly – to complete the enclave. The idea originated with our “excursion” to the Polish Spit. Since we drove as far as the stop, we came up with this “crazy” idea. We have planned a reserve day in total, so why not fill it with a small challenge?

This includes a visit to the border triangle of Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad, which is situated at the end of a nature park (Krajobrazowy Puszczy Rominckie) that runs along the border. Therefore, we follow the small country road through the nature park along the border area to Russia, to unexpectedly see the impressive railway viaduct, shortly before Stańczyki. Since the weather situation looks a little bit moody in the meantime, we do without the rocker and only look at it from a distance to drive on.
As soon as we leave the forest, the beautifully decorated landmark appears in front of us.

A number of vehicles are parked on the parking areas on site. We prefer to go on and so we continue our journey.
Very small roads lead us finally over an inconspicuous border crossing to Lithuania. The border sign alone stands abandoned in the area and so we use the peace and quiet on site to organize a small photo shoot. We crossed the great Poland first from south to north and then to west. Until our journey home we are now only travelling in the Baltic States!
The landscape changes of the last few days have been manifold, and we are curious to see whether everything is different in Lithuania?

 

 

From the border crossing we continue north to Vilkaviskis and from there to Marijampole, because Renates Duke urgently needs a refuelling stop and there is no petrol station. I have a fuel hose with me, which means that we could give her gasoline from the Versys tank at any time, but on foreign territory we prefer to fill her up in time. And, the breaks are also a welcome change from our “mileage eat”  ; -)
The search for gasoline almost leads us out of Marijampole again, when we finally come across a spacious gas station. The machines are being refuelled by us and just as we push them on the side, so that we can have a little snack break in peace and quiet, the rain falls unexpectedly over us. We quickly push the machines back under the roof of the petrol station and pull ourselves into the salesroom, because the wind drives the rain away.

Since we wanted to take a break anyway, we take the opportunity to have coffee, cocoa and various drinks. Sandwiches add a little bit of refreshing and waiting for the worst of the weather front before we set off again.

The rain persistently comes in dense waves and so we have no choice but to wait for the worst and then, protected by rainwear, continue on our way to Kaunas, where we have just booked a nice hotel room online in the Perkuno namai, above the city centre.

The short drive to Kaunas is humid at first, but soon the rain stops with perfect timing and so we can drift calmly through the urban traffic chaos, dry our rain gear and take advantage of the view of the old buildings of the city.
The hotel is actually located on a mountain overlooking the city centre and has a beautiful garden built into the hillside.

Unfortunately, the rain has caused a massive cooling, so we prefer to stay in the restaurant and enjoy the end of the day.
Although it’s getting dark, I still want to stretch my legs and Renate too. Therefore, armed with a rudimentary map, we set off to explore the city centre.

First we go down the mountain through a park and then we follow the pedestrian zone to the west.
Along the way there are many interesting buildings and restaurants, but it’s getting dark and the shops are already closed.

In almost full darkness we turn back and feel our way back up the mountain in the dewy darkness over desolate stairs and paths, until we meet again on the illuminated roads.

Since we have – again – changed our planned route, the itinerary for tomorrow is on the agenda.
The scenic valley of Memel and then, if there is still time, the Curonian Spit? So it’s time to go to sleep, because tomorrow is certainly an interesting day.

Weather:
Sunny, then heavy rain, then cloudy again,
Temperature moderate 20-25° C

Distance: 385km    Travel time: approx. 7h

Morning at the seaside, evening in Masuria, Tour Wima Rally 2017, day 3

At 8:30 breakfast!

This news has shaken us yesterday. How shall we use the day when breakfast starts so late?
Since we have grown accustomed to getting up early, we are naturally awaken too early.

As we didn’t want to wait hours for the breakfast, not knowing what to do otherwise, we decided to visit the old Kahlberg and the Baltic sea coast in a morning stroll.

(At Pension Lotus, there were also many black and white photos from the era before the First World War)
Only a small climb from the hotel is necessary to reach the top of the Spit, and there is the original village.

It has its architectural origin definitely in Germany. Remaining houses and the small Franciscan monastery recall this past very emphatically and take us to another time. The following epochs have left their mark on the outside and are mixed with their architectural condition and architectural quality. 😉

The old town center is relatively small and so the further path leads us down again the ramp to the broad and sandy beach, which is empty and deserted at this time of the morning. Only a few joggers join us there.

Left my Footprint there

The sand is still cool from the rain and so we pull of the shoes to stroll along the sea for a bit. The water feels fresh and does not invite you to a deeper walk in.

 

The fact, that we face a wonderful day at the Baltic Sea, will be noticed only in our second encounter, but we do not know yet.

Since Kahlberg (Krynica Morska) also has a red lighthouse as a landmark, we are looking for it. We have to search the coastline for a while until we can see it behind the treetops.

So we go uphill again, through a new part of the town, consisting of new luxury apartments, and there it stands in all its red splendor.

Unfortunately, the access is closed. So we can only walk around the foot of the tower, and imagine the view from above.

Meanwhile, the time has went by, therefore we head back to our pension.

There is already a group of German tourists waiting for the entrance (which is possible only from the garden, a strange construction). The door opens shortly afterwards and we discover a truly sumptuous breakfast buffet. The reviews on booking.com, which point to this fact, have not lied, omg! Well, we have already stimulated our appetite through the walk, so we can unrestrained enjoy the many delicacies.

Later, we are groaning up the stairs to our room, to force ourselves into the – strangely somehow narrow-feeling – motorcycle clothes.

The loading of the machines is all the more speedy, getting used to the routine to strap the luggage to the motorcycle.

We start the engines and roll back the road, we went yesterday, a little way, then follow the course of the lagoon towards Elblag. There, after a short photo stop, we cross the canal to follow it for a short distance. The peculiarity of the canal is that it overcomes almost 90m heights in its course, not with locks, but with a railway similar system, which uses transport vehicles, to carry the ships over to the next hill 😉

 

At least ,now we are in Masuria.

Yes, Masuria! We had already read much at home about this largely unspoiled area, and of course were anxious to see whether the full-bodied stories would be true. The descriptions of wide arable land, many lakes and woodlands and small villages are very appropriate. In a sense, it is Waldviertel (NW, Lower Austria) about 60 years ago with even fewer people.

Particularly striking are the many old avenues that line the narrow streets. These are closed by the high alley trees. Trucks are only allowed to drive with reduced speeds, otherwise the avenue is too much damaged.

So we move through the slightly hilly area, always interrupted by woodland and lakes, and sometimes a small village. So we move from west to east, preferably on the small minor roads. So we reached Elblag, there we cross the famous canal – with its railway similar ship transport system over the hills (hey, Fitzccaraldo was right!) and ride further on via Orneta, Dobre Miasto, Rezel,

 

Swieta Lipka (pilgrimage church holy Linden tree) and Ketrzyn.

 

Again and again we stop briefly for photos. What we already expected at the departure from the lagoon, at about 1pm onward, it starts to rain.

It is perfect that we have our rain cover handy, because except for short interruptions, the rain remains today and ensures a pleasantly cool, but unfortunately also moist Masuren.

Short before Ketrzyn, also known by the nearby bunker system Wolfschanze, the rain is so violent that we are glad that the next village on our route will be Gizycko (Lötzen), and thus the end of today’s planed track.

We drive through several centimeters high water puddles right in the hotel Masury yard.

Again we receive a large spacious room on the second floor including a perfect view on our parked motorcycles.

Of course we hang our wet rain gear up to dry, and it looks in the room cozy chaotic already, good, that it is really big.

Afterwards we check the last online news and learn that our second team has been stopped by heavy rain and therefore is staying in a hotel in Gizycko. Hmm, Gizycko? Gizycko!

We are pleased to hear that their hotel is located about 1.4 km away, and we are organizing a meeting on the canal so that we can look for a common place for an exchange of experiences.

The rain has subsided a little now, so walk on foot to exercise our legs. We arrive at the canal just in time, to cross the bridge, before it is locked, and afterwards swung for the passage of several boats. The rotating mechanism is still operated by hand. Later we read that the mechanism was operated with motors at some time, but the mechanics of the bridge were damaged by the strength of the motors. So they restored the old manual way.

 

The second attraction in Gizycko would have been the fortress Boyen, the best preserved in Masuria. But the visit unfortunately rains off.

We meet the CH.AT troop at the bridge and leave enter the nearby pizzeria Mariza. The choice is unfortunately not the best, both speed, as well as quality of the food are, from our point of view, rather mediocre.

This is, thank God, the only time on our trip that this happens, but we do not know yet.

 

But really, we don’t bother, we chat, exchange experiences and the time flies by.

Before it gets dark (lol, it is only from 22:00) we are back in our hotel. Back to the route planning for tomorrow and for me there are also another pages in the diary to fill.

 

 

“Let’s polish (sic!) up, our English” – Journey Wima Rally 2017 day 2

“Let’s polish (sic!) up, our English”
With this slogan starts our second day in Poland. First, we enjoy the ample and sumptuous breakfast buffet and prepare ourselves mentally for the next stage.

Actually quite pleasant taking a hotel room; you arrive, throw your gear off, shower extensively, have toilets and breakfast in top quality in view range and a comfortable bed to lie in.
We might get used to this way of traveling. But big disadvantage: The country and the people are thereby more at a distance, than at a campsite. To compensate this we use our walks in the evening hours to get a little more feeling for country and the people.
And, of course, not only to have motorcycle photos for those poor ones, left behind 😉

Perhaps also a small side comment on the used navigation equipment?
Each of us has a map and GPS in the tankbag as backup.
I navigate with the help of my smartphone and OSMand, which also knows gravel roads and footpaths and talks via Bluetooth also with me, but does not listen in between, thank God :blush:
This makes it easy to put together a more or less reliable route for the next day – even without a PC, and allows a flexible deviation from the route too.
Renate maintains the tradition of the roadbook and so we always sit together in the evening in order to write down the essential points, but we didn’t get close the next day often.
Sometimes temptations along the road, sudden inspirations, aberrations, or simply the desire for more, which lead us from the planned route. And sometimes these new tracks are the ones that give us the greatest surprises.
We also planned a buffer day in Riga. So, what can happen, nothing! What can we lose, nothing!
If this will be really so, stay tuned. 😉

 

Back to Today:
We paid our room yesterday, so it is easier to march directly to the motorbike in full motorcycle gear and stow away the pack bags without breaking into the first sweating at the front desk.
Still, sweating is the return journey to the A1, in the rush hour of Lodz. The need for Euro4 is more plausible after this experience, heck, I wonder whether Euro3 has already arrived in Lodz, at all? Having arrived safely on the A1, we continue “true North” towards Gdansk (Danzig) to leave the A1 a little bit upfront Torun.

Torun

From the distance we take a photo of the old town which is very nice and invites for a stop.

The GoPro mounted on the helmet provokes “en passant” photos. And this opportunity is used often.
What I do not know yet is, that these photos are very imprecise (I just call it so, and we are not talking of legions of dead mosquitoes on the lens … ..: – /) . In the course of the further journey I do reconsider this in my thoughts and a change to the smartphone Photo phalanx will more often occur.
Hey, 8 days ago the dataroaming borders in Europe have fallen, so why not keeping the guys home updated directly 😎

Grudziadz

But we continue and follow the road to the hills north of Torun to turn later towards

Grudziad and follow the Weichsel towards the Baltic Sea.

We continue northwards over Sztum (where we lay low from the sun in the shadow of big trees, surrounding the miraculous lake) to escape a temporary construction site road close.
In https://youtu.be/RRuwzNo0w1o

Malbork (Marienburg) we stop again to overlook the enormous brick castle (largest of Europe) from the opposite river banks and to make a group photo with a “bow”.
We use the time to recapitulate the previous miles and talk about a deviation from the route plan.

Should we visit the Polish lagoon instead of Elblag? Krynica Morska and up to the end of the peninsula?
This idea finds broad agreement and so we continue northwards, to ride around the lagoon from the west and to steer towards the lagoon opposite to the stream of Polish guests.
The places all sound familiar and a later look in Wikipedia shows the why: The German past of the places had formed the names of towns and villages.

One of it: Sztutowo (Stuthof) a former concentration camp (hidden in the forest). A Muzeum, reminds of the crimes of the past. Panels along the street point towards the museum.
We ride along the road until it ends, almost touching the enclave of Kaliningrad, then we turn back.

Su would like to take the opportunity to spend the night here at the port, so we start our search for a suitable lodging. We had enough along the way, but will it be possible to get a free room in the main season?
The first hotel on the way back is Neptune, a huge hotel complex in the forest, we drive right in front and park directly in front of the front desk (I guess, this is why it is called so?). The lady at the desk did either have a bad day, or loathes motorcyclists in principle, because on the friendly question whether still rooms are available, comes a scarce “nie“, although Booking.com still shows vacant rooms. The answer in respect to the accommodation rates is answered with 2500Zlt per person. 😯
Lol, we rather sleep outdoor.

However, Booking.com is our friend and so, only 2km away, we find a nice Pension named Lotus, which offers us a cheap room for 3 persons. Not quite as spacious as the last room, but with balcony to ventilate the sweaty motorcycle gear and stow away the luggage. The day is young, we are showered, so we leave for an evening excursion to the port, to watch the ferries to Fromborka (Frauenburg) and the departure of a speedboat.
The breeze from the lake is cool and so we walk back to the beach promenade which is full of tourists.
Striking are the street vendors who braid colored strands in the hair of their customers.
An idea is born!

It starts to rain softly, so it is time to look for a restaurant.
Since we are at the sea, for us domestic Austrians of course only fish is a potential food and we obviously make a good choice, the fish is faultless (also the next day 😉 )
From our seats we see the busting activity on the Road. You easily can imagine sitting in Lignano, or Rimini.
As the rain pauses are getting shorter and the rain getting fierce, we return the shortest way home.

 

I sneak out again at dusk (23 o’clock!) to photograph the sun setting on the horizon over the Baltic Sea.

The silence, which radiates from the scenery is in stark contrast to the hectic bustle over the day,
I enjoy it and remain sitting there. But, the next rain shower drives me back to bed, too.

 

 

Weather: sunny and hot (27°), in the evening rain, short thunderstorm over the night

Journey to Wima Rally 2017 day 1

Where does Theo go?

And where are we going? Correct! To Lodz!  Why are we going there? This year the Wima Rally takes place in Estonia, and we decided to participate there and to enjoy the ride to Estonia to the max.

The last days were just stress. Business trips, and approvals at construction sites, and I finally managed to come home  on saturday.
I had only the evening to pack and to print out the route map for the coming day sections in detail .

Additionally I changed the complete tank lock, as it did block over the last weeks mre and more, and I do not want to risk to get stranded in Estonia on the way, without fuel. Also a small rivet arrived yesterday and I finally could fix a hole in my fairing. But now, we can really start the adventure!  🙂

 

Today it is still cool and the first rays of sunlight flash through the treetops when I do a final farewell round through the park with my dog.

The rest of the family will have to look after him for the next two and a half weeks, because the great adventure of traveling to the Wima Rally 2017 in Estonia starts in 30 minutes.

Su and I meet, as usual, at the Green Mountain, then we will go to Hochleithen together, where Renate will join us.

Su arrives at the meeting point a minute after me, our bikes are filled up, and so we ride further on.

Our two Versys are equipped with the side paniers and a tankbag and in addition with a top case or saddlebag, respectively.
It is always an interesting challenge to estimate the weather and the basic conditions to expect on the journey, and on this basis to estimate the actually required clothing and utensils.

My approach was as follows:

First, everything is spread out at the bed, unnecessary parts will be removed first.
Second, items, only used at the destination, or items used only in emergency cases are in the left side panier. The garment and regularly used items in the easier accessible (right) side panier. The saddlebag is usually equipped with sleeping bag, sleeping mat and other camping equipment, but this time it carries the flags for the national Wima presidents, as well as stickers and pins for the participants of the rally. Our Austrian flags for the parade are stored here, too. For the return way I will use it for my souvenirs. So it does not return empty, the poor one  😉

Renate has arrived in Hochleithen already, she has chosen the Duke 390 for her ride to Estonia and so she will sit the next 2400 km wedged between tankbag, luggage bag and luggage reel on the thin seat, admirably spartan to travel and perhaps also a little masochistic? We will see.

So we take a photo of us, and the big adventure starts.

For the first stage – in Polish Łódź – we only use expressways and highways, according to the plan.

It is also the longest travel distance for a day. After about 650km we should reach our destination in the evening.

The weather is fine and so we drive without great obstacles over the A5, then in Czech the A1, close to Ostrava, where we refuel the first time. In our case, the Duke measures the refuel distances, the Versys covers almost 400km with moderate gait and this will be our pace traveling in the group, nevertheless we refuel in such cases too. Of course, we use these stops also for toilet visits.

Su and I always share a fuel station, so we alternate the payment and do not have to reckon much.
The border crossing between CZ and PL is a new motorway (A1), it was unspectacularly, at the least,  to get through here, only a few signs on the roadside indicate the border crossing, and we are in Poland already.

Here, too, the road continues for the time being without any special incidents, but the motorway soon becomes a kind of expressway with traffic lights. Sometimes we manage to cheat with the loaded machines to the front row, sometimes we just have to wait for the green phases to go on again.

In Czestochowa there is still no bypass, so we have to torment ourselves with the cars through the city. After that, we continue on the same expressway system for a while, until a fully-fledged highway suddenly appears in front of us, this in the area around Kamiensk.

Of course, we have to refuel and so we fill our tanks again in the “same procedure as every tank stop”.

Lodz, Łódz, is already much earlier than expected announced on the signs. Short after Piotrkow over the S12, then over the S8, the S91, and in between there are even smaller exits, which are also signal Lodz as exit.

So, how big is this city? Finally, the expected Lodz Centrum exit appears and we take it, just to turn right at the first roundabout in the wrong direction. Now, you might suspect that there is an alternative route after so many exits to Lodz. That was at least our hope, after we had noticed our mistake, but it took us almost 10km until there was again a possibility to turn towards Lodz and take aim at our hotel.

This we had – on the basis of the good progress done in the afternoon, on the road, with the help of booking.com – reserved and we were not disappointed. Housed in an adapted old factory building, the Hotel Focus offers newly furnished rooms, which also provide a lot of free space, a well-developed Wlan infrastructure (important to keep home updated), a locked parking lot. What can You wish for?

After we had set up – photos of the room afterwards will not be shown – we decided to go by tram to the city center, maybe to eat a little. Because, up to this point, muesli bars were our only food, which was supplemented with plenty of fluids – of course alcohol free.
But, to use the tramways in Lodz isn’t so easy. They drive regularly, but the intervals are about 20 minutes and our tram had just driven off.
Short discussion, we will walk to the center.
Now, in the former Eastern bloc countries there is the tradition to cover pedestrian ways with tiles, but for a long time they do not represent a flat area, anymore. So, a walk on foot means to get to know the ground of a city very thoroughly, but the rest of the city is only very schematic to get to know. This improves however, the closer we get to the lovely restored city centre.
Wima Rally 2017 Tour Day 1Perhaps it was also not so bad to lift the view not too often, the rest of Lodz shows only a glorious past. 😉
In the centre, street musicians and restaurants change at very short intervals and so it is not too difficult for us to find a place where we sit down in the garden in the pedestrian zone and dine delicious Shoarma. Not necessarily a usual Polish meal, but it is excellent. May the following days be as pleasant!  🙂


Returning back to the hotel is easier than in the other direction and en route we discover a few nice sculptures and buildings.
While Su and Renate visit the hotel bar, I return to the room to let the impressions of the day set on me and fill the diary with the first scribbled pages.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Gallery for day 1:

 

Ladiescamp 2017

In July 2016 the first Ladiescamp event, organized by the Austrian motorcycle magazine, took place. The event became a success and so it was almost natural that on 2nd July, 6 Wima girls met in Melk, or more precisely at Wachauring, to participate in the motorcycle magazine Ladiescamp 2017.

As the first time, in 2016, 100 women met on this day to take a close look at the many stations and test vehicles.
On the basis of the feedback on the preceeding event there were a few minor changes to the program as well as the content of the modules. And, due to the success, even more manufacturers were at site, which provided their bikes for test drives.

The arrival was not necessarily pleasant due to the very humid and cool weather, thankfully the weather situation improved rapidly and the routes were almost dry until the first drive.

All Wima’s had registered for a group and so we went through one station after the other together.
Our group was the red one, and our program ->

We started with the bike test runs, which were twice as long as last year.

This allowed us to test a large number of vehicles in succession.
This comparison option is unique because of the number of manufacturers available at site, similar models are available and the direct comparison is even more intense with an immediate change.

As each one of us has a different taste and driving style, there were in the end also quite different favorites, which we had picked. My top favorits are: The Triumph Street Triple RS and the Yamaha Tracer 900, both surprisingly smooth to handle on the road and a lot of punch if necessary.  🙂
Lottery price needed!!

The next program point was driving safety.
Brake and curve technology. Specifically, cornering technology is a challenging station, but a very well preparation on mountain bends.

Margot and I used the roundabout to a footrest scratching “chase” of our two Versys. The others did not want to exaggerate it, but the circle was successfully completed by all of us.

 

 


The break time was used to get in touch with other women, and Su was diligently spreading our visit cards among the people.
It was exhilarating to hear the good mood and the many opinions on the already completed stations.

The break is used at the Ladiescamp, too, for two different groups alternating on the SuperMoto circuit for some race experience and after a while, it was the red groups turn to start the engines.

As usual, the Supermoto professionals Kim and Steffi were on the road to set the line and the speed. And that was very challenging right from the start.

Our small group, however, stayed with us bravely and so we were glad again, after 10min when the first change took place, so that we could a little breathe. A little irritating (turning the view direction to 😉 ) were the photographers who were always placed in strategically good places, but what does woman do, for great photos in slanting position?

The next program step followed immediately: Fun-Experience.
Here are partly exotic vehicles from different displacement classes in use, simply so that woman can try these once synonymous.
In everyday life they are likely to be used less frequently.

Afterwards, two theoretical lectures on the subject of motorcycle travel, safe clothing and hearing protection (as an advertising event, but with expert information)

The two modules were completed:

Offroad, with the Trialmaschine driving between huts standing, over artificial obstacles the machine trustworthy over it, and a short trip into the adjoining terrain with “Steilauffahrt”: -o

And shunting, as well as lifting the machine.
Where many of us were troubled, I took the machine and threw it on the other side with full  elan: oops:

Then, this long and exhausting day was already over again.
Just right, because on the horizon the next thunderclouds emerged on time, which developed again during the course of the return trip to a rainfall. Still, the grin remained in the face. 🙂

Wima Rally, First Reports

First Press Medias:

(Warning: Estonian can confuse your sense 😉

https://tv3play.tv3.ee/sisu/seitsmesed-2017/852182 First 30sec advertising, then start from 14:30 minutes on

and

http://virumaateataja.postimees.ee/4185613/galerii-tsiklinaised-vurasid-rakvere-tanavatel

 

Bonus:

5 min Parade

A hint: It’s easy to spot me 😉

 

on Tour

The author of this Blog is touring through the baltic coutries and especially Estonia.

A lot of Impressions are captured. 🙂

 

Report follows.

Planing for Estland

Jäneda (pronounced Joohhneda)
This place is located in Estonia and is the goal of this year’s Wima Rally.
Traveling there by plane? Naah! By train and ferry? Naah! By car? Naah!

The shortest distance between Vienna and Jäneda is approx. 1650 km, but where would be the fun and the charm if we would simply take the fastest route or to travel with another means of transportation?

If we could drive primarily via highway and expressways the route would be done in approx. 3 days, but the Polish and Baltic roads are
1. Not ready yet, and
2. Why should we cross countries when country and people are left aside?

Good advice is therefore hard to get: the journey should not last too long. After all we are still working and holiday days are scarce. On the other hand we also want to get to know the country and the people.

To solve this, Su, Renate and I have assembled to agree on the available days and to define a rough plan of overnight stays.
The rough framework was then enriched with sights and cities which are interesting for us and thus the route and days were further refined.
A little spare time is calculated for each day (except the first one) , prefering to arrive early, or with time buffer, than always hurry behind the plan.

 

 

With this method we have put together a “small” fine route, which takes us about 2400 km to our destination in Estonia.

Along our way are interesting places and areas such as. Malbork, Masuria, Kryžių Kalnas, Gauja, Riga, and of course Jäneda. 🙂
We will get to know Estonia via our week in Jäneda.

Naturally our report on our travel and adventures will follow after the Rally:-)

Break a leg!

Again and again we are confronted with the dangers of motorcycling:

A driver who overlooks us, an oil puddle in the roundabout, splitt in a narrow corner, a fall at the Enduro drive.

And we try to protect us against it: protective clothing, safety driving training, better tires, higher attention …

But sometimes, sometimes it does not help and a second later we are there, down to the ground …..

In the best case we have a few bruises, a damaged garment, bent or scratched parts on the bike and thats it, already.
Jump up quickly, and go on riding the motorcycle  …

But unfortunately, unfortunately, the story is not always so auspicious and then you can only be grateful that it has not gone worse.

This is the case with one of the last tours of 2 Wima women in some Styrian spots, around Admont, where one of our youngest members (P.) fell disastrously. This time, unfortunately, it was not so light-hearted because her ankle was broken by the falling motorbike.

The first care was exemplary but still she had to follow for about 2 weeks to the hospital in Bruck an der Mur and the procedure plaster, surgery, gypsum, as well as many more days in the hospital.

Well, so a hospital stay is not tingly. At least, when the motorcycle sun comes up for the first time.

Even the whimsical accidents of the other room maidens could not help the invading fades.

In order to raise the mood at least a little, Su and I have decided to combine the useful with the pleasant and to go on a motorcycle to the nursing visit.

The weather forecast was mixed, but also not bad, so we met early in Altmannsdorf to start from there, by Südautobahn to Mürzzuschlag.

From Mürzzuschlag we went via Mürzsteg, over the Niederalpl – with its beautiful turns, Seebergsattel – big dark clouds and really cold, we slip on to the rain gear, further over Aflenz, to St. Katharein – over an gravel road and with small sweeps (New discovery!) to Bruck an der Mur in the local hospital to visit our dear P.

The operation is now 2 days ago, and the urge for movement – lying plaster! – is limitless. Immediately, we pack a wheelchair and push her into the open space:-)

We talk about God and the world, her bike, which has already arrived in Vienna, and the further course of the treatment and the further recovery. Thus the early afternoon passes quite fast. When another visit came in, we took our leave and started to went back to Vienna.

 

 

The day is young, the highway is not an choice, the weather has become somewhat better – so optimal conditions for motorcycling.
Therefore, we decide to use the opportunity to return to Vienna via Teichalm, Birkfeld, Feistritzsattel, Gloggnitz, Reichenau, Schwarzau, Hainfeld, Klausen-Leopoldsdorf.

The trip went along  in wonderful weather, almost empty streets (in our direction of travel) and the area always invites to small stops. We should have taken a picnic basket with us! 😉

P. is now better, she has already left the hospital and is on the road to recovery.

 

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