Sunday, June 1, 2014

Out of Lithuania

I cycled just about 450 km through Lithuania - because I will come back here at the end of my trip. The idea is to cycle through the Baltic States roughly along the EV 11 (Iron Curtain Trail), do a big loop through Finland and then cycle again through the Baltic States following the Baltic Sea coast. Therefore no conclusion and recommendations yet!

Aukštaitija National Park
The route after Vilnius was nice but rather uneventful. Aukštaitija National Park was definitely a gem. One lake after the other all set in beautiful forest. No wonder this is a popular holiday destination. Unfortunately I arrived on a Saturday evening and every beach was full of people, but after a while I found one with not a soul in sight. The last days had been incredibly hot and I could not wait to go skinnydipping. This was my first real swim of the year and it felt great. I had just put my last piece of clothes back on when I suddenly realised a big commotion on the road. Several cars stopped right were I was and people came streaming down to the beach. I wondered where all these masses of people suddenly came from when I suddenly saw a bride. And then it dawned on me: this was a wedding party on their way to an idyllic photo setting. I could not help smiling: just 10 minutes earlier and they would have had a naked German cyclist in the background....

The park did not only attract wedding parties but also a lot of teenagers. It was a mystery to me how you could party here with all the mosquitoes but they were at every beach and parking lot. The park provided several free designated campsites but with asek these parties going on these car accessible spots were not likely to provide quiet sleep. I tried to find a quiet campsite away from it all but was still woken up at 2 am by loud Lithuanian pop music somewhere in the vicinity.

The next night I camped right at the Lithuanian-Latvian-Belorussian border and was only disturbed by mosquitoes. The weather was almost too hot for cycling and I had to take a long siesta every day to recover from the heat. I love a "bottle" shower at the end of the day but the mosquitoes made this a very quick affair. Every night I set up camp quickly, I undressed in seconds and quickly squirted some water out of my bike bottle over me to clean up a bit. Still wet I immediately retreated into my tent where I lay down from exhaustion to dry off water and sweat. On Monday 26th of May I cycled into Latvia on some dirt road crossing in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, despite my hopes,  the dirt road stayed dirt - and Latvia has as many dirt roads as Lithuania.

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