Mission "Cold Europe": COMPLETED
Five days ago we started our cool (not only for the awesomeness, but also for the temperatures...) ride from Vilnius to Hamburg. That's the first part of our round-the-world-adventure. Yesterday we completed the mission and packed our bikes for the "cruise" on the container ship through the Atlantic ocean.
The rides were slow and easy - the skies were clear, the roads were dry and we had planned the route to go through the places where we had friends or relatives living and waiting for us to stay overnight at their homes.
For the first nigh still in Lithuania we were happy to reach Daiva's (she's a good friend of Asta) house, park the bikes in the garage and quickly go inside as it was chilling 0 C outside. We drove only 200 km on our fist day, but with all TV interviews in the morning, farewell event in the afternoon and cold drive with temperatures not reaching 7 C we felt like we were on the road for 1000 km.
Next morning was not much warmer as well, so we braced ourselves for a 400 km drive to Gdansk where we had Asta's relatives waiting for us. The road went on along the border between Poland and Kaliningrad and it was really well maintained with cozy small villages and pleasant curves and bends with big old trees along both sides. There was no rush that day so we stopped in small town for lunch and stayed there for 1.5 hour just to get warm and finish up our enormous pots of traditional Polish soups "Flaki" and "Borsch".
Second part of the road was really good so it didn't take us too long to get to Gdansk, park our bikes safely in the garage and dig into a big delicious dinner which was prepared by Asta's relatives who were happy to see us.
In the morning we got some advise on which road to take to Germany and decided that we will reach it in one day instead of our initial plan to get there in two days. We chose Rostock for our next stop, because we have our friend and a former colleague Zigmas living there. We went to Morocco last year together and I took trip to Norway with him later the same year. We had many things to discuss about previous trips and the one we are on now so we stayed till late that nigh.
Since we "saved" one day of riding by coming to Rostock from Gdansk in one go, we had some extra time before packing our bikes for the trip to South America and took a day off. Zigmas showed us the beautiful places of Rostock: we walked along the city port, through the picturesque streets of old town, took a train to the beach in Warnemunde and had a traditional German-style dinner in local beer brewery.
Next morning we packed our things and headed to the garage nearby. Raindrops started falling and that was the first rain during our trip so far. Our main concern was that in about three hours we would have to pack our riding gear on the bikes for a month. Having to pack it while it's wet didn't seem like a good idea... Luckily the rain only lasted for the first 30 minutes of the ride - during the next 2 hours we got completely dry and could pack the gear with no problems.
We found the warehouse near Hamburg easily and took an hour to carefully repack our stuff and turn into backpackers before submitting our bikes for storage and transportation to Valparaiso port in Chile. People working in the warehouse were Germans and didn't speak much of English, but to our surprise, they spoke fluent Russian! So we discussed all the procedures with them and left the bikes in the company of 7 other motorcycles, waiting for their "cruise ship" to South America.
Today, we woke up in the almost cheapest hotel we could find in Hamburg (by the way it was very clean and tidy and served great breakfast) and will head to the airport to get on the plane to Rio de Janeiro. For a month from now we will be the 2feet-Adventurers instead of the 2wheeled ones :)