The start of the journey
I am leaving on Tuesday morning for a flight:
Montpellier-Paris / Paris- Moscow / Moscow- Vilnius… A bit of a long journey but free and business class… …Same for the return……………..
Thursday 26th June…Message from the MACE Company …. “The motorbike is in Lithuania”
Left home at 5am to Paris. Stand bye at CDG. Nothing exciting.
Transit through Moscow… a few hours of wait in the Muscovite duty free. Like all crossing points, it is a very cosmopolitan place … I discussed with a Singaporean and an English girl heading to China. At customs, the officer looked at my passport anxiously. We were in Moscow and I had a visa (she could see it on her computer) How could I fail to pass immigration control?? He goes to Vilnius. “You sure go to Lithuania?”. “Yes Madam it is not a mistake!”.
A small flight where I despaired the business class hostess.
“Diner?”… “No thanks”. “Water?” “Err no”. “Wine?”. “No thanks”… “Dessert? Champagne”… “No, no… nothing”… “Ice cream maybe?”… No… Finally she gave up not knowing that I had already had a bite in the duty free.
Arrived in Lithuania
The first time I set foot in this country was in 2005. France -Lithuania in Motorbike (600 Fazer). The Lithuanian with whom I was in contact via the internet asked me if I had taken any rainwear … A little surprised by the question, I had asked why .. Simple answer… Lithuania means “The country of rain”… I had disembarked the ferry under a downpour … and I had spent quite a wet holiday :)))
This year again the country was true to its name… It was raining when I arrived.
Ingrida was there and dropped me at the hotel
Ingrida… Aka Panda is a friend since 2005. We have met regularly during her stays in France or elsewhere. She is a great point of contact in the country for logistics. She also booked the hotel for me. In 2005 she made me stay in this one:
Best value for money ever. Here again she didn’t tell me where I was going not to break the myth of my trip being all adventurous lol.
The next day, she already had the unscrewing screwdrivers to open the crate. She took me to the bureau de change and to buy a few things. She was a bit disappointed that I wanted to go as soon as the bike ready, invoking the God of rain and the torrential rain that would befall Vinius in the early afternoon. So we had lunch and I put back my departure to the following Thursday. Sometimes, it is also good to stay with friends ;)..
The crate is well arrived and everything is in order. The guys from the warehouse were super friendly and gave me a hand to get the bike out of the box. They confirmed they would keep the crate in a corner for me and wished me a good trip. I hope to see them in August. We will certainly go for a Svyturys, a very popular local beer. For now let’s go to the hotel parking.
As she had fond memories of her stay in Brussels we chose a Belgian restaurant. Sauce fight in our plates… Laughing out loud every 15 min… Her French always makes me laugh and her expressions too.
Nota : Visiting country is always good as you can lear funny things This afternoon I have learnt that:
- In Lithuania, girls can tell a guy that he is like the Tundra… that is to say that his intelligence is as flat as this place 🙂
- The Baltic Sea no longer count many fish species (about 6 instead of 20) because of overfishing and pollution
- That I should stop with my “Spassiba”( thank you) as in Lithuania it is Ačiū (pronounced Atchou) The Lithuanian language is not to be confused with the Russian.
It was the arts and music festival and that it was good working in the streets of Vilnius full of girls dressed in traditional costumes, artists coming from various countries and invited for the occasion, hot-air balloons flying in the sky… Ultimately it was all very nice. Luckily the rain had stopped and the air was rather fresh. Light blankets provided by cafes coloured the shoulder of customers, people were relaxed and the atmosphere was very good.
Tomorrow early departure towards Latvia and the border of Russia.
In the morning quick GPS check at the hotel and a last map upload as I may change my itinerary in Russia… Then I install the GPS on the motorbike and surprisingly see nothing on the screen… and no cards on display… Despite several attempts to fix this using the mini SD card and the hotel computer, nothing changes. Never mind, I go over the main roads and I go…
Lithuania -Latvia -Russia
Crossing Lithuania was painfull as it seems that all roads had some works during this season .
So traffic is manages by traffic light in one way and after other way … but I was stopped very very often. Roads were not covered with balk top and get a lot hole already .
Arrived at the Russian boarders in a timely manner. Here I am in front of the Russian customs and just 5 cars in front of me. I think that it is going to go quickly… Well, everything stands as still as it does in our beloved administration on the hottest days . I stayed stuck at the Russian border during 5 hours as custom computers were down. I could speak on friendly manners with one officer that was speaking English . The guy asked me wast I was carrying in my luggages…he asked the size of my knife and said it was ok .. and di not want to see it lol …
When I explained my all plan he said that I was crazy and that his country what not the type of country for travelling alone …
Even when the system works customs process for each vehicles was quite long customs were really helpful fro fill in all documents .
I stopped on the road .. Truck traffic is quite heavy in Russia and you could find hotel a along the road but as you are tourist they are abusing of prices..they will always propose you the most expensive room . But you can eat there and have some wifi connection .
The 4th in the morning, to Moscow… Still no GPS. I can’t connect my tablet to my other tracking devise but decide to go through Moscow anyway. Big mistake! It was a nightmare – excessive heat, enormous traffic jam, massive waste of time.
Once I am out of it, I head to Samara..1050 km and after straight from Samara I went to the border 250 km later …As my GPS was still up and down the night was very very long ….I ride night and day ..take a rest along the border of a road and arrived at the border in the evening ..this was really a nightmare with crazy drivers during the all nights..a lot of trucks ..and the roads conditions in Russia are terrible…
Finally after a few annoying detours, I arrive at the Russain/Kaz border on the 5th of July … I will wait til the night for passing the Russian customs and Kaz… Everything went smooth but I already noticed few damages on the bike. A Kazak guys that was speaking English help me with the different document .
The Kaz customs remind to register myself at the immigration police in the next five days . This is a very important rule in Kaz