As Ivars and Laura perfectly pointed out our resting place in Yalta was in no way ordinary. In the same vein the following day was not ordinary. We were already late (the usual morning ritual took us more than expected and it was already 12.30 when we were ready to leave) and thus there was no more time to waste, I had to jump on the saddle and pedal away.
Before leaving Sevastopol, I had spent some time looking over maps of Southern Crimea to understand what exactly I should expect there (I was particularly interested in elevation profile of the peninsula). For this purpose there is an excellent tool – cycleroute.org. In this simple and intuitive web site you can see the elevation profile for you chosen cycling route – all uphill and downhill sections are highlighted, you can see how steep and long is the climb. In our situation the practical significance was not so evident as we had already decided upon the chosen route. All I could do was to check if my worst fears corresponded to the reality. This time it was what happened – I found out that I will have to battle with several hills higher than the highest “mountain” in Latvia – Gaiziņkalns (312 meters above sea level).
The elevation graph showing the route from Yalta to Solnechnogorsk
Our adventure started on September 15th, 2014. December 31st we are 2250 kilometers from home, having traveled about 4700 kilometres by road.
We have had an amazing time visiting Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the breakaway state of Transnistria, Ukraine again, AR of Crimea, Russia and finally – Georgia. We are now residing in Tbilisi and plan to be here till the middle of February. We are still looking for ways to acquire two bicycles in the place of stolen ones but we will continue our journey to reach the place furthest away (Pitt Island in New Zealand) by any means.
Marking the end of year 2014, we looked back on the road so far. We are offering to take a peak at our adventures from September to December 2014 through this short video compilation.
“Goodbye, the Land of Wine!” we shouted out loud, it was 16th October – the day we left Chisinau and Moldova. Of course, if you have read any of our previous posts involving leaving cities, you’ll already know that it was definitely not an early morning activity.
By the time we got organised and said farewells to our new friends, it was already early afternoon and we decided to say goodbye to the city itself by having a meal in a simple Moldovan diner “Strelka” using our last Moldovan money – leu (MDL). Suppose, we got a little over-excited with our order, choosing 3 courses each – we definitely got a bit over our heads, particularly because we intended to cycle straight after the meal. This resulted in not having enough of the right cash in our pockets (we were around 1€ short). We contemplated of going to a currency exchange place to get some more money, but then again, getting more leu was something we would not need anymore, since we planned to cycle to the border of Transnistria that afternoon and back in Ukraine after that. Thankfully, the women at the counter accepted some of our Ukrainian hryvnias (UAH) instead, this proved to us once more – there are good, understanding and kind people everywhere. Continue reading →
How do people do it? They write a story about a story about an adventure.
Where do people start? They choose the words that form a picture that describes the adventure.
When do people describe it? They stare in the screen to write down the past and miss out on the present.
Where do people find it? They search around to see it right in front of them.
How do people travel? They pack their bags to leave their home to take it with them.
Where do people travel? They go in circles, they go there and back again.
What is the destination? Destination is the journey and we have finally arrived.
“So I’m lying in my mini-bed in Kiev, its 3:36 a.m. and I’m trying to write my blog entry… The boys are long asleep and I suppose I’m left with this silence around me where all I can hear is them sleeping and the keys of the board. And all I’m really excited about is that not once during these three weeks have I heard them snore! Yet… but all together, as you may understand, I’m generally quite excited about other things too. So this is my writing mode on now, I suppose, so I better go and write something normal too… thanks, good night!! x”
A caption of my letter to a friend. After some serious staring in the laptop screen it is now 4:40 a.m.
Riga-Minsk – 655km travelled. Distance from home – 400km.
Minsk was the first stop of our journey. So, what’s it like in the ‘last dictatorship in Europe’? The first adventure we had on the early morning of September 16th 2014 was packing our bags. One can argue that all self-confident travellers pack before the trip but are those packed bags really the ones that make you ready for an adventure? Continue reading →