Biking the Baltic: summary

Every adventure has its highs and lows, joys and frustrations….but through personal endeavour, we get to savour the sweet taste of achievement. I no longer measure achievement primarily by distance. I’m beginning to grow up a little (well, just a little) and appreciate the value of much more than just ploughing a furrow.

This adventure was never intended to explore heady landscapes, scale mountain passes, carve my way through verdant valleys…..no, this was all about visiting a host of countries that I have never been to before, and using the bike to connect capital cities. Over the last 40 days, I have simply binged on a succession of city breaks, 9 in total to be precise, including Krakow in southern Poland.

And in each city I have paused for a couple of nights, locked up the bike, and walked the historic city centres, visiting some 30 museums and historic buildings, enjoying the buskers and street entertainers, sitting by fountains with a picnic, catching the odd city demonstration (usually about climate change)….and in most of the cities, being hosted by friendly, caring human beings who form part of the Warmshowers network.

So I can’t share photos of many wonderful land and seascapes, of mountain top panoramas, nor of glacial ravines with cascading waterfalls, but I have come away with a sense of deep satisfaction of having discovered something about 8 individual nations, about people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, about major historical events that have fashioned their history, and where they are now in their march towards the future.

For those who like statistics, here are a few to keep you interested:

Days travelling: 40

Days on the bike: 28

Distance covered: 2,308km

Average daily distance: 83km

Longest day: 115km

8 countries and their capitals:

Sweden: Stockholm

Finland: Helsinki

Estonia: Tallinn

Latvia: Riga

Lithuania: Vilnius

Poland: Warsaw and Krakow

Slovakia: Bratislava

Austria: Vienna

Camping: 14 nights

Warmshowers: 15 nights

Backpacker’s hostels: 10 nights

With a former student: 1 night

Rain while riding: 2-3 hours

Days of headwind: 18

Days of tailwind: 3

Best national food: Viennese

Best National Library: Helsinki

Best museum: Vasa Museum, Stockholm

Most beautiful historic city centre: Tallinn

Most scenic part of the journey: Tatra Mountains.

Most annoying moment: discovering I’d left my tent footprint drying in the previous campsite.

Second most annoying moment: discovering I’d had my power bank stolen in a backpacker’s hostel.

Greatest surprise: being seen from a distance by a former student in Stockholm, and then staying with him and his family in Turku, Finland. That’s a 10/10 on the serendipity scale.

Most uplifting moment: an eleventh hour offer of a bed (for three nights) in Vienna.

The most unusual camping spot: departure lounge at Heathrow airport, after a late arrival from Vienna.

If you followed me on at least some of my journey, thank you for your company. I hope it inspires you to embark on adventures of your own…..

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 29, 2019, in Biking the Baltic 2,400km and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I am looking forward to the day when my other half, doesn’t think of anything but distance and I don’t have to pre-programme him when there is a museum I want to visit – or a wool or fabric shop heehee!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ll have to be patient with him….it takes time to adjust. We all think we are still 30-somethings….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great read following your adventures Frank … kudos!

    Like

  4. Thanks Colin. Keep up the good work with the FB page…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And we do blog when there is time! 😎🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️

    Like

  6. Yes, I know Matilda’s Musings….how did you find such a smart tandem?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bravo Frank. A big thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You are always entertaining and informative. Please keep it up !!
    With very best wishes
    James

    Like

  8. well he is 5 months younger than me heehee

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  9. James, thanks for accompanying me on the journey!

    Like

  10. …..well there’s a coincidence….I’m 6 months younger than Jenny…she has a habit of calling me her toy boy….

    Liked by 1 person

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