The wild west of Masuria, Tour Wima Rally 2017, day 4
Masuria got us very excited yesterday, the landscape and the small paths were pleasant to drive. At least with Su and me, as driving the Versys while standing is easy. Renate, with the hard-sprung Duke and the small seat did have a quite different, painfull experience, but she liked the area very well too.
So it’s decided, that we are not driving directly from here via Suwalki to Lithuania, but we are going there via an extra round through Masuria.
As the great lakes before Gizycko were only gray in gray yesterday, we decided to make a spiral to the Lithuanian border. This makes the route to Marijampole somewhat longer than planned, but this isn’t a real problem, isn’t it? Well, we will see.
So, we get up early and enjoy the view with the beautiful weather outside, maybe a warm, sunny day again?
First there is the breakfast, which is once again spread in the form of a huge buffet before us. This probably seems to be a Polish specialty. These oversized buffets, with a focus on heavy, greasy stuff, are a wonderful opportunity to eat for the whole day. And so we always get through the day with a small snack break along the road.
Since our arrival, the staff of the hotel is very friendly and attentive. So, it’s even more irritating watch an indignant German pensioner at the front desk, complaining loudly that their towels from yesterday evening are not exchanged. And now wants to speak with the boss, of course she (the boss) does not understand German 😉
Sometimes I wonder why some of our dear German speaking friends have still not understood this: the German mentality is only existent in Germany – and possibly in the USA. All other countries have a national culture that may or may not be compatible. The most beautiful sentence is always: “In Germany, we do it so … / In Germany this would not be possible ……” omg, : – / why does one do vacation abroad?
But back to something more pleasurable, our tour.
After breakfast, we put on our gear, load our motorbikes and drive out of the Hotel yard heading south towards Orzysz.
Just as yesterday, the winding road leads us up and down through the mixed landscape of fields, forests and lakes. Again and again we can catch a glimpse of a small pond.
Afterwards, we travel around the large lake in the south (Sniardwy) on relatively small roads, with the re-emerging farmsteads on the way and the old avenues are back, too. Then we head north again via Mikolajki to Ryn, and continue until just before Ketryzn.
This would close the circle with our yesterday’s tour. Still, we continue north through Wegorzewo. We had actually hoped that also buildings from the past would be seen, but unfortunately the city was only bleak and lay empty. So we drove on, to Goldap, which is close to the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The city is beautiful and nestled in the hills of the countryside.
Why are we actually here? Of course, first of all, because we want to go to the Wima Rally to Estonia, then, of course, because we want to get to know as many corners and angles as possible from Masuria, but also we decided – unplanned – to make a detour round the Enclave as close as possible. This includes, of course, the visit to the 3 country corner Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad, which is at the end of a natural park (Krajobrazowy Puszczy Rominckiej), which runs along the border. Therefore, we follow the small country road through the natural park along the border with Russia to catch a glimpse of the imposing railway viaduct unexpectedly, at Stańczyki. As the weather situation looks a bit moody now, we do not stop for long, but only look on it from a distance, in order to continue immediately.
Very small roads lead us finally over a small border crossing to Lithuania. The border sign is left alone in the area and so we use the peace on site to organize a small photo shooting. Thus we crossed the great Poland first from South to North and then to West. Until our journey home, we are now officially in the Baltics!
The landscape changes in the last few days have been diverse, and we are eager to see whether everything is different again in Lithuania?
From the border crossing we continue northwards towards Vilkaviskis and from there to Marijampole, since Renates Duke urgently needs a tank stop again and so far we had not found any.
The search for the petrol station almost led us out of Marijampole as we finally encountered a large gas station. The machines are filled up and just as we push them to the side, so that we can do a little snack break in peace, heavy rain breaks loose. We quickly push the machines back under the roof of the gas station and clear away ourselves into the sales room, as the wind brings the rain from the side. Since we wanted to break anyway, we use the opportunity with coffee, cocoa and various sandwiches, to wait for the worst of the weather front to disappear before we get back on our way. The rain comes in dense waves, again and again, so we have no choice and protect ourselves with our rain gear. As we do still have time left, we are now on our way to Kaunas, where we have just booked a nice hotel room in the Perkuno namai, above the city center. The short drive to Kaunas is wet, but before Kaunas the rain stops with perfect timing and so we can rest and dry in the urban traffic, and enjoy the view of the old buildings of the city along the road. The hotel is actually located on a central mountain, and has a wonderful garden, which was built in the slope. Unfortunately, the rain provided for a massive cooling in temperature, so we prefer to stay in the restaurant and enjoy the conclusion of the day. Although it is close to dark, Renate and I would like to move our legs. Therefore, we arm ourselves with a rudimentary map to explore the city center. First we walk down the mountain through a park, and then we follow the pedestrian zone to the west.
On the way are many interesting buildings and places, but slowly it grows dark and the shops have mostly already closed. In almost full darkness we turn around and grope in the dark over desolate stairs and ways again up the mountain.
As we have changed our planned route, from now on the detailed route planning for tomorrow is the rest of the evening program. What will we expect? The scenic valley of Memel and then, if there is still time, the Curonian Spit?
Then it is the time to go to sleep, tomorrow is certainly also an interesting day.
Weather: Sunny, then heavy rain, then cloudy, moderate temperature 17-25 °
Travel time: approx. 7h