Sunday, May 26, 2013

Towards Müller-Gespanne in Brodersby

Skippy's Suzi had again starting problems when we left Poland. This became annoying and since Skippy was going to do some rides alone later on (to her Karate training), we decided to invest in a new battery. First I wanted to have a Hawker Odyssey, however there was no meaningful way to fit the available models into the bike, so we decided to become “modern” and bought a lithium battery from Shido. First, I thought it's empty – light as a feather compared to lead-acid. Well, again a few kilos saved :)

We spent Pentecost (Pfingsten) in the camping place in Flessenow besides the lake of Schwerin. The weather included thunderstorms, lightening, it was chilly, mostly wet with some sunny moments. On sunday there was a big volleyball competition on site and in the evening we were invited to join the neighbors on the campfire.

Volleyball tournament

Campfire (picture taken with Nokia N8)
Wolfi working with the laptop (again) ...

A typical daily delicious and healthy salad.

Delicious dark beer (and soooo cheap compared to Finland - heavenly)
Kids and adults had fun riding bicycle with sidecar (cheap version with two axes only)

We left on a cloudy but warm day and rode smoothly to Oersberg where we spent the night before visiting Müller-Gespanne for the sidecar changes. Magnificent and stunning rapeseed-fields along the roads. We could not get enough of these sights and they smell also soo good. Here a short picture rhapsody on those fields.
All the sudden the wind turbines emerged behind the rapeseed field
Around Brodersby
The view right besides our tent

More views around Brodersby
Girls having fun
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... and more fields.

Arriving at Mueller-Gespanne

Müller-Gespanne @ Brodersby
We were allowed to pitch our tent in their backyard during our extended stay and spread out stuff almost all over the place ;)

Rain rain rain and chilly
Skippy making food
It seems to me that the Finnish people were somehow able to export a typical Finnish summer (i.e. max. +15C and plenty of rain) to northern Germany. In the few days we have been here so far, we had plenty of rain combined with strong winds – nothing too pleasant, maybe a good practice for Scotland :D

Girls had to be in the extra thick sleeping bag to keep them warm 
We had also two (2!) sunny day during our stay and we enjoy them even more. Our dogs got quickly settled with Lotta, the guardian dog of the . 
Ulpu lost her toy to Lotta
I am not sure whether Lyra wanted to play with those cute bunnies or eat them? She had regular staring competitions with those fellows :D

Bunny - playmate or food???
The other one enjoying some fresh food.
Vegan sausages, potatoes and asparagus :)
Manner - one of my all time favourite waffles appear to be vegan - good for me!
Strandkorb life in the backyard
Many houses had a traditional roof made of straw. Looks cool and according to Wikipedia it shall last 20-30 years.
Houses with straw-roof
and another ...
... and still one more

~ Wolfi

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Track - Via Baltica

Since I finally got my GPS-Mac problem solved, I was able to upload our track through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to google maps.

Click here to see the track or copy/paste this link:

∼ Wolfi

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Berlin - paradise for vegans

Both of us got a warm feeling knowing we would be soon in Berlin – a sense of belonging, some sort of home. I had my first visit to Berlin when I was 14yrs old, and Skippy and me have visited Berlin several times. So we knew the place a little bit, which shops are where, what to expect, where to go and especially the fact that there are many vegan restaurants and vegan shops.

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Having a break on the way to Poland


During the past days, my to-do list for Berlin was just getting bigger and bigger. I had severe problems with my gadgets and applications on my Mac and we needed a proper internet connection to do some major uploads. One of the major issues was my GPS. For some reason, I did not get maps of Berlin installed and I was forced to navigate based on major streets, tall buildings and the position of the sun.
I did have the vague recollection the connection was working at home when I installed my maps on the Mac. I spend about many days – searching internet, now in Berlin I was able to visit Touratech, Globetrotter and Saturn in figuring out why my Mac does not find my GPS.

Thanks to all of you technical guys, who tried to help me. Even though we eliminated many options what it was not, none of the proposed solutions really helped me.

The closest we got was to install Windows on my Mac, and then use basecamp to connect to my GPS. The remaining problem was that all my maps were installed on the Mac side. In the end, the real hint what to do came from forum. The USB of my old Garmin GPS (USB2.) and my new Mac (USB3.0) do not like each other, and by using a USB-hub (USB2.0) in between, all my troubles vanished. No problem to connect to the GPS.

What a relief!!!

Our hotel was another "dog-unfriendly" hotel. With 5EUR/dog/night - it became quite expensive and IMO a rip-off. The argumentation that "we MUST clean everyday", even though we did not want this service was anyway complete BS. They cleaned only once during our stay and then after we left (I assume). The staff was friendly with expectation of the boss - a female dragon. Anyway, we got room # 14.

Room 14 - reminded me a bit on "Harry Potter - closet under the stairs"
OK - after a while, we found our room ... well the door was slightly bigger and I hit my head only a few times.

We eliminated some luggage and thus, we could buy some more luxury items for the trip and now we got us lovely chairs :D This will upgrade our camping life at least manifold.

The new camping chairs :)
Besides the chairs, we had no room for a pot to wash dishes or clothes. We decided to go with Ortlieb's 10l foldable bowl and found instant use for it :D

Skippy ask me later why I bought "alkoholfrei" (alcohol-free) beer and I said, that I did not and she showed me the label. OMG - a clear indication how exhausted I was and how troubled my mind had been with all the issues we had so far.


We also visited my aunt, did some other shopping as planned and enjoyed the rich vegan food options in Berlin. Vegan restaurants and vegan shops – what a pleasure! One can just go and order (or buy) without having the usual conversation of ordering a cheese salad without the cheese, or going to an indian place. We ate delicious food and I liked the burger at Vego Foodworld so much, that we went there even twice.
Vego Foodworld
Delicious vegan burger
We also tested another vegan restaurant "Le Orchid V Noir" in Joachimsthalerstr. (Passagen). The food was mostly vegan, however you need to be extremely clear in the beginning. The owner seemed to only see the business opportunity of the vegan niche market, and does not always take it "110% serious". So better be careful with this one. This menu really looked like duck and tasted like duck. Only when you start to dig and examine the "meat" one sees that the structure is based on veggies.

Vegan duck (looks like duck, tastes like duck - is no duck)
We wanted to do something for Skippy's sore butt and tested the air-hawk cushion, which did not work out, because it made her feel unsafe on the bike – too wobbly. Maybe it's better to change the seat and make it a little softer.

Since our dogs are not used to being free in city, they simple do not know how to behave there with all the other dogs, bicycles and cars. They would do all sorts of non-sense from running away to hunting the ducks and swans. In our last evening, we went to Spinnerbrücke – a place to see and be seen – had a snack and went to Wannsee so that girls could finally be free a little bit and play.

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Our bikes at Spinnerbrücke

Our country-side dog Lyra was barking almost all the time and we were wondering what now. Now she is free and could play on the beach fetching stick, and no – barking barking barking. What a dog!

As it was getting dark, we went back to the bikes and got ready to go. Now also Hertta was barking towards the bushes and Skippy had a glimpse. On first sight she thought there was people (many cars were still at the parking lot) and they were “busy” and then – Shock ... I think the picture says it all :D

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What the heck is there in the bush?
It's a wild hog eating
... and this toy fence ends a few meters away from us, where one goes to the beach!

∼ Wolfi

Friday, May 17, 2013


Nothing special... Well sorry to say, but those were the first words that came into my mind now when trying to think what to write.

8th of May we left the camping place in Lithuania. Me tiptoeing the first kilometres and Wolfi sweating behind... I wanted to be sure that my day doesn't start with a fall! It was a beautiful hot day (close to +30) and in the Poland side spring/summer was again much further. Berry/fruit trees nicely flowering and lovely sweet smell everywhere and of course plenty of bees! I got already my second stung (first was in Latvia), but luckily I'm not allergic so wasn't bad at all.
This time we didn't take much sand roads, because there was not much meaningful ones (just very very small ones) and we also had a schedule to keep up to.
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First night in Poland we stayed in a small cabin in some kind of home/farm camping place. We didn't have internet access in the previous place so couldn't choose a place beforehand. In the first bigger town we started then to search a place to stay. First tried to get some translation help in a shopping mall parking place... Hopeless! Then we just decided to drive on for a moment and luckily saw a sign next to the street! Ok place, but in the end costed twice as much than the ten times better/nicer/cooler place what we had the following nights. This camping place also had plenty of animals there and to my opinion all were maltreated, especially the dogs! Horribly dirty and smelly cages, dogs furs all messy and nails way too long. Next morning when the owner had already gone I had courage to go close to the dogs (previous night they were trying to act scary) and noticed that no-one had left them any water or food and it was a very hot day!!! So I went to get my water bottle and girls dry food and instantly when those poor (huge) dogs saw what I had they were behaving totally nice! I filled their pots through the (prison)bars and got me two new beautiful friends :) Real gentle giants when you treat them nicely!
Beautifull and extremely nice big (60-80kg) boy :) His friend hiding somewhere in the behind cage.
After the camping place we headed deeper into the Polish countryside towards so far the coolest/nicest accommodation of our trip. It was another hot day, but now with some pressure in the air and a heavy wind! So heavy that I really had to struggle to stay up at some moments! Few kilometres before our hotel it finally started to rain and thunder... and what a thunder it was! We had some difficulties to find the place and at one crossing Wolfi left me for a moment to look for the right street (it was again this nasty drift sand and all tired and wet didn't have energy to do any extra milage) and while he was gone a lightning hit very close by and so hard that the sound wall cracked (or whatever it's called)! That was scary as hell, I had never heard anything like that before! Later on it gave even extra chill when I learned that bike isn't too safe to be at when there's thunder... Well eventually we found the place and for this difficult sand road part we swapped bikes because Wolfi has more power and longer legs to hold my bike up when it starts to wobble.... but he did fell also... not badly though, but at least now I don't have to try to explain anymore how difficult it is!

Gościniec Figlówka - Really cool mansion in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful forest.

Done with great taste everywhere and not expensive at all! (at least off season) Here I would love to go again with more time!

The umbrella turned out to be very practical :)

Lyra was extremely happy to get proper play in the next morning!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Hertta and Ulpu sleeping after a heavy play time :)

Saturday 11th of May we had to leave this beautiful place because Berlin was waiting... what a pity! We had again rather easy roads, but still very nice. Lovely countryside with gorgeous big trees around the streets bringing us needed sun. Some small rain showers here and there, but nothing too big. Afternoon we arrived to Lowicz Walecki Motel Park, which first looked rather cool and interesting, but in the end was a quite dump... and a rip off! The owner seemed like a dog lover and heavily offered us his garage and showed his bike project and other collection items... but in the end just took heavy money of all these. Left rather nasty aftertaste :( 

Weird things around the place.
Lousy lights, so needed my 'otsalamppu' :)

There was no kitchen so had to do all the cookings in the bathroom. Luckily(?) no fire alarms anywhere.

Interesting sunset in the last evening. Soon after this started heavy rain and we went downstairs to play pool and that was fun! Way too long time since the last game!

~ Ilta

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Videos with new URL

Howdy readers,

since there had been problems with both of the videos, I think this link here will work better worldwide.

Farewell Finland


Baltic roads

Still trying to figure out how to embed the videos here.

∼ Wolfi

Monday, May 13, 2013

Video of Baltic roads

Here is a short clip to illustrate what kind of roads you might hit in baltic countries :D

 Click here to see the video or copy/paste this link:

 For the Baltic countries I used a map with a scale of 1:400000 - the roads marked with white were typically dusty gravel roads and sometimes caused some smaller surprises. The streets marked in yellow and orange typically caused biggest surprises. Their quality ranged from totally horrible i.e. bumpy, holes in the street, borderline asphalt/gravel might have high edges to brand new and smooth.

 Generally the streets we rode in Latvia and Lithuania were the worst. The front suspension on my sidecar needed adjustment. The bike/helmet camera quit its services most of the times on those roads and that's why I do not have clips from there.

 Most "interesting" are those roads which have asphalt in the centre and gravel left and right. Typically both are in bad condition with the gravel given an opportunity of even bigger potholes compared to the asphalt. As everybody wants to ride the middle part as much as possible, here seems to be some way to "play chicken" with the traffic coming from opposite direction. And even though you think you go fast - maybe we rode at about 90km/h, watch the mirrors for the local heroes :D ...


 ∼ Wolfi

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Via Baltica

At the noon of Friday 3rd of May we arrived with the ferry to Tallinn and after letting girls do their businesses we started our journey towards Tartu. We got greeted by a beautiful and warm spring weather, so even though we were extremely tired (slept only 2 hours in the previous night!) it wasn't too uncomfortable to drive. Almost instantly we had some nice sand roads and one very interesting tractor path which was supposed to be a normal sand road...

First break somewhere between Tallinn and Tartu in the beautiful and peaceful countryside on an abandoned farm.

Sidecar works perfectly with girls and especially Hertta feels very homey there already :)

Girls were first thinking of having tangerines for lunch, but in the end they preferred their own goodie sticks :)

After about 280km we arrived to the outskirts of Tartu to an interesting old USSR-style suburbia. We stayed two nights in the dog friendly Starest Hotel. Pretty ok place with a park right besides it and the staff spoke very good English and right in the downstairs was an ok Asian style restaurant with many vegan options :) We forgot to take picture of the hotel, but here's some pictures of the funny neighbourhood...

We still don't understand the logic behind the numbering of the houses...

Devils Salon right beside some sort of church, well why not :D

Wolfi got his first beer of the trip. The beer was good, but Wolfi too tired to smile.

As Wolfi told in the earlier post we forgot girls leashes back home, but luckily he took some rope with to make new ones. So on our second day in Tartu we did some shopping and Wolfi could do the leashes while I had some sleep... :D

Well done!

On Sunday 5th of May after a well rested weekend we started the second leg of our journey and headed towards Latvia and that's where all the troubles started... Well nothing major, but still some annoying little things!

I had my first fell when we were looking for a place to rest and someone (not me!) decided that in the middle of a very windy field would be a great place to be! The tractor way was very bumpy and had nasty soft sand, so off I went... nothing bad happened, but it always pisses me off! Also just some minutes before when we were driving I just happened to think, that should we add to our blog a counter for falls, just for fun... Should never think such things! :)

Some kilometers after that the village dogs started to hunt us! There really was some totally crazy dogs who tried to catch us and one tiny Westie almost got a bite of my ankle! Few kilometers after that I saw a HUGE (almost bigger than my bike) mix breed approaching the street from its yard and I really had to give some more gas to get away from it! That really is one totally crazy hobby they have and I can only hope they won't be hit with any vehicle...

In Latvia the summer temperatures finally started to catch us and we were pretty sweaty when we finally reached our accommodation in the idyllic countryside. After 282km we got to this cool looking cabin in Madona.
This 10 persons cabin was all for us. In the first look it seems very great, but in the end all the things don't really work there... The sauna/shower waters go to the totally wrong directions which was very sad to see for a Finn and the cool looking downstairs has no fireplace or any heating what so ever! So we were rather freezing in the evenings... but the pond was very sweet and the yard was nice and big. There we played with Lyra and Ulpu while Hertta wanted to be a cow (yummy fresh new grass!), and I had my first sunbath :) I also got my 'talviturkki' finally off, totally freezing water, but very refreshing!

Next morning Wolfi started to do some small maintenance on the bikes, when he noticed this in my Suzis back tire! I must have caught it on the last sand road because I didn't notice anything special when driving the whole day. Wolfi got it out fine and also got the hole well fixed, but still that was brand new tire and didn't need this so soon!

That was one big screw, 11cm! I was just joking that no need to get screwed for a long time now... I know, I have a horrible sense of humor sometimes :D

In the Baltic countries there is quite often a crane living on peoples yards, either on the roof or on these kind of poles. I've heard they should bring good luck. At least they look very sweet and this one most likely has a feast every day because the pond next to it is totally full of frogs!

I spent most of my Monday staring at these fellows... The pond was full of interesting action and sweet croaks. They seem to be some kind of cannibals also, at least there was many hanging on to one dead fellow and others fighting to get in! I have plenty of cool video, so maybe I'll do my own nature documentary one day... :)

Kucuru dzirnavas is an old mill which is turned into a guesthouse and party room. There is also a small museum which is full of EVERYTHING and in the yard is many interesting things as well, like this old bike. So very nice place, but everything's just not working fine and the owners speak very poor english and german, but at least is a very dog friendly place :)

Tuesday morning 7th of May we continued our trip in a rather hot weather and in Lithuania the summer totally started! Beautifull light green leaves everywhere and very warm breeze! 270km of heavy sweating and we were approaching our next destination... but the last 3km were HORRIBLE for me! Soft sand or drift sand, like I call it, because that's how it behaves. First two kilometers I survived rather ok even though twice almost fell after going from one ditch to another... and then came the fall! I fell on my left side and the bike even went still some half round on the ground and that's when my left sidecase carrier got twisted! I didn't get hurt at all and anyway that's not what a real biker is first worried about, my first worry was of course my Suzi! :) Wolfi came to my rescue and we got Suzi fine back to her tires and rest of the road I 'tiptoed'... Still plenty of things to learn and this was anyway my first real encounter with this kind of sand!

Well twisted carrier system which we will fix at the Mueller Gespanne, when we'll get there. The reflector part of the left blinker got fixed with black tape, which I have now in three of my blinkers. It's the adventure style! :D

The sidecase got also a little bump, but Wolfi got it beaten back the way it was.

We got the Camping Mindunai all for us! It's real fun to travel off season! At least hermits like us love it :) Very beautiful place on a lake and girls got again plenty of play... but they also got fleas! Luckily not for too long! I think the blankets on the beds contained some fleas and that's were girls got them for a moment. I found about a dozen in the end and after one day we didn't see a single one anymore so I guess they didn't manage to multiply or so...  Was very nasty experience and I've never seen fleas before so wasn't first sure what they were, but in the future have to pay more attention to these sort of things! Tick season also started, but those are a familiar thing to us. So we remember to have a check every evening and the tick tweezer are always nearby.

Here we stayed only one night. We wanted to stay two because it was so beautiful and peaceful, but the next morning a big crew of noisy park workers arrived and the fleas were giving us the creeps, so we decided to continue towards Poland...

- Ilta

P.S. Wolfi wanted me to mention that the keys I thought I left home were actually in my jacket pocket, which was already packed to my sidecase. So them I found instantly when we arrived to the ferry :)