MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:10 pm

Finish country side
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At one stage a bug flew up through my slightly open visor into my eye.
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But the eye settled down again within a few hours

There were some long stretches of road works
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Early afternoon I pulled into a cafe near a river and spotted another transalp. I bought him coffee and we chatted for a while. He was a local.

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:14 pm

Eventually I made it to our accommodation for the night. As I got near to it, I passed some old fortifications.

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I've been meaning to look these up on google to find out more about them but haven't done so yet :fp

The night's accommodation. It was quiet, clean and well priced.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:15 pm

Tomorrow I will update this with our time in Russia. Visiting St Petersburg was number two on my bucket list in my time up their in 2017, riding over Stelvio Pass was number one (but more on Stelvio Pass later).
Last edited by MrKiwi on Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby LadyDraco » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:54 am

:thumb
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Life is what you make of it .
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:01 pm

The dawned cloudy but no rain and we were on the road in time to make the border crossing at the time it opened.

It took about an hour to get through which was not too bad. I had to turn off my GoPro though :lol8

The paperwork was confusing, but border officials were helpful, just in a completely humourless way. Nevertheless, I thanked them for their help. They were surprised to see someone from New Zealand at the Finnish/Russian border.

Approaching the border - notice the landscape, it is flat as you head to St Petersburg from Finland
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As we drive into Russia from Finland the driving on the roads changed dramatically. One moment riding on some of the safest roads in the world to 'Welcome to Russian Roulette!' Their main roads have wide verges and you need to use them as the centre line is the passing lane used even when traffic is coming the other way. So you quickly learn to look in your rear vision mirrors and pull over to get out of the way of the Russain speedster dorks!

Stopping at a petrol station to refuel and discuss if we will use the toll road to speed up getting into the city. It was a Sunday and some in the group wanted to visit the Hermitage Museum. In Europe, museums are closed on Mondays so we hightailed into the city.

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The accommodation was behind locked gates which meant our motorbikes were safe. The rooms were large, clean and comfortable.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:14 pm

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:24 pm

Having arrived we walked the 3 km into the city centre.

This was my first experience of Russia. I had not realised it until later that day that we had arrived the day before Russia day. We learnt the some protest were likely, Putin is not that popular among the masses. You could feel the tension around the place, it was palatable. I could never relax.

Nevertheless, the buildings, history and scenery blew me away. Normally I'm not fussed about cities, I prefer heartland rural areas and back country remote wilderness. But this city is, at least to me, an exception.

Bernard and Mense's wife went into the Museum while Bernard's girlfriend, Mense and I walked around the buildings and tried some of the local pubs. The food was nice. I found food cheap, but beer not so cheap.

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One of the buildings I had come to see was this, the Church of the Split Blood. This Cathedral was amazing to look at from the outside, but even more so from inside.
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PLease excuse my poor videoing

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:26 pm

What is even more amazing is when you realise every piece of artwork on the walls and ceilings are mosaics

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:29 pm

Some images of the city

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Tempted but no I didn't order this
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:32 pm

And to finish off this section, never seen before video I have just up loaded of me in the centre of the square prattling on about how amazing this place was. The horse and cart I arranged just for LD :lol8

The music in the back ground is the band practicing from celebrations the next day, which we did not come to. There were protests which were brutally shut down by the local police.

As it turned out I strained my back on the Monday and spent the day in bed on pain killers while the others walked around places not expecting trouble. By the evening I was able to move a bit more and the next day I could ride which was just as well because were leaving.


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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:38 pm

Tuesday 13 June, St Petersburg to Mustvee, Estonia.

The day dawned cool but fine. An early start to get to the border control. We said goodbye to the German B&B accommodation manager and headed out the secure gates onto the Russian roads again. Our aim was to ride past the summer palace and then down to the border with Estonia.

Our route accidentally took us to the entrance of a Russian military area. Hmmm, they were not amused :DirtDOG . Get out, go back now. Yes sir, right away! We turned around and speed off :patch . After a safe distance I gave them a :finger :finger

Crossing the border was straight forward, almost. The border officials on the Russian side were humorless, but helpful, until that is they looked in my first aid kit. I have a strong allergic reaction to bee stings so I carry an EPI Pen for administering adrenalin should I need it. They must not have ever seen one, as they fussed over this item for some time. Eventually they gave up and showed me the gate to Estonia.

On the Estonia side the welcome was friendly, very friendly. It felt like we had just returned home.

I have to say, while I enjoyed our visit to St Petersburg, I could not ever really relax when out on the streets. As I noted above there was a tension in the air, and that tension was very palatable. We were in St Petersburg during their national day celebrations, which we avoided. Their were protests, which were shut down brutally and quickly by the authorities. Meanwhile we were two kilometers away from this action in an Irish pub having a very nice meal.

Don't get me wrong, I was very pleased to have visited Russia. And one day I might go back. The experience was worth every cent I spent on getting there.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:46 pm

From Russia we headed to Mustvee.

The trip down to Mustvee was straight forward. Mustvee is on the shore of Lake Peipsi, a very large fresh water lake between Estonia and Russia. It is very large.

Mustvee appeared to be a summer holiday destination town. The lake was scenic and the vening passed away over a few beers, dinner and accompanied by the odd thunder storm.

Some pics
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Passing thunder storms
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Not sure this tree will be growing form much londer
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The boys and their beers. I had organised accommodation for our stays in the Baltic States and there was a lsight hiccup when we arrived in Mustvee. The Hotel we had booked, two months previously, had been over booked. So they put us in a house around the corner. We were pleased this was much better.

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:51 pm

The evening melted away to dusk and I took a walk to enjoy the sights.

Saw a lot of this traveling through this part of the world
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Views of Mustvee, a small holiday town on the edge of a very large fresh water lake
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby LadyDraco » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:54 pm

:lurker
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Life is what you make of it .
If it don't fit make alterations .
Just because the road is rocky doesn't mean your spirits should get rocky, too.{Crazy Cora}
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