Motorcycle travel in Europe
Back in 2016, when leaving home for the adventure of a lifetime, we did not have time to explore Europe – it was late October already and we were lucky to not get much rain as the weather in central Europe was already getting too cold to ride. Therefore we visited a few friends and relatives in Lithuania, Poland and Germany on the way to Hamburg, where we left the motorcycles for shipping to South America, repacked the most important things into a big backpack and took a flight to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Now fast forward into early May of 2018, we flew into Rome and so did our motorcycles. One day of logistics, paperwork, customs office and airport warehouse and we were rolling down the Italian roads! The first challenge was the language! We can speak English, Russian and Spanish and up until now, those languages were enough to get by in pretty much all the world, but… not in Europe! Italians mostly speak only Italian, the Swiss mostly speak only French or German, Germans mostly speak only German… Lucky that all the people we met were willing to help and had enough patience to work things out without being able to properly understand us. After a quick loop in Northeast Italy, visiting our partners and supporters, we joined a group of our friends on motorcycles, who have shipped their two-wheeled beasts from Vilnius, Lithuania to Brescia, Italy in order to ride the Alpine mountain passes for a week with us.
Having to skip some of the most spectacular passes due to snow still covering the roads in high altitudes, did not spoil the fun and we really had a blast riding together just as we used to do on our three-week vacation trips around Europe before embarking on the ride around the world. We said goodbyes with friends in eastern Switzerland and they took the direction North to ride home to Lithuania. Meanwhile we turned west towards Lucerne, where local Triumph adventure riders invited us to stay with them and visit a Triumph event at Ace Café Lucerne. After a wonderful weekend in Switzerland, we rode into Liechtenstein, but not having realized how we traversed the whole country so fast, we found ourselves in Austria! The scenic curvy mountain roads continued to make us happy all the way through Austria, until we reached the border with Germany and suddenly the land turned flat… But we had a meeting planned in Munich, so we continued North.
In Munich, we had a pleasure to participate in the meeting of some of the most brilliant female motorcycle world-travelers and their German fans and took a chance to visit the BMW museum before getting back in the saddles again and heading towards Czech Republic. In Czech, we enjoyed the lovely lush green hills in the Sumava Park and took a chance to visit Karlshtejn castle. In order to make a picture of our motorcycles parked in a nice place with the view of the castle, we sneaked up the mountain on narrow forest trails (as the roads were all closed to traffic – the regular visitors have to hike up the hill or hire a horse-drawn carriage to get them up), but just as we were ready to park the motorcycles for the picture, a police officer kicked us out… Oh well, at least we tried. The castle is really magnificent, but we did not get a chance to take a single picture of it. After doing the oil change in Prague for our BMW F800GSA, we continued North to Berlin, where Asta’s classmate who has spent three years cycling in South America, invited us to visit her.
From Berlin we reached Rostock in one day and there we crossed our own “footprints” – we have spent a night in Rostock back in 2016. A short ferry ride from Rostock to Gedser, took us to Denmark. While in Denmark, we visited another Asta’s classmate, who lives in Copenhagen. He hosted us in his apartment and showed us around the beautiful capital city of Denmark. From there we took another ferry to Sweden and spent a few days riding and camping there. On one of the nights we organized a micro-instagram-riders-meeting – a lady-rider of Venezuelan origin and a traveler on two wheels from Finland joined us for the night and spent the evening sharing our stories from all over the world.
The Scandinavian country that we were most looking forward to was Norway. We even had a route planned for us by three Norwegian motorcycle travelers, so we couldn’t wait to get on it. And it sure did not disappoint us! Riding in the fjords, visiting islands, taking numerous ferry crossings in spectacular scenery was one of the best part of our European tour! The freedom to roam in Norway granted us the right to legally camp everywhere, so we pitched our tent in some really fantastic places! Local riders and the community of Lithuanian expats hosted us in several places along the way so we had a chance to see the beautiful life in Norway from up close. Finally, the last few days above the Arctic Circle were cold and rainy, but we made it – we reached the famous North Cape, or Nordkapp in Norwegian – the northernmost point of our journey. At 3 AM we arrived at the famous Globe monument. It was a good time as the sun doesn’t set at night so far North (in summer) and at night one doesn’t have to pay the expensive entrance fee to visit the monument, and most importantly, at night it is possible to get your motorcycle to the otherwise pedestrian area around the Globe for the picture.
From then on it was all about getting home through Finland, Estonia and Latvia, but we took it slow, camping along the way or visiting our friends and relatives until we reached the place of our last camping spot of the trip. We invited our friends and supporters to camp together and mark the end of the adventure for us and had quite a crowd of people welcoming us there. Everyone was really happy to see us and keen on hearing the stories from the journey and it made the “return to reality” very pleasant to us! Our brain still cannot grasp the magnitude of our adventure and sometimes we feel like we have dreamt it all… It was a fantastic ride!