We crossed Switzerland, tiny Liechtenstein and Austria, admiring the scenery with its spectacular valleys and snow-topped peaks, before travelling to the Czech Republic and Poland, where we had to stop off at Auschwitz. Vicente was as upset as he’d been the first time he visited, while I was particularly moved, having only seen it in some films in Brazil. It’s impossible not to cry when you see it for yourself and try to imagine the suffering of all those poor people.
After Poland, we continued on to Kaliningrad, in Russia, where you can only enter with the necessary visa. That was 23 November 2019. It was incredibly cold and snowed almost every day.
Being used to Brazil’s 30°C temperatures and spa-like waters, I was catapulted into northern Europe in the middle of winter. For many days, we rode with temperatures between -10°C and 16°C, but it often felt even colder than that.

Vicente’s words: “Once again, Fernanda surprised me by how she was able to deal with the bad weather and how capable she was aboard the CB500X. She’d already surprised me when she took on the sand of the Sahara desert and dealt with relentless rain during more than three months on the British Isles, and the same was true this time.
I fell more in love with her each day. I’ve never known such a bold, brave woman.”

Having left Russia, we crossed Lithuania, a country that we had passed on our way back from North Cape, but this time it was the middle of winter, with the fields covered in snow, so we took it at a slower pace and were able to explore the place more calmly.
Then, from Lithuania, it was back to Poland and then the Ukraine. We did this all during December, when the icy scenery and snowy woods have a certain appeal, but the cold is really biting. We promised ourselves we’d return at another time of year to admire a more colourful landscape.

Moldova is one of those places where eating is a pleasure, with fantastic soups in such large portions that they are impossible to finish. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to enter a strange country that is not even marked on many maps – Transnistria. This small state has its own currency and passport, but is not recognised by Moldova or NATO or various other countries, in that it is a sort of enormous Russian military base, governed by an autonomous administration.

We also travelled through Romania and Hungary in the midst of winter, so you can imagine what the roads were like.
The worst thing was not being able to ride some of these wonderful roads because they were closed due to excessive snow, as was the case in Austria for example, where some of the roads that were open to cars with snow chains were in fact closed to motorcycles.

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