Auschwitz

This day, Lukasz would take me to Auschwitz. He had his daughter this day too, so I got to meet Amie, short for Amelie! Lukasz mother would take her in the city, while Lukasz showed me around.

At Auschwitz (1), we went on a group tour with a guide. The tour was well-made, everyone got a headset, connected to the guides microphone.

The other parts of it were pretty heavy. It’s hard to describe overall, but I felt really uncomfortable during the whole tour, to no surprise. I don’t have much to say about it.

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Afterwards, we went back to get Amie and Lukasz mother, and ate a small lunch in the city!

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The next stop was Birkenau (Auschwitz 2). We didn’t have too much time, but saw what was important. On the way there, we also visited two railway wagons which had been used.

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Someone also called my name out of nowhere, and apparently Jonathan, a scout I was in the same group as a couple of years ago, was there at vacation too. You never now who you’ll meet!

We went back to Tychy, and I got dropped off at the guest house. The plan was to go out with the motorcycles, so I prepared everything I needed, until Lukasz was done with all his.

First destination was the top of a pretty huge slug heap. It was really nice off-roading to get there, and some pretty steep gravel road. Beautiful view, though!

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Then, we were going to another bunker. We went the wrong way first, which took us to a nice water crossing!

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With a map, we got to the bunker, and some memorials and cemeteries, too. I rode a bison!

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Bunkers, bunkers and more bunkers!

After a breakfast consisting of pancakes, I started riding around 08.30, unusually early. After eating lunch in the outskirts of Warsaw I made a wrong turn, and then probably another one, which made the pass by almost half an hour longer, probably. Shit happens!

My first visit for the day were pretty far south, almost at my end destination. I was going to visit the bunker Lukasz told me about. When I arrived, you had to pay a small entrance fee of less than an euro. The problem was that I didn’t have any cash, and therefore had to go back three kilometres to an ATM.

The bunker was huge, and had been able to house a train. It was over 300 metre long, with extra corridors on both sides.

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There was also an underground path, which you could get to by climbing down a really steep and narrow staircase. With the motorcycle gear I almost had to squeeze through!

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After the visit, I drove the last 2.5 hours to Tychy. I met up with Lukasz, and we checked me into my room at a guesthouse he had booked for me, so I could shower and unpack while he want back to his niece’s birthday party.

When he was done, he picked me up by car at ten. We drove to some nearby abandoned WW2 bunkers he knew off, and it was a cool sight. Also got a small view of Tychy by night. We also went into the forest to find another one, and after finding it (it was really dark now) saw the eyes of a doe, watching us!

My body was really tired after all the hours riding today, and since the clock was over midnight, we post-poned the next place to tomorrow!

More Soviet missile silos

I decided to look for something more to do in Lithuania, and I also wanted to go to Klaipeda, as I had a tip from Magnus about where to change my tires. While looking at the internet (dark tourism) I found a tour around four old silos pretty close to Klaipeda. I decided to go there!

While talking to Lukasz, who I would meet in Poland, he told me he had booked a cheap room. Now I also had a plan for the next day, as it was a total of 10.5 hours drive time down to Tychy, Poland.

After calling the number for the silo tours, I got an address for the small city nearby, as it was easier to find your way from there. After a few hours riding I was there, got directions and ate lunch in the city. After taking a wrong turn (I took the next small forest road, which consisted of sand and roots,which was fun, but felt wrong) I met a lumberjack or something in the forest, who could tell me I was wrong when I asked for the silo. I managed to turn around, and out at the road I stopped a car who could tell me exactly where I was going. That road was much bigger (and gravel instead of sand), and soon I was at the museum. I paid for a ticket, and changed into more comfortable clothes while waiting for the tour to begin. As the group I was supposed to go with hadn’t arrived a bit after four, I got an audio tour instead, which suited me fine, as I could take photos in my own pace.

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There were some weapon development history in the middle, with a Swedish anti tank-weapon among them! The tour leader couldn’t really answer why, though, when I asked.

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Much of the tour reminded me of the silos in Kazakstan, but it was cool to see them restored, and also to hear the explanations about the layout and the functions of the different rooms. I also got the history about when and why the silos were built.

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I do think those were a bit smaller than the one I visited in Kazakstan, though!

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(See https://gonebiking.se/2015/06/20/soviet-missile-silos/ and https://gonebiking.se/2015/06/19/ for more info about that one!)

After the tour my plan was to take a couple of hours more, to have less hours to drive the day after. I passed into Poland and started to check for hotels and restaurants, as I couldn’t drive safely much longer without eating anything. The hotel at the place I was eating at would cost me 44.55 euro though, so I felt that I would rather use my tent. I went for half an hour more, further into Polen, and the next place I stayed at was half the price, which was acceptable. They also had a 24 hour open restaurant, so I could eat another dinner, and also breakfast there, rather cheap. I had 600 kilometres left to Tychy, and Lukasz told me about a bunker I should visit along the road, so the plans for tomorrow was already being made!

Trying off-road

A bit after nine in the evening, I got off the boat. I only had to wait for three trucks to get off before it was my turn.

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My priority was to find somewhere to sleep as fast as possible, as it was already pretty late, and started getting dark. I tried to keep by the coast and after just a few kilometres I found a petrol station, so I decided to fill up first.

I looked at my GPS and saw some small side roads. The first one went into the forest, with some abandoned buildings on both sides, but as there were some small collections of water, I decided to look further. The risk if mosquitos or other irritating animals were too big.

A few kilometres ahead I saw a pretty cool abandoned house by the sea. I though I turned on a small road, but there was only grass, and I saw on the GPS that I was in between two small roads. I went over the bumpy plain, until I had a ditch ahead of me. I turned back and went on the road a couple of hundred metres forth.

More than the sandy part at the end of the road, there were no problems. The motorcycle was easier to handle than I had thought, even on the ”off-road” parts. The house looked cool and I set camp.

I woke up at 9.20 and started packing. While eating brakfast I documented my sleeping place, and some nice parts of the house and surroundings.

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My plan was to follow the coast line, but the bigger road I was on was too much inland. After looking at the GPS I decided to try the gravel road out into nowhere. I have actually never been driving on gravel for real before, but after some testing that also felt good. This road didn’t go anywhere good, though. After more careful planning I had a road that would lead me to the coast, but the roads were even worse. Some of them was like the two dirt pitches with grass in the middle. Pretty challenging, and really fun!

I also had to pass three water crossings, this one on the picture being the smallest one.

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The third, and biggest one, I actually tried to turn around from. The ground was too soft, so I felt I couldn’t move the bike in any other direction, though, and instad I put some power into it, passing without a problem. The water was splashing everywhere, though, and I’m glad my boots are waterproof!

I also saw a nice building I wanted to visit, out at a point. When I came closer I saw the road went over a beach made of pebbles, but once again I didn’t have the strength to turn around. It was a slope towards the water, but I made that one too. A lighter bike would be nice, though! Actually thinking of buying a Transalp as a second bike, which could be a fun medium bike!

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After this, I put my GPS on the nearest asphalt road, and started driving easy instad. It was pretty hot after all the grind, and I decided to take some kilometres instead.

When I stayed for lunch I saw a woman with a handlebar bag and two Ortlieb Rear panniers biking by outside. I wonder where she was going?

During the lunch I decided to book a cheap hotel outside of Riga.

What I hadn’t though of was that i had to drive through Riga to get there. That took so long time, and also the cooling fan for the radiator made a scraping sound every time it started spinning. I have to check that one up. My headset went out of battery, so I had to do the boring part without music also.

The hotel were next to a police station, which felt nice. After a check-in and parking of the bike, I called home to update the situation before going out for food. It was the same as for lunch; I had to order a normal dish minus the meat, as they didn’t have any ”real” vegetarian food. I was at a kebab place, and they made some really tasty bread, which they stuffed with cheese and vegetables. I bought some breakfast at the shop nearby and took a look at the surroundings, but there wasn’t much to see.

East Europe trip initiated!

I got my motorcycle home last two days ago, and as I was afraid of, it worked perfectly. I am back to the theory it was the rain’s fault, and not a faulty antenna, as it apparently fixed itself. I went for some test drives, maybe 40 kilometres, and nothing happened.

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While visiting my parents in the evening I bought a ticket from Kapellskär to Paldiski at Wedsney, 12.00.

First thing Tuesday, I put back all the cables at the right places, connected the charger for the GPS and overlooked everything easily accessible to see if there were any visible damage. Nothing burnt as I could see.

Astrid and I went out on a smaller day trip to drive some more. We went to Borgåsund to eat lunch at a small café, but it was too early in the season, as it was only open on the weekends. Next place close-by were Gula Hästen, which had nothing vegetarian more than ”child pancakes”, and four of them would not be enough. Instead, we aimed at Arboga, but not too far away I saw a sigh to Westerqvarn, which is a really nice lunch restaurant. They had both good food and salad table, and we sat there for a couple of hours before going home.

The picture below is a “look-a-like” from when I was practice driving motorcycle with my mom, a year ago!

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As everything worked perfectly I started packing my stuff, cleaning what had to be cleaned and prepare the rest for the day after. I still had the packing list from before, and after deleting some things, it didn’t take long before the panniers were filled again.

Wednesday morning I woke up at 07.00, packed the last things and made some sandwiches. I didn’t really have time for breakfast as I was a bit nervous about forgetting anything.

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At 08.16 I started driving, this time with the odometer at 50727. There were no problems or queues on the way, driving by Sollentuna, but I was pretty confused when I arrived. They were rebuilding everywhere, but after asking some chauffeurs, I came to the right place. While waiting for the off-loaded cars to drive past the walk way I spoke to an English truck driver who was thinking of buying a bike to tour with, mainly a DRZ 400, or a 250 of something, as there were many forest roads around where he lived at.

The check in went great and after some queueing I boarded. I got to strap down my motorbike before going to the cabin. Apparently I got upgraded to a two-people cabin with window instead of four-people without window, and as the roommate here said, it is probably because they put the truck drivers together, and the ”civilians” together.

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While writing this I am eating my breakfast/lunch, and now I am on my way for real again!

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