Firstly I received an email message from " Stuart of Blyth " who has been following the blog. Stuart told me that the sign puzzle from the last blog is explained by the fact that trucks under 7 tonnes can go 90 km per hour but trucks over 7 to ones can go only 80 km per hour. Now would that be nett 7 tonnes or gross 7 tonnes? We are getting there on this !
And talking of getting there we left the nice town of Cesis and headed down the highway to Lithuania. The start was not auspicious with a nicely but firmly blocked road
Unlike New Zealand no detours are showing. The GPS just uselessly says " do a U turn ". Thus has happened to us in Poland also and made life somewhat difficult when there is no obvious way around the blockage.
So we cross the border int Lithuania and head to the town of Kaunas which happens to be a largish town. Lodgings for the night are in an old monastery with a hotel in the front. We arrive bedraggled and wet only to be given a delightful room. Apparently Napolean Bonaparte stayed in the same place ( not the same room I think) on his travels towards Russia. We splurge on a very nice meal which Diana talks about in her blog.
As we drive south you see a lot soviet style apartment blocks. The Russians were not noted for their post war architecture. However at least they took resonsibility for housing the people which seems to be what is not happening in New Zealand at the moment.
And some with better architecture
At no time have we seen run down shanty type slum houses as seen in North Auckland or the East coast of New Zealand and , dare I say it, in some of the poorer rural communities of the US
Some houses are just delightful
As are some petrol station frontages
From town of Kaunas it is South again across the border into Poland. As we ride South we pass thru forested areas. On the side of the road are people selling what looks like preserves. One can only suppose they are gypsy folk who live in the woods nearby. Often they would just have a few jars to sell
As we ride south Diana sees a road sign the quietly points to a place called Treblinka. Sobering stuff !
Speed cameras seem to be everywhere
And the countryside (between the rain showers ) is very nice
I thought that being in Poland we should stay in a nice Polish hotel with a very long unpronounceable name ending in "................................................................................................................ski" ! Well we ended up in this Polish hotel with what could be regarded as a slightly cringeworthy name -
But it was cheap. A 4 star hotel for $NZ50.00 per night. ( including a sumptuous breakfast !) A three course dinner for two with beer and wine for $NZ 50.00 also. At those prices the hotel can be called what it likes!
Actually we have been amazed by how cheap everything is in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The first 3 countries all have the Euro as their currency but prices are dramatically different from othe countries that have the Euro. So the Euro does not even out prices. Poland of course has its own currency. And of course it is all a big price contrast from the northern neighbours of Scandanavia.
We had plans to travel down to the mountain resort area of Zakopane in Southern Poland in the Tatra mountains. However the weather forecast said rain,rain,rain all day and all night to just for good measure and temperatures done to 10 deg C just to add some extra zing to the day. " No thanks" we said and changed the plans. So as I write this we are in Katowice on the way to Slovakia and thence Austria. Again it is " flexible rigidity" coming into the planning.