So, after a satisfying if brief dalliance with electric bikes in the south of France in May, it’s time again for some serious cycling, with Daisy our tandem some 1300km from Warsaw up through Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad and Riga to Tallinn, the Estonian capital.
I’ll see if I can embed here a rough version of our route from Google maps, and put it also in the sidebar. Though note that Google doesn’t allow mapping of cycle routes through Kaliningrad, only walking, so there’ll be much of the route that’s done differently.
The upside to our springtime electric cycling in Provence (and the Pyrenees and Medoc) was Jutta’s delight in being helped along by the motor (like having a permanent and powerful following wind), allowing her rather to befriend again the idea of long-distance cycling.
The downside is that tandeming is, as it was for our Tour Aotearoa last year the length of New Zealand, hard if rewarding work, so zipping up hills (of which thankfully for Jutta there are only a few between here and Tallinn) and pedalling hard into headwinds will again be a rather rougher challenge.
Still, with three-and-a-half weeks to complete the trip, we’re game – and if we’re lucky, Daisy should arrive at last here in Warsaw this afternoon, having missed the flight in London on Friday (which we, by the way, happily caught – there must have been a loading issue with British Airways, who have been very apologetic.)
We head off in the morning, inspired by a warm welcome from old BBC friend and colleague Karol Malcuzynski from our shared 1981 reporting days in Solidarity Poland (we hadn’t seen each other for 35 years), and by the following stimulating slogan spied yesterday evening at a Feminist Initiative protest camp outside the nearby Sejm, or parliament building:
POLAND NEEDS FEMINISM. NOW.
(Great line for Protest marches in the UK perhaps – what do we want? Feminism!! When do we want it? NOW!!)
And for good measure, we also visited last night Germany’s still relatively new embassy in Warsaw, just opposite the feminists, with pictures on its fence of the old embassy premises across the Vistula river in Saska Kepa, where Jutta worked for three months in 1975.
A weekend of shared nostalgia.