Grom Gusev to Kaliningrad through Friedland – with added Napoleon surprise

Here’s our route over the past two days from Gusev/Gumbinnen to Kaliningrad/Koenigsberg – and a mighty interesting one it was too.

178 km, average moving speed of 14.7 kph, and a completely delightful overnight stay (after late-evening thunder run to nearly 10pm) at new private Amelia Hotel in Pravdinsk (terrible name), formerly Friedland. Hugely recommended, with fabulous home-made and tasty food, and tastefully restored old German house.

Friedland to our surprise – we should of course had been  more up on our history – was the scene of Napoleon I’s decisive military victory over Tsar Alexander 1st’s army in 1807, leading directly to the peace of Tilsit which duly failed, leading in turn to Napoleon’s disastrous march on Moscow in 1820, and ultimately to the end of France’s early 19th century domination of most of Europe.

I’ll just post a load of photos for the record here, which will also cross-post to my public profile on Facebook. Not too many tandems pass through Kaliningrad, especially those as heavily-laden as Daisy, so worth recording the experience in some detail.

Church of St George in Friedland, now Orthodox – see next pic for interior – but thankfully actually preserved and rescued from dereliction, unlike the vast bulk of German-era buildings in the region, religious and secular. Note grim, ugly, badly-built Soviet-era concrete shop in front.
Interior of St Georges church, Pravdinsk/Friedland.
Panorama from the top of Friedland church tower over the battlefield in which Napoleon conclusively – for the time being – beat the Russians in 1807.
The completely delightful, delicious and comfortable Amelia Hotel in Pravdinsk, opened in the last three months only.
Roadside produce. Just like in the Soviet days, and deliciously natural..
Lenin still on show, with Kalinin, but only just in Pravdinsk regional history museum.
We still can’t quite work out why so many houses in Kaliningrad Region were begun and abandoned. Working on it, but either the 2008 crash and soaring Russian interest rates, or the aftermath of Ukraine and Crimea, with Western sanctions.
The Lake outside Pravdinsk which covers much of the old 1807 Friedland battlefield. Feeding an electro power station built in the 20s.

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