Today Is Your Independence Day

By Stephen Ewashkiw | July 4, 2013

3525 km so far.

We broke camp at Rybaczowa reluctantly. It is really an idyllic spot, and we had half-joked about the possibility of me finding work on the charter boats for the rest of the summer and meeting Jane in Berlin in September. Partly this was because the idea is so tempting and the location so perfect, but mostly it was motivated by Jane wanting me to end the summer with shipmate abs.

couple sitting on a dock

Adorable self-portrait.

Monika and Kamil (the owners) were just so fantastic, and the place so perfect, that we talked to them about maybe coming back one day to hold a yoga retreat at their space.

Talk About Independent!

When we stopped for second breakfast at a convenience store in a small town, we met a cycle touring couple from Australia. While we were refuelling, they told us about some incredible trips they’ve done over the years. This includes walking from Istanbul to Jerusalem, riding their bikes around the North Sea (which they admitted involves several ferries and lots of rain), circumnavigating the peak of Mont Blanc, and riding bikes through Vancouver on their way to Alaska.

It was interesting to compare notes on places we’d all visited like Syria, Norway, and Scotland, and also a great reminder that even if we are crazy for undertaking this trip, there are plenty of other crazies out there too, enjoying the world, experiencing life, and just going for it.

We did a bit of off-asphalt riding today. Probably 15 of our 67 km ride was on back country roads, through farmer’s fields, through forests, and alongside streams and bogs. Sometimes it was a bit too sandy for our liking and we had to get off and walk the bikes a couple of times, but it was good to be in the real countryside, not just riding near it on a paved road.

cyclist riding through water fountain

Off-roading in the town square.

We Can See Russia From Our House Tent

We are now set up in the yard of another hotel, this one just outside Gołdap, a mere 3 km from the Russian border.

Setting up camp outside the hotel.

Setting up camp outside the hotel.

There is a lake just down the road from us, and if we were to rent a kayak and paddle for a few minutes we would cross the border into Kaliningrad. It’s not ‘mainland’ Russia, but their Baltic port district.

view of russia from goldap poland

That’s Russia over there!

Still, it is very exciting to be this close to Russia, since we explain our trip to everyone we meet as “Rome To Russia By Bicycle”. It really feels like the first leg of our journey is coming to an end, even though it will likely be another 3 or 4 weeks before we get to, if we get to, St. Petersburg.

We are now preparing to make our Fourth (of July) meal of veggie burgers, chips (the American kind), cous cous, and beer.

Happy Fourth y’all!  

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  1. Comment by Audrey Braidwood.

    Audrey Braidwood. July 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Well done, cousins ! Regards to Malcolm & Elizabeth when you all meet up. Take care always. Luv to all. Audrey in Edinburgh !!!!

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen July 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Great to hear from you Audrey! Thanks for reading and stopping by to say hi. We actually just met a Scottish guy (from Edinburgh) who is riding across Russia and Mongolia into China. Amazing. The July 11 post will have a link to his blog. Hope. You are all well! Lots of love from Latvia!

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