Day 17; Kaliningrad – Elbląg, 105 km

Waking up and seing a clear sunny sky from seventh floor – what can be better? Probably not much when you are on the road most of the daylight hours.

I think we both were happy to get out of Kaliningrad’s smog-filled streets, not because Kaliningrad was not worth the visit, it certainly was; but it is not a pleasure to be twenty centimetres from buses with black smoke coming out their exhaust pipes. The other reason for us being happy was that the road all the around fifty-five kilometres to the Polish-Russian border was nicely paved without potholes. We even forgot to say that the nature was beautiful and the trucks were packed away on a road parallel to ours some ten kilometres or so away.

We have passed three Russian borders stations with bicycles now and nobody complaints when we are sidestepping the auto queue, the border officials normally smile at us and this was also the case today. The Russian customs guy opened his windows looked out and gave us a huge smile and waved us directly to the passport control.

The sidestepping DID not work on the Polish side and resulted in a Polish border guard jumping up from his chair and shouting something in Polish about the boom barrier. We got the idea and stopped moving:-) I have seen many things at Russia into EU border stations, but this is the first time I have seen a customs official kicking tires and other places of the car with the end of a screwdriver. Probably a lot of smuggling was going on here?!

On the above spot I made the following audio report (in Danish only).

The remaining forty something kilometres to Elbląg went just as smoothly as on the other side. The only difference was that the abandoned farmland became highly cultivated farmland, and the cities became much nicer renovated and more German looking.

In the small town of Frombork we drove by a huge cathedral which worked on us like a magnet and we thus got trapped in the local café together with a company of German tourists.

Upon arrival to Elbląg we found ourselves somewhere in the centre of the city with no city map and no clue where our camping site was to be found. The help came almost immediately in the form of an elderly guy racing towards us with his bicycle. In some difficult to understand English, he asked what we were trying to find. I told the word camping with all the different accents I could think of; but he quickly understood and said we should follow him. He took us through parks and paving stone roads down to the river and after half kilometre Elbląg Camping was just in front of us. We sincerely thanked him and watched when he raced away back the same road we came for – he did it only for us!

A small audio report regarding my dad’s new saddle (he bought a new one in Kaliningrad) can be heard here (in Danish only).

Tomorrow we will have a short ride to Malbork (Castle). Oh, did I mention that Elbląg Camping really is value for money with a nice view of the river?

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