Considerations and Deliberations
12.06.2013 - 12.06.2013 12 °C
As I see it there are two cures for sea sickness. The first is to stand under a tree. The second is to take the Eurotunnel to Europe.Last September I was contemplating these cures as I lay in my bunk on the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle. A force 9 gale was raging and I was far from well. After eight hours, I was determined to either find a ferry with a small wood or copse on the sun deck or on our next expedition into Europe to take the Euro Tunnel. So it is that we are booked on the Tunnel on the 18th June to start our tour of the Baltic states. No more sea sickness for me. Now what's the cure for claustrophobia?
Where to ?
We chose the Baltic States to visit. This is usually understood to mean Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Formerly under control of the Soviet Union they are now independent and part of the European Union. It was this part that I found interesting, because through the 13th and 14th centuries the major cities in those countries had also been part of a trading union. This became known as the Hanseatic League.
The League or Hanse became a very powerful coalition of trading cities that eventually spread through a large part of Europe but in particular around the Baltic. Lubeck was the centre of the alliance and along with Cologne, Hamburg, Riga, Gdansk (formerly Danzig),controlled much of the trade. They were so powerful that at one point in the 14th century they waged war against the Danes and defeated them.
The result today, is that despite two world wars and many intervening centuries, the former Hanse cities have surviving medieval city centres.Very interesting I hear some of you say. For us it's the possibility of a theme for our journey. The idea is to travel around the Baltic Sea visiting some of the Hanseatic cities and have a look at what survives of this previous age. In any case it was the best excuse for a long trip that I could come up with !
Why by Motorcycle?
If you ask this question it means you are not a motorcyclist. Anyone who is, will tell you it is the best way to travel. You feel part of everywhere you pass through. If it's cold, you are cold. If it's warm, you are warm. And yes, if it;s raining, you get wet. It's a far more involving experience than confining yourself to an air conditioned box. But, if you've never tried it I accept it is a difficult argument to understand and accept.
One other factor is the way people interact with you. It's been our experience that arriving anywhere on a bike usually prompts conversations with locals who I'm sure would never bother speaking.
For this journey we are using our BMW K1600. For all you none bikers that just means it's big. One of you ( you know who you are) nick named it The Bismarck. A good description. I just hope it doesn't have the same outcome. It should be OK as long as we don't try sailing in it.