Marg and Leigh's travels around the world

We are two retired women from New Zealand, busy travelling the world. Our quest is to experience other cultures before they are changed beyond recognition, and see endangered animals and environments before they disappear. We hope you like our blog and enjoy our exploits. We sure have had fun getting here.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Europe North-east route map-2013

In April 2013, we set off on another tour of Europe in our campervan, Vanni. Our route took us through Poland, the Baltic countries, Russia, the Scandinavian countries and northern Germany. The journey took us 198 days and we drove 15,959 kilometres. See the map and commentary below, for our overall route.

This strip started with flying into Prague in the Czech Republic, busing to České Budějovice to pick up our campervan, Vanni and then heading back to Prague to do some sightseeing before going over the border into Germany.

We have seen quite a bit of Germany in our travels to date, but on this trip we headed north to see Berlin, which we have missed on earlier trips.

From Berlin, we headed across the middle of Poland through Wroclaw, Częstochowa and Lublin then up to the medieval Białowieża National Park which borders Poland and Belarus. We didn't drive into Belarus because we could not get a visa in time, so headed north along the eastern edge of Lithuania to the capital Vilnius.

From there, we kept going north into Latvia. After driving around Latvia, we stopped in the capital, Riga for a time, then drove east into Russia.

In Russia we visited Moscow, and the ancient ‘Golden Ring’ cities of Vladmir, Suzdal, Rostov and others. We then headed north to Tver, Novgorod and St Petersburg.

From St Petersburg we exited Russia to the west, into Estonia. We stayed in some smaller coastal towns there, before heading to its capital, Tallinn.

After enjoying Tallinn, we left the van parked there for a couple of days while we hopped on a ferry to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. 

Once we returned from Helsinki to Tallinn, we picked up Vanni and did a tu tu around the rest of Estonia including the island community of Kuressaare. We then zig-zagged down through a lot of little villages into Latvia & Lithuania again. In Lithuania, we also included the beautiful Curonian Spit. 

This route took us back into Poland around the Masurian lakes area, after which we headed north to the Baltic Coast cities.

Leaving the Baltic area of Poland, we travelled inland to it's capital, Warsaw, before heading west and back into Germany to re-visit Berlin. 

From Berlin, we headed north and up into Denmark, then across to Sweden then Norway. While in Norway, we drove to Oslo, left Vanni there and did a very scenic train trip west, to Bergen. 

In Bergen, we caught the Hurtigruten mail boat that went north over the Arctic Circle to North Cape. From the boat, we had at least three good sightings of the amazing Northern Lights. Getting off the boat at Tromsø, we flew back to Oslo and picked up Vanni for our homeward trek.

Racing to get Vanni back to storage for the winter, we headed south from Norway, along the west coast of Sweden, and across Denmark, where we carried on southward through Germany and back to České Budějovice in the Czech Republic. There we stored and farewelled Vanni before heading home to New Zealand. 

See our blog on the above countries for details of our adventures on this route.

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