Vyborg is a city that was part of Grand Duchy of Finland from 1812 to 1917 and part of independent Finland from 1917 to 1940 but was finally lost to Russia after World War II. Russia made it now possible to apply e-visa for a short visit in St. Petersburg area so this is what I did. Me and my wife took the border crossing in Svetogorsk and because it was first time for me in Finland-Russia border it took nearly 1,5 hours to get through all the papers and documents. But we knew it will be like this so we were at the border quite early. We took a short stop at Svetogorsk centrum.
From this not-so-beautiful-city we took a one hour drive to Vyborg. There I made a short stop at the train station. There is still parts of the original train station left but that was destroyed in WWII. It was originally quite accurate copy (smaller size) of Helsinki railway station.
But finally I stopped my car in the market square. And we were lucky it wasn’t raining so we could explore the city on foot.
There are many buildings in very bad condition or totally ruined in Vyborg. But luckily some of the buildings they are renovating so there will be something to see in the future also. The city is definitely much more nice to see in the summer but we thought it was beautiful also now in the beginning of december… On a very grey weather. After the city tour we took a walk also in the famous Monrepo Park.
In tourist maps this area is sometimes called as a National Park. But mostly there are some buildings, Art, Statues and other “things” in this area so it’s not a “normal” national park. Half of the area is under construction so we could see only the other side of the park. This would be totally amazing place to visit on a beautiful summer day! I hope I will come cack to this beautiful town again some day. And of course Saint Petersburg… E-Visa makes the visiting Russia so much easier now!
Balaton & Heviz Decided to take a little bit easier day now. We rode only 170 kilometers: First to the Lake Balaton and then to Lake Heviz. We came to the lake Balaton straight to the Tihany peninsula (actually I don’t know what the peninsula is called but this Tihany village is there anyway!)
From the south-end of Tihany you can take the ferry to the other side of the lake. It seemed that the ferry was full all the time! (but I didn’t check the price…) I tried to find the highest possible place (or road) from Badacsony Vulcano to see the the views to the lake.
There is quite many nice photos that people have been taking from that mountain… But this one is simply the BEST! In the forest we saw some instructions how to move and behave there in the mountain… Hungarian should be a relative language to Finnish but I didn’t understand anything!!
Because it was quite hot day -maybe something like +32 celsius, we started to think what would be a nice place to cool down a little bit? We found this nice lake to take a swim:
Lake Heviz is the biggest thermal lake in the world. The water temperature is +32 celsius! We had a hotel room just beside this Lake/ Spa… In out holiday this was maybe one of the “biggest tourist attractions” with such a many people everywhere. The route for this day was like this:
Riding south from Poprad over the Lower Tatra mountains was great! The road had some very nice corners all the time. After the “big road” 66 we took the “smaller road” 531 and that was a little bit bumpy -but still a great ride for a motorcycle.
After mountains our route was more about small road from one village to another. But then we rode through this:
And soon we had another border to cross… We entered Hungary (6th country).
We took the small roads after the border to this castle. We left the bike to Hungary and we walked all the way back to Slovakia (!!!) to this castle. That was about 200 meters… Then we still had one river to cross… The Danube river! And we did it with a ferry. We took the ferry from Nagymaros to Visegrad and the price was 1000 (!!!) -local currency and it’s about 3€.
After 344 kilometers riding we took the nice room from a guesthouse in a small Csakvar village. They had also very nice restaurant but they made a BIG mistake with breakfast! Here is the route for day 6:
We took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn on wednesday 29th of may. This was my first time with Eckeröline M/S Finlandia.
The ferry arrived to Tallinn 5.30PM so we didn’t have time to visit many places or ride too far. But we did check something…
First was this viewing platform only about 23 kilometers west from harbour. Quite nice views to the Gulf of Finland!
Then we stopped at Keila Waterfall. There is very nice park in this area and you can easily spend 1 hour or more there. We enjoyed it very much!
Second day started with a ride to Paldiski city… Or actually we wanted to see the Pakri lighthouse and the cliffs behind the city.
We continued riding west and soon we’re filling the tank near Haapsalu town. I noticed that I didn’t have my wallet in my pocket and also that someone was trying to call me… I called back and it was the owner of the previous BnB and she told that my wallet was there! First I was little bit in panic -I thought we needed to go back to get the wallet but then we tried my wifes Debit card if it was working in Estonia… and it was perfectly ok. She also said that she had some cash so we could easily get along next 2-3 days and we could go back to get my wallet on saturday evening when we were already coming back. So now with full tank of 95 octane gasoline we checked the Haapsalu castle.
After about 20 minutes walk around the area we continued to the airport:
This is old military airport and it is not in use anymore. Sometimes they are having some dragraces for cars or for bikes… but mostly it’s empty and you can easily try how fast your bike can go! I didn’t take my bags off so I did only 120km/h. Just beside the airport is quite nice ruins of old manor (Ungru manor). The owner started to build the house for his loved one…. But then she died and soon the owner died too and house was never finished!
Then we rode to the Port of Rohuküla to wait for the ferry to Hiiumaa. It gave is nicely about 40 minutes time to relax while the ferry was sailing to the port of Heltermaa. But already before 3pm we were checking the next place: The abandoned church of Paluküla.
Then we took the road “Tahkuna Tee” or road number 113. This is definitely the best ride in Hiiumaa island. It takes you to Tahkuna lighthouse and behind this lighthouse there is memorial monument of M/S Estonia accident that happened in September 28, 1994. This memorial is especially for the children who died in this tragic disaster.
Next we checked some kind of adventure park (?!)
This park is built by one person and it is kind of private place. But after he built this Eiffel everyone wanted to see the place and climb to the tower! We didn’t climb there because we had another tower to climb!
Kõpu lighthouse is probably the third oldest lighthouse in the world that is still operational! It is 36 meters high and the first staircase is about 22 meters straight climb. 1 stair is about 40 cm’s high so it is quite difficult climb for a small person. The railing on the top is totally too low (for me) -I was only sitting beside the tower and not going close to the edge. I think I would’ve fainted if I would go there!
We had a nice Guesthouse in Kassari village and we were very lucky about dinner! The only restaurant in this village was closed but we got food anyway. And this was because there was some big group eating and they served us the same food -and it was even very good! Nicely done and good service, thank you Lest & Lammas!
Third day morning it was raining so we didn’t start riding too early, we took it very slow!
After this chapel we found something very spectacular! One of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited is the Sääre Tirp -peninsula. We left the bike to the parking area and started to walk south. After 2 kilometers walk there were no trees anymore only very narrow piece of land and it was going more narrow all the time. I took my drone up!
It took about 2 hours for us to walk to the end of treeline and back. There was still quite long distance to walk until there was no land anymore, maybe something like 5-600 meters until the total end of Sääre Tirp. Next we checked the small lighthouses on the westside from Port of Sõru.
Then it was time to take a ferry to the bigger island: Saaremaa.
We stayed in a nice Guesthouse and enjoyed dinner in Saaremaakera in the center of Kuressaare (Big recommendations!)
Fourth day started also with the rain but it ended soon. We went to check Kuressaare castle when it was still little bit foggy. Now it is possible to walk around the castle on the top of the surrounding wall. From there you can see the castle from every possible corner!
The we were already riding towards the harbour of Kuressare, but we took one stop on the way:
Then again one ferry, this time from Kuivastu to Virtsu and we were back in the mainland. We checked the ruins of Lihula castle. There’s not much left of this castle.
Then we needed to ride to the first Guesthouse we visited because my wallet was there. But we stopped in Padise monastery on the way. Here was also some renovations going on so we couldn’t get in.
Our last night was in very siple cabin without water. My wife didn’t like this idea at all. But I liked the place!
And I got my wallet beck! The dinner we had in a place called Günther kohvik. No recommendations from this place. Fifth day we only needed to reach the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and there was plenty of time… In the boat we took the buffet lunch and ate totally too much. But when you pay you have to get the maximum benefit! Right?
I got myself DJI Osmo Pocket and I can say that it is quite amazing device! I totally don’t know all the functions it has but here I’m testing how it takes Panorama-pictures. You can take 180 -degree panoramas and 3 x 3 panoramas with Osmo pocket and I’m choosing the 180-degree pictures:
Maybe I wasn’t thinking too much what I was shooting. But anyway this Hvitträsk museum area is very beautiful place and I haven’t seen too many panorama-pictures from there before (maybe I wasn’t even looking!) You can see the rest of the pictures here.
I made reservation for this trip in August. I was thinking it would be nice to spend some time with my wife when we’ve been married about 1 year… And even in foreign countries! (In the summer we couldn’t go abroad because the residence permit wasn’t ready yet) -So the destination for this trip would be Nice (Nizza).
We took the plane from Helsinki to Nice very early on Sunday morning.
We landed to this mediterranean city about 10.30 am. Then we took the bus to the city center. It was still raining when we arrived (But rain stopped right after we started walking from the bus stop to the hotel).
This day we dedicated for getting to know the city. And there is one place particularly that gives you very good idea about what is this beautiful city all about: The Castle Hill (Colline du Château). There used to be also a castle but King Louis XIV asked it to be destroyed in 1706. In 19th century they started to design the park and fountain on the top of the hill. Also some parts of the olf castle has been renovated.
We walked up to the hill from the east side. This side is not so steep and there are a lot of trees so the park looks kind of wild from this side.
Restored parts of the old castle. This was maybe the inner yard or patio.
But when you finally reach the to of the hill the views are simply amazing!
View to the east. It’s the harbour of Nice.
And here’s the “famous view” to the beach boulevard of Nice. The mediterranean sea and the waves are very beautiful!
Ofcourse we took a walk also there…
We had small but very cozy hotel almost in the heart of the city (Vieille Ville). This area has very narrow alleys with many many restaurants and shops.
And our hotel room was in the 7th floor with the view to the Tête carrée (Cubic head in the modern art museum)
I was restlessly already waiting for the next day!
You can check the video my wife made about this first day:
The staright road home would be about 500 km’s -but not yet. We will still ride the small roads and explore this beautiful country.
On the southside of Pietarsaari is one of the most “Swedish” areas in Finland. Here we saw this:
This “Klacken” is a big party place in “Lillby” (Small village). Most of these kind of places have died in Finland but this seems to be quite active!
Right beside this partyplace was the local shop. Seemed like an ordinary “K-Market” but actually it was more like a mall!
They had clothes, tools and almost everything you can imagine you will need while living in the countryside -even agricultural machinery!
Soon after this “Lillby” we stopped at “Ilveskivi”. This is one of the biggest boulders in Finland. To get to the stone you have to walk almost 1 km and we didn’t change any clothes. It was still quite hot day so walking in riding gear was not a good idea!
Luckily the place is very beautiful and the stone is huge! It rises 16 meters up from the groundlevel and they’ve even built the stairs there so you can climb to the top of the stone!
After this stone we found nice beach to take a swim in Lappajärvi. And soon after the refreshing swim we checked the area full of war-machinery and trench in Menkijärvi.
This area is not actually a museum, but still it gives a good point of view how it was 75 years ago!
Just before we arrived to our next accommodation in Töysä village it was raining. Luckily it was just a short shower so we didn’t get totally wet. We just removed the bags from the bike to our room and changed to a little bit lighter clothing (it was still very hot after the rain) and we went to the small village shop… We did some shopping and enjoyed the dinner in one of their restaurants.
In the evening it started raining again but luckily it wasn’t heavy so we could take a short walk in totally dead Töysä-village. We saw maybe 10 people in the village (saturday evening 8pm).
Töysä beach is in Lake Ponnenjärvi.
Video from my wife about this day:
This was another very hot day. But I was thinking that the gravelroads here are not that bad so I took one in the beginning. This road was actually very nice ride because it was in very good condition.
The first stop we made at interesting cafeteria in Yli-Ii (Wife pronounced this as “ULI-LEE” and I was laughing about it!)
This cafeteria was an old gas station but the gasbumps were already empty…
Then we checked two dams and powerplants. There was also a fireplace (laavu) near the Pahkakoski dam. But this fireplace was in very bad condition. At least there was quite nice place for swimming…
Then finally after 12 days of riding around Finland I found a place to wash my bike! This was in Oulu! And now I had a clean and shiny bike again!
Picture was taken somewhere southside of Oulu. I really don’t have any idea what is this “thing” behind my bike??
We found a place to stay the night from Pyhäjoki, but not from the “city”. It was a bed n breakfast place 7kms away from the village (Puttaan Kartano)
Ok… Pyhäjoki village is not very big, we found only 1 pizzeria where we could have something to eat. And after eating we went to the beach to check how sea looks up here.
Sea was quite ordinary but my wife is very special and beautiful!
And this is a video that she made of this day 13: