25 July 2013

July 25 Klaipeda, Lithuania

I made it to Klaipeda after visiting the capital, Vilnius.

I forgot to mention my very good luck in Latvia. When I got to Riga via bus from Tallinn, Estonia, I discovered that I was in the middle of a major Song Festival, with over 35,000 participants! It was amazing because the folk groups, in their traditional clothing, were performing everywhere. The final parade of groups through the streets of Old Town took hours.

I finally have my motorbike out of customs and am packing and fixing things. The biggest problem now is getting European liability insurance, which I stupidly did not realize I had to get and should have gotten before I left the US. I only got my moto out of customs because my friend, Minda, talked them into releasing it without insurance.

I hope to leave as early as tomorrow as I want to get to Berlin to see friends before they leave on holiday. I also will be getting new hard panniers to replace my leaky soft ones and need some things fixed before leaving for the rest of eastern and southern Europe and then most of Africa.

12 July 2013

Estonia, Latvia, and Poland in early July '13

Now in Poland and went to Aushwitz today. Very tragic what took place there. I would like to think that this could not happen today, but the reality is this type of racial and religious genocide is still ocurring. Just look at Kradzic, the Bosnian Serb leader who is accused of causing the murders of over 100,000 non-serbs (Croats and Muslims) and made millions more homeless.
Anyway, I go to see the Wieliczka Salt Mine, built in 13th century, one of the world's oldest salt mines. There are dozens of statues, three chapels and an entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. Hope I get to talk to one of the miners. I will also visit Vilnius, Lithuania before going to get my motorcycle, then head toward Berlin to visit more friends and get new panniers fitted.
So far, I visited five countries that I have not been to before: Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and
Poland. I will not visit any more "new" countries until August.   

The only disappointment so far is not getting to St. Petersburg, Russia. :(

I have started taking LOTS of photos, thanks to the good example of my friend Heikki in Finland. I will get some posted soon with help of my friend Minda and will put the rest on Flickr soon.
Estonia was great in the Old Town. Highlights were the little-known Estonia Museum of Applied Art and Design, a Medival Festival, and the Spanish speaking hostel staff.
Estonia era impresionante en la Ciudad Vieja. Lo más destacado era el Museo de Estonia poco conocida de Artes Aplicadas y Diseño, un Festival Medieval y el personal del albergue habla español.

Latvia also had an applied art museum called Art Space, but even more important was a Song Festival that brought 35,000 participants in ethnic costumes singing, mostly a capella everywhere. 
Letonia también tiene un museo de artes aplicadas llamado Espacio de Arte, pero aún más importante fue un festival de la canción que llevó a 35.000 participantes en trajes étnicos cantar, sobre todo a capella en todas partes.

Poland blew me away at Aushwitz.  
Polonia me impactó fuertemente en Auschwitz.

Ahora en Polonia y fui a Auschwitz hoy. Muy trágico lo que sucedió allí. Me gustaría pensar que esto no podría suceder hoy, pero la realidad es que este tipo de genocidio racial y religiosa sigue siendo. Mirar a Kradzic, el líder serbo-bosnio acusado de provocar el asesinato de más de 100.000 personas no serbias (croatas y musulmanes) y millones hechos más sin hogar.
De todos modos, voy a ver la mina de sal de Wieliczka, construida en el siglo 13, una de las minas de sal más antiguas del mundo. Hay docenas de estatuas, tres capillas y una catedral entera que ha sido excavadas en la roca de sal por los mineros. Espero que me pongo a hablar con uno de los mineros. También voy a visitar Vilnius, Lituania antes de ir a conseguir mi moto, luego la cabeza hacia Berlín para visitar a más amigos y obtener nuevas maletas laterales montadas.
Hasta el momento, visité cinco países que no he estado antes: Lituania, Finlandia, Estonia, Letonia y Polonia. No tengo planes para visitar a uno más "nuevos" países.

 La única decepción hasta ahora no pude ir a San Petersburgo, Rusia. : (

Empezo a tomar un montón de fotos, gracias al buen ejemplo de mi amigo Heikke en Finlandia. Voy a conseguir algo publicado en breve con ayuda de mi amigo Minda y pondré el resto en Flickr pronto.