Day 12: Riga to Biržai – 102k

991km down: 5,234km to go.

Not sure how it passed me by but there are SNAKES in Europe!!! Only found out after a couple of days of happily going for rest breaks in long grass, my biggest concern had been ticks! But sitting at camp one of the riders was showing other riders the picture of a stork slurping up a SNAKE! Oh my god!

Those who know of my totally ridiculous worm phobia are no doubt smirking right now. To my mind SNAKES are big worms but more vicious! The Aussie guy Brett said helpfully MOST (!!) of them are not poisonous.

Anyway I got it in back into context after an hour or two and a remedial wine (or two). The biggest danger is cars, or as I found out yesterday other cyclists! However no more long grass rest stops for me!

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So today up at 6am and back on the road again. The day was overcast and looking like rain, it looked like it might but actually didn’t! The traffic coming out of Riga was a bit hideous but thankfully we turned off the main route after about five minutes. The road today was through farmland with a constant up gradient. Lots of vegetable gardens, some were huge!

Today we crossed from Latvia to Lithuania. Once again no sign of the border, this time did not even see the Lithuania sign apparently it was there but was not in English!

As we were riding out of Riga today I saw a dog trotting along the street with that purposeful look on its face and important business trot that dogs have. While we were riding along I was thinking about this, like what is the purposeful look and trot all about? I was imagining what was going through the dogs mind: “So, I’m going to look for the neighbour’s cat to chase, then I’ll pee on the brown fence, and after that I’ll check out the rubbish behind the dairy” etc!

Anyway lots of run down houses, falling down barns etc still. The ride today never really got going and feeling good today, still feeling the effects of the fall off the bike coming into Riga.

Coming into town we somehow missed a turn and added 3k to our ride as we found the flags and followed them but worked out after coming past the same shops again that we had been following the flags from the wrong direction. Anyway sorted it out and got to the hotel. Once again we got to the camp site and there were rooms available, so it was a very hard decision to make – warm, dry room, no tent to put up, no worry about rain during the night, inside toilet and shower, for 20 euro. Took me all of 0.1 of second to decide to get a room.

I am sharing with Walli so will see how that goes, I am a bit concerned because there is a TV in the room but at least I have my music on the phone. I am really pleased we have a room as it is really cold here tonight and windy, only about 8 degrees! It also looks like it will rain.

Europe is having an usually cold and windy summer (which I have mentioned previously) which is hurting their tourism – but it does mean that so far there have been vacant rooms at each place that has accommodation. So far I have only slept in my tent twice – both places did not have extra accommodation on site.

To give you an idea of the temperature when we are riding, in the past few days I have been wearing biking pants (2 out of 3 days over boots), my ice breaker t-shirt, a riding top, arm warmers and at least 2/3rds of each day a rain jacket! So it’s not just New Zealand that did not get much of a summer this year. I’m hopeful that the weather will improve but as I was reminded today: I am on holiday. Also you generally keep pretty warm when moving.

Tomorrow weather forecast is not great but I have my full clothes now. I had been able to get my not-daily bag until yesterday, as we only get access to our permanent bags on rest days, so at least will not get cold wet soggy fingers.

Towororrw we are cycling 118k to Anykščiai, staying at the Zve Jo Sapnas campsite. There are rooms available there so we have rung ahead and booked 🙂 Otherwise the fast riders get in first, and if it is limited there may be nothing left.

Rob and Jenny tent every night, no matter what the weather is like. Then there are a group of riders – Michele, Dan, Scott, Yarn and Dana – who tent every night except the really wet miserable night. Then the rest like me who jump into a room if available.

Tonight at tea there was a comment and congratulations that I had gone an entire day without an injury! The wind caught the whiteboard that our instructions are written on for the next day, Jen said she was surprised it had not ended up on me!

Categories: Cycling trip | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 12: Riga to Biržai – 102k

  1. Kazza

    Hv jst caught up with yr blog cos I’m at work, it’s Sunday and I’m doing a1-6 (I luv this shift). ECGs r the trend 2day anf then shipping off in2 Wellie! U r sure covering sum miles. I don’t blame u 4 grabbing a room when there’s 1 available, tenting is definitely nt my thing!!!! Hw did sharing with a TV watcher go – very brave of u!!!! Keep up the interesting ongoing travel tale.

  2. suzanne

    yep, tenting is the last resort option for me too! I passed yr blog address on to my gp, dr topping, shes an outdoor adventurer as well – mountaneering, kayaking etc – so was interested in your adventure xxx

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