Maps and Stats

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Germany, Leipzig, 09 – 11 July 2019

Veghel to Leipzig, through a densely populated part of Germany. A cold ride at 17c with the occasional drizzle and when I got into Leipzig there were roadworks blocking my path so I had to find a way around them, a fun way to end the ride especially when you take into account one way streets hahaha. 583 km and 6:35 hours with two stops.

Leipzig, the most livable city in Germany and a very nice place to visit. The whole centre of the city is pedestrian only with numerous “Passages” connecting the streets. Trams go everywhere and an all day ticket costs €7.60. Tickets can also be used on the trains and busses and don’t go looking for a bus stop because they run down the middle of the road on the tram tracks and use the tram stops.

St.Thomas Church, many famous composers have played in this church and Bach is buried here.

Leipzig History Museum, a city with a past.

Monument to the Battle of the Nations – this thing is huge, quite an amazing sight inside and out.

First a small museum about the Battle and then into the Monument.

I also visited the Panometer, Carolas Garten. I would have preferred the Titanic exhibition.

 

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Netherlands, Veghel, 28 June – 08 July 2019

I rode from Edinburgh to Harwich on Friday, 7:50 hrs in fine and cold weather, spent the night there then caught the morning ferry on Saturday to Hook of Holland 7:00 hrs, lots of bikes on the ferry all heading for the MotoGP at Assen on Sunday. When I rode off the ferry it was a hot 34c and it was 20c in Harwich when I left, had to stop and swap to summer gloves and open up my jacket. Short 1.5 hour ride to Veghel and being a Saturday very little traffic, arrived at 18:30 local time, there is a one hour time difference.

For the next week I watched the Womens World Cup Football and the Tour de France and drank beer.

 

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UK, Scotland, 21 – 27 June 2019

From Somerset I rode north to Edinburgh, 7.5 hours with 2 stops for petrol and no rain the whole way, a first. Normally when travelling this route I get wet but it was a cold ride 15-17c combined with the wind chill and I did not wear my heated gear.

Day trip to Killin and Calander

Scottish Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Grey and wet outside, a good day to stay indoors.

My bike was parked in the car park in front of the house when I heard the alarm go off. I went outside and found that a car had reversed into my bike and knocked it over. The driver was a Driving Instructor hahaha and he was driving the car he gives lessons in. So my day was occupied with riding to a Suzuki Dealer and getting a written estimate to fix the damage which was mainly cosmetic. His insurance is going to pay for the damage and the matter has been settled. The main thing is that the bike can still be ridden, no problem.

Day trip to original Falkland and Perth, they are much closer together than their namesakes hahaha.

First stop Falkland, a very small and quaint village.

Next stop Perth a much bigger place.

A visit to Linlithgow where Mary, Queen of Scots was born.

 

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UK, England, 09 – 20 June 2019

I arrived at Gatwick and was expecting a queue at immigration but “Surprise”, they now have an automated system for some countries with lots of terminals so I basically just walked straight through to wait for my luggage. From there I walked to the Gatwick station which is part of the airport and bought my ticket to Hastings on the way to the platform, non-stop train and my friend was waiting to pick me up. I decided to spend some time in the UK catching up with friends and of course getting my bike fit for travel.

First stop was getting the mandatory annual safety check called the MOT done and they found the rear number plate bulb needed replacing hahaha. Next change the oil and filter and fit new spark plugs. As the bike is now nearly 5 years old, 60,000 kms on the odometer I decided to fit a new battery as a precaution.

From Hastings I rode West to Storrington, a soggy ride.

Next ride Northwest to a village in Somerset near Bath and a trip to Cheddar Gorge.

A visit to Aerospace Bristol to see a real live Concorde. Bristol was an early pioneer in the aircraft industry.

Lunch and a walk around the historic town of Bath.

 

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Belarus, Minsk, 01 – 08 June 2019

I flew Belavia Airlines from Almaty to Minsk, 5:10 hours, the plane arrived at 0740, 20 min late due to a late departure. If you fly into and out of Minsk, its Visa free for 30 days. No queue at Immigration where I was asked to show my Medical Insurance, if you don’t have insurance you can buy it at the airport. The only other question I was asked was if I was going to Russia. There are no border controls between Belarus and Russia and you could sneak into Russia without a visa which is forbidden. Welcome to Belarus, I collected my suitcase and went looking for the Bank/Money Changer and the Phone shop to buy a SIM card. Well the Phone shop only opens at 0900 and Bank at 0915 hahaha, anyway I had time because I was early for my check-in. The Bank/Money Changer is on the First floor which is the Departures level. There are ATM’s at the airport but I had some leftover USD from the Stan’s that I needed to change. The Phone shop is on the Ground floor Arrivals level, the airport is not very big and you can’t get lost. The SIM card cost BYN 15 0r US$7.50 for unlimited Data, Calls and SMS, it started working immediately. You have to show your passport and sign two documents, the lady at the shop does all the work, you can pay with a credit card. Next stop the Airport Taxi counter where you pay BYN 30 or US$15 for a ride into the city, it is a flat fee and you can pay by card again. All very organised and efficient, the drive into the city takes 40 min. You can also get a bus for $2 and then a Yandex taxi or the Metro etc but with luggage it would have been a pain and taken longer. You have to register with the Police and this is done by the place you are staying at.

Minsk, a modern city with quite a few old buildings that have been restored. Everything is very clean and you can use your credit card at most shops. Google Pay on my phone also worked and I used it in lieu of buying a metro ticket, the turnstiles have a contactless pay point and I just held my phone against it and walked through, cost US$0.30 per ride. Good restaurants, supermarkets and shops all about half the price of a Western European city.

I hired a car and driver for the day US$95 to visit the Mir Castle and Niasvizh Castle.

Mir Castle

Niasvizh Castle, this is a short drive from Mir Castle

I visited the Stalin Line outdoor Museum, a collection of fortifications from the Cold War. Cost to get there by Yandex BYN20 going and 25 return, entry is BYN14 or US$7.