The summer of 2016. We spent our day 348 to 366 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting on a new adventure. We decided on a route from North of Norway, Sweden, Finland, through Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before we were back home to England. That is four new countries we have never been to.
Day 348 we started the day off flying to north of Norway where my grandmother lives. It took most of the day to travel and when we got there it was over 20 degrees!. What a surprise! Every time Jared joins me, the weather always turns to the better. We are north of the polar circle and the sun never goes down. We spent some time with the family, ate great food, and went to bed.
Day 349. Another sunny day! We have relaxed together with the family today. Jared had to go to the store today to get a toothbrush, always something we forget.. and when he came home, a police car was driving in front of him. We were speculating what had happen and if he had forgotten his driver license too. However when we came down to ask what had happened, the police officer was just querying where someone lived. We also went for a walk today with the nieces and nephews and had a calm day at home as we have a long journey ahead of us.
Day 350, Jared and I were in Amalie and Jørunds wedding. Such a beautiful wedding! We had a 2 hours drive there and on the way we stopped to take a picture which you can see to the right.
The bride looked absolutely stunning and the groom looked very proud. It was a great day with a lot of food and good conversation. We also got to meet two friends of us, Marta and Likota. It’s always too long in between the times we see them, but our friendship always keeps the same which is amazing to have.
Sunday, day 351, we started the journey towards Finland. We drove on muddy roads in Sweden which made the car unrecognizable and we had to wash the number plates. Jared counted the reindeer we saw.. he came to 20, however suddenly a bunch of probably over 25 of them turned up and we lost count.
Starting in Finland, day 352. What a day!! This have been one crazy day. We started off the day with sunshine and breakfast. We decided on the scenic route in Finland through the wilderness and roads that looked like the picture on the left side.
Did I mention that we got lost, took another detour and when on route we found that the bridge was gone and we had to go for a new detour. Ohh, and we punctured… But these are just normalities..
Did you think that was the end of it? Definitely not. When we arrived at the finnish boarder we were told that no nationalities except Finnish, Belarus and Russian were allowed to pass. What did we have to do? Drive to Norway and Kirkenes to a different boarder not in Finland. This was the biggest detour and we were not in Murmansk until 23.00. 13 hours of driving. We ordered room service, full meal for £20. Time to say goodnight.
We woke up in Murmansk today, day 353, and wondered what we would want to see. We had a hectic day yesterday so we wanted to have a slow day. Luckily we got some assistance from a taxi driver, Anna, which helped us through the whole day. I got to see the famous cat in Tivoli Park and Jared got to see, well, Murmansk.
As he said he just always have wanted to see it. We got to see a lot of places with the help of Anna, and she even brought a friend of hers that sang to us in the car. It was kind of an absurd and amazing day at the same time. Hehe.. You can see the picture of Jared and I together with Anna to the left and Jared and I with Murmansk in the background to the right.
Now we have arrived in Kandalaksha – after great guiding from the arrow on the satnav, that only had coordinations, not showing the way, and we are tired and looking forward to a new day tomorrow with no english speaking people.
Kandalaksha, day 354. It’s taken me some time to type the name of this town. But we managed to write and pronounce it after some practice! We woke up to a great breakfast. We could decide what we wanted which was great.
We thought no one would speak English, however the son Alex on the B&B was here to assist us.
Also, we are very lucky with the weather, as it is glorious sunshine! We spent our day off to drive 8 hours to see a church on the World Herritage List. Well, you can see it here on the picture to the left, but it was locked and we must say we were a little dissappointed, but a fun drive for Jared, with another puncture. We had to drive one hour on gravel and Jared was very excited. It all went fine until we came back on the asphalt and 35 km from home where a big machine was cutting down trees next to the road and when we passed we got a splinter in the tyre. 2nd puncture and time to get new tyres. Michelin of course. On the way we also saw a little town and another very little church/chapel.
We also found our way to a supermarket to buy some food. Russia is growing on us.
Day 355 have been a drive day. We have basically been driving for 8 hours. The landscape contained of trees, trees, road and more trees. Not any houses or anything exciting really. Just the road. In the last 35 km. we found a sign to a church which we followed and we found this amazing church that you can see on the left. This is probably one of the nicest things we saw, and that was just by following some signs and be a little spontaneous.
We arrived in Petrozavodsk in the evening and we were pleasantly surprised. It is a pretty little vacation town for Russians, and we have now eaten one of the best meals we’be had in our life, and it cost us £17 with sea view and all!
Goodnight from Russia.
It’s day 356, and we had no internet all day, however we spent the whole day traveling to see this church that is on the UNESCO world heritage list in the middle of an island. This is the reason for us stopping in Petrozavodsk in the first place.
It was raining and the boat trip took 1,5 hours each way and it was impossible to leave the island before 4 hours had past.The church and the buildings around was basically a tourist attraction and Jared was not too impressed. It was also raining, so not the best day.
We arrived at our hotel at midnight, in the middle of nowhere, I don’t think we even took a picture. It was basically in the middle of the forest.
When we woke up to day 357, we drove directly to St.Petersburg. It’s been pouring with rain, so we have spent the day reading and eating in our oh amazing hotel room. These are our two days of luxury and we are going to enjoy it to the fullest!
Day 358 started with a great breakfast. This hotel is amazing. We gained a new toothbrush and toothpaste too. New fresh water in the room every day and smiley and helpful staff. We planned to see the winter palace and the museum that’s inside. It poured with rain when we got there, and when we left it, it was nice and shiny (see picture to the left). We also went to see the church of the Savior on blood (right).
Other than that we have been strolling around town, and been enjoying the city life, except when it rained so much that we got soaked. So many people everywhere though and it was like we went in a never ending queue wherever we tried to walk to. We walked a lot and after buying a piece of art and the traditional russian wooden lady in 6 parts, we decided to go home to the hotel. But we definately have to go back to St. Petersbourg in the future.
Leaving Russia on day 359 and we drove into Estonia. Spending day 359-362 to see 8 other castles around in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We loved the old town of Lithuania the best and we bought a lovely green vase from there as a souvenir. We will probably go back to see the capitals of Latvia and Estonia in the future though.
Day 363 we used to drive to Poland and the next day, day 364 we visited another castle in Poland. Below you can see a panorama shot from Lithuania. In time, I hope to create a page where you can read all about the castles we visited.