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AROUND THE WORLD - Latvia-Estonia-Russia and changing guides

Thursday, August 6, 2015 | Thomas Ritt / Guido De Lorenzo / Steve Beck / Holger Homann | The World Tour

The new tour guides Alex, Steve and Holger (from left to right) welcome you on our journey to Moscow and beyond!
...and every 10th night somebody tries to cross the bridge while it opens already!
Look at the motorbike on the ground on the left hand side.
Every night thousands of people look at the spectacle of the bridge opening at 1:25 am
The famous Hermitage
The Kazan Cathedral was the main orthodox church in emperial Russia
Arrival in St. Petersburg
First lunch on the Russian side. Steve (on the right hand) ordered rat: look at his face! The other dishes were less adventurous. Just joking )
self explaining
This is the very last barrier (btw, the Russians also call it "Schlagbaum" at the border station into Russia. We managed the complete border crossing procedure from the European Union into the Russian Federation in less than 3 hours. Not too bad!
Alex our local Russian tour guide
...and it seems that these guy's also look forward!

Actually this is our last border crossing on the Europe Section of our Round the World Tour
Early start in the morning...Rodolfo can't wait to cross the border to Russia
Nice view of Tallinn
last day on tour for Tom and Guido, we left Latvia, reached Estonia and his beautiful capital Tallinn, from now the group will be guided by Steve and Holger, we know they are in good hands, it was a beautyful experience , we wish you all a fantastic and safe trip to Bangkok.
Tom & Guido
at the border from Latvia to Estonia we met a group of italian and portuguese students, obviously happy to take a picture on our bikes

Country No. 6 on our list is Latvia,the "middle" one of the three Baltic states. We rode through the south-eastern part of the country which is sparsely populated and very pretty. Riga, the very cosmopolitan capital, will be our home for two nights. Tomorrow's plan? Sightseeing once again!

Today we left Vilnius and reached Riga, Latvia's capital, through its endless forests.....
Right after we crossed the border we had another amazing picnic. Basic but yummy and in a beautiful spot.
Can you pass the cheese, please?
Otto in heaven
reaching Latvia, Rodolfo we miss you!
Riga has a beautiful, well restored old town. We had dinner in this square.
Group shot with the local Biker MC
The brand new National Library building
Not what you think. Guido made us do it...
The cathedral with the free-standing bell tower, which, a long, long time ago, used to be part of the city walls.
The tower of the Old Castle dates back to the 14th century
From the top the view over the city is amazing
St. Anne's church is a perfect example for the gothic architecture in the city
The main town square
Gate to one of the many monasteries
This building is a city gate on one side and a chapel on the other
Otto, photobombing in front of our hotel
Dan from Colorado felt sorry for Bernd, who only received ONE Edelweiss t-shirt instead of two. So he gave him one of his shirts as a present. One day Bernd may grow into it...

We left Poland today and crossed the border to Lithuania. Since both countries are part of the EU and the Schengen Agreement there are no checkpoints anymore, just a few signs welcoming us to yet another country. Despite the straight roads riding is pure pleasure, not much traffic, beautiful countryside.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is our destiantion today. The restored old town is completely restored. Looking forward to walking through it tomorrow!
Our first view of Lithuania
No, we had enough time for a leisurly lunch...
Trakai Castle is the Neuschwanstein of the Baltics. The dramatic clouds make the view even more spectacular!
crossing the border
The group in front of the Bell Tower and the Cathedral in Vilnius
Typical Masurian countryside
one of the many storks' nests that we saw along the way
The Wolf's Lair was Hitler's war command post from 1941 to 44. Carl von Stauffenberg's famous assassination attempt happened here on July 20, 1944.
who is the winner?
three Trabant in vacation set up
a pit stop in the middle of nowhere

Unfortunately, our rest day in Kolberg, a spa town on the Baltic Sea, did not deliver the kind of weather we have grown accustomed to. Instead of sunshine and 30+° it was cloudy and breezy, with temperatures barely exceeding 15°C. We still enjoyed our day off and gathered the strength to ride 360 km today.

Highlight today was Malbork Castle, one of the largest castles in Europe and a major tourist attraction. Here are some impressions.

When the Teutonic Order relocated their seat from Venice to Marienburg (today Malbork) in 1309 they needed a state-of-the-art castle. So they built this massive fortress, a symbol of their almost unlimited power.
The 700 year old building was badly damaged in WWII, but extensive restauration brought it back to its original splendor
The summer dining hall
Otto and Rodolfo, trying to squeeze through one of the narrow doorways
The first courtyard
The winter dining hall
Knight's armour for a knight's horse
Departure from Marienburg Castle: Guide Guido
Harley-Biker Rodolfo...
... Otto ...
... and last but not least: Dan

Our day in Berlin was beautiful and very interesting, but we had to leave, had to ride, ride eastward. Poland is the next country on our list, and we crossed the river Oder, which serves as the border, on a brandnew bridge that is not even mentioned on the map.

Country no. 4 on our list: Poland
The ship lift in Niederfinow was built from 1928 to 1934. Ships traveling on the Oder-Havel-Canal are lifted 36 m (120 ft) within 5 minutes.
After 80 years of service the shp lift is now too small. The new and bigger one will be able to lift ships up to 115 m (380 ft) long.
Guido and Rodolfo, passing one of the countless wind turbines along the German-Polish border
Otto, Bernd and Dan
The gang at Pirania, a simple restaurant in Kolberg that serves delicious fish dishes
Spectacular view of the moon rising behind Kolberg cathedral
the Brandenburger Tor
Guido, Dan, Tom & Rodolfo got the best seats in the bus!
Dan wasn't quite ready for this shirt...
For almost 30 years the infamous wall split the city in two. It is gone now, thankfully, and countless memorials line its former location
The famous Gedächtniskirche
Sightseeing made us hungry and so we went to have one of Berlin's signature dishes:
The Trabbi used to move the GDR. Today they are collectables.
The Gendarmenmarkt, one of the city's most beautiful squares
Potsdamer Platz was empty wasteland for half a century, but now it is once again the center of the city
Rodolfo's wish was to go to the KaDeWe, a beautiful and well-known department store. As we got closer his smiles grew bigger...
On the Gourmet Floor he was in paradise!
checkpoint Charly, a kind of border between the different occupation areas in Berlin during the war
Potsdamer Platz some pieces of the "berliner Mauer" are we missing someone?
Tom show us how to drink coffee (with style)
and Dan shows us how to drink beer in style...
today we had a guided visit in the Haidenau tyre factory, it was very interesting!

The regular Kings&Castles Edelweiss tour went from Prague to Dresden today, just as we did. And they had a picnic planned, so we coulnd't resist the temptation and joined in. It was good fun.

Dresden welcomed us with a very relaxed atmosphere, a relief after the hustle and bustle in Prague.

we share a tasty picnic with another Edelweiss tour along the same way to Dresden
Otto is happy
Pablo, the official Edelweiss fruit tester
Chef Thomas and Sous-Chef Guido
Rodolfo loves melons...
The sandstone rock formations at the Bastei are one of the most famous attractions in eastern Germany.
Otto, Tom and Dan took a Groufie
As you can see it's a popular tourist destination
Dresden, a symbol of the ex german democratic republic
a symbol of Bavaria (in Dresden)
Bavarian beer and Wienerschnitzel. Yes, we were in Dresden, the capital of Saxony.
Bernd: "let me check if this camera is really working..."
yes, it is working just fine, Bernd. It took about 200 almost identical pictures...
We had ice cream for dessert, and at the Gelateria Venezia Guido met an old friend.
The "Florence of the Elbe" by night

it was hard work to lead the whole group through the historic center of Prague, but in the end they came back to the hotel.....

the cathedral of St. Vitus
Tom and the "group" with the city in the background
beautyful view overPrague and the Charles Bridge from one of the Bridge towers

"The freedom to ride and meet the locals", a long-standing Edelweiss motto, has never been more fitting than today. Tour guide Tom took birthday child Otto and the rest of the gang to his sister's house, less than an hour away from Passau. Surrounded by chickens and horses we had coffee and some birthday cake, home-made just for Otto (thanks for sharing!). Almost the entire family cared for the travelers, only two important people were missing   Well, maybe next time...

Otto celebrated his 74th birthday in style - with a homemade cake!
impressive landscape....
little lunch stop in Susice, the first in Czech republic, we was a little attraction for the locals...
the church tower of Susice

Later today we reached Prague. Tempereatures topped 36°C/99°F as we rode through this gorgeous city to our hotel. Tomorrow a well-deserved rest day awaits us.

Vaclav Square and the Bohemian National Museum
Somewhere in the Old Town we tasted the local "Kozel 10°" beer
Sunset over the Moldau river and Prague Castle
What a place!

Today we left Austria for good and headed back to Germany, or, to be precise, to Bavaria. But there were highlights on the way!

In the year 304 a roman citizen named Florianus refused to renounce Christianity and was subsequently tortured and killed. A chapel was erected over his grave, later a small chruch, then a bigger one, and finally, in the late 17th century, a very large one.

Much older is the blue Danube, which today was not blue but green. In Schlögen, where the river scenery is especially beautiful, we had our own private little picnic.

And then Passau. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Inn, and Ilz, this city is a baroque jewel box. From our downtown hotel we took a little walk, enjoyed a short but free classical concert in the cathedral and finally had dinner in a little square.

It was another good day.

Between Passau and Linz the Danube performs two 180° turns. This is known as the "Schlögener Schlinge" and is best viewed from high up. Yes, it was an interesting ride to this viewpoint!
St. Florian's basilica is a 300 year old baroque jewel. We took a guided tour...
... through the impressive library...
... and the actual church, as well as many other rooms and...
... the crypt.
Bernd enjoys his picnic lunch with a view
Dan always dreamed of crossing the Danube on one of those tiny ferries. Today he could check is off his bucket list.
The cathedral of Passau
Rodolfo takes a break in a shady corner of the old town of Passau, while the Bavarian flag is flying high above him

It's not very far from Salzburg to Gmunden, but the spectacular scenery of the Salzkammergut justifies a detour or two or three. We went across the Postalm panoramic road to Hallstatt and on the the Dachstein mountains where we visited some of the famous ice caves of the area.

After this refreshing experience the outside heat made us go straight to Gmunden, where cold beer awaited us on the terrace of our lakefront hotel. Another good day!

Tour guide Guido with Otto and Rodolfo. Streets are still wet from an early morning thunderstorm. But by departure time the sky was already blue again!
Bernd, ready for Adventure!
Spectacular view of Salzburg and the Alps from Gaisberg
the group with tourguide Tom on the top of the Gaisberg, and Salzburg on the background
another beautiful wiew of the Postalm
The road across Postalm is spectacular and well worth the 3,50 € toll
The group - and a few dozen other people - waiting in front of the Dachstein Ice Cave for their tour to begin

the ice caves at Dachstein mountain are not only stunningly beautiful, they also offer reprise from the continuing heat outside. At 0°C/32°F we could finally cool down a little...

The beautiful waterfront of Gmunden, a small town on the northern end of Lake Traun. This is where we are going to spend the night today.

From Mieming, home of Edelweiss Bike Travel, to Salzburg, home of the Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. If than's not a perfect riding day, then what is?

We have to admit, though, that we did use the Autobahn for an hour this morning, to get around Innsbruck and through traffic quickly. Rudolfo, on his giant Harley, loved this part of the ride the most. Everybody else preferred the beautiful curves up to Berchtesgaden and the Windbeutelbaron.

Salzburg, Mozart's home town, welcomed us with balmy temperatures (38°C/100°F). Can't wait to have a cold one in one of the city's many beer gardens.

Gorgeous ride to Hintersee, a lake in the most beautiful corner of Germany
This picturesque guest house could have been our lunch place, but it was a bit too early. What a pity...
we found the place where Tom spent a very special day in his childhood
now we know why. Back then the Windeutel seemed to be much larger, so it was a little disappointing...
few minutes later....
View from the terrace of the "Windbeutelbaron", a café famous for its puffy pastries
after the giant windbeutel, Otto wos the only who had enough energy to ride a loop on the famous "rossfeldstrasse"
This is the kind of signage we like: no access, but free for motorcycles!
Bernd, leaving the Windbeutelbaron. The driveway is steep and full of loose gravel, hence the focused look on his face...
Today's destination was Salzburg, the city of Mozart. The old town with the imposing castle towering high above is simply breathtaking
After dinner tour guide Thomas took Otto on a private walking tour to the castle grounds. Note to Bernd, Dan and Rodolfo: see what you've missed...
This is Otto, three days before his 74th birthday, jogging up castle hill
Spectacular view of the Italian side of Timmelsjoch pass. Bernd, Dan and Otto are proud to have reached the highest point of the tour so far...
Coffee break in Sölden
Don't jump, Otto!!!!
What a ride! Note the three tiny motorcycles at the bottom of the picture
The Oilers it a former gas station that now serves burgers and wings.
Don't use the drive-through, it may take a while to get served...

today  we had a beautyful loop around the Tyrolean Alps: Hanntenjoch, Furkajoch,Hochtannbergpass, Faschinapass and Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse, what a day!!

and the short (cold ) shower was welcome refreshing.....


Spectacular morning clouds in front of our hotel
It was another hot day today, up to 33°C (92°F). So we rode up Silvretta High Alpine Road...
... and 2000 m (6,500 ft) above sea level it was very comfortable!
beautyful landscape on the Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse
and this is the cold shower that really cooled us down towards the end of the day. A formidable hail storm...
Rodolfo, keep right ! please....
Dan in full action

It's a long way to Moscow, and Bangkok is even further. Today several people asked us the question that we often hear, "hey where are you guys off to today?", and there was disbelief in their faces when we told them. What a great feeling! Here are some snaps from our beautiful first riding day.

Otto at the Plansee. what a cool biker!!!
Lake of Starnberg, Bernd and Rodolfo enjoing the first cappuccino
everyone is ready???? let's start!
Spectacular view from our hotel in Tyrol
Rudolfo would like to say Thank you dear Lord for letting me come back to Neuschwanstein Castle....
Dan, Bernd and Rodolfo checking the bikes before the start
Yes, we are doing it again! The first section of the World Tour 2015/16 is set to start from Munich tomorrow. First we head down to Tyrol to ride the Alps for a few days, then we'll be heading north-east. Salzburg, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, across Poland to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and then into Russia. A spectacular tour!
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Otto Rieve
Friday, August 14, 2015 at 17:27

The two Riders - Otto and Rodolfo - who did the Munich to Moscow tour, the continuing riders Daniel and Bernd plus the three riders travelling Moscow to Bangkok an the guides who changed in Tallinn ALL met on Red Square for the official photographs in front of The Cathedral of Vasily (Basil to some). They rode onward east to Bangkok and Otto and Rodolfo rode west to return to Munich and eventually home.
Claudia Wenhart
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 23:32

Hello altogether,
wish you a save and interessting trip through Russia.
@Alex: Hello again, nice to see you are on board again on the good old van from Last year
Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 12:50

St Petersburg - a fascinating city, full of history, a living museum - okay, a lot of it had to be reconstructed due to politics and war - there are too many sights and too little time on this trip. I will have to come back for a longer more detailed look.
Joan Coogan
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 19:33

Enjoy the adventure!
️Erika Rieve
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 17:39

It looks like you are all having a wonderful time. What an amazing experience! Ride safe!!
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 14:03

Hey guys,
nice blog, keep at it. best greetings from the office!

Anna and the office team.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 09:09

...what an experience and adventure for all of you...
Getting more and more in touch with foreign countries an people.
Hope all of you is getting through this all unhurt and with a smile on his face all the time.
Go ahead an send us more and more pictures like the very interesting once before.
Missing you (only a bit..) here in HH, Bernd.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 15:22

Hey guys - it's not far to Moscow anymore. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!
Magdalena Wimmer
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 11:35

Very nice pictures! The tour looks funny and interesting!
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 16:07

thanks Magda!
Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 20:42

Thomas will not stop or even slow to allow me to take a picture of a stork nest where the two parents watch over eggs or their brood. I will have to drop out of the "parade" and see what happens. Could be the Shot of the Year.
Jacci McTavish
Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 21:34

Hi, you all look fit and healthy - hope you are soaking up local culture.

What did you do for your birthday. A big post birthday hug to you.
Claudia Wenhart
Monday, July 27, 2015 at 09:11

Hey guys,
nice Pictures - Looks that you have really fun. Have a good week and drive safe.
Greetings from Starnberg
Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 09:37

'camera check'... best photo ever from Bernd.
Beer and Wienerschnitzel....wished again I could take part...
Think everybody is enjoying everything at any time.
Go ahead and be careful.
Eva Koefler
Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 15:48

hey guys. wish you a great Tour and a safe ride. it was a pleasure to meet you in Prag
Guido De Lorenzo
Friday, July 24, 2015 at 00:10

Thanx Eva!
cinzia mion
Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 13:41

Bellissimi tour.... complimenti
rodolfo hahn
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 19:36

i am enjoing vary much these trip
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 14:03

Really an incredibile tour.wonderful places and photos
Ute & Bernd
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 23:14

Dear Otto,
happy birthday to you and all the best!
Have a great time, you guys!

Monday, July 20, 2015 at 18:13

what a nice trip...sometimes wish I could take part.... great pictures and great bikes (BMW R 1200 GS...)
Have fun Bernd and all of you pls. take care
Monday, July 20, 2015 at 17:37

looks liek a great trip...awesome pictures... you must have a beautiful time..
take care

Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 18:09

What a wonderful landscape
Cinzia Mion
Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 22:15

wow! very interesting!!!!
Christiane Repenning
Friday, July 17, 2015 at 19:24

Looks spectacular trip already!!
Enjoy it, Daddy!
Gracie Savage
Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 21:36

Looks like it's fun already! Have a cappuccino for me! Xoxo
Ute & Bernd
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 22:51

Dear Otto,
have a good trip and take care!
All the best
Ute & Bernd from Hannover / Germany
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 22:29

Hi Otto!
looks beautiful, strong bikers, famtastic bikes, landscape makes jalous - stay safe!
Starting tomorow to Alaska , back on 3rd Aug.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 22:11

It looks spectacular!! Here's to a great ride!
Claudia Wenhart
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 08:07

Good Morning everybody,
have a good start and enjoy the trip!!


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