So it happened I gathered few film cartridges on my table and finally got them developed all together last week. One film was from last summer taken with the Olympus Pen half frame camera full of 72 images mainly from Lithuania where I cycled on the way back to the UK with Siggy. And so I have decided to put them all here and write about the end of the story.
We started our journey in Ostrava cycling towards Poland to catch the train to Suwalki. We started very late and caught the rain on the way. Cycling in Poland wasn´t so exciting, the roads haven´t been very suitable for cyclists and we were relying on the GPS navigation which Siggy bought for the great money and which actually had no clue where to lead us. And so we ended up cycling in the bushes. Even worse that we still had to carry the cargo trailer (better say Siggy was carrying it). Watching the video Siggy took with his go pro camera just made me think that the whole journey should be called: “how to drag the cargo trailer over the Europe, there and back”. To me it made sense but he truly hated it.
We have visited the countries we are coming from, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. It was great to show around in Prague and Ostrava, my hometown and compare the two countries. “Lietuva” is coming from the root “lieti” which means to rain/to pour, in Czech language it would be “Litva” and “lít”, however, the languages do not come from the same language family. For me, Lithuania is the country full of the forests, villages, fields and the storks. The first words I have been learning are thus: forest – miškas, oak -ąžuolas, linden – liepa, birch – beržas, fir tree – eglė, stork – gandras, field – laukas. Luckily, the country is full of nature. Even the girls´ names are derived from the nature, e. g. Migle which comes from the word haze/mist or Jūra which comes from the sea.
On the contrary, in the city, I have learnt the words school – mokykla (which I think is very funny) and car wash – plovykla (which were almost on every corner). It seems like it is very important to have a clean car in Lithuania. I did not understand why, it is a rainy country!
We have stayed in Klaipeda at Siggy´s friend place, in the district which could be easily compared to one of the districts of my hometown. The post-soviet architecture, shopping malls, no cycling paths and bad pavements are the connecting points. Siggy´s friend arranged the meeting with the deaf youth community in Klaipeda. I was telling about the cycling across Europe in English, Siggy was translating to Lithuanian and another girl into sign language. I have never been a good cyclist but one day I promised to my bike I will take it around Europe. I had to find some courage for it and hopefully, I passed some on them too.
After short holidays in Lithuania, we took the ferry from Klaipeda to Kiel in Germany and cycled towards the UK taking the same path I cycled before so I could pick up the solargraphs I left along the coast. We also visited Johan and his family in Belgium. The stranger who invited me to his home and became my friend. He has the wall where people from around the world who come to visit him are writing their greetings. (next pictures taken by Siggy, me or Johan)
I have to say that the first half of the tour was adventurous but the second was much more challenging. I remember that cycling as a woman alone brought me into some unexpected situations which I could solve by my own or with help of people always appearing around like the movie heroes. I was lucky. On the contrary, cycling with the boyfriend meant cycling like a team. Making compromises, finding the solutions, trying to push harder than before and cycle equally together at the same rhythm, caring of each other and talking openly about everything that could interrupt our daily cycling limit. It was different. I was happy to share the memories and that I could show around to Siggy and tell him about the stories I experienced. At the end, it does not matter if we live our stories alone or we share them with somebody else. All of them have their expiry date and so we just have to live them fully while they last.
PS: when I cycled towards the Czech Republic I stayed on the Warmshowers with two lovely people in Zeeland. They recommended me to take the route to the Vrouwenpolder. There is the place where it is possible to watch the seals. I wasn’t lucky on my own but on the way back we stopped there with Siggy and they were really there catching the tan! That is how happy I was!
“Happiness only real when shared.” Alexander Supertramp