This morning we enjoyed a very long and rich breakfast and left only at 9:30. We headed north and soon the heat returned. Our bikes hummed and despite riding on b-roads, we made good progress. At midday, we needed to pull petrol and decided to have a snack in the cool station. Like yesterday, we were surprised by the good state of the Polish roads. Still riding at 110 km/h, we are passing everybody else on B-roads and are passed by everybody else on dual carriageways. When we got closer to the coast, we turned eastwards and passed Malbork. Normally, the old Castle of the Teutonic Order (Marienburg des Deutschen Ordens) is a UNESCO heritage and a must-see as it is the largest castle in the world by surface area. But we needed to get to Kaliningrad today and had the uncertainty of the border crossing. So we continued. For two kilometers, there was a basically four-lane cobblestone road that seemed endless. We were in the polish part now that was known as Ostpreussen. The road to the border was quite empty. We left it to get petrol in the last town (Braniewo), went back to the main road and headed for the border. At the polish side, our papers were studied carefully and our VINs were checked. My damaged plate caused some confusion, but I could convince the female officers, that the important number was the one stamped in the frame. We could move to the Russian border. Not without leaving a big puddle of petrol from some Triumph carburettors. At the Russian control, again some paperwork. We had to notice that for some speculative reason, a lot of handsome female officers worked there. The more tedious process was the customs declaration. We filled in two pages each just to learn that we made a mistake and had to do it again. And another paper. Unfortunately, the big thunderstorm had catched up and it started to rain. One officer did not believe the Triumph’s model year first…”1969???”. Yes. Finally we could leave. We managed to escape the rain, but the huge thunderstorm followed us. We entered Kaliningrad without any map or GPS, because our GPS maps do not cover Russia. The difference to the Polish driving style was remarkable.
We managed to get to the Centre where I used my phone to navigate us to the hotel. It started to rain and when we got to the Hotel Heliopark, we managed to park the bikes and seek shelter just in time before it was pouring down. After a shower, we had dinner in the hotel restaurant and I could not resist to have a real Borschtsch. We decided to have a quick visit to the cathedral the next morning and to head to Lithuania and Latvia via the Curonian Spit. The hotel is quite posh and in contrast to most buildings in the city centre. You still can see many concrete blocks from the Soviet era. Communication with the waitress was close to zero but we managed, “odno pivo” always works..