Day 13: Mezotne Palace – Lötzen/Giżycko

Thursday, March 8th, 2018
Distance covered: 572 km
Driving: 7 am – 6 pm
Weather: Grey day
Lowest temperature: -2C
Border crossing: 2, Latvia – Lithuania – Poland (no checkpoints)

We started the day with a healthy Latvian breakfast of eggs and bacon and visited some  perfectly renovated rooms and halls of the Mezotne Palace.

As bridges are scarce in the region, we had to start with some extra kilometres on our way to Lithuania and the Hill of the Crosses

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Crossing the border to the last Balic State was again smooth and without any checkpoint. We soon reached the Lithuanian national monument “Hill of Crosses“. It was destroyed several times by the Soviets, but got quickly rebuild every time and still collects new crosses every day from visitors from all over the world.

The landscape now changed from forests to fields and the colours from white to grey and brown. With no more snow and ice on the streets, we changed back to regular winter tires in Kaunas and continued further west. A bit later we crossed the small corridor between Russia (Königsberg / Kaliningrad) in the north and White Russia in the South to enter Poland.

In the afternoon, we reached the impressive ruins of the Wolfsschanze, one of the major Führerhauptquartiere and location of the failed “Operation Walküre” (assassination of Hitler).

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We enjoyed being alone at this very special place. Especially, as the area is not run as a museum, but more as a theme park with fun rides, tank driving and very irritating offers in the souvenir shop. A “Wolfsschanze” towel and teddy bear, really?

It was getting dark, when we finally reached our hotel in Giżycko. The St. Bruno hotel is located in an old monastery, with nice rooms, a bar with bowling and a great restaurant, as we found.

Initially we had planned to have dinner in town, but Team 68 arrived a bit later at the hotel, saw our car and Isabelle knew where to find us: the hotel bar. The food in the hotel restaurant was really good. And later in the evening we met again “our” photographer David. His partner Debbie joined the rallye in Tallin and was riding with Team 68, while David was with the Drift Chicks, but couldn’t resist a fun night with vodka and bowling.

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