Number of tie wraps: 49 (holding steady)
Countdown: 7426 miles down, 1159 to go
To start the day, we had a photo op this morning at the request of the Moscow (Moskva) Hotel where we are staying.
Photo op at the Moskva Hotel (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
After the photos, we took a tour of Kaliningrad where we saw many beautiful restored houses such as this row house in the old working section of the city,
Restored row house in the old working section of Kaliningrad (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
a kitten that wanted to come home with us,
Kaliningrad kitten (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
and an old Russian car called a Chaika that was being used at part of a cowboys-and-Indians-themed wedding (don’t ask me why — I’m just reporting what I saw).
Russian car (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Kaliningrad, known as Koenigsberg until 1946 because it was part of Germany, is surrounded by water and had seven bridges in the 18th century. Some people wondered if it would be possible to make a complete route through the city without crossing a bridge more than once. It turns out that the answer is “nyet,” or “no” and the mathematician Leonhard Euler proved this in 1736, giving birth to a new branch of mathematics called graph theory. Who knew?
Depiction of the seven bridges of Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad) (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Down by the river, we also saw a research ship named for cosmonaut Viktor Patsayev, who was one of three cosmonauts killed during the re-entry of the Soyuz 11 mission on June 30, 1971. Click here for more information about the tragic mission.
Research ship named for Cosmonaut Viktor Patsayev (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
We also checked out the restoration-in-progress of the Kaliningrad Cathedral that included stained glass, a gargantuan organ, and an interesting process for making souvenir coins. The structure of this cathedral survived bombings of Koenigsberg by the Royal Air Force during World War II, but the interior was obliterated by fires that spread from nearby buildings destroyed by bombs.
The outside of the restored cathedral (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Stained glass window restoration (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Organ in the balcony of the cathedral (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
The old-fashioned way of making souvenir coins (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Our last stop on the tour was the Amber Museum, which is housed in one of the defensive towers of the old fortress that used to surround Kaliningrad.
Exterior of the Amber Museum (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Insects in amber (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Amber tiger portrait (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
After the tour, Cathy, Karen and I did some shopping, including picking up some snacks and fish at the open-air market for lunch during our border crossing tomorrow.
Farmer’s market about 1km from our hotel (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Getting smoked fish for lunch at the border tomorrow (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Tomorrow we drive about 30 km to the border with Poland and then proceed to Gdansk. Total driving distance is about 163 km. This is the last border crossing for the first leg of the World Auto Tour!