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2010 Baltic Madness
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and more

Did you know 2010 was the Moomin’s 65th Anniversary? Yes, 65 years since Tove Jansson penned the first story that introduced me to the enchanting world of the Moomins.  So you can imagine how excited I was to discover that Moominworld actually exists, in a place called Naantali in Western Finland.  And can you imagine how excited the kids were when I asked them if they’d like to go there for our summer trip? To meet The Hemulen, Too Ticky, Stinky, Little My, Snorkmaiden, Mymble, Snufkin, Hattifatteners and Fillyjonk.

If you’re feeling lost reading this, don’t panic. I felt that way reading my first Moomin book as a kid and feel it now when I read my kids Moomin stories at bedtime. MoominValley is an alien place, where the winters are perpetually cold and black, where the arrival of spring has a significance we can only imagine, where the summer sun shines at midnight, and the brief passing of autumn signals the impending return of ice and darkness. It’s a place where nature asserts her authority, seasons are amplified and life takes on strange and unfamiliar forms. And that’s what our summer 2010 trip was all about.

Once hooked into the magic of a journey to Moominworld, it took very little persuasion to get the family buy in to the idea of cycling 2000km there and back, visiting some other strange and unfamiliar lands along the way. And so that was the plan; biking around the Baltic Sea on a summer of Moomin Madness.

With family cycle touring having a route is only half the problem; you also have to figure out how you are all going to pedal around it, which means sorting our bikes for adults and bikes for the kids. Initially the kids wanted to ride their own bikes but much as I liked the novelty of that idea it was never going to work practically; not over that distance, carrying tent, camping gear, clothes, food and toys. And so it was we came to attempt this mission with one child on the back of a tandem and two on the back of a triplet, with both beasts of burden hauling a trailer packed with gear.

The journey was a complex one. We headed over the North Sea to Denmark and started biking in Esbjerg. From there it was South across the border to Germany for a ferry from Kiel across the Baltic Sea to Lithuania. We spent a month exploring the former Soviet block states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia making our way North to Tallinn. From there by boat once more to the mysterious archipelago around Åland where we hopped by bike and boat across to Western Finland to reach Moominworld.

Getting back wasn’t be easy but we figured out a plan; a ferry to Helsinki, then another back to Rostock and then back on the bikes for a week to cross back to Denmark and, fuelled by Danish pastries, ride back to Esbjerg for the ferry home. Luckily we made it back in time for school. Otherwise it could have ben a long, cold, dark winter living in fear of The Groke.

See our online route plans for the journey (Google Map) - coming soon

We blogged and tweeted on the road so if you’d like to join in our virtual journey, why not take a look at our tweets and blogs. You can find us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog or hook up with us on Facebook.

Let us inspire you with a talk about this trip

Like us to come talk with you about our summer of Baltic Madness?
Download an outline of our talk here. Then contact us to set something up.

Our stories from the tour
(from our blog)

Bikes, boats and Moomin Summer Madness - 6th May 2010, England
Testing Times - 23rd June 2010
And the sky opened and the journey began - July 13th 2010

Denmark and Germany

Having triplets on a train - July 17th 2010
The gravel basher - July 17th 2010
When three isn't better than two - July 18th 2010
Shower cap or saddle cover - July 19th 2010, en route to Klaipeda

Lithuania and Latvia
Potholes and pig-dogs - July 20th 2010, Klaipeda
Break for the border, July 24th 2010, Latvia
It would be good to talk - July 26th 2010, Verghale, Latvia
Some things are meant to be - July 27th 2010, Leipajia, Latvia
Yes Comrade Commander - July 30th 2010, Leipajia
The curse of Ali Shazam - July 31st 2010, Latvia
The bobsled run - August 1st 2010, Sigulda, Latvia
From Russia with Love - 1st August 2010, Jurmala
Captain's dilemma - August 4th 2010, Cesis, Latvia
Three wise men of Riga, 5th August 2010, Riga, Latvia
It started with a crisp, August 8th 2010, Valga, Latvia

Bipolar town disorder, August 9th, Valka, Estonia
Breakfast in the Bunker, 13th August 2010, Ligatne
The sea of love, 15th August 2010, Otepaa, Estonia
Eye of the storm - 16th August, Tartu, Estonia
Things are not always what they seem - 18th August 2010, Tallin, Estonia
It's not easy being three - 19th August 2010, Tallin, Estonia

Aland and Finland
The sun sets on the Baltics and rises in Aland - 22nd August, Mariehahm, Aland
Island Hopping in Aland - 23rd August 2010, Aland
Moomin Magic at Moominworld - 24th August 2010, Naantali, Finland
Stumbleupon - 26th August 2010, Turku, Finland
No time to relax - 28th August, Helsinki, Finland

Things that go nump in the night - 2nd September, Odense, Denmark
Happiness is a Lego Brick - 3rd September, Billund, Denmark


View some videos of this trip from our YouTube Channel



Take a look at some pictures on PicasaWeb



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