My route for this trip is as follows:
Hong Kong → Shenzhen → Guangzhou → Kaliningrad → Yantarny → Svetlogorsk → Zelenogradsk → Rybachy → Morskoye → Nida → Juodkrantė → Klaipeda (3 round-trips to Smiltynė) → Riga → Daugavpils (1 round-trip to Riga – Sigulda) → Riga (1 round-trip to Mazie Kangari, 1 round-trip to Šiauliai, 1 round-trip to Sigulda – Turaida, 1 round-trip to Jūrmala) → Guangzhou → Hong Kong
A total of 22 days, 11 orienteering competitions, 9 beaches, 7 Soviet history museums.
After I went to Lithuania to participate in the World Trail Orienteering Championship last year, I did not intend to go again this year because this year’s competition was held in Latvia, and my performance last year was not good. It was estimated that there would not be too much improvement in Latvia with similar terrain.
But just at the end of last year, when the International Orienteering Federation announced this year’s annual calendar, I changed my mind:
Two days before the World Championships in Latvia this year, there was a world ranking event Falco Cup in Klaipėda, Lithuania! This was an adaptation and practice opportunity before the World Championships! World Ranking score would also be counted! This might improve my performance at the World Championships in Latvia. After careful study, the nearest airport with a regular route is a small airport Palanga Airport (PLQ), but there is no reasonable flight with a single transfer from Hong Kong. The second nearest airport is Kaliningrad (Калининград) Khrabrovo Airport (KGD). From Hong Kong, you can take Aeroflot Russian Airlines and transfer at Moscow. Russian airline tickets are famously cheap, tickets to the same destinations are generally about 10% lower than other companies in off-season, and more than 20% in the peak season.
Kaliningrad is the second place on my travel list (the first is Kinmen, the frontier of the Chinese Civil War), because it is an important military port of Russia, with a warship and submarine museum, and a Russian exclave, surrounded by NATO and is a magical place in geography. In addition, Kaliningrad was the place where Russia occupied only after the Second World War. It had been Königsberg, the capital of East Prussian (Ostpreußen) since ancient times. It was bombarded by the Soviet Union communists during the Second World War and completely destroyed. The residents fled to the German mainland. After the fall, the genocide was carried out. The remaining residents were thoroughly cleaned and the Russians were colonized to rebuild the city. All the original German names were changed to Russian names. Since Kaliningrad was the most important non-freezing port of the Soviet Union in the Baltic Sea, it has great military value. Before the collapse of the Communist Party, it was a closed city, and outsiders were not allowed to enter. In addition, going from Kaliningrad to Klaipėda will pass the Curonian Spit National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with special landscape and ecological value, and its sand dunes are a famous attraction in Lithuania. In view of this, I decided to participate in the selection of the Hong Kong team this year. If I was selected, I would travel to Kaliningrad, go through the whole Curonian Spit, participate in the Falco Cup world ranking event after arriving at Klaipeda, then head to Daugavpils to participate in the World Championships.
I originally purchased an Aeroflot Russian Airline ticket departing from Hong Kong and returning to Hong Kong in May at a cost of about HK$9000. Since the result of the selection had not been announced, I purchased a refundable ticket and, if the selection failed, would refund the ticket and cancel the itinerary. After the successful selection, I re-searched the ticket and found that the ticket from Guangzhou to Guangzhou was only about HK$7000. So I refunded the original ticket, re-purchased the ticket departing from Guangzhou and returning to Guangzhou, and used conventional speed railway to connect Guangzhou and Shenzhen which cost only RMB 23.5 per trip.