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July 29-30: Curonian Spit (North)

I went to the beach the next day after I arrived in Nida. The beaches there are divided into nude beach, ladies beach, family beach, etc.

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I went to the southernmost nude beach, went all the way south, and finally saw a sign.

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To the south is the border closed zone, and the lighthouse is at the national border.

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There was another tourist there, who gave me a telescope to look at the real border fence 800 meters away and the Russian soldiers in the lighthouse.

In the afternoon, I went to the Visitor Centre to buy an orienteering map for a tour, in order to familiarize myself with the competition environment in Smiltynė in the next few days.

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Because I missed the sunset one night earlier, I hoped I could go to Death Valley once to watch the sunset, but unfortunately there was a thunderstorm before sunset! The opportunity was gone. I only went up the next morning.

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Then I took the bus to Juodkrantė to see the Hill of Witches (Raganų kalnas).
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Then go to the beach again.
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and enter the forest to familiarise the terrain.
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The hostel I stayed in was left over from the occupation era. I was able to see a cash machine with Russian written from the old days.
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A few photos at the seaside.

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July 28th: ​​Curonian Spit (South)

The Curonian Spit is 98 kilometres long (101 kilometres for the only road above), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a national park. Car entry is subject to double high fees, which costs 20 Euros to enter the North in the summer and 300 rubles to enter the South. In general, cycling is the most cost-effective method.

There are 9 settlements on the Curonian Spit. They includes in order:
Lesnoy (11 km)
Rybachy (33.7 km)
Morskoye (44.2 km)
Nida (52.8 km)
Preila (61.8 km)
Pervalka (67 km)
Juodkrantė (80.5 km)
Alksnynė (91.8 km)
Smiltynė (101 km)
Among them, Nida is the largest and has the size of a town. It is the administrative center of Neringa Municipality (Neringos savivaldybė), ranging from Nida to Alksnynė. Smiltynė belongs to Klaipėda city (Klaipėdos miestas). Lesnoy to Morskoye belongs to the Zelenogradsky district (Зеленоградского района) Curonian Spit rural settlement (Сельское поселение Куршская коса).

I took the 593 bus into the Curonian Spit National Park in the morning. The bus was used by a lot of people in the morning of a summer weekend. I took the 10:51 trip and there were two buses running at the same time. Both of them were full.

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Vehicles entering the national park are subject to payment and a queue appeared at the toll booth.
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I first got off at the museum. There used to be an airfield in the area.
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Then went to Müller’s Height (Высота Мюллера)

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Then to Dancing Forest (Танцующий лес)

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Then to Efa (Эфа) Height.

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Then to Morskoye. I visited the beach first, that beach comes from at least Zelenogradsk and continues to Smiltynė all the way, with at least 100 km long.

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Morskoye is a small village. There are only one convenience store and one bicycle rental in the inside. There are a few cafés at the intersection. There are no other commercial activities, no souvenirs, amber, etc. The bicycle rental price is 100 rubles per hour, 500 rubles during the day, and 600 rubles a day and night, mainly for the local Nida day tour business.

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As mentioned above, Morskoye is only about 10 to 12 km away from the largest town Nida on the Curonian Spit (apart from this, the nearest settlement of comparable scale is Zelenogradsk, 44 km outside). But this is a fucking traffic bottleneck, the buses from Zelenogradsk (I took these buses all day to visit all the above attractions) terminate at this small village, only one bus in the morning and evening continue to Nida. (the morning bus is 239 and the evening bus is 384). After arriving in Nida, there is again an hourly bus to Smiltynė.

The ticket of 384 bus can be pre-ordered on the Lithuanian website. I ordered a ticket from Morskoye to Nida, with the time shown on ticket as 18:40.

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Because I thought the bus may arrive early (17:33 from Zelenogradsk, the section of the road is 44 kilometers, the scheduled time of other routes is only about 55 to 60 minutes, 18:40 is obviously unreasonable), so I went to the bus stop at 18:20 (that is, 20 minutes before the ticket, 47 minutes after Zelenogradsk opened), but the result is still not being able to take the bus!

I had been there until 19:00 and I couldn’t see the bus passing by, but I saw the other two routes scheduled after the 384 bus, also departed from Zelenogradsk, arrived the terminal Morskoye.

So I tried to ask the villagers in the café see if they saw a bus going to the direction of Nida before 18:20, but there was language barrier (I don’t know Russian, the locals don’t understand English), and WhatsApp’ed a local friend at the same time, as well as tried to call the hostel I booked in Nida. However, the bus company’s telephone number is a long-distance number, and the hostel’s telephone number is also a long-distance number. The local mobile phone network was extremely poor, I couldn’t receive the Viber callback from the hostel. After some time, the villagers drove me to the direction of Nida, but they could only reach the national park gate 3.5 kilometres beyond, which was only 7 kilometres to Nida, and the area after the gate was a border closed zone, which was forbidden to walk through.

The villagers put me down at the gate of the National Park and explained my situation to the staff. Then the staff helped me to catch passing-by cars and hoped that there would be a car that could sent me through the border closed area to the other side. But as the sunset was approaching, there were fewer and fewer cars passing by. Finally after about an hour, a kind Lithuanian lady, returning to Klaipėda, carried me to Nida. I originally planned to go to Death Valley to watch the sunset after taking the bus to the hostel, however, as I couldn’t get on the bus, I had already passed the sunset time. Fortunately, there is a local supermarket that closed at 23:00, which I had about 20 minutes after arriving the hostel, I rushed to buy a new phone card (the original Russian phone card had become roaming and cannot be used). When I reconnected to the network, my local friend also responded to me by WhatsApp. The bus company replied that the bus had passed Morskoye and was heading to Klaipėda and could not see me. This also meant that the bus might have been speeding all the way, and took less than 50 minutes from Zelenogradsk to Morskoye.

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July 26-27: coast of Kaliningrad Oblast

I first went to the local theme park “Youth Recreation Park”. There are a variety of facilities, including a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, etc. There is also a learning centre. There is a chess club inside promited. I entered the house and took a few photos:

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Then take the route 120 suburban bus from the train station to Yantarny. The bus runs every hour and there will be additional buses on sunny days in summer.
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It was indeed a sunny day in the summer, and encountered a historical heat wave in Europe. There was no additional bus before the 12:27 departure that I took, and the result was bus full.
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Yantarny (Янтарный), formerly known as Palmnicken before the fall, was named after the fall because of the local amber. Yantarny is now a famous beach resort in Kaliningrad, and the beach is blue-flag certified, representing a range of international quality standards. The beaches there are endless.按圖片以查看大圖 名稱: IMG_20180726_150628.jpg 查看次數: 0 文件大小: 4.38 MB ID: 2491252

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Also because the place was encountering a historical heat wave, I felt that the sea was not cool enough when I went swimming. The air temperature was above 28 °C and the water temperature was 21 °C, which was 3 °C higher than normal. The water of the Baltic Sea is not salty, and the salt content is only one-fifth of the ocean. Therefore, the buoyancy is greatly reduced, and it is easy to sink the bottom. However, the slope of the entire beach is very low. It is still very shallow far from the shore, and I can easily stand on the bottom of the water.

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After a night in Yantarny, I took a bus to continue the journey to Svetlogorsk, then transfer to an electric train to Zelenogradsk.

Svetlogorsk (Светлогорск), formerly known as Rauschen before the fall, is a seaside spa town. As I was just passing by, I only visited the sundial and the beach. The beach there is also very long, but it is narrow and full of people, and the wind and waves are bigger than Yantarny.

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Then I took an electric train (электричка) to Zelenogradsk.
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In Russia, electric trains refer to suburban trains, as opposed to long-haul trains that traditionally use diesel trains. I took this route which operates on a single-track railway. Other than Svetlogorsk-1 and Pionersky, the rest of the stations are unmanned in rural areas. The train speed is also quite slow, the maximum speed is only about 80 km/h, and the frequency is quite sparse, only a departure per few hours. In addition, the train used in this route is also an old train left over from the Soviet era, which is in sharp contrast to the new air-conditioned train running for Kaliningrad.
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Zelenogradsk (Зеленоградск), known as Cranz before the fall, was a larger seaside resort town in Kaliningrad Oblast. I visited the local water tower, but the tower is only a few floors high and not worth going up.
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The bus schedule is also photographed for use on the next day to the Curonian Spit. There are 5 bus routes, which are as follows:
210 Zelenogradsk ↔ Morskoye (5 departures a day, operated by CranzAutoTour)
239 Kaliningrad ↔ Smiltynė (1 departure a day, in the morning from Kaliningrad to Smiltynė, in the afternoon by Smiltynė to Kaliningrad, operated by KönigAuto)
384 Kaliningrad ↔ Klaipėda (1 departure a day, in the morning from Klaipėda to Kaliningrad, in the afternoon Kaliningrad to Klaipėda in the afternoon, operated by Klaipėda Bus Park)
593 Kaliningrad ↔ Morskoye (4 departures a day, operated by ZelenogradskTrans)
596 Svetlogorsk ↔ Morskoye (5 departures a day, operated by SvetlogorskAuto)
(But the 384 line operated by Klaipėda is not listed, the departure is at 17:33).
Only lines 239 and 384 lines with 1 departure a day respectively runs through the entire Curonian Spit, and the rest of the routes end at Morskoye, about 44 km from the entrance of the spit.
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The old boundary pillar was also displayed in the town.
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The beach is a must-see place for me. The beach of Zelenogradsk is more windy, the sea is covered with white caps, and the shore is full of seaweed. There are also many people on the beach.
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A row of wooden walls on the beach is used to prevent the coast from being eroded by the waves. I also swam for a while on the beach with such big waves. After going out of the water, I went to the pier, and saw people jumping pier! Jumping one by one!
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So I also made the first jump in life! The water is in fact not too deep, but just enough. After entering the water, in the Baltic freshwater, a little exhale already get me down to the bottom.

July 25th: Tour of Kaliningrad City

On the next day after the flight, July 25th, I visited museums in the city of Kaliningrad. I first went to the World Ocean Museum, where there were various ships (including research ships, submarines, seaplanes, etc.) and aquariums. I visited the research ship and the submarine, but the explanations were all Russian that I could not understand.

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It also displays many Soviet-era badges and promotional materials, showing the people their ambitions to conquer the Arctic.
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On July 29th, the Navy Day, the museum had celebrations, but unfortunately I had left Russia.
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I went to the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art, which also displayed works of art and propaganda articles (stepping on Nazi) in Soviet era.
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In the evening, I visited the birthplace of the map theory, the fishing village of Kaliningrad. The famous Königsberg Seven Bridge problem happened here. In 1735, Leonhard Euler proposed that there was no way to walk seven bridges in a one-off manner without repeating it, and published a paper in the following year. After the communist bombing of the Second World War, there were only five of the original seven bridges, which could be passed in one go, so I walked five bridges.

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July 23-24: Departure

Because I need to fly to the west, in order to avoid getting up early on the day of flight, causing difficulty to adapt to the time difference, I went to a hostel in Guangzhou one night before, and I tried to delay sleeping and getting up so that when I reach the destination I could directly match the local timetable.

I departed on the evening of July 23, entered mainland China from Hong Kong via Huanggang Port, and then took the Shenzhen Metro to Shenzhen East Station.

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Then took the conventional speed train to Guangzhou and ordered a bowl of noodles at the restaurant of the train station.
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After a night at the hostel in downtown Guangzhou, I went to the airport to take the aeroplane. The new terminal building of Guangzhou Airport No. 2 has just been opened, and its design is almost the same as that of Hong Kong Airport.

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The plane I took was Aeroflot Russian Airlines SU221. It was scheduled to take off at 11:10 and arrive at SVO at 16:20. However, because of the thunderstorm in Guangzhou that day, the airport runway was congested. The final flight was delayed for 40 minutes, arriving at 17:00. I had to transfer to the SU1006 flight that took off at 18:30. The minimum transit time at SVO from terminal F international flight to the terminal D domestic flight was 90 minutes, making the time very urgent. From international to domestic, luggage could not be sent directly to the destination, need to be taken out and re-shipped in SVO. I needed to enter the Russian territory at SVO. I showed the boarding pass to the airline staff to ask to jump the queue. After I retrieved the baggage, I immediately ran from terminal F to the domestic part at the end of terminal D and re-checked the baggage. When I reached the gate, the flight had started to board.

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This domestic line aircraft needed to fly over the foreign Lithuanian airspace. The following is a photo of the Lithuanian and Russian border river.
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The Curonian Spit could be seen before the plane landed.
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Kaliningrad is a dual-use airport for military and civilian use, and many small aircraft were parked.
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The airport had recently expanded in response to the World Cup, the banner of the World Cup was immediately seen after getting off the place.
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The thing not lacking in the airport is the ATMs, which are available for all banks.
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I took the 244э bus to the city centre, and immediately saw a mobile phone shop advertisement with a big communist sign.
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Arrived at the city centre, I saw that the area was quite westernized.
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Overview

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.

Foreword

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.

FinTrailO 2018

In the past Easter, I went to Turku for FinTrailO 2018. There were 6 races in total: PreO+TempO on 30/3, TempO, PreO 1 and Night TempO on 31/3, PreO 2 on 1/4, and relay on 2/4. However, because I had a full time job at that time, due to holiday constraint, I could only participate in 3 out of the 6 races (and missed the chance of experiencing Finnish ice swimming and sauna at the first day where the PreO+TempO race was held in a local winter swimming club).

I participated in TempO, PreO 1 and Night TempO, i.e. the 3 races on 31/3, where the first two are world ranking events.

On 30/3, the first day of holidays, I flew a daytime flight from Guangzhou to Moscow, then to Helsinki, and took a coach to Turku, and arrived there late night.

On 31/3, I took a bus to Ruissalo and participated the world ranking events.

I didn’t do particularly well, got 61st place out of 105 in TempO and 73rd place out of 108 in PreO, partly because this was literally my first time when I had been to places with snow, and there was difficulty for me to recognise snow-covered terrain.

After the competitions I took a bus back to the city centre. The bus ran on 1-hour interval and was crowded on my return trip.

After having dinner, I joined the night TempO which was not part of the championships. This was the first time I did a TrailO competition at night, and got 40th place out of 62.

The next day, 1/4, I had to go back to airport and take flights back to Moscow and Hong Kong, where I arrived morning 2/4, the last day of the holiday, and slept for the whole afternoon.

Although my standing was not good in the world rankings, the score I got was lower (better) than the previous competitions in Egypt, because the participants were much stronger.

I’m planning to join the competitions either in Lithuania, or the competitions in Czech later this year to complete 6 world ranking races in this year, in order to get a real estimate of my level among the athletes over the world.

Earlier this month, I went to Egypt for the 3rd Egypt International Orienteering Championship (EIOC) in conjunction with 7th Mediterranean Championship in Orienteering (MCO). There were 5 competitions in the whole series, 3 FootO competitions and 2 TrailO competitions.

I departed Hong Kong by Turkish Airlines flight on 29th January to Istanbul and arrived on 30th January, joined the free layover tour and flew to Borg El Arab afterwards, and stayed in Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AAST).

I met my friends Ezz Edlin, Mohamed Hesham and Omar Gamal from 13th World Scout Youth Forum on the next day and visited Alex for the day.

The competitions began on 1st February with FootO model and PreO in Montazah Palace Gardens. The PreO competition had 23 control points, but I made 2 mistakes in the competition, one about a cliff foot, another was plain careless after a long time in competition where I lost my concentration already. There were 2 time stations originally, but due to misplacement of flags by the organiser, one of them was voided. The top four competitors in PreO got 22 correct with only 1 mistake, and I got the 7th with 11.16 WRE points.

Photo credit: Juba Photographer

Sprint and TempO competitions were held on the next day, on 1st February in Arab Academy. The sprint competition was a standard campus orienteering race with flat terrain, 2.9 km long, 10 m climb, and 23 controls. The winning time was 15’16” and I ran 24’23”, got 107 WRE points. After the sprint competition, the TempO competition followed. There were 5 stations with 5 tasks each, 25 tasks in total. I answered them fast in 153 seconds, making 3 mistakes in the process, and got the 2nd with 243 seconds total time with 10.44 WRE points, while the winning time was 178 seconds.

Photo credit: Juba Photographer

Photo credit: Juba Photographer

The day after that, we travelled to El Alamein for the “long” competition. It was the only competition without WRE status. It was held in a closed summer resort with an ISSOM 1:7500 (!!!) map. The terrain was also nearly flat, with only 30 m climb for a 9.7 km course.

After the competition, I went to the World War II Museum in El Alamein.

The final competition was the “middle” WRE competition held in Montazah Palace Garden on 4th February, but it was basically a lengthened sprint race because it was held in a park terrain with 1:5000 ISSOM map, also without much climb. However, I made multiple mistakes in the competition, including the classical sprint mistake of not seeing an impassable barrier in the map, and I got ankle pain in the middle of the race, probably because I didn’t tie my shoe lace properly, and had to sit down and adjust my shoes in the race. Therefore, I didn’t get a good result and got only the base 10 WRE points for completing the race.

The prize ceremony was held immediately after the final race, and I got to the stand once for the second place in TempO.

Photo credit: Juba Photographer

The academy where I stayed was near Abu Qir, a suburb of Alexandria. The only means of transport to the city were commuter train and share taxi (microbus). The train line was Abu Qir – Alexandria, where I couldn’t find anything about it on the web. At the station there were no notices, gates, ticket offices / machines, timetables, etc and the station was unmanned.

I took the train for a round trip to the eastern tram terminal. The train was slow with average speed about 30 km/h and maximum speed about 50 km/h, and the fare was 1.25 L.E (about HK$0.56) without class segregation, and its doors never closed.

Then I took a tram for a few stops and have a pizza, but it was a pity that I couldn’t ride on the double decker tram because that car was women only, but had to ride on the single decker trailers instead. Afterwards I bought a lot of pasta from a local supermarket and took the return train.


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After the competitions, I had one more tourism day before I left Egypt. I visited the pyramids in Giza and also the national museum. However, the organiser was crap. The driver only drove a small private car which could barely fit us, and he didn’t know the fact that he was supposed to pay the entry fees as included in the package and didn’t have enough money. Also, when visiting the pyramid, we fell into a trap where a guide was hard selling attractions all the time.

After visiting the museum and the dinner, the driver drove the other Hong Kong athletes back to Cairo airport first, then me to Borg El Arab airport, and finally brought Ralph (a German athlete) back to Alex. However, after dropping the Hong Kong athletes at Cairo Airport, the driver didn’t know how to get back to the motorway to Alex, and initially he didn’t even trust us orienteers for direction, only after hours inside the city he gave up and followed Ralph’s direction. At that time, the problem was that the driver didn’t know the way, Ralph didn’t have enough mobile data and I didn’t have enough batteries.

On 6th February, I left Egypt and flew back to Istanbul and I visited the city for a day using mainly metros and ferries. I visited two museums in the city, crossed the Bosphorus Bridge and got some souvenirs. Istanbul was a very modern huge city and getting around was very convenient using all kinds of rapid transit, which yields a great contrast with Alex.

Finally, I flew back to Guangzhou and return to Hong Kong by coach on 7th February. After the competitions, I got the 4th in the trail orienteering world ranking, but it did not have reference value because the world ranking list was just initially set up by these two competitions. Only in the next year when there are more competitions the world ranking list will have value.

The final race of Beijing O Week was held outside Beijing, in Linqigu, Yongqing, Langfang. I was told to stay in Yongqing town, and get on a bus for local students to the event.

However, the organiser bus was late and I didn’t arrive on time, which made me start last instead of first as originally arranged.

The race was held in conjunction with China Open, which had many classes including competition classes and non-competition classes.

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My performance in this race was the best among the 5, probably because there was no climb in the race (the terrain was completely flat).

Map

The open classes came after our elite race, and there was a cultural exchange session afterwards. However, I had to go immediately after the race because I was taking a flight from Beijing that night, and it would take approximately 6 hours there back to Beijing Airport.

As the organiser bus was not ready to depart at that time, I walked 2 km back to the county road and caught a rural coach from Yongqing to Langfang, had lunch there and took a train back to Beijing.

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There were many kinds of trains from Langfang to Beijing, from the most luxurious high-speed G train to the slowest non-air-conditioned “green car”, but the slow train was not available at my time of travel, so I had to take an air-conditioned conventional train to Beijing.

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After arriving Beijing, I took the metro line 2 (ring line) to Dongzhimen, but I didn’t took the airport express because it was so damn expensive (CNY 25). Instead, I took a bus 850 Express, which travelled on the motorway to airport and cost only CNY 2 to the nearest stop from airport.

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After reaching the airport, I returned my transport card and dumped my luggage in order to meet weight restriction. I took the flight KA975 (sold as CA6523) to Hong Kong, which was the last flight to Hong Kong on that day and ended my journey just after midnight.

The WRE score was published later, but I got only the base score in both sprint and middle race, because the international elites were so damn fast and I could in no way run near their speed.

For the middle race, it was my first WRE done in FootO middle/long because in previous years I couldn’t even finish the middle AOC race in Hong Kong before qualification was introduced to the race.

For the sprint race, my score decreased every WRE race in these years, and now I got only the base score in the WRE. Although there would be a WRE race in December in China also, I was not joining that race because that race was also a local ranking event, and I had to enter my local class (M21) to get local ranking score instead of WRE class.

For the whole trip, there were two places I missed. The first was Mutianyu Great Wall, which I found it out a day after leaving Huairou, and it was too far away to return there from the city. The second was not realising I could arrange the journey to stay at Langfang rather than Yongqing, in order to take the “green car” slow train from Beijing to Langfang.

The races themselves were great, especially the middle race was the highest-quality middle race I’d ever been to, but the logistics was crap. Notices were late, important information was missing from bulletins, start lists were wrong, and the time limit was not mentioned and entered wrongly, etc. When compared to the World Championships in Lithuania I’d been to this year, although the race information was OK, there were a lot of delays and many technical problems occurred, including missing units, flag misplacement, which would be disastrous if happened on a FootO race.

The trip was my first trip as a “sport tourist”, and I’m looking forward to more upcoming trips next year. The place that I want to visit most is Kinmen, because as a Chinese, I want to understand more about the Cold War in the past, where Kinmen was the frontier between the Free World and Communism World (Bamboo Curtain), but now the peace bridge between mainland and Taiwan, keeping China as a whole. I originally would like to go there in early 2018, but as the event calendar shows that there will be a sprint WRE in Kinmen in October by Chinese Taipei, I am going to postpone that trip to become another sports tourism trip. I hope I can get a higher score next year, more than the base score of 10.

The sprint WRE race was held in the Old Summer Palace (圆明园). The terrain was mainly open, but there were impassable bodies of water separating various areas requiring the use of bridges between.

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Race 4 map

At the beginning of the race, I couldn’t match the map and the terrain quickly and wasted a lot of time, and there were some little hills in the middle of the course where I couldn’t get on quickly and need time to recognise the shape. Also, the red line from 13 to 14 covered the path symbol on the map which confused me when I was a path there.

I completed the race in 30 minutes and 30 seconds, still over double the winning time 14 minutes and 54 seconds, and couldn’t get more than 10 WRE score in this race.

However, in this race, 2 competitors missed a control and got disqualified.

After the race, the international elites visited the Summer Palace (颐和园), but we didn’t go there and visited the Beijing Zoo.

My friend Eric was leaving that night, and the next race would be held in Linqigu in Yongqing County, Langfang, Hebei. The teacher told me to stay in Yongqing and get on a coach carrying local students to the race. There were multiple modes of transport from Beijing to Yongqing. Direct coaches were available from Muxiyuan, but it was relatively expensive (CNY 20) with few departures per day. Alternatively, one might use any method to get to Langfang city first (including various kinds of trains from the most luxurious high-speed trains exclusively for the rich to the slowest green cars affordable by everyone) and transfer to a rural coach which departed every 20 minutes there, but the service ended at 18:00 so I couldn’t use that method.

In recent years, an inter-provincial bus route “Yongqing Express” was introduced. That route was Beijing bus route 828, from Yongdingmen via Gu’an to Yongqing, which travelled on motorway between Beijing and Gu’an. I took that bus to Yongqing and it took 2 hours from Beijing to Yongqing, and it was the cheapest costing only CNY 9.8 if paid by card. The bus was also very full, with all seats taken at the terminus already, with most passengers getting off in Gu’an.