My loop of the Balkans

Where you've been and what you done
Bigdavesmate
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My loop of the Balkans

Post by Bigdavesmate » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:42 pm

Holland,Germany,Switzerland,Austria,Slovenia,Croatia,Bosnia,Montenegro,Albania,Greece,Bulgaria,Romania,Hungary,Slovakia,Czech Republic,Germany,Belgium,France.

Here is a little trip report of a loop I did recently through the Balkans etc.

I got the boring miles done through Holland and Germany all in one day as I was meeting 8 friends in Switzerland who were heading home from the Dolomite's. Finding them was a stroke of luck, I was riding through a small village and there they were just climbing off their bikes!. Accommodation sorted, it was beer o'clock,the following morning after gathering ourselves, they headed North and I headed East.

Austria next and up the Grossglockner pass ( after paying a hefty toll ) bloody chilly but well worth the effort.
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Camped the far side of the pass, right next to a herd of cows with the compulsory bells around their necks (such fun)
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Into Slovenia, up and over the Vrsic pass, half way up came across this beautiful Russian church built by POW's during WW1
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Croatia has a world heritage site called Plitvice lakes, stunning.
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after the lakes, I headed to the Adriatic coast and followed the coast road East. Stunning coast line and starting to warm up very nicely.
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At the eastern end of Croatia, I headed up into Bosnia, first proper border crossing and having to produce bike documents etc and purchasing green card insurance at the border. eventually cleared the border and headed to Mostar (The iconic bridge that was blown up during the recent war) they have since re-built it especially for the tourists it seems.
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North into Sarajevo, spent a couple of days around the Museums and the Turkish old town.
Most of the older blocks of flats still have the bullet holes in them from sniper fire during the conflict, very sobering.
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South east next and into Montenegro, another border, another green card. I followed the road around the bay of Kotor, which is described as the only fjord outside Norway, quite accurate except this one is considerably warmer and drier.
Into Albania... Wow!... I'm going to get a T shirt printed that says " I rode across Albania and survived" bloody lunatic drivers, narrow roads riddled with pot holes and cow shit, anything large coming the other way and 10 cars will simultaneously overtake it weather you are there or not. Add to that 41 degrees C and no map, well you get the picture.
Greece next with very fast new roads and it wasn't long before I got to the Turkish border. I had my Visa but the guards wanted their "palms greased" out of principle I turned around and headed north into Bulgaria.
Bulgaria still has a huge Russian influence, beautiful churches
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and this former communist conference centre, now derelict, just to get an idea of scale, if you look closely, there is a person standing in one of the windows
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I Stayed at Moto camp Bulgaria, which as many of you will know is a bikers only haven with some basic rooms, camping and a fridge full of beer which is run on a trust system. A fantastically unique place, I could have happily stayed longer than the 3 days I did.
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North across the Danube by ferry into Romania. I headed for the now famous ( by Jeremy Clarkson) Tranfagarasan highway.
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having stayed the previous night at the foot of "Dracula's Castle" the only thing scary was all the Ferrell dogs that are everywhere
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I personally don't agree with Clarkson, the Alpine passes are better and certainly more bike friendly.
After Romania it was time to head west and a slog through Hungary,Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and the tunnel back to Blighty.
As ever, the S10 was faultless even in the intense heat.
Just over 6500 miles in total and a great adventure.
Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.- Louis L'Amour

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sprintster
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by sprintster » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:50 pm

Good stuff,sounds like a great trip! (thumbs)

Daz Brecon
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by Daz Brecon » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:06 pm

Nice trip on my list of rides to do, I spent 12 months in Bosnia & 6 months in Kosovo as a soldier during the conflicts, want to visit all the places I served to reflect and see what it's like now, they really did kick the crap out of each other, will get it done in the coming years, good photos
Daz Brecon

sprintster
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by sprintster » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:27 pm

Yeah,on my to do list as well.I've just finished reading Graham Field's "Ureka" and he makes the Balkans sound great! :)

Chris955i
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by Chris955i » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:42 pm

Top report Ste but you missed the bit were you got very drunk at lake Constance and spent the night trying to fit down the kids slide in the hostel :)

gary b
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by gary b » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:47 pm

Nice report steve (thumbs)
But as Chris said, a few "details" missing :P

Rock
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by Rock » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:09 pm

Well jealous hopefully next time

Bigdavesmate
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by Bigdavesmate » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:17 pm

Chris955i wrote:Top report Ste but you missed the bit were you got very drunk at lake Constance and spent the night trying to fit down the kids slide in the hostel :)
what happens on tour stays on tour
Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.- Louis L'Amour

Paul-S
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by Paul-S » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:54 pm

Superb

Thanks for posting

herman
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Re: My loop of the Balkans

Post by herman » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:01 pm

Cheers for that we did about half of that this summer and have vowed to return. B)
The secret of a long life is knowing when its time to go.

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