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Thread: Round 1: Eastern Europe

  1. #1
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    Round 1: Eastern Europe

    It hadn't been a vintage preparation.

    I had an unexpected eye-watering bill to pay.
    My soon to be ex-boss was being an arsehole and causing me totally needless grief.
    My car got vandalised.
    My kitchen flooded.
    I dropped my mobile phone down the khazi.
    My green card hadn't arrived.
    I didn't get tyres fitted because they were closed half day on a Thursday (Who does that?!!)
    I lost some stuff I put in a 'safe place'.
    The pin number for my new Post Office Credit Card got messed up as I tried to open it and I couldn't read it.
    Something I'd sent had gotten lost in the post.
    I had not a single route planned before I'd got timed out.

    Ho hum.

    Well, the bright side was that the stuff in the safe place turned up, as did the green card at the 11th hour.
    I'd spent most of the Thursday night pre-Friday Departure faffing around and getting not a lot done. I don't know why, I've done lots of trips, but my head was in another place.

  2. #2
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    BMW K1100LT (1995).

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    'What I'm out for is a good time,

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  3. #3
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    Laaaaaahndahn to Sainte Menehoulde

    We'd set off on the Friday of the Jubilee, anticipating that the Eurotunnel would be quiet as everyone would be having a street part or watching the fawning BBC Royal Correspondent. How wrong we can be. It seems we are at the spearhead of the anti-monarchy evacuation operation. We get a train an hour later than expected and that's a pain. By the way: The M20 really is bliss, isn't it? It's like a motorway dedicated to people who know they're off to do something nice, and therefore general traffic misery is prohibited.

    Here's the starship GS. I've probably got enough gear



    I like the tunnel. If you time it right you can get a coffee from the little hut by the barrier and take it on to the train. It's social and you always chat to other bike folk. We run into a Harley riding from the black country. They’re off to some rally in Bruges. Her focus: The beauty of Bruges. His Focus: The beer of Bruges. Seems reasonable to me.
    Train stops and all change and we're off.
    To make some time the decision is to take the peage to Cambrai, grab some lunch, and then to take a route as we fancy. The N/D roads in France are predictably good with little and what is bike friendly traffic. We make good time.
    For anyone who has never ventured across the channel for a ride you really should, it is another world here and you realise what a crowded little Island we live on.

    We hit the Municipal Camping Gralette around 6pm. The attendant is very friendly and points us to a spot away from the river to avoid the mossies. This is it: The first run with the Nallo 2GT, and it goes up easily and without fuss. Dave has the Khyam Biker, and this too pops up without any problems. A walk down to town for din din, and then back for a nightcap (I've brought an emergency bottle of Kahlua and some miscellaneous minatures).

    Here's the camping shot. The odd bloke in the middle is Dave. Bear with us, you'll get used to him.


  4. #4
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    You had better keep this coming Rob or I'll
    the next time I see ya

    Ride safe .... take time to smell the flowers

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  5. #5
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    Sainte Menehoulde to Seebach

    We take a leisurely start. It was a lovely pleasant crisp morning and it proved quite therapeutic putting away all of the gear over a cup of tea. We head off to our first and last booked accommodation, the Pension Williams. We have no route and just wing it. Heading west there is a national park area to link up with and then over towards Baden Baden.

    We cross in to Germany. Here are some of zose crazy Germans, with zeir crazy humour, like seaside postcard from Leicester. Friendly peeps, though.



    Oh, and you're right, I'm not getting the hang of this camera. Note to self: Must get item required to photograph in middle of shot. Jeez, they couldn't have been going much slower...

    Predictably again the riding is excellent and we arrive early evening, unfortunately just as it is starting to rain

    We walk down to a local recommendation for dinner. The bloke behind the ramp kind of reminds me of Charles Manson. I have suspicions that he's been at herbal stuff, but he does a mean steak and chips so it's all cool by me. Everything is closed at 9.30, so don't go for the club scene. So it's back to the Pension Williams, where they have an honesty bar in a sort of curious internal shed. When I found the door it was a bit of a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' style discovery. There are another group of bikers from oop North, they have RT's, GS's, assorted stuff from Rainbow (the dealers, not the TV programmme) and two lads on ZZR1400's who look like they like a bit of hyperspace speed. Good fellas and we chat for a bit. We're joined by two blokes from the west country who have been to Croatia. All good but as time goes on one of them won't shut up. For fuck's sake mate. Eventually not even the fine Dunkel beer can save me, even with a smattering of red wine, and I'm felled by three falls and a submission. I can take no more so am off to bed.

    Nice place, the Pension Williams and nice helpful folks- a decent bike friendly stop over.

    Not sure what I did with the picture of Pension Williams, but if you can imagine a fairly standard 3 storey alpine style place with balconies and a load of bikes parked outside that'll do it. Why not make do instead with our very own Dave modelling Steak and Chips at Chez Manson, looking forward to an evening of not being murdered.


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    Seebach to Garmisch

    We'd hoped to camp today at Garmisch at a place recommended here at UKGSer. Well, best laid plans and all that.
    So off we go. The hotel sits adjacent to the B500 and it is nice riding straight away. However, as we ascend, we hit fog and mist for a while and it is eventful in an underwear testing kind of way. The cloud clears and we have an hour or so of good motoring. I'm almost wiped out on an overtake by Herr Schumacher in his coach up in the hills; despite showing I am there for while, sounding my horn, being lit up like Oxford Street in December, he decides to veer across the road as I'm making the pass. I get past. He knows his error and backs right off anticipating vitriol from me, but I'm in holibobs mood and all is mellow so I purr on.

    Mmmmm… Germany (Homer Simpson Style):



    As we plodded on we met light rain, which changed to moderate rain, which changed to heavy rain, which changed to even heavier rain, which changed to something off of the rain scale. The day was rainier than a very rainy thing and the whole affair started to get a distinct local sub aqua club feel about it. Sad as it is to say I was enjoying the riding though.

    Somewhat later:



    ...Garmisch bound..



    Well camping is definitely out of the question. We find a very good hotel in Garmisch. Since we've blown the budget on accommodation it is Pizza hut for us but hey ho.

    I like Garmisch.

    I break the zip on my jacket. Well done Fatso. Three days in, nice one. Unrepentant, I finish last ace piece of apple cake brought from home.

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    Garmisch to Leinz

    We'd hoped to make Slovenia today and camp somewhere. Again, it is raining. Yippee. We take the Brenner Pass Motorway across to Italy.

    Now, I don't like Motorways on the bike per se, but it if you're going to break the rules and do one, this is the one to do..



    Wonderful views and actually fast bendy bits, up and down, left and right, and a nice roll down into Italy. We cross back in to Austria and by now the rain has really pissed us off again. We decide Slovenia is most definitely out, and Dave has had enough.

    Google is your friend. We find a Best Western in Leinz with a reasonable rate. Leinz is actually a very pleasant place. It's a little detour but fine, time is on our side.

    We sit at the bar, have dinner and watch the Jubillee concert on the laptop for some strange reason. I'm on sending mails and stuff and we just end up watching it. Bizarre but we kind of enjoy it in a kind of removed way. I get a skype call too whilst Dave is having a ciggie outside, so I'm sitting there talking to my laptop. The bar folks think I'm a tiny bit odd.

    A bottle of red wine later, atop some local beer, and it's all getting a bit hazy.

  8. #8
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    superb - I am sure we must have passed somewhere on this....

    luvvin it
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  9. #9
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    Leinz to Porec

    Today is a winner and the gods of fortune have smiled upon us. It isn't raining and even better there's some warm sunshine around. You know it is going to be an epic day when as we exit Leinz a helicopter sets down to land impressively across the road in the adjacent airfield. It is a quick and skillful set down. I can appreciate that. We're tanking along the valley floor roads at good pace and it's lovely.
    Route planning has remained at zero and a look at the map, but I know I want to pass across to Italy. I see a route and take it. It is the Plocken Pass, which turns out to be an excellent little run… a real hoot.



    Whilst heading over I get a definite sense of déjà vu- and I'm proved right. I came across here with Micky and the gang back in 2005! We stop for lunch at the exact same spot, what I know now to be the Café Julia. A lovely light Lasagne is delivered. Sweet.
    A local pulls up on a 1150RT. He's a big, big bruiser looking fella, bajeesus I thought I was big, this fella is a bloody corner unit. He's friendly- only a few words of English, but he wants to buy our coffees. We talk for a bit, as much as possible and have a few laughs. We cover the topic of booze. He likes whiskey. Whilst he goes off to pay I get one of my minatures, it's only a Jamesons but it'll do and leave it on the brake fluid reservoir of his RT. He comes back to his bike… big smiles and "Grazie, Grazie". Excellent.
    I should have taken pictures, idiot.

    Onwards and upwards. We crossed into Slovenia via a pass that runs in from Italy to Bovec. I don't know the name but it is a wonderful ride- highly recommended- flowing riding bend to bend. Anyhow, it is here: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Pulf...Italy&t=m&z=12

    And a Pearl and Dean moment- Video, no less.



    No border control here. I have a photo with my lucky charm given to me to send to my ex-work colleagues..



    We slip down towards Tolmin and then to the pitcuresque Most na Soci.. Ah, here it is..



    We decide to make immediately for Croatia. I really do like Slovenia and will come back for longer, but don't stop as I've stayed before and today is a day for new discoveries
    We the Zumo to head towards Buzet, Croatia, taking the most direct route, and are rewarded with terrific Slovenian sections, up through a single lane pass into the hills, then gravel roads between towns, up and down in the forest. This is GS country alright. Pure bliss.

    We come across some spectacular views..



    Into Croatia. Border is simple. As is the pilot of the bike, and I Inadvertently go on to a toll road. Thankfully the machine takes cards.
    We settle on hitting the town of Porec and find camping a few kilometers down the beach. We get beachside camping in some trees, with a wonderful cool breeze, and a bar not fifty feet from the tents. Good planning, I say. The guy at the camping asks about our trip. When we mention Montenegro is next he says "I love Montenegro, it is great- you know, it is how Croatia used to be" reflecting on how touristy it has become.
    Camping isn't cheap- 15 Euros each, but I'd read somewhere or other that camping in Croatia could (comparitively of course) be a bit pricey.



    Lovely.



    We have dinner for two with beers for £18 so can't be bad, and a long stroll along the coast, gawd knows I need it.

    eek, I'm running low on Jaffa cakes.

  10. #10
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    Very good, I even remember that RH bend near Oberammagau


    Lovely view of the Plocken too, I know a lovely hotel there, must go back soon

    Porec looks great
    JohnnyBoxer



    So many roads...........So little time......

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    Porec to Karlobag

    I slept a peaceful sleep in the tent. A bit of breakfast and we're off. We take the main road to Rijeka and dip in for a look. Nothing to see here, so it is on to the Adriatic coast and the Dalmatian Highway.



    It is quite beautiful, and something I had my heart set on. I'm rewarded; the going is fabulous and we drop down in to little towns on the sea for coffees. They are all picturesque and great places to be.



    The highway itself is a good road but I suspect at the height of the season it is murderous. The driving standard has continued the inevitable dip. The locals are impatient, and many want to go as fast as they can. It is fine for me, I'm not racing anyone, but you need to keep your wits about. Also, they have a proclivity for coming around the corner in the middle of the road. On a GS loaded up like a Supertanker snap changes of direction require a bit of effort, so being suspicious of what is around the bend is a good idea.
    We roll up at a place called Karlobag for a late lunch. There's a little square with a hotel and the square looks out to the sea. It's all very peaceful.



    I have tagliatelle with seafood, it is rather good.



    This is it for today we agree and we call an early halt on the proviso tomorrow we need to put some KM in. The local brew is good and the red wine is more than adequate.



    I go for a dip in the sea. I'll spare you that particular image, and I can do without the Greenpeace jokes. The water is clear and lovely and the little fish congregate around my feet.

  12. #12
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    C'mon Rob ... the video

    Can't ya smile lad, you're s'posed to be enjoying it


    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  13. #13
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    Cheers for the comments gents

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    C'mon Rob ... the video

    Can't ya smile lad, you're s'posed to be enjoying it


    S'funny, I stuck the same video on Facebook and got exactly the same comment... What a miserable sod. But in truth I was really loving it, I guess that's the miserable face of concentration

    I'll try another video later and be sure to get a cheesy grin arranged

  14. #14
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    Karlobag to Cavtat

    I'm very much liking Croatia.

    The morning ride is well, just awesome. We start early and are treated to 50 miles of Dalmatian Highway with virtually no traffic whatsoever. Stunning. Great views, nice roads, sunshine, crystal clear sea. Again, everything I'd anticipated and more. Our route naturally takes us on to a section of Motorway to take us down to Split where we we're sort of targeting. There's no traffic and the weather is gorgeous. 29 degrees now. We fire along at good pace and are making great time, so carry on past split and re-join the Dalmatian Coast near Baska Voda. Riding again is good with great nooks and places to stop for refreshment.



    There's a small part of Bosnia Herzegovinia to pass through. It is no hassle. I have a union jack stuck on the side of my helmet. The guy sees it and says don't worry. His eyes are all over the bike and he likey. That was easy, same again heading back into Croatia. No problemo and everyone is very friendly indeed.

    Back into Croatia and we're on the coast roads with an aim to head to near Dubrovnik. The coastline is getting even more spectacular.



    We head in there and don't see a great deal as it is a walled city. It's pretty touristy, so we head somewhere close, to a place called Cavtat. Splendid place. We pitch up and hire an apartment for the night for not much money. We wander down the hill to the town harbour and it is very pretty. We stop in a good looking restaurant and have Lobster Bisque and a main with some good wine. Dave offends some miserable scots git seated next to us by suggesting 'English?' to them. Later Dave said he heard him complain about us but didn't make a fuss because the meal was so good. Presumably us Cockneys had crashed his party. I wish I'd have heard, I'd have given him what for, the bell end.

    The food budget is taking a bit of a hammering.

    Here's the view down to Cavtat from where we stayed..



    ... and typically gorgeous down by the waterside..



    On the bike side of things nothing much to report. All is working nicely, touch wood. Only problem is my old Garmin III plus screen is still waterlogged from all that rain some days back.

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    Cavtat to Bar

    We leave and head to the Border. I cross and head down the long hill to the Montenegro side of things. We've ran into a couple on a UK bike. A Suzuki V-Strom. He's from the black country, and she is from the Ukraine. They're on the way to Greece for a few weeks and are old hands at this route. We have a good chat and I learn a few things and tips for places further on into things.

    Dave doesn't follow down from the border and I'm getting concerned. Some Austrian guys on bikes who come on down the hill gesture. 'Your friend' he says 'he has fallen off, but he's OK'. Poor Dave had been having trouble with the KTM side stand. It’s a total faff- unless you find the right camber it is very dodgy to park and wants to fall over. I swear Dave has done as many miles trying to find a place to put the bike as he has getting where to we are now.
    Dave arrives to everyone's relief and he's fine. Some burly worker at the border post who helped him get the bike upright knows it weighs a load too.

    Moving from Croatia to Montenegro and things are completely different. Straight away it is much more raw, notably so. The driving standard continues to deteriorate. White lines are just for general guidance, they don't mean anything at all. If there is a space a matchbox length to fit into for an overtake, that's enough, and they will barge on in. You just need to be prepared for it and not get involved. If they want to go let them get on with it.

    We head around a the periphery of inland lakes that link to the sea. We stop for what turned out to be a cheese flavour apple pie that began with a B, I think it was Bravat or something, but I can't remember. We order chips as a back up. Chips are the winner, but we, or should I say I, eat a lot of the cheesy apple thingy as not to offend. The guy seemed to go through a lot of effort and it was delivered with pride. I should have just chucked it over the wall.

    We head through Kotor to look for a road upwards into the hills. It is a nightmare. The latest Garmin maps are bloody crap, and it is trying to send me through bushes on a road that's never been there. Back into Kotor and a friendly local on a moped gives us the way. It's totally different to Garmin's view, but it's the right one. Kotor looks very nice with a walled city. I'd like to stop there in future- mental note made.

    Up into the pass. We stop to take photos and see some Brits coming up on GS's amongst other bikes. Was it you then? Own up! Anyway they're clearly having a ball and hoon past, waving animatedly no doubt clocking our UK plates.



    We turn off and take a single track mountain road with a humungous number of hairpins. It's grand and we're rewarded with spectacular scenery.



    Yes, that's a cruise liner down there



    At the other end we see the airport and we watch a plane take off from below us and climb. Most impressive.



    At the top of the pass we head along a plane for some distance. There's some reminders of home. I think he was from around these parts, actually.



    After some more beautiful riding, with added mapping confusion from Garmin, we reach in to Bar and find a hotel- a very nice boutiquey place with the sweetest girl on reception, warm and friendly. Very nice and very cheap. We have pizza and a walk along the front, passing a fairground, which I think is home to the Montenegran school of motoring.



    On another note, Montenegro is where VW Golf Mark 2's go to die. I have never seen so many, and having owned a couple and it took me back. Clearly we are well into territory where rust doesn't kill like it did mine

    Slightly more concerning is that I don't sleep well at all. Feeling a bit anxious. Not sure why

  16. #16
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    Looking good so far Rob.... well done chap

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