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Thread: Round 1: Eastern Europe

  1. #33
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    Not seen much camping yet

    Only 2 or 3 days

    I'd be the same, though - as well you know, Rob

    Cracking report, are you off for a year?.......that bike looks mighty heavy
    JohnnyBoxer



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

  2. #34
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    Nice going Rob..

    I've cracked a bottle, got the maps out and spent a pleasant afternoon reading this, instead of killing the triffids in my garden.. an inspired choice

    Can't wait for the next installment.. Transfagarash and Murfatlar would figure strongly, if I'd got anything to do with it

    I'm impressed that Dave's persuaded you to get the tent out of the pannier, er.. twice, is it now? Don't want to wear it out, eh?

    ballistic

  3. #35
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    Thanks again for all of the comments

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBoxer View Post
    Not seen much camping yet

    Only 2 or 3 days

    I'd be the same, though - as well you know, Rob
    We retain camping as an option I suppose

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBoxer View Post
    Cracking report, are you off for a year?.......that bike looks mighty heavy
    Yup.. this is the first bit. Coming back to UK in July, but then orf again. Enjoying so much this has got me seriously thinking of a RTW trip.

    Heavy? You bet. Actually not too bad. Wilbers very good!

    Quote Originally Posted by ballistic View Post
    Nice going Rob..

    I've cracked a bottle, got the maps out and spent a pleasant afternoon reading this, instead of killing the triffids in my garden.. an inspired choice

    Can't wait for the next installment.. Transfagarash and Murfatlar would figure strongly, if I'd got anything to do with it

    I'm impressed that Dave's persuaded you to get the tent out of the pannier, er.. twice, is it now? Don't want to wear it out, eh?
    I am definitely blaming Dave re tent

    Re: Destinations.. oh yes... watch this space!

  4. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8roberto View Post

    Yup.. this is the first bit. Coming back to UK in July, but then orf again. Enjoying so much this has got me seriously thinking of a RTW trip.

    Heavy? You bet. Actually not too bad. Wilbers very good!


    When you come home, dump a lot of that stuff then, I couldn't ride it with all that clobber on it

    Ride safe
    JohnnyBoxer



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

  5. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBoxer View Post
    When you come home, dump a lot of that stuff then, I couldn't ride it with all that clobber on it

    Ride safe
    You don't have to.

    PUI since 2004


    [url=https://www.TickerFactory.com/]


  6. #38
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    Glad thad you found Cavtat enjoyable= spent a couple of holidays there.
    It has a fantastic sea food place there.
    Lets have the next installment.
    Great read.

  7. #39
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    Marmaris to Didim

    We took another ferry North from Rhodes to Marmaris. We got there for 7.30 and proceeded to go through the paperwork. V5, Green Card, Passport; in return various boarding passes and tickets and a receipt for Turkey port tax.
    Eventually all is sorted and we head off through passport control and customs which tell us to come back in half an hour. The guy is clearly busy doing sod all, and how dare we interrupt.. tourist filth.
    But in the end all is OK and the passport/customs people who see us are cool. Roll on.
    The ferry is perfectly presentable and we even can buy a sausage roll. Greggs have no fear. It was half a yard of pastry with one of those little continental breakfast wieners knocking about at one end. A little shut eye and we're ready for action.

    I quite like this at the Customs house at the port:



    Another Ferry. Yarrrr!!!!



    .. Life on the ocean wave..



    And so to Turkey. Port entry is a blast. You ride off and are presented with… no one. So off we go and find someone to tell us where to go. She tells where to go. We go. Someone appears and tells us not to be here, go there. We go.
    In to passport control. A charming young border lady, with the deepest dark eyes says, 'Sorry you need a visa'. So we all go back three spaces. Eventually by a comedy little stand in the middle of the concurse, after waiting around someone appears and we are given a 'visa' (looks more to me like a Christmas Postage Stamp) and relieved of 15 Euros. Bargain. We then go back and see said foxy border lady, who is happy. We go on. Next is customs. We find the guy rummaging through some Frankfurt registered Mercedes. He says 'You wait here'. We wait here. Once he is happy with ze Germans, he's to me. We go off to the office. He goes through the documents and starts filling all the blah in on the computer. Half way through he's losing his focus. What model bike? 'R1200GS' I say a few times. Eventually he gets bored and puts in 2009. By the time he gets to the end he's putting in anything to get through it all. Funny.

    He then comes out and looks over the bike, matching the VIN to the log book. I'm impressed, remaining polite and very British as I do in all of these situations. Smiley smiley tourist. Having then ascertained there is nothing to declare, he beams a broad smile, says 'Welcome to Turkey' and shakes my hand. Very charming. I get through the gate and wait for Dave, who eventually rolls up wanting a ciggie and to get out of the sun. It's rather hot.

    We decide to skip Marmaris given our Rhodes experience and head North on the main road. Any hassle we've had is more than made up for by this. It is a winding dual carriageway up, up and up and it is wonderful. It reminded me a lot of the game 'Out Run' which I shovelled a bundle of cash into at the fair as a youth, in fact I started humming the tune to it at one point. We're just rolling along left to right, up and down, steady as you like. A guy on a FJR1300 rolls on up behind us, has a good look and then blasts off with waves hello and goodbye. That was the last large capacity bike we'd see for 450 miles.

    We stop quick for a drink at a mini market kind of thing. The woman peers at us curiously, but we are clearly cuddly and mean no harm.



    One thing we note is that the Turks (in the country at least) are better drivers than the greeks. The only particular gripe is they indicate and go, or just pull out in the road making whatever is coming whizz round them or slow down. The other thing is that traffic gives way on Roundabouts, rather than joining, even though the road markings figures otherwise. It's a bit odd, but we'll manage.

    At least we have more of a clue with the signs and the language. Dave had become thoroughly done with Greek, or how he puts it "all that Square, Squiggle, Triangle business".

    I really like this photo- there's nothing spectacular about it, but it seems to say quite a lot:



    Anyway, the going is pretty good, and the roads, save for the roadwork areas, are on the whole excellent. We'd set good old Zumo for the lake area to the north west, figuring that there would be hotels and restaurants. We get there and there's nothing which amazed us. We pitch on and then find a small town where we stop, off the main drag. There are some old gents playing poker for beers, and some young lads working in the café.



    They're all very helpful, smiling and curious. A few people turn up to say hello, one has decent English. He's very pleasant- where are you going, where have you been? Great stuff.

    We bid goodbye and head out. We decide to head for the sea where it will be cooler, so I put in Didim, a completely unknown quantity. We get there and it is a resort but fine. We find a hotel for silly money with breakfast, de-kit and hit the Efes across the road where there is a seemingly out of place barmaid called Chloe from Abergele. We have a good chat and she's a real charmer. Shame for me that I'm twenty years too late.

    The night becomes a little more blurry. More drinks and we wander out to have dinner. Dave gets a haircut from some bloke in the street. We have some sort of kebab mixed grill. People try and sell us DVD's, including some bloke in a motorised wheelchair, a sort of mobile cross between Davros and a tat shop.

    I pay for the Mixed Grill with more than Lira, unfortunately

  8. #40
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    currently in ireland

    your report is currently brilliant

    youre doing what i plan to next year

  9. #41
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    Didim to Bandirma

    Next morning we decide to 'get out of Dodge' as we have codenamed our need to leave. We had time in hand but decided no more for Didim. Chloe pops up to say byeee and gives me a hug and a kiss, 'good luck Rob' she says in her lovely broad welsh accent. What a sweetie.

    First thing is Petrol. The beloved Garmin is reliable as has been of late, and the BP station indicated was actually some rather epic ruins in the middle of a residential area.

    [/url]

    We navigate around and find a goat herder in the middle of the town with his flock. I've got my soul/funk collection playing, the herder can clearly dig 'Jamaican Funk' and gives me a wave. The bloke in the Mercedes shows that signals don't mean a lot in town..



    Once set, we head off. Motoring is pleasant, but very hot. It is nearing 40 degrees. We find a good old McDonalds for a milkshake and it does the trick.
    Ah yes, good old Mc D's. You may knock it, but when you're in the more unusual places you can bet on a nice cool drink, a decent western lav (not a hole in the ground), air con and maybe a bit of wi-fi.

    We carry on and head to Kusadasi and then Ephesus, but it's so hot we can't be bothered to trawl around the ruins, so we have a coffee instead and look through the fence on the way out.

    The going is good, and we're whizzing through the towns with the traffic flow, and racking up the miles out of town. Clearly bikers are not common in these parts. People wave. Kids point. We wave back and they love it. The temperature tops out at 41.5 degrees according to the gauge.
    I've turned into a lightly sauteed Englishman a l'orange, served on a bed of kevlar.

    We stop at a Petrol Station, with a handy travel mosque within it, for those prayers on the go

    [/url]

    Another stop at a much needed sheltered spot by the sea:



    Making good time, we decide we can probably make Bandirma that evening to take the fast ferry to Istanbul tomorrow. The light goes off quick and we have an 'interesting' night ride for the last 50 miles or so. But we play it smart, tagging on to the back of cars and coaches and letting them do the discovery, particularly helpful when we run into sparsely signed complicated roadworks as there are many.



    HID's anyone?

    Dave has the hump about it. Bloody cissy!

    We roll into town at about 10.30 and find a hotel with a garage 2 mins from the port. Result! Up for a shower and then dinner at the Moby Dick restaurant, where they're also showing England beating Ukraine. We have a beer.
    Dave's mood has picked up. There's a sort of elation about doing something big by making it here, especially in the dark. He orders a steak, which turns out to be Horse

  10. #42
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    I'm really enjoying this Roberto. Always nice to read a report that has more than road numbers and mileages in it

    Looking forward to the next installment.

  11. #43
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    Good stuff

    Which maps, did you find best for all these areas?
    JohnnyBoxer



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

  12. #44
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    Cheers Gents.. appreciated

    JB- I'm just using the latest Garmin Zumo maps (I think v12), plus a ratty AA book of Europe I bought from the poundshop It's proved an excellent buy.

    Other than that its been sort of asking around for tips from locals and travellers and it has worked very well

  13. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8roberto View Post
    Other than that its been sort of asking around for tips from locals and travellers and it has worked very well
    That's the best resource
    JohnnyBoxer



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

  14. #46
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    Bandirma to Istanbul

    We wake up to find the early ferry is long gone and the later one doesn't leave until 15:30 but we get over it quickly. We enquire at the front desk about the ferry and the lady behind the counter says that she can arrange booking. Price of TRY 470 per person, which is about £150 Erm... no, thinks we, giving it the Roger Moore eyebrows, but politely say we'll think about it to try and get a late check out.
    We wander across the the ferry terminal and find a most helpful guard called Jesme, who I think is pronounced Cesme. We have a good chat. He predicts 2-0 to England in the forthcoming Italy match and takes us through all of the ferry parlava. He then introduces me to his witty mate behind the ticket window, where we play the how many motorbikes and riders and he pretends not to understand. It's a giggle and eveuntually we have tickets at TRY 90, just over 30 quid a piece. We shake hands and off we go with all best wishes. It pays to shop around eh?

    Wander back to the 70's charm of the Ekan Prestige Hotel and get late check out. Shave hair off to a number 3, shower, pack, shower again as the room is so bleedin' hot, it's like the proverbial Turkish Wrestler's Jockstrap. Off to the ferry terminal, a wait, a cola and a cheese toastie (they're big on those) and we're on to the fast cat ferry thingy, which is lovely and a great way to travel.

    Waiting for the ferry. Friendly chats with locals.. 'Where are you going? Where have you been?'



    On the ferry we meet Betty and her daughter Caren, who are Turkish but live in New York and Miami respectively. We have coffee and chat travel. Nice folks. They invite us to stop by at their Turkish house on the way to Bulgaria, so maybe we'll do that. We part and get ready for the battle that is Istanbul.

    Dave finds the going on the ferry tough. I get a chance to update on the old ride report.



    The traffic in Istanbul is intense. We work our way up to the Turkoman hotel, which is very charming. No secure bike parking, but we get some spots and chain the blighters up. The service very pleasant and they welcome up with Coffee and a Cherry Vodka with a view over the Mosque and the Bosphorous. The beautiful sound of evening prayer calls echo through. It's something else. Stunning.



    Out for dinner, which is crap, which is a shame. '£20 for the food. £50 for the view' as I put it. The price of it sometimes. We head back to the hotel, Dave takes the early bath, I run into three Aussie ladies in the terrace bar, Suzie, and two Debbies which I somewhat origanally name Deb 1 and Deb 2. Arf arf. We shoot the breeze for an hour and have a good laugh.

    With sea power taking the strain we cover the precise distance of 2 miles today on the bikes. Hardcore! It certainly makes for a relaxed way to enter Istanbul though.

    Mileage on the GS now five short of 25k, Dave's 990 adv now hovering around the 12k mark.

  15. #47
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    Istanbul

    The perfect day off. I'll not turn this into a 'Visit Istanbul' marketing thread, but it is a hugely interesting place and well worth a visit.

    Ah, the mandatory Bazaar visit..

    [/url]

    In the evening we visit the Blue Mosque. Dave is solicited by someone who wants to give a guided tour. He accepts. The guy gives 15mins facts and figures and then tries to sell him a carpet



    We do like Istanbul though

  16. #48
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    Istanbul to Nessebar

    We take advantage of a leisurely checkout time to explore the Hagia Sophia. Epic.





    We stop for Orange Juice. I pour most it over my newly washed white T-shirt.

    Well the time has come to say goodbye to the Turkoman and head out to break for the border. A big thumbs up to those folks, a very pleasant and comfortable stay indeed.

    The traffic in Istanbul was a bit of a hassle. OK to ride in, but you've got to be on your guard for sure. We eventually join up with the main route out of town and use up our remaining few groats on our toll cards. (I forgot to mention about the faff getting them) Anyway on we go. About 30k outside of Istanbul the traffic simply melted away, like our own private motorway at one point. We leave the motorway for the D555 North to take us up to the Bulgarian border. The road was straight and long.

    We stop at a very social Total garage to fill up. We dwell for a coke and people roll up and chat. There are few words of English but we have a good old laugh. I'm offered a swap for a little put-put moped, and politely decline, again laughs all round.

    Said fella departs after failing bike swap pitch:



    A chap rolls up a little Orange trailbike and is super friendly. He dodges around the back and picks fruit for us from the adjacent orchard. It is sad to go when we do.

    After a few more clicks we start to see the signs for 'Bulgaristan', in bright yellow on the signs. Any slight traffic drops off to nothing, and we are presented with a very fine, modern flowing road which seems to roll on and on. Wonderful, a real treat after the straight boredom.

    Eventually the road ends abruptly and we commence exit drills. Firstly passport and V5, then through to another post. Passport. Then to vehicle exit procedure. V5 and a chat about Steven Gerrard. Then to customs. He trots us out to the back for no reason and then stamps us as OK. Bulgaristan bound we are.

    I'm sad to leave Turkey as it has been truly superb. I haven't featured on just how warm and friendly the Turkish people have been, and can't praise the place enough. The resort was a little different but that was not unexpected for obvious reasons. Even Istanbul was friendly and not at all threatening for a city. I shall go back.

    The Bulgarian side is not as ceremonial. A lovely young lady greets us. Quick look at the passport and V5 and we're off. Customs are not interested. Here we are then.
    I changed up 25 USD for some Bulgarian Lev. The gent described the resultant notes as 'good for 15 beers'. These are exchange rates I can understand.



    Once out to Bulgaria the difference is stark. There's a rusting ex-soviet sort of military installation which looks pitiful. The road is tiny and winding and has lots of pot holes. Still, all kind of fun. We hit a village. It is like we've just crossed a continent. The houses are ramshackle, and stark contrast to the Turkish side, but it has a beauty.
    We encounter local Police - a guy with Sergeant stripes walking under a tree. He gives us a massive smile and nods hello, and we wave back.

    I keep an eye on the roadside ads which give a few chuckles. Amongst the Russian Wealth induced Casino ads the best one is of a sausage in a hammock. It's the new chart topper, beating the Turkish Cell Phone Network logo of a snail in a bow tie. I have no idea what the sausage advertising as it's gone all Square Squiggle Hash Pound again.

    It's again hot, high 30's so we stop at McDonalds I don't know what the Bulgarian for 'Mc Flurry' is, but we managed.



    We stop over at Nessebar, of which the old town turns out to be another Unesco world heritage site. We find a good hotel for reasonable money. Huge rooms and all very good. Still a bit of crap construction around- I pull my plug out of the socket and all of the gubbins come out of the wall. We have an excellent meal and local wine for small money.

    Otherwise, something is up. I'm back to not sleeping much at all. Some of the mornings bring me back to the bad old days of work where I was awake but felt still asleep. Not good. Can't put my finger on it. Hey ho.

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