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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
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  #16  
Old 17 Feb 2009
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Having taken all your fantastic advice, I put together this rough route.

Google Maps

What are your initial thoughts? What are we missing out?

Could we make it to Italy as well in the 16 days, without pushing it?
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  #17  
Old 18 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
Hi Garthunkle. I've toured the Normandy beaches that time of year and if your lucky, as I was, for good weather the clear nights can give you a couple of degrees of frost. I would avoid the mountains and as linzi says follow the coast south. Good food and drink to be had but it's early in the season so if you're camping do your homework first. have a look on this site for some ideas but it's best to phone to make sure.

Campsites and Caravan Parks Open All Year - UK Camp Site Articles (This is the French page)

If I was you I'd decide at the last minute and go where the sun is East maybe better than south on the day. Good luck.
Normandy is a great place to start. Go and see the American cemetary at Colville and then on to >Mont St michel and then keep heading South until it warms up and you think it is time to come back.

We went 2 up from Denmark on an FZ6 last year so your bikes are good enough.

Stev
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  #18  
Old 18 Feb 2009
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hi sounds like you got a plan .we went france /Spain and the Pyrenees in early may .some camp sites are not open that early,keep your plans flexible formula one hotels cheap have a safe trip
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  #19  
Old 23 Feb 2009
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go sarf m8

We did portsmouth to Bilbao to cut out the boring French bit, but the 18 hour not 24 two night version is best. Pico mountains for 2 nights (Great), north spain and portugal still cheap and fantastic roads. Down to Lisbon, cutting across the bottom corner and back via Spain, Pirenese and back to Bilbao...... best holiday ever and just 6 months after passing my test.... oh yes all this on a Goldwing with my missus (approx 500kgs in all)
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  #20  
Old 23 Feb 2009
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"The boring French bit"? And you live in.......Manchester? Hmmmm!!!!!!!!!

Last edited by Caminando; 26 Feb 2009 at 20:06.
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  #21  
Old 23 Feb 2009
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France and northern Spain? Why not do something less common?
I would go to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia.
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  #22  
Old 13 Mar 2009
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It's always hard first trip. If I could convince you somehow to go east and see croatia, montenegro etc. It's been my favourite trip so far, and the is cheaper I would. But see where you want to see. I'm always torn between going somewhere more off-the-beaten track, and trips like yours eating rich french food and generally over-indulging

A couple thoughts on your map:
a) A lot of big cities on your route. They can be a lot less fun on a bike. Most my best experiences have come in small towns and taking routes avoiding the major metro areas. Maybe keep 1 or 2 you really want to see, but skip others. You also tend to get drawn onto freeways etc. if you aim for big towns...
b) On your route, i'd try to get a little further east, see some of the alps, not far out of your way, dolomites even better!
c) Nimes and Avignon both great, i'd scout through them if you can!
d) You consider the plymouth to spain ferry if you wanted to start there. Normandy is nice though, tough call. You could cut a huge amount of distance and either see a bit more of places outside france, or allow you to meander along a little slower. I think it's still running?

Good luck anyway...
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  #23  
Old 29 Mar 2009
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The first European trip I did was on an SV650S. I had only passed my test about 8 months before and up until leaving my only biking experience had been trips of 50 miles or so on local roads, so it was a huge effort for me particularly as I was doing the trip alone. With great enthusiasm and a delusional belief that I was already an experienced traveller just because I was planning a trip(!!!), I had planned for months ahead and had arranged to visit a friend who was now living in Torrevieja, just south of Alicante.

However, I distinctly remember waking on the morning I was leaving and I was suddenly looking for any excuse in the world not to go. The fear factor was incredible and I seriously had second thoughts and was quite prepared to lose my ferry costs, such was my fear. The shame of telling my friends I had bottled it were too much though and I set of to Rosslare (Southern Ireland) for the ferry to Roscoff (France). All the way there I was still trying to think of a plausible reason that would allow me to turn back and go home. On arrival in Rosslare I saw the ferry and thought to myself that if I didn't go I would regret it forever. After finding my cabin on the boat I went for a couple of s and had a fairly early night.

The next morning I arrived in France....and that's when the real sense of adventure hit me. It was absolutely amazing. What followed was the most incredible 3 weeks of my life. I followed the west coast of France through La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Lourdes, then cut across the Pyrenees and into Spain. I then headed towards Reus and down the east coast of Spain and as every mile passed I loved it more and more. After staying with my friend for a week I then headed north in a homeward direction. This time I went through central France, stopping off in Poitiers to meet up with an ex-girlfriend for a couple of days. I then spent a couple of days tripping around some of the Normandy battlefields and the saddest and most difficult part of the trip was arriving at Cherbourg to get the ferry home. I genuinely didn't want to go.

This route was not demanding but it gave me a fantastic overview of European travelling, and each year since then I have become more and more adventurous culminating in a trip to Poland in 2008. Wher I will go this year is still undecided but I will most certainly be heading to Euroland again and cannot wait for the time to come. If you want more info on the route I took then let me know and I'll didg out my old map which had the route marked on it.

Wherever you go, enjoy it.....it really will be the most incredible experience.

Good Luck
Chris
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  #24  
Old 2 Apr 2009
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Thanks for the great tips and advice.

Would love to see your route. Very much open to any suggestions you may have. I'm leaving on Sunday, and as I am one of those (much hated) investment bankers, I have had absolutley no time to plan anything!
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