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  #1  
Old 22 Nov 2005
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The whole continent in 4 months, is it possible??????

Hi Guys!!!

Having read loads of threads I am still not very confident about a nice route to see all around Europe in 4 months.

The picture is:

A Brazilian couple (23 and 21 Yrs) going 2-up on a GS1100 (Or a V-Strom 1000, not sure yet) around Europe for 3-4 months (from June till October, 2006), my other half's got a Dutch Passport and I’ve got an English Residence Permit Visa (5 Years) on my Brazilian Passport, so we should be Ok with Visas.

We are planning to head North of France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia (leave the bike there and go into Russia by train for a week ), Latvia, Lithuania. Then into Poland, Ukraine (don’t know if it’s worth), Slovakia (We’re not going to Czech Rep, cause we’ve been there already, it’s a wonderful place), Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria (Don’t know if it’s too dangerous), Greece (we want to spend at least a week there). After that we’re gonna ride up to Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, then Italy, France (again) Spain and Portugal.

So, any thoughts about it?

By ANY I mean absolutely Anything, if you tell me: “you shouldn’t go there, you should spend more time overthere…”Whatever, I’ll consider and appreciate it very much indeed.

We’d like some information about the best time to hit Norway, if Estonia, Lat and Lit are dangerous, nice routes that we could get in Croatia, if we are missing a nice country that we should go to, etc…As I said, anything that you could help with would be GREAT!

We’re a looking to stay in cheap Hotels rather then camping, we’re not gonna be eating in expensive restaurants, we’d just like the minimum (that means a hot shower and a bed, garage for the bike and some sandwiches will do)!

The Budget is about £70.00 (+/- €100.00) p/day…Too short?Too much?

The other thing that’s gonna be quite difficult is the Insurance, I have a Brazilian licence, so anyone know a company that would Insure a UK registered bike with a Brazilian rider? I’ve got a car here (UK), which is Insured trhu Churchil, but they said they wouldn’t do the Bike (????).

Thanks very much
Fernando and Maraisa


[This message has been edited by fcasado (edited 22 November 2005).]

[This message has been edited by fcasado (edited 16 January 2006).]
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  #2  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Sounds pretty ambitious Fernando!

Since everyone likes to travel in different styles it is difficult to say whether you'll enjoy a whirlwind tour of Europe or not. We spent a year in Europe and didn't even get to the north! We found that we ended up staying at places for two nights unless we were transiting to somewhere. That is, we rode to the destination and got settled on day one, then visited the place for a day and headed off the next day. When just trying to make time we would sometimes get to a place we wanted to see (but didn't want to see a lot) early in the afternoon. Walk around the town that afternoon and pack up the next day.

Being from North America our perception of distances was also a little skewed. Here we can easily do a few hundred kilometres before lunch. In Europe we were happy with putting in two or three hundred kilometres in a day. Our longest day was on the autobahn from Salzberg to Berlin, when I had an appointment to visit the BMW plant. We didn't see anything that day!

So for planning purposes I would suggest getting the map out and a guide book (such as Lonely Planet) that lists interesting places to visit then plotting it out. If you find you have lots of interesting places to visit then four months is probably not enough time. If you only have a few "biggies" then you can just zip from one to the other on the autobahn and do it in four months. We have a giant wall map of the world in a bedroom that is laminated. On that map we use an erasable marker to plot our trips. We put places we want to see on the map as well as approximate dates. This really helps us in determining whether a proposed route is going to work!

With regards to your timing, we were in Croatia in October, heading south to Greece, and found that the tourist facilities were starting to shut down. Frequently we were the only ones in a campground for example. Still Dubrovnik and Plitvice National Park were great highlights!

We picked up our "Green Card" motorcycle insurance through ADAC in Frankfurt when we arrived. ADAC is the German auto club. We went to an ADAC office on Monday morning and got the papers and by that afternoon we rode our bikes out of the cargo terminal at the airport. There is an ad on this page for Knopf Motorradreisen who will take care of the insurance for you if that is too much hassle.

Hope some of that helps! Have fun!

------------------
Ekke Kok
Redwood Meadows, AB
'89 R100GS
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  #3  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Hi,
If I were you, I´d double check again that you don´t need a Schengen Visum for entering Europe.
it would surprise me very, very much.

And for some eastern European countries on your list, it would surprise me even more, because also GB passport holders need visa for them (Russia, Ukraine, ...).

If the formalities don´t stop you, 4 months will be enough, don´t worry.
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  #4  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Thanks very much Ekke!

That's exactly what We're looking for.

We are looking into google Earth for the maps, but the ideia of a laminated one is really good, cause it will give us a better idea of the distances...We roughly worked out a week for each country, but just when you get there you know if the time is enough or well short...

We'd rather not take the highways, but second roads...and we're fine doing 300 miles a day!

Anyway, How did you book the places that you stayed in, trhu the Internet, on arrival?And Did you use a GPS?

Thanks a lot for all the infos
Fernando

p.s. - Forgot to ask, is it a good idea take a laptop with us?
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  #5  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Uganduro,

I do need a Schengen Visa, but that's a lot easier to get after get a British one, hehe!
I've lived in Holland also, apart from Britain never ever had a problem on the border...

About Russia, we (both) need an invitatio letter to apply for a Visa, but I think an agency could do the job.
How about Ukraine, do you think it would be worth (Im not sure about it)?

I think for the other countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria the visa wouldnt be easy, but not as hard as Russia.

Thanks a lot for your help!!!
Fernando
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  #6  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Hi Fcasado,
You say you are going to Croatia and Italy but don't mention Slovenia, although it's in the way so you'll have to go through but you may not have considered it as a 'destination' as such. I was there last year and it's a great wee place. The mountains are phenomenal and the area around Lake Bled is beautiful. I stayed at a campsite though so can't advise on accom.
I was in Norway this year and that is also a fantastic place (possibly my favourite country in the world!) the whole place is beautiful. It's expensive though. The cheapest place to stay which is not a campsite is in a 'Hytte' which is like a basic little cabin, they are pretty common. They normally charge for the hut, not per person, and usually hold 4 people but even with only two of you they are much cheaper than hotles I think. There is enormous potential for 'off roading' on the numerous unsealed roads there.
In my own neck of the woods (Scotland) The west coast is the most dramatic and if you can get out to the islands like Arran and Skye they are a real treat. You are probably looking at the 'Bed and Breakfast' market for accom. you should get a reasonable one from about £30 up for the both of you. They are all over the place. You can buy a B&B guide to scotland at any bookshop in the cities. Or check the 'smoothound' accomodation website.
matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #7  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Matt,

We're not going to Scotland this time, we've been there 3 times, and it's amazing, the whole country is beatiful, we did Cambridge - Edinburgh - Inverness - Fort William - Glasgow - Cambridge...

We stayed in B&B's for exactly the 30 quid you said!

So, about Norway, I heard and read that it's amazing, and that's why we changed our minds heading North...We were going first to Spain and Portugal, but found out that we may run out of money and time and miss the best bits...So, we're gonna do the expensive Norway first!

Oh, Yes...We're going to Slovenia (I hope) as well, I read your thread (if Im not wrong, it was you) about there, seems to be really good!

Cheers mate!
Fernando
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  #8  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Hey Fernando,

The laminated map on the wall is fun too! People come over and look at our plans and sometimes give useful tips. Sometimes we'll be watching TV or reading a book and come across something interesting: zoom! Off to the map to jot it down!

We took Lonely Planet's Europe book along with us to find accommodation (85% camping for 13 months) as well as to point out interesting places to visit. The only downside is that the books are written for back packers who arrive by bus/train so directions can be a bit sparse to get to your desired location. Bus #94 isn't much help Makes for some fun though. We couldn't find the campground in Zaragosa, Spain and ended up asking a traffic, motorcycle cop. We couldn't quite understand each other so he ended up leading us to it! Turns out the campground was closed for the season so he led us into the heart of the city at rush hour to a hotel, zooming through amber traffic lights with him motioning cars to stop! =8-O

We did use a GPS but an old one. It doesn't have any map capability at all. You have to input waypoints manually or through a computer. I would plot any complex journeys (such as to the campground in the middle of Paris) on the laptop (using Touratech software and maps) the night before. Then download the routes into the GPS. I'm planning on buying a new GPS with built in maps to make that a bit easier next time!

The laptop was great. We used it to program the GPS, store and edit photographs and keep our website up-to-date. We thought we would edit digital video too but that turned out to be too much like work. I carried the laptop in my right side pannier in a neoprene case with the tent jammed in beside it. No troubles. In fact the laptop still works perfectly 3.5 years and 60,000km later.

Have fun planning and then riding!

------------------
Ekke Kok
Redwood Meadows, AB
'89 R100GS
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'84 R100RT 141,000 km (Dad's!)
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  #9  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Hi,

four months is pretty ambitious but possible. You shouldn't go for Scandinavia before May. My experience is that May is still pretty fresh, but the weather is quite stable, June/July lots of rain and from August onwards better again, but then it's holiday time.

Travelling on secondary roads is of course the best option to see much. In this case it does make sense to use a navigation system with a European map programme like "Tom Tom" etc. because they are specialised on Europe. It makes travelling much easier if you don't have to stop at every second crossing to check the road map.

The Lonely Planet should assist you in finding accomodation at different price categories. During the main holiday season (July/Aug) it might be difficult to get a room in some places though.

Regarding your question where to go or not ist just about impossible for the whole of Europe :-( I believe every country has its specials. So just go end enjoy.

Hans
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  #10  
Old 23 Nov 2005
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Thanks again Ekke, so we’re taking the Laptop with us, as it seems to help quite a lot…And about the GPS, we’re gonna have to buy one, do you recommend any in particular? (I’m gonna have a look into the GPS forum as well, but as you’re after one you might know…)

Hans, thanks a lot for the tips!!!

I’ve got a question for you about buying a Bike in Germany…Is it too difficult?
Cause I’ve checked out a lot of BMW’s there, and they’re much cheaper then here in Britain…

Cheers
Fernando
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Old 24 Nov 2005
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No problem Fernando,

The GPS unit that appeals to me the most at the moment is the Garmin Quest. It can do autorouting maps as well as regular maps. The main reason I like it though is that it is pretty small and therefore easy to use on backpacking trips.

You might want to check out the website we created for our family and friends. It has a few of the places you're planning to visit.

www.ekke-audrey.ca

------------------
Ekke Kok
Redwood Meadows, AB
'89 R100GS
'03 R1150GS Adventure

[This message has been edited by Ekke (edited 23 November 2005).]
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'84 R100RT 141,000 km (Dad's!)
'89 R100GS 250,000 km (and ready for another continent)
'07 R1200GS Adventure 100,000 km (just finished Circumnavigating Asia)


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  #12  
Old 24 Nov 2005
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Ekke,

What a Website, amazing source of info... It's on my favorites now, and I'll need a while to check out all the Chapter's!!!

I have a kind of stupid question about the GPS, do I have to buy a special one for motorbikes or the one for cars would be Ok?

Cause I'm trying to find it on e-bay.co.uk, but I can just get the car's one!

Thanks a lot!
Fernando

[This message has been edited by fcasado (edited 23 November 2005).]
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  #13  
Old 25 Nov 2005
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Good luck with the trip - I did some of the Easter Europe parts and you can see comments in the Travellers Stories section under 'Kevin Payne'. You need to be careful with visas, but I really did get special treatment at most places when I was on a bike. I think they know illegal immigrants don't turn up on big bikes ! It would be risky to rely on it everywhere, but a big bike, a good attitude and a pretty girlfriend would get you across a lot of borders.
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  #14  
Old 25 Nov 2005
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Wheelspin,

Thanks very much...I think you had a rainy trip, didnt you?Freedom has a price to be paid...but it's worth, hehe!

Very Good report!!Recommend any place in Particular?

We'll spend a good time taking care of the Visas, and we know how a simple border officer can mess with you, but as you said, we've got an advantage, so let's use it...

Cheers
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  #15  
Old 30 Nov 2005
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For Northern Norway the best time is late June - early July. Whether or not you have a rainy trip there is pretty much chance. August is getting a little late for the Far North.

It's probably not worth the hassle trying to buy and register a bike in Germany if you live in GB. If you intend to stay in GB you will be required to get a British licence after a certain period. This could do away with your insurance problems.

Personally, I wouldn't plan in too much detail. Decide on the major sights you want to see, point your bike North and see Norway, then just cruise at a pace that feels comfortable for both of you. What's the point in rushing? You are both young. If you don't get to see all of the Europeann countries this time around they should still be there in a few years time for another trip. Take it easy! (Just my opinion...)

Having said that, I'd recommend to go and see Romania now. Apparently, you can still see people living like they did in Europe decades ago (working the fields with animals, donkey carts, etc.) This will all be gone in only a few years time.

If you buy a GPS for cars how will it cope with rain?

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