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  #1  
Old 10 Jun 2011
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Question around the black sea: advice needed on border georgia - russia // ferries

hi there,

we're planning to ride around the black sea in august/september.
weatherwise i'd prefer to go clockwise, but i've been checking out various posts and contact but don't seem to get any clear info on how possible that is, so i try again here:

-is the russian / georgian border open or not, and in which direction? does getting into georgia from abchazia pose a problem or is it possible in two directions? (cf the kosovo trick)
i was told you can get a permit letter from the georgian embassy which solves the truble at 'abchaz'-georgian border...

-is there a ferry from crimea (kerch) to poti or batumi, and / or from odessa to batumi? how 'reliable' is it, and does that depend on the direction of travel (i presume odessa is the easier port)?

-if on the boat, are the bikes treated as cargo in the harbours (complicating matters and implying taxes) or is it really roll on roll off?

-how safe is southern abchasia? (given that we are two girls on two bikes)

-do we need carnets anywhere in the region (oekraine, russia, georgia, armenia, nogorno-karabach, turkey)?

-the cesme-ancona boat seems to have disappeared. is that true?

-what would the driving time be from the russian border to the abchaz-georgian border?

thanks a lot & more to follow!
g
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  #2  
Old 10 Jun 2011
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one more question: is there still a boat from bulgary to georgia?
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  #3  
Old 10 Jun 2011
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There is a current post in the Europe forum covering your question.

Daniel
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  #4  
Old 13 Jun 2011
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Black Sea

Hello G,

Some information you seek is in the European posts. Here is what I have found out.
Italy/ Turkey ferry has stopped
Italy Syria ferry is stopping at the end of June
Alternative is Italy/ Greece island hop/ Turkey
Georgia / Abkhazia is open with a chance

We are planning to take a ferry Venice/ Greece 24 August, overland to Turkey/ georgia/ Abkhazia/ Russia/ Ukraine / Romania and return to our base in Germany by 10 October.

I hope to have a rest stop in Georgis for five or so days.

Maybe we will see you on the road

Cheers

Brett (Two Australian's/ Two Triumph Tigers)
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  #5  
Old 23 Jul 2011
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Hi,

Check that topic: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...5-5#post343427

There is a some info for that destination in the forum, although it's never enough. We are planning the same trip (of course counter clockwise) on the same time. Me and my girlfriend on two bikes. However as pointed in the other topic the latest news from Inguri river border are not good...

regards,
Nikolay
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  #6  
Old 25 Jul 2011
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Short briefing on our Black Sea Tour 2011

Short briefing on our Black Sea Tour 2011
- I shall cross post this in all the related topics on the Hubb to be seen by as many. If you have questions please ask and I will answer as soon as I can -
In the first 2 weeks of July 2011 we had circumnavigate around the Black Sea (Romania – Moldova - Ukraina – Russia – Turcia – Bulgaria – Romania). That would be around 18 days, 4200 km, 6 countries and 2 ferries.
The only downside of the trip was the fact that for foreigners (non CIS, Russian or Georgian citizens) it is impossible to cross the border from Russia to Georgia.
The only way for foreigners is to take a ferry either from Trabzon in Turkey to Sochi Russia, or the other way around from Sochi to Trabzon. The ferry does not have a clear schedule (it runs according to the information posted on the website of Sochi port once a week) and it’s pretty expensive (2 persons in one cabin without a window and the bike 16.500 Rubles / 650 USD). The phone numbers posted on the site are working and the lady from Kassa 5 (where you buy the ticket) speaks a bit of English.
Note: when you buy the tickets you must have your passport with you and bike registration.
Website of Sochi port: Commercial Sea Port of Sochi
In theory, according to some information I found on here and from various people, it is possible to enter Georgia, from there to enter Abhazia (which is according to Georgia part of their territory) and from Abhazia to cross into Russia since Russia recognise Abhazia as independent country. I also heard that for Abhazia you need visa. We didn’t try it thou.
We didn’t had any problems at the border crossings. Some were slow but you expect that. Entering Ukraine we were not requested to fill the immigration form and we were not asked for it on exit.
At Kerch/Krym Port when you buy the tickets you must have your passport with you and bike registration.
Entering Russia one had to fill the immigration paper (they have a bilingual version also in English which they handed to us on the ferry) and another paper for the temporary import of the bike. Hold well onto that paper since without it your bike shall remain in Russia. At least this is what I understand from the lady making the papers.
We crossed the border at Kerch/Kavkaz by ferry. It was a 90 minutes process on the Russian side, again no problems. The road from the border to Novorossiysk is good. Novorossiysk is a pain to cross due to traffic. From there to Sochi is was hell. Aprox 260 km of 2 lane slow traffic, lots of lorries and POLICE. Lots of them, with cameras. DO NOT CROSS THE WHITE LINE FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Although we were not stopped it was stressful. From the border to Sochi, 10 hours riding, with 3 brakes for gas and coffee. We arrived there Friday and as luck turns out the ferry was schedule to leave Saturday. Exiting Russia, we were told to be at 6 at the check point. Two hours later, with the border formalities done, we boarded the ferry. The passenger must go with the pedestrians and only the driver/rider remains in the vehicle for border formalities. No problems again. The ferry left after 8 in the evening and arrived on Sunday morning in Trabzon around 8.30. It was Sunday so the Turkish customs guys were not in a hurry. We with the bike were processed the very last after 3 and a half hours. The one with Russian cars paid some bribes. They did not ask any from us.
Note: for Highways in Turkey one must pay. You can buy special cards from petrol stations. The fines are pretty hefty. We did not and all the bells and alarms went of when exiting the highway.
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  #7  
Old 27 Jul 2011
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hi

[QUOTE=felix-the-dr;338563]hi there,

-is the russian / georgian border open or not, and in which direction? does getting into georgia from abchazia pose a problem or is it possible in two directions? (cf the kosovo trick)
i was told you can get a permit letter from the georgian embassy which solves the truble at 'abchaz'-georgian border...

> It is CLOSED and don't seem to be open soon.

-is there a ferry from crimea (kerch) to poti or batumi, and / or from odessa to batumi? how 'reliable' is it, and does that depend on the direction of travel (i presume odessa is the easier port)?

-if on the boat, are the bikes treated as cargo in the harbours (complicating matters and implying taxes) or is it really roll on roll off?

-how safe is southern abchasia? (given that we are two girls on two bikes)
> If you talk about Georgia, it is safe. Russian part also safe but need to be more careful IMHO.

-do we need carnets anywhere in the region (oekraine, russia, georgia, armenia, nogorno-karabach, turkey)?
> You need carnet for Turkiye, sure for Russia and Ukraine, don't know about others.

-the cesme-ancona boat seems to have disappeared. is that true?
> You can get on the ferry from Venice or Ancona to Patras and can ride to Piraeus/Athens and then hop on ferry for Chios. There is daily ferry rides from Chios to Çeşme. you can make a google search for ferry companies in Çeşme. Better to reserve/buy all tickets for ferries before. I used [url=http://www.erturk.com.tr/]
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  #8  
Old 27 Jul 2011
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I can share some personal experience from our trip around the black sea in september 2010.

Our route was Estonia-Latvia-Belorussia-Ukraine-Russia-Abkhazia-Russia-Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Slovakia-Poland-Lithuania-Latvia-Estonia, some 8000km in 18 days.

No carnet needed, in every custom clearance bikes were treated as normal vehicules, no specific tax or duties.

From Russia to Abkhazia (Psou river crossing) with the prior confirmation received via e-mail from MFA Abkhazia is no problem with EU passport and plates. Unfortunately Abkhazia-Georgia (Ingur river crossing) is not possible with EU passport and plates (only at own risk in gargo of a local truck, we skipped this). The problem is Georgian authorities. We tried this both ways, through diplomatic channels all the way up in Tbilisi and "unofficially" on site. As Georgia is not recognizing Abkhazia, for Georgia, its border is still with Russia at Psou river. As normal foreigner entering Georgia needs to have passport control at the border. At Ingur river, you are tresspassing as it is 200km from the Georgia-Russia border. So you get arrested, can't blame them. I do not think you can do it from Georgia to Abkhazia, but have not tried this.

Safety issues, we had no problems and I do not think the risk in Abkhazia is higher than in Russia or Ukraine as an example. Local poverty and too much shining bikes and stuff can always create some issues. But nothing an adventure biker cannot solve.

When we had to turn back from Abkhazia to Russia, we had no choise but to take the ferry from Sotchi to Trabzon, to complete our tour around the black sea. However this is a robbery, GS + rider and a sleeping bag place (free) on the upper deck under the sky cost around 400USD. And the ferry cruises on "free schedule". An alternative is to find a gargo ship from Novorossiysk (Russia) to Batumi (Georgia), but there is even no "free schedule".
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