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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 1 Dec 2009
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A trundle around Europe

How do all
This is my first post so here goes - I am planning to leave mid April to Santander across to Portugal then doing an anti clockwise, sort of circle of Europe going to Andorra, France, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia then the ferry to Finland up through Sweden to Nordkapp in Norway, back to Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg then home to dear old Blighty.
I am reckoning on 3 months to do it in and the first and last parts will be two up with the memsahib (Helen), the rest I am doing alone. We are taking camping gear as we need to keep the costs down as much as possible. I also found an interesting site that may help with this (you probably know about it anyway) that I am thinking about registering with - Free Accommodation world wide through Hospitality Exchange - Hospitality Club
We have toured Western Europe quite a bit but never the eastern countries so I am really looking forward to a taste of the different cultures.
My original plan was to do the trip on a Velocette 500, but whilst kick starting it I tore the muscles in my calf (an old injury that I thought had healed), so I am back to using my 1150 GS which is a much more sensible option anyway (funny how you get these silly ideas in your head isn’t it!).
What I would like to know from any of you galloping globetrotters is, are there any places that I would be crazy to miss or crazy to go to? On one of the forums someone said not to do the Mediterranean coast but didn’t say why, is it traffic, boring slow roads, expensive area or what.
Any tips and help for any of the countries will be very much appreciated.
Thanks Les
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  #2  
Old 1 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by MrRush View Post
How do all
My original plan was to do the trip on a Velocette 500, but whilst kick starting it I tore the muscles in my calf (an old injury that I thought had healed), so I am back to using my 1150 GS which is a much more sensible option anyway (funny how you get these silly ideas in your head isn’t it!).
What I would like to know from any of you galloping globetrotters is, are there any places that I would be crazy to miss or crazy to go to? On one of the forums someone said not to do the Mediterranean coast but didn’t say why, is it traffic, boring slow roads, expensive area or what.
Any tips and help for any of the countries will be very much appreciated.
Thanks Les
It was wrecking my knee twice in car accidents that tipped the balance and caused me to buy a modern Enfield. Having both electric and kickstarter is good as it takes all the pressure off.
I would miss out the French and Italian med coast. It is expensive, lots of traffic and generally hard going. I am hoping to cross North Italy next year by passing North of torino (going by Aosta) and those motorways and cruising along the lower valleys of the Alps/dolomites on my way to Austria Via Biella.

The route across the Pyrenees on the Spanish side which follows them is great scenery, uncrowded and good riding.
If you head north and I suggest you pick up the peage at Montpelier get off at J24 and skip across the bottom of Avignon to take the n100 to Apt. then to Digne les bains and to Nice via the n202 which again is beautiful biking roads. At Nice pick up the motorway to Italy and get off as soon as you can once across the border unless you take the n204 north into Italy after Menton.
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Old 1 Dec 2009
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Thanks Oldbmw

Nice one oldbmw, thanks for the info about the med coast and a way around it. I am trying to keep off the peage as much as poss but I do take your point.
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Old 2 Dec 2009
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What about Gibraltar? And Russia?

That's a lot of grinding away on the roads in three months, without a lot of time to explore. If that's what you're after, it's totally do-able. Personally, I wouldn't miss some of the Italian coast---at least Amalfi. But the more interesting places you go, the less likely you'll have time to see other, equally interesting places. You don't want to run short on time just as you're approaching the fjiords.....which is what I'm thinking is going to happen.

FWIW, I did something similar in two installments, including Morocco but leaving out vast swathes of almost everywhere....and it took me longer than three months. YMMV.

Mark
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  #5  
Old 2 Dec 2009
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So many places, so little time

You are right Markharf, there are so many places and so little time, so I thought I would use the trip as a way of seeing where I would like to go back to and explore more deeply - but on the other hand, I have been saying that for years and I still prefer to see new places. I will look up Amalfi though. Thanks
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Old 2 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by MrRush View Post
Nice one oldbmw, thanks for the info about the med coast and a way around it. I am trying to keep off the peage as much as poss but I do take your point.
The two bits of peage i detailed will cost less than 6 euros (per bike) but will save maybe 3-4 hours of city riding. Usually I avoid peages, but sometimes other factors come into play. For instance there are some very nice 'aires' for camping on some of the peages, and the peage charge is less than I would pay for a campsite overnight.

Last edited by oldbmw; 2 Dec 2009 at 23:25. Reason: typo
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Old 3 Dec 2009
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Good man

Brilliant, just the sort of info I need, can you wild camp on any of the 'aires' ?
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Old 3 Dec 2009
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I did a very similar trip 3 years ago on a 70s Honda 550/4. I took exactly 3months to do the trip, partly because my UK insurance policy only covered me for 90s in Europe - Back then I used to care about stupid details like that.

3 Months isn't a massive amount of time, I was riding almost every day, only stopping about 10 times on the whole trip (though with plenty of half days on the bike as well). I enjoyed that type of trip at the time, though these days I would travel slower and longer. I clocked up 18,500 miles - Sounds a lot but I was always trying to find more interesting 'back roads' to ride on.

My trip was mostly a riding trip, so the most enjoyment came from being in mountainous places where I had good scenery and fun roads. My favourite places for riding: Norway, all of it. Mountainous areas of Spain. Dolomites and Amalfi coast in Italy. Lots of Greece. Adriatic coast road along the length of Croatia. Serbia and Bosnia - Shame I didn't spend longer there.

I reckon you want to spend most of your time in Norway and Greece. Shame you can't take the Velocette - Old or unusual bike always draws interest from the locals.

Me on my 2006 trip:

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Old 3 Dec 2009
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Thanks Nath, I have done a rough route map and it clocks up at 10500 miles but I think it will be interesting to see what I actually end up doing. My three month time scale is for the same insurance reason that you mention but if Norway is as good as a lot of people are saying, there is always the possibility of staying on a bit.
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Old 4 Dec 2009
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3 months seem a lot of time, but like Mark suggested, why not divide the trip into two sessions. Makes it much more enjoyable.

Coming to the balcans: Prices for accommodation in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania are pretty low. Go for private rooms. But south eastern Europe has lots of empty space, so I often camp in the wild. If you see a local farmer just ask. The people are hospitable and friendly.

For Albania I can offer some GPS data which is quite useful because very often road signs are missing. In Bulgaria stick to the mountainous western areas (Rila mountains, monastries). Romania has a very scenic mountain road through the Transfagarash going south to north. Just north of the Transfagarash are the beautiful towns of Sibiu and Sigishoara.

Hans
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Old 4 Dec 2009
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Brilliant, just the sort of info I need, can you wild camp on any of the 'aires' ?
I tend to be 'discrete' , but providing you dont upset anyone with loud noisesc or fires you should be fine. I usually look for a quiet bit at the back, on grass near the trees. Look out for dog pooh before pitching your tent Th ecops may ask for your papers but take the sensible view you are safer camped than riding tired.
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Old 6 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Vaufi View Post
3 months seem a lot of time, but like Mark suggested, why not divide the trip into two sessions. Makes it much more enjoyable.

Coming to the balcans: Prices for accommodation in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania are pretty low. Go for private rooms. But south eastern Europe has lots of empty space, so I often camp in the wild. If you see a local farmer just ask. The people are hospitable and friendly.

For Albania I can offer some GPS data which is quite useful because very often road signs are missing. In Bulgaria stick to the mountainous western areas (Rila mountains, monastries). Romania has a very scenic mountain road through the Transfagarash going south to north. Just north of the Transfagarash are the beautiful towns of Sibiu and Sigishoara.

Hans
I know what you mean about dividing it up into two sessions but I fancied making it a bit more of a challenge rather than just a holiday (must be my age - third childhood and everything).
I will get back to my maps so that I understand where you are on about, but for me this sort of information is priceless. Thanks. The GPS data would also be very much appreciated.
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  #13  
Old 6 Dec 2009
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I tend to be 'discrete' , but providing you dont upset anyone with loud noisesc or fires you should be fine. I usually look for a quiet bit at the back, on grass near the trees. Look out for dog pooh before pitching your tent Th ecops may ask for your papers but take the sensible view you are safer camped than riding tired.
Does snoring count as loud noises, I can do that, sneak in, snore a lot, then sneak out. Thanks
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Old 6 Dec 2009
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Does snoring count as loud noises, I can do that, sneak in, snore a lot, then sneak out. Thanks
Thats why I try to pitch a a fair way from other people
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  #15  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Vaufi View Post
3 months seem a lot of time, but like Mark suggested, why not divide the trip into two sessions. Makes it much more enjoyable.

Coming to the balcans: Prices for accommodation in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania are pretty low. Go for private rooms. But south eastern Europe has lots of empty space, so I often camp in the wild. If you see a local farmer just ask. The people are hospitable and friendly.

For Albania I can offer some GPS data which is quite useful because very often road signs are missing. In Bulgaria stick to the mountainous western areas (Rila mountains, monastries). Romania has a very scenic mountain road through the Transfagarash going south to north. Just north of the Transfagarash are the beautiful towns of Sibiu and Sigishoara.

Hans
Just got all your info Hans, top man, thanks.
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