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i am doing a 6 week trip in sept/oct through eastern europe - solo.
I will be heading down to Czech, Slovakia,Hungary, Romania (the carpathians) then down through Bulgaria to the Pirin. From there will be riding sofia to Belgrade, up to Novi Sad then back up croatia, slovenia and home.
Any advice for a solo traveller in this area. I am a little itchy about the ride up through Serbia - fine once i reach Belgrade (got an invite from Serbian Government!) but wary of riding a shiny bike with British plates - any one been down that way?
Any recommendations of traveller/biker freindly accomodation would be appreciated.
What are the border guards like down there?
Heard a few horror stories on the backpacking sites - but wont be falling asleep on dodgy trains!
I just finished doing Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia & Bosnia two weeks ago. Did the trip on a ST1100, but stuck mostly to the rural areas.
I don't think you will find anything unusual about Slovenia, Croatia, or Hungary. All are very well developed countries, services are equal to what you will find in Western Europe, though perhaps spread a bit more thinly. All are very nice countries with pleasant people. Croatia makes most of its money off tourism and I felt far safer and more secure there than I would have felt in urban areas of the UK or Italy.
Bosnia is still a bit screwed up and is not really a holiday destination, you might need to keep a sharper eye on your motorcycle there to ensure you don't lose it.
Whenever I am travelling in Central and Eastern Europe (I did a similar trip last summer as well), I just make sure the bike is left in a locked garage at night. Either I stay at a better hotel (the better hotels in these type of countries always offer locked and guarded garages, usually with individual locked rooms for each vehicle), or I stay at a pension, B&B or farmhouse, and the owner puts the bike in their garage and then puts the family car or tractor in right behind it, so the bike can't be removed. Either way, you get a worry free night's sleep. I don't know what kind of bike you have - the ST weighs about 350 kg with full gas and panniers, so it is pretty hard to carry it away.
My insurance company refused to write me coverage for Serbia (Yugoslavia) under any conditions, so I couldn't go there. However, I know people at work who are from Serbia and go there every year to see family, they tell me that there are no political problems there anymore.
Border guards these days seem to be more concered about economic migrants and terrorists than motorcycle riders - at some border crossings, they just waved me through, didn't even want to see my passport, let alone papers for the bike. Check the visa requirements carefully ahead of time, to avoid surprises. For example, as a Canadian, I can't go into the Czech Republic without a visa, which is a PITA. Didn't need one for any of the other countries, though.
See the detailed report I posted in the "Europe" section of this BB a few days ago.
I went to Romania by "moped" a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it .
Perhaps one warning is the frequent speed traps laid to part you from your money . The "fine" levvied is on a sliding scale depending on how wealthy you appear whether you are Romanian etc and goes straight into the Policeman`s pocket ( don`t ask me how I know ). So keep to 50 through all those villages , and down to 90/100 on the small pieces of motorway near the capital . In the mountains however ....
Otherwise , Eastern Europe has always been very safe , trouble free and enjoyable for me .
Trip trough serbia is not a problem any more.
coming from Sofia to Belgrade is not a problem,most of it on a two-lane highway,be carefull about speeding,policeman with radars are pretty bizy nowdays.
Be awere that as a forener u will pay tolls in euros(not dinars)and more expencive then as locals,who pay in dinars.
There are plenty of exchange offices,u can exchange dinars back to euros(no problem),however most of the offices will not change 100 US dollar bils(afraid of fake-ones),so all of u stick to euros.
As I heard of,till october u can enter serbia,with geting a tourist visa on a border($6 USD,fee),the october dedline could be extended(forever)
There should be no problem on the border with the gards,tough u nead to by incurance(i think,so it was before)
The general situation is totaly ok,serbian people are traditionaly pulite and love foreners,and would do enything to help u.
The Lonely Planet gide is TOTALY OUT OF DATE
I'm not sure about paying with Visa,even if there is a sticker on a door of a gas ststion,etc..that says they would acept visa or other card,dos'nt mean they will,so stick to cash(payment is in DINARS ONLY)
No problems with fuel,unleaded 95 oct.,super 95 or 98(leaded),diesel D-2,and Euro diesel on the main rutes.
Cant think of anything more right now,
if u have any cuestions post it,I will gladly reply!
Enjoy your trip!!!
Indjija(just between Belgrade and Novi Sad),Vojvodina
P.S:If u would like i could show u around
[This message has been edited by jondoe (edited 22 August 2002).]
Thanks for the advice.
A little local knowledge goes a long way.
it would be good to possibly meet up. I am meeting with your Institute for Protection of Nature in Serbia and am not sure of arrangements they have made.
email me via the communities page - uk - sheffield peak district will get to me - cant post emails on these pages no more!
Let me know how to contact you .
Im hopefully gonna be in Serbia around 6th oct - 13th sometime in Belgrade, sometime in Novi Sad.
Actually you don't NEED to post emails IN the post.
Your email address is ALWAYS available on the page for all readers. PLEASE read the faq file (link at the top of the page) http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb/faq.shtml for details - search on "e-mail Notification" for full explanation. And click on any or link to see the email address.
We are thinking of YOUR security and protecting you from spammers as best we can, while still enabling everyone to connect.
Just to say that I met Gavin aka 'gav_xjr',a nice guy!
He was pretty bizzy and in the hurry to get to Novi Sad in time for his work.
Gavin,please,let know the HUBB of your impresions of Serbia,and eastern europa in general.
Hope you injoyed you trip!
Folks,you are wellcome in Serbia eny time,best time to visit is May to late September,Gavin was here in early October and didn't hawe much luck with the weather,it was just fine a week before he got here.
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