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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2011
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Eastern Europe Tour start 22 Apr - 3 weeks

Hey all
Due to the weird and wonderful collection of bank holidays we get in the UK from 22 April I am taking 3 weeks off and want to tour the remainder of countries I haven't seen in Europe...so starting from London ride as fast to areas of border between Poland/Lithuania then onto Latvia, Estonia, Belorus, Ukraine then cross to Romania via Moldova followed by Bulgaria and swing back to London via Serbia. I have travelled all the other countries reasonably well so this is the last lot out of Europe.

So I have roughly 21 days, total distance roughly 9000 (not counting UK miles)...so given the first 1700km (to Poland) and last 1300km (from Graz) which I intend to do in 4 days total respectively...leaves me with 6000km over 16 days, so less than 400km per day (which is a nice roughly 5-6 hour run)

So thats first option
Calais, France to Calais, France - Google Maps

The other option is to avoid Bulgaria and Serbia which is option 2 which is effectively a 1000km shorter....

Calais, France to Calais, France - Google Maps

So have a few questions/concerns:
Does anyone know if there are still issues with roadblocks etc in some of these countries (where you have to pay to get through etc)
How safe to ride by myself (I can handle meself but dont want to be foolish either)
I will be riding a modded cruiser so whats the conditions of the roads like?
And finally would appreciate any tips or recommendations for sights etc

Incidently if anyone is mad/keen enough to come along let me know...as mentioned my time limit is roughly 3 weeks
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  #2  
Old 10 Feb 2011
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only road blocks as such are in transnistria which is in Moldova, basically you want to avoid transnistria if you don't want to pay a bribes or speak good Russian. easily avoided with a 40km detour.

your time frame seems to allow only a day or two in each country, its deff doable but you wont have much time in each country
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  #3  
Old 10 Feb 2011
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Yea its a bit of a mad run....not sure how long I will live in Europe still so trying to see as much as I can with aim to stay at least 24 hours in each country (unless really average)...with this trip depending on timings I may cut down to option 2 to spend more time in the eastern states but that remains to be seenwhen I get to crimea
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  #4  
Old 11 Feb 2011
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Chill-out in Tallin

I've done some of the route you plan take,(I went to Tallin last year).
The main roads are pretty good but the secondary roads are a bit of a lottery. Especially in Poland.
I rode on a "stock" ZZR 1100, my mate was on a F800gs.
We rode together most of the way but split up for a day while running back down the Russian border country. We decided to take different routes to Villinus after asking locals about the road ahead.
When we were told " If you travel this road in a big comfy car, it's not very comfy”..

I decided to go back and take main road via Riga. The F800gs handled the road with out any problem, but my mate reckoned that the ZZR might have struggled on some of the loose sections.
Tallin is a fantastic place, to good to rush through. We were shown around by a local Hubber, Worthog and his lovely misses.
It’s worth visiting “The Hill of Crosses”. If you are in Southern Poland you got to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow (Cracow).

I don’t have any info about the remainder of your route.
Hope you have a good one.
Rory
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  #5  
Old 11 Feb 2011
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Just some odd travel points on the more northern countries.

You can ride London to just inside Poland in a day - albeit a long day on the autobahns.
Hotels and fuel are cheaper in Poland than in Germany, so I think it's worth the extra hour or two!.

From there (just inside Poland) into Lithuania takes another day unless going via Kaliningrad.

In Poland roads are mostly single carrigeways but vehicles in both directions move over onto the hard shoulder to allow overtaking (usually!).

Main roads in all Baltic countries are in very good condition - better than most in UK. Note the low national speed limits at border signs - they have radar guns.

English generally understood in larger towns. Russian is a good alternative to the local language among the older population. At least learn to read the Russian alphabet for road signs if entering RUS or you could end up in Владивосток a few weeks later!

For Belarussia you will need a Visa if on a GB Passpoprt.
If not on a GB passport you will probably need a Schengen area Visa for EU states.

More visas required if visiting Kaliningrad which is part of Russia but definitely Europe, the rest of RUS is arguably Europe too. If visiting both parts you need double or multi entry visas.

Borders with RUS (incl Kaliningrad) can take up to an hour or two - even riding a bike to the front of all queues. Belarussia probably the same - I've always avoided this boring (I am told) country.

No border controls, other than signs, for private vehicles (but not freight vehicles, trucks etc) between the EU states.

UK Insurance includes minimum legal cover in all EU states only. You must buy insurance at border of RUS and Belarussia - not expensive, about GBP10-15 per month for bikes.

Sorry I can't help on the more southern countries.
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  #6  
Old 12 Feb 2011
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Hey guys, thanks very much for the tips..Ive ridden through poland b4 so should be no dramas there, my main concern (or rather curiosity) is ukraine and belarus as they are outside the eu and I heard various stories about the police force etc...

I decided to go with option two which will effectively give me more time in the eastern states...the bike etc is uk so insurance is covered for eu but wonder whats the go for ukraine (can I buy insurance at the border also?) as I gather from the post you can for belarus...

i'll be riding a modded gsx 1100 (cruiser/chopper) and me mate a tdm 850, both bikes tested in various road conditions on the mainland so should be no dramas as both have reasonable ground clearance etc...

well i guess its going to a great adventure but feel free to let me know of any tips or pointers on places to see....thanks again!
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Old 18 Feb 2011
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Since I see you are going to cross southern Poland, don't miss a 1-day visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau nazi concentration camps, they are only 50 minutes far from Krakow.
You'll experience the sights of the times when hell was really walking on earth...

While in Lithuania, as you've been suggested before, stop at the Hill of Crosses, just outside Siauliai: it takes only 40-45 minutes for a basic visit, but it really deserves a look!

I can tell you that I had no problems in riding Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and I ride a big H-D Ultra Classic Electra Glide: this should tell you that you can make it with no problems astride your cruiser, dude.

WARNING: some areas of Belarus are still polluted with radioactivity from the nuclear disaster of 1986 in Chernobyl Ukraine, so be informed about where to go and the places to avoid.
I read somewhere that they found that radioactive food is for sale in some parts of the Country, so eyes open.

Keep up the good work!
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Nick and his 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré
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  #8  
Old 18 Feb 2011
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Hi, i have ridden some of ur route, so here is my tuppence. i would not miss out on Romania & Bulgaria, 2 countries that i am a big fan of although the roads can at times be poor. There is a well paved but boring road from Burgas to Sofia (worth a visit), i was not a big fan of the Ukraine with the exception of the Crimea, roads long straight and boring, i beleive the Carprthian mountain region is also better. i had no problems with border crossings in Moldova. Andy
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  #9  
Old 7 Mar 2011
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Well it seems the decision has been made for me, I'm actually going with a mate however he doesnt have a licence so we are buying a sidecar and attaching that to my chopper...will post some pictures along of the machine once built...

And as he is only able to get just under 3 weeks off then we will have to miss on Bulgaria and Romania so will just tod the eastern states...so option 2 here we come will leave the other countries for another trip perhaps late in the season
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Old 7 Mar 2011
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Quote:
so we are buying a sidecar and attaching that to my chopper


Brave man . . . . or at least your mate is

Rory
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