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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 23 Jan 2006
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Touring Europe - Our Plan

Hi Everyone,

Well, we sat down and made a rough plan for our journey. We have decided not to keep it too stringent as we may want to vary some of route when we are on the road, but at least this gives us something to go by for the time being.

The plan so far is that my partner and I (my partner has family in Austria) will head over about the beginning of August to have a look around and buy a motorbike ready for the trip.
Our friends are going to rent a bike and so will come over mid August and we will meet them in Heidenburg (I think that is right, please excuse any spelling, I dont have my map handy).

So, we will leave (near Frankfurt) in mid August and head down to the Austrian and Italian border .. I want to ride that road that I see everyone post pictures of (I believe it goes through the Dolomites).
We will then head through Hungary to Budapest and onto Bucharest in Romania and then Burgas in Bulgaria then follow the coast as closely as we can (on main roads) to Istanbul.

From Istanbul we will follow the coast of the Aegean Sea around to Athens (if we get time, we would like to see Crete) then cross over to the coast of the Ionian Sea and head back up through Greece. Following the coast up to Dubrovnich we will then catch the ferry across the Adriatic Sea to Bari.

From Bari we will cross to Naples and head north through Rome then onto the coast of the Mediterranian Sea and follow that around to Nice and still further to Barcelona.
We will then head west to Bilbao and then back into France to Bordeaux and Geneva. Where we will then head into Switzerland briefly on the way back to (near Frankfurt) Heidenburg.

We intend to do this over 2 months. We average this to be about 200kms a day (or 1000kms a week) which shouldnt be too hard...we hope.

Once we drop our friends off back in Germany my partner and I will then head back to Austria to decide what we want to do next (spend the winter in Europe or head elsewhere).

I am hoping you wonderful people here can give me any tips or advice about this trip. We are all from Australia and thus used to long distances and open roads...we understand we may have underestimated the roads and 1000kms a week may not be possible, dunno.

I will be on a bike (hopefully) bought by my partners family (Austrian citizens) and my friend will be on a rented bike. So Im hoping that means we wont need visa's or carnets...is that correct?

We intend to camp as much as possible, but will stay in hostels if its too wet or we need a break from the tent.

I think we have it timed right so that we miss the worst of the peak season, but also hopefully wont get too many icey/ snowy roads.

Please, if there is anything else you can think of I will very much appreciate your input. I have been keeping a close eye on these forums, but there is so much information its easy to get lost. Ive been buying books and intend to brush up on my Spanish and German (with my partners help).

Thank you very much for any help.
Hopefully we will even get to meet some HUBB members on our trip...now that would be cool.
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\"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did.
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Explore. Dream. Discover.\" - M.Twain
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  #2  
Old 23 Jan 2006
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Phew, quite a lot for two months. In Europe you pass through a village every few K's, unlike your outback ;-)

A very spectacular drive in Austria is the "Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse" which gets you up to 2.500m asl. The Dolomites are great, shouldn't miss them. Hungary isn't as spectacular, more of a serene countryside. Romania is very beautiful. Plan to visit Sigishoara and when travelling south to Bucharest the Transfagarash mountain road is a must. The main roads have heavy traffic and the drivers are looney. The secondary roads are much more scenic, but often in a derilict state. Ergo everybody takes the mainroads...

Whith an Austrian license plate you do not need any carnet, but I'd check whether the rented bike is allowed to be driven in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey.

Dubrovnik is another must see. But the ferry to Bari is only offered in summer, so you might have to take the road to Italy, which doesn't realy matter (except for the time), because the Croatian coastal road is very beautiful and takes you past the medeaval town of Trogir which can compete with Dubrovnik in every respect. Further north you could make a detour to the lakes of Plitvice before turning west to Italy. Lovely!

Enjoy your planning.
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  #3  
Old 24 Jan 2006
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Wow! Thank you very much Vaufi, lots of good tips in there that I will take onboard.

The reason we decided to do the trip clockwise rather than anticlock was because we figured those are the parts we wish to see more than any other, so if we ran out of time we could cut the trip short once past Italy.

Id be disappointed if we cant catch a ferry from the coast of Greece to the coast of Italy...but if we cant we cant, that just means we will lose time in other places.

Now to begin the long laborious process of calling up each embassy and ensuring I dont need a visa to visit thier country....phew!
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\"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.\" - M.Twain
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  #4  
Old 24 Jan 2006
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Might be useful

http://www.dubrovnik-online.com/engl...tation_sea.php
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  #5  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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If you travel from Australia thro half europe and cross Mediterranean sea without seen Croatian coast it would be a sin. The roads are very good, every 20km is town, and the scenery is magnificent. From Dubrovnik to Trieste, Italy is 500-700km depend of the shortest or coast route.
From Trieste to Rome is 670km throw Toscana famous by architecture and wines.

I see that you are afraid of low kilometers per week. It isn’t Australia bat 200km/day is like riding a bike
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  #6  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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If you travel from Australia thro half europe and cross Mediterranean sea without seen Croatian coast it would be a sin. The roads are very good, every 20km is town, and the scenery is magnificent. From Dubrovnik to Trieste, Italy is 500-700km depend of the shortest or coast route.
From Trieste to Rome is 670km throw Toscana famous by architecture and wines.

I see that you are afraid of low kilometers per week. It isn’t Australia bat 200km/day is like riding a bike
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  #7  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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Coming from SA we also do serious k's between towns etc and doing 1500km in a day is not really an issue etc.

What really surprised me is how quickly you can move around Europe. I know it sounds funny and yes 200km in SA is also 200km in Europe but the distances really fly by quickly compared to the road map.

We did a couple of Europe bike trips last year two up. We didn't aim to do any specific distance per day but rather just chose a route and stopped along the way as and when to take in the views etc and then find a place to sleep in the late afternoon. On average we did about 150-180 miles per day on secondary roads sticking to national speed limits 45-60mph.
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  #8  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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Oh yes and another thing. The only three times I got badly lost and highly annoyed was in cities. Yes I managed and yes I have commuted daily in London for three years but trying to ride you bike in foreign European cities is just not worth the head ache. The traffic signs and direction are utterly useless. Rather find a good place to park and use public transport. And watch out for kamakazi Italian mopeds!!! worse than Ozzie flies
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  #9  
Old 1 Feb 2006
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Sounds like a great trip, as your from aussie you will be used to the heat but august september are pretty hot times of year 30 to 40 degrees towards Istanbul and Greece, I would suggest for your journey a large trail type bike would make sense as a lot of the roads can be poor also I think your friend could have problems with a hire bike crosing into some of the former eastern block countries where the Police and border guards can get pretty feverish about paperwork they may require proof of ownership etc. I would also apply for a International driving licence from one of the european motoring organisations as these help when stopped by police in former eastern block countries. Shame you are missing out on Northern Europe and Scandinavia while you are over here But maybe you can save that for another year. Best luck with your trip and have a great time in Europe.
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  #10  
Old 1 Feb 2006
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The ferry from Patra Greece to Brnbi use to run all year. Also there may be a ferry from there to Venice - saves petrol and one nights accomo. Lots of options. Chose when you get there?
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  #11  
Old 2 Feb 2006
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Thanks to everyone for your help.
It seems that the distances shouldnt be a problem which is great. I have to admit I was worried that we wouldnt be able to manage 1000kms a week without having to rush...but Im a bit more confident now that we can.

When it comes to distances, Im not bothered by high kilometer runs. I can manage 1000kms a day if I have too.

Thanks for the tips on Croatia, ferries, heat and police, hehe....Ill need all this help and its all going into my little book for future reference.

Once we finish this journey and see our friends off. My partner and I intend to head to Austria for winter. I really would like to see Northern Europe but we are not making plans for after the trip, we prefer to keep it all open so that we can do anything we decide to do at the time (but I have been waiting to see Northern Europe for so long)...we may even tour that area in winter for something different (just not on bikes).

The bike Ill look at buying when I get to Austria will be an BMW R1100GS. It seems there are plenty of them around there, so my partner and I will take our time looking around Austria while looking to buy a bike.

Oh also, for any other Aussies curious about visa's. it appears that we should be fine for visa's in every country on our trip except Romania. It looks like Romania will require us to apply for a visa before we leave, but other than that its all good.

Cheers
Hopefully we will be able to meet up with some of you natives (or other wanderers) for a while on the trip. Thats the part Im mostly looking forward too
__________________
\"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.\" - M.Twain
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  #12  
Old 17 Feb 2006
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It kind of makes me a bit sad that your plan contains only a fast transit trough my country, the most beautifull island in the world, Switzerland. Driving "from Geneva to Germay" will not give you a very good impression of us. How ever, if you've some time left, give me a wave and I'd love to make some suggestoins for ya.

200km's a day is a good plan. It can easely be done and there's plenty of time left to "do" and "see" things. And belief me; There's things to do/see on every corner!

Enjoye and take care on wrong-side-traffic;-)
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  #13  
Old 20 Feb 2006
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I completely agree with you Cooltours. In fact there is much that I regret about our current plan. But with the limitations we have its the best we can do.
BUT, my partner and I are planning to spend winter in Austria and want to visit many places that either we didnt see or didnt see enough of during our bike trip. We will do this during winter (by car) and then when the weather improves we may finish the journey by bike again.
We also want to walk the "road to Santiago" and so will probably try to stay in Europe at least until mid 2007. Of course that will depend on what kind of visa we are able to get for Austria.

Thanks for your help and suggestions and yes, Id love to give you a wave a bit closer to the date.
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\"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.\" - M.Twain
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  #14  
Old 21 Feb 2006
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Hi Tathagata, Maurizio from Italy.
Europe in two months? Sure it can be done, no problem, but don't feel put down if someone smiles and compares it to "Australia in one weekend"... don't get me wrong, but ther's a whole continent out there - over here and no less than 3000 years of history...
...so here goes.
1) Bike . Sure, BMWs are nice, but if you want something dependable like a tractor, that won't attract the wrong kind of attention from Eastern European Police, then an older OHV BMW or a Moto Guzzi are better options, and you might like them so much you may actually want to fly them back to Oz! Remember, August is motorcycle high season, you are on the right path to be ripped off if you don't do your shopping now...

2) Where to go? Everybody says you must see the Croatian coast, which is so very true, and I agree... Dubrovnik was founded by the Venetians and originally called 'Ragusa', but be aware that from Greece to Croatia along the coast means you either ride across Albania or across Macedonia and Kosovo and Montenegro... are you sure you want to do that? There's NATO troops all over the place just keeping the heat down!!! may I suggest you take the ferry from Greece (Patras or Igoumenitsa) to Bari or Brindisi in Italy, ride up to Trieste (PM me on hotmail) and down again into Croatia, much safer.

3) By the way, did they ever tell you that... the Sword in the Stone really does exist? Would you like to see it? It's in a Monastery, in the granite floor of the medieval chapel, and it's NOT a hoax, so, interested? And how about Romeo and Juliet's balcony? And how about the ancient Greek colonies in Sicily? And Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius? Or Venice? Gothic Cathedrals like in Orvieto, Siena, Florence? Driving along the old route followed by the famous 'Mille Miglia' road race - from Rome all the way to Brescia... ot the Alpine passes, an easy 10.000ft to the sky and whoosh down and hear your ears pop, and ack up again along another valley, weaving your way across Italy, Austria, Switzerland, then Italy again, then France, along the roads built by Napoleon... all the way to Petite St. Bernard, used by Hannibal and his elephants when he waged war agains Rome... then up the Rhone and...
...
and if I don't stop I'll be hogging this thread. Sorry, I got overenthusiastic.

Anyway, one last good piece of advice, buy yourselves a good GPS with maps for all European nations, possibly a PDA so you can take notes as you go along, and enjoy your holidays !

Always happy to provide more advice and suggestions



------------------
Maurizio
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  #15  
Old 21 Feb 2006
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Ahhhhahahaha, you sweet talker. Of course you know I want to see all those things...Im sitting here drooling all over my keyboard, hehe.

Im not overly worried about riding through zones that may be a little 'hot' but its something we will have to consider at the time. I had also been warned off going through Romania, but .... geez .... I wanna see them, hehe. Because Im not alone on this ride, I will likely take the safer route and work around those places that may present problems.

Im treating these 2 months as a kind of preview. In my opinion, it will be more a chance to say 'gudday' to folk I have never met before and to get an idea of whats around. When our friends leave to come home, my partner and I will then make new plans to do what we want, we have no time schedule and our only limitations will be money and visa's, which hopefully we can sort out anyway. It will be then that we do all the things we have dreamed of. Like see the sword in the stone, romeo and juliets balcony and the pilgrimage along the road to santiago (we really really really wanna do this one).

Thanks for your very helpful post. I will write to you once things start moving along a bit (actually Im trying very very hard to keep planning to a minimum, I dont want to plan too much of this trip).

Oh, and if you want to see Oz in 2 weeks gimme a call, Ill show you around (bring a Hayabusa with you, hehe).
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So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.\" - M.Twain
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