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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  • 1 Post By strimstrum
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  #1  
Old 31 Jul 2012
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Travelling through eastern europe, worried about my safety

I am a pillar, my partner and I are planning to travel Eastern Europe next year from July to Sept. I am so worried about travelling through the boarders and what mauy happen. What are the things I need to know as a women and is there much danger in this? We will also be wild camping in all these countries again I am worried about animals in the wild?
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  #2  
Old 31 Jul 2012
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Where are you travelling from and which East European countries are you talking about ?
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  #3  
Old 31 Jul 2012
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Unware of these countries and boarders

These are the countries that I am unsure about - Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan & Armenia.

I start in the UK through Russia either on a train or fly the bike to Mongolia and then do eastern europe from there.
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  #4  
Old 3 Aug 2012
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the boyfriend thats dragging her east

Hello HUBBers,

I'm the guilty boyfriend for trying to drag Patty through the eastern bloc when she would much prefer to be partying it up in Ibiza or cruising the hills of Tuscany. That being said she knows this trip has been a dream of mine so she's onboard with the idea but she wants to get some advice from the broader adventuring community. She needs to hear it from people other than my biased persuasion. I'll preface this by saying we went to the meetup in Ripley and got as much info as we could there and unfortunately we miss the one at the end of August which seems to be more women focussed.

Our journey begins in Mongolia where we'll be heading to Irkutsk --> Kazakhstan --> Kyrgyzstan --> Tajikistan --> Uzbekistan --> Kazakhstan --> Azerbaijan --> Georgia --> Armenia --> Turkey --> Balkans --> western Europe

Her main concern is the Russian leg of the journey, because as we all know Russians are either arms dealers, ex-KGB, and/or have been exiled to Siberia for being a political activist. But being serious her three main concerns are 1) bears 2) racism (she's black...and female) & 3) crazy border police brandishing AK-47's in her face screaming Russian.

Bears
We know there are bears in the south of Russia (but rare - please correct us if we're wrong here), Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey & the Balkans. Are people wild camping in these locations (and taking the usual precautions like storing food away from camp etc etc) or playing it safe and staying in hostels? In Albania a fellow HUBBer said to stay in hostels, but what about the other countries? She can't speak Russian so the bears will have trouble understanding her commands to sit & play dead

Racism
She's done reading on the Stan's and is comfortable they are tolerant of black people, but what about Russia. It's such a big country it's hard to get an idea across the various regions. In the big cities it seems ok but what about south Russia? Appreciate it's probably a very difficult question to answer because the chances of a black woman being on the HUBB with this sort of experience is pretty remote we imagine.

Borders
This is her first time crossing international borders other than by plane so she has this image in her head of them standing around with guns screaming crazy at her . Can someone please put her straight and tell her that's not the case...or otherwise.

Thanks all and happy travels
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  #5  
Old 3 Aug 2012
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As far as bears in Siberia go.... We travelled the trans siberian highway last year and wild camped a few times and didn't see any bears-I suspect that they stay away from the road because it's too noisy - there are pull offs to the side of the main highway in which you can camp -(these areas have had the oil and gas pipes that travel alongside the road diverted a few metres away so that you won't fall foul of lighting fires near the pipeline.)

As far as being black in Siberia... we saw only one black person in Vladivostok and he was the centre of attention but only because it is a relatively rare sight BUT bikers from England are also a rare sight so you will both be objects of curiosity. Siberian folks are, for the most part, very welcoming and border crossings are fairly hassle free if you have the right documents and we had nothing but polite police/customs in Russia with no bribes or AK 47's being waved in the face.

If you are ever in the Midlands (near Stratford-upon-Avon) send me a PM or email me strimstrum [at] hotmail [dot] com if you want more information, pictures.

To be honest I would be more fearing of the mosquitoes than bears - need some good netting to keep the blighters out. Pre conceived ideas about Russia will go out of the window when you get there I'm sure.

Just got back from Albania - hotels are cheap as chips so it's not worth wild camping really. Turkey is a blast too, lots of nice people and some wonderful scenery.

Martin
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  #6  
Old 6 Aug 2012
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Feel slightly better .. thanks Martin

Thanks Martin,
Well, my concern now is wild camping in land more, near the forest where bears may be about. This is what the plan is. So there will be bears around there? I know this may sound silly but I’m just concerned and want to know if this will be a problem. And what precautions to take.
Yes, we may be around that way that would be great. Thanks
Thanks so much for all your information. I do feel more comfortable about being black and travelling through these countries and boarder control now but I am still very concern about wild camping in the forests.
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  #7  
Old 6 Aug 2012
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Wild Camping.

Hi, for peace of mind and a bit of warning if something's going to happen at night: Put a trip wire of anything thin around your area and attach one end to something solid, the other to your cooking pots in a pile. The idea is that wind won't knock them over but a tug on the wire would make a clattering sound. Carrying a set of miniflares can be helpful. These are made for sailing use. A loud bang occurs and a bright flare is sent 400 metres in the direction it's aimed. You could start a forest fire with one though.

Pains Wessex | Personal Distress Signal

Personally I normally carry a pack of these flares. Lindsay.
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  #8  
Old 6 Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by patricianadan View Post
Thanks Martin,
but I am still very concern about wild camping in the forests.
Patty- perhaps your answer then is not to camp - there are always cheap hotels/pensions/hostels along the way - in Siberia you will more than likely be invited several times to stay with someone who has stopped to chat.

It may seem alien to accept and all sorts of wierd things go through your mind but in our experience everyone we met and offered us accommodation was genuine and very friendly (we didn't turn down the offers... we just went with the flow- it is a truly wonderful mind opening way to get to know the country.)

If you do wild camp along the Trans Siberian the chances of you being attacked by a bear are almost nil.
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  #9  
Old 6 Aug 2012
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Considering Russia - I feel safer here than in my native UK.
I walk Moscow at night, both central and local to my home, often very late and tipsy (as some HUBBers know) and never been more threatened than asking for a direction or if I have a light. There are areas of London, where I lived for over 40 years, that I feel decidedly uncomfortable in - even at day time.

But I like to keep myself a fairly low key 'old fart'. I dont wear jewellery, not even a watch or ring. My lack of reasonable Russian language perhaps works against me, but my dress, demeanour and attitude do not shout "Loads of money, foreigner!". I don't walk near shadows, narrow entrances, etc and when in seemingly deserted streets I quicken my pace a little into a self-confident stride, not loking over my shoulder all the time. I don't want to appear a victim waiting to happen.

So much for cities, which never truely represent the people of the nation.
The countryside and smalltowns you will meet truely unbelievable warmth, hospitality, interest and friendship every where. The initial dour facial set needs to be ignored. You will wonder why we (or my age group) were brought up to consider Russians as some form of enemy.

It is governments and religions that create trouble between countries and peoples, not the people themselves.

But the danger is always the unpredictable.

In Russia the greatest unpredictable is the random drunk and his possible responses. Dont engage with them in any way - not even eye contact.

Forget animals. Over 6 years I have ridden more of Russia than most including some remote parts never ridden before. Crossing remoter parts od Siberia 3 times I never saw anything bigger than a rabbit.
I have only seen 2 bears. The first was a miserably sad looking animal, a chained up tourist attraction in St Pete - which disgusted me. I desparately wanted to release the poor animal. The other bear was on the trackside about as far east as you can ride. He had run off by the time my riding buddy came by a minute later.
The only animal danger I have suffered was hitting an elk that ran out of bushes late one night when I was driving not far from the built up EU(Latvia) border area.
Moral of the story - don't drive or ride at night.

Please Patricia - get that stuff out of your head.
Enjoy what is now 'my' country. And if, on your way back, you both want to thank me for the advice and help make me tipsy again.....
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  #10  
Old 7 Aug 2012
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Thank you all

Thank you all for the sound advice, and if we're ever in your areas we'll be sure to stop by and say hello
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  #11  
Old 7 Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by GuiltyParty View Post
and if we're ever in your areas we'll be sure to stop by and say hello
Please do, you would both be very welcome !
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  #12  
Old 14 Aug 2012
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Thank you

Thank you so much, I have done some research and I do seem to find the same answer .... which is what you guys have already confirmed.

This has helped me out so much
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  #13  
Old 18 Sep 2012
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if you are concern about bears:
Electro Bear Guard Products
i have bought one with x-tra 4 poles while in the states this summer
i tested in romania. mainly cows and a german sheppard. i dont know about bears, usually i slept during the nite.
i guess is good to have on you. i heard that mosquitoes are the problem, but i think i will get more rest during the night with the fence around me and the bike. for 3lbs and those dimensions...
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