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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 30 Sep 2011
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Very useful report, Michael. That area of Europe is on my radar so thanks for posting. Some more photos would have made it better
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Old 5 Oct 2011
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Great report, thanks

Michael, we just returned "home" to Spain after 3 months ride through France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, where we did cross the Bosphorus and rode the Black Sea coast all the way to Sinop then through Sanfranbolu, Goreme etc to the southern coast of Turkey and then along the coastal route to Izmir and a ferry to Greece and Italy and eventually to Barcelona.

Thanks for your well organized and accurate report. We discovered that 50 Turkish Lire (approx $27 USD) buys a toll card good throughout Turkey for toll roads. We purchased two cards at the toll office just after the big bridge spanning the Bosphorus...we each ride our own BMW G650 GS , but it was later explained that 2 motorcycles traveling together need only purchase only one card if they pass the unmanned toll booth side by side. We used the cards several times and each time we swiped the card the available balance on the card showed in the swipe window at unmanned toll booths. The card was sufficiently charged up for our tour of Turkey as the toll roads are only around the larger cities... We too, did a lot of trail riding.... FYI we had three nasty encounters with "Kangal" Turkish sheep dogs , this is a special breed of dogs outfitted with spiked collars as protection from wolves. These are not feral dogs they are highly valued and very well trained. We were spared two times by a few words from sheep herders, the other time we rode away "express." I always carry a medium sledge hammer handle, not the hammer, slipped into the straps of my tail bag for easy access.... I figure if times get rough it would be good to have. I am older and traveling with a very beautiful woman.

Please note, two motorcycles using one toll card is common practice in Turkey, but I cannot say whether it is actually legal or not. Talking of tolls, once in Mexico, a criminal gang took over all the toll booths for a major super highway and began collecting tolls. I suppose there was some complicity on the part of the toll workers for all were released by the gang unharmed, and the gang collected tolls for almost an hour. I noted the "gang" as we paid our tolls, and yet thought nothing of it until we read about the crime in the following days headlines.

On a more humorous note, this September 2011, we were stopped by an Italian "candid camera" film crew at their fake border for Slovenia. I thought the whole set strange and noted the pristine uniforms of the "border guards" and immediately signaled Elisa something was amiss. We have crossed enough borders to know the border guards never have creases in their pants and starched shirts.... and medals hanging from those starched shirts???? Anyway when the candid camera crew asked for our passports I just said no... we were willing to show our passports, but not hand them over. I began kidding around with the guards about not having any guns... and they finally pointed to the overhead camera and confessed. Anyone else run into this Italian film crew? xfiltrate

Motorcycle Parking Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Old 28 Nov 2011
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Thanks for a great write up Michael. I'm strongly fancying a trip to Bulgaria this summer all thing being well.

I will say though, you're being a little harsh on the Greeks. I spent a lot of time in Greece as a younger man and have a great affinity with the country and it's people. From my understanding of the current crisis it can be traced to the political/fiscal situation that saw them gain entry into the EU in the first place. You can point a finger directly at that bastion of honesty and integrity Goldman Sachs for cooking the books. Thereafter the Greeks, like many EU minnows, were seduced (read fattened for the kill) by a big injection of borrowed money that financed the lavish public sector (as it was under New Labour in the UK). It was high level corruption rather than fecklessness that set them up to fail. Those in positions of public trust betrayed the people, the people themselves had no say in it. Of course it's more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it as I understand.

So Greeks have no intention of willingly complying with the servitude imposed on them for many generations to come and we should all take a leaf from their book. Long before Occupy Wall Street started, Greeks were occupying Syntagma square and elsewhere. They knew, as did the Spanish, they'd been shafted long ago, the rest of the world is simply catching up to the crimes of the banksters.

Well I'm glad I got that off my chest.
A ship in the harbour is safe, but that\'s not what ships were built for. Anon
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Old 30 Nov 2011
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Very well written report and info. Thanks.

I must do my planned Bulgaria-Romania tour as soon as possible.
"where the traveller goes, nobody knows ! "
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Old 8 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by mudlark View Post
...the Greeks, like many EU minnows, were seduced (read fattened for the kill) by a big injection of borrowed money that financed the lavish public sector...
Oh, Mudlark, c'mon now! Since independence in 1829, the Greeks have been in default of their debts for more years than they have kept their accounts current!

Heck, their first default took place in the 4th century BC, back when the rest of us were still crawling around in caves. They're professionals at it.

Seriously, though - I do feel sorry for the folks remaining there who are getting impacted by what is happening now, but the comments I made about widespread tax evasion (that I experienced first-hand) and vandalism were genuine. I'm honestly not optimistic for the future there.

More to the point, the average day-to-day cost of touring Greece was far higher than the cost of touring all the neighbouring countries. In fact, it was darn close to the daily cost of touring France or Germany. Turkey was about the same daily cost, but the part of Turkey that I visited is a 100% 'first world' fully developed country. Greece is not.

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Old 11 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
There were a few speed cameras in Romania (though it appeared that most of them had been abandoned and were not in service), none that I saw in Bulgaria,
There are speed cameras in Bulgaria - both mobile and fixed.
As of Jan 2012 there are approx. 25 fixed (the police have 60 mounted enclosures and swap the cameras in them).
There are also 60 police cars with cameras/radars on the dashboard, so if you see a police car parked along the road - slow down.
Radar detectors are legal in Bulgaria, but they will work only with the mobile radars (X-band). Fixed cameras work on Ka band and when the detector screams it will be too late.

here is a link to the list of fixed camera/radars - Cameras in Bulgaria
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Old 27 Mar 2012
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Great report, Thanks for that PanEuropean, I might go there as soon as next week, was planning to go during summer but plans have changed! Romania is the highlight of my trip, shame I probably wont be able to do Transfagarasan Highway!
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Old 27 Mar 2012
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Thumbs up

I just saw this thread for the first time. I thought it was a great report, with plenty of in-depth information that other riders would want to know. Very good and thanks.
Bruce Clarke - 2020 Yamaha XV250
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Old 31 Mar 2012
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Hi Bruce:

I also live in Victoria, BC (Sidney, to be exact) - if you would like to get together for a coffee sometime in our home town, just send me an instant message.

Because of the nature of my work, I am out of the country a lot (I'm in Santiago, Chile at the moment, having been through Siberia, Japan, Guam, Micronesia, and Tahiti in the past month) and I'll be heading off to the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Europe and Libya for most of April. But, I am sure that we can figure out some way to connect between now and the summer.

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Old 26 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by geordie_e View Post
Im heading that way May 2012 and always looking for more info on those countries

Hi Will! There is a group of 3 of us who will be wandering through Romania in the second half of May - should meet up if we are in the same area?
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Old 26 Apr 2012
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hi guys... Brit biker based in Brasov - good to meet other bike travelers that come through...and happy to help with advice.... another english guy is just opening a bike freindly guesthouse and camping a few km outside Brasov as well in a really nice location - good to get some folks coming through to inspire him!!
PM me and will give you email n skype contacts etc...
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Have sent you a PM regarding my trip :-)

Geordie aka Will
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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I will be in Brasov around the end of June, on route from Athens back to the UK, so will look out for you.

I'll PM you to get contact details for the Guesthouse.

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Old 16 Jun 2012
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Thanks for taking the time to do this write up, excellent. I'm hoping to ride from England to Mt Ararat probably next year as i have just returned from Morocco.

I lived and worked in Greece and Turkey in the late 90's so I'm hoping to look up old friends and collegues on the way. Thanks for your tips.
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Old 28 Nov 2012
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Hi: We're Saltspring residents and shipping the bikes over in March to tour Italy to Turkey and enjoyed your informational approach.
I'm hoping that you can help with a roadblock that we have run into with ICBC. They are saying that we can't keep a BC plate on the bikes unless it is insured but they do not insure for Europe? Its a Catch 22. How did you manage this? My bike is insured until July in BC and I would like a refund for the period that it will be out of the country. They say no problem, just turn in the plate... We are going around and around on this.
(I'd PM you but don't post enough to be allowed access.)
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