Destination: Black Sea (long, lots of pics) - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:41 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Destination: Black Sea (long, lots of pics)

At some point in time about a year ago, the idea was raised to ride our bikes to the Black Sea and visit the Balkan countries. A seed was planted and after a lot of planning, finding information and creating routes a trip was born. Saturday August 21 it was time to leave on what would become a long but interesting and wonderful trip.

First day we did a bit of slabbing over the autobahn towards Zwickau to meet up with a guy called Markus, who we met on our Nordkapp trip last year. He made it on a 150cc two-stroke MZ. I was nice to catch up with him and exchange stories. Next it was off to Prague (Czech).


Arriving in Prague, still all nice and clean.

Prague is a beautiful city. Lot's of beautiful sites. Also lots of tourists and hellish traffic.





Had a few drinks in the city and watched the night fall.



Next it was off to Slowakia, where we planned to find a hotel in Bratislava. Bratislave is another gem worth a visit. We spend the evening with a nice walk around the castle overviewing the city.







Slowakia and Hungary (next up) are really boring to ride through. At least the parts we had to cross. Flat, straight roads and not much to see. We passed up a chance to see Budapest in favor of our schedule and stayed overnight in a little bitty town somewhere between Budapest and the Romanian border.

In Romania, things started to look more interesting.



Gone with the flatness and nice curvy roads.

We made a stop in Sighisoara, as it was suggested by one of my co-workers.


BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:42 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Apparently it is the oldest still original mid-evil city in Europe. They called it authentic, I would call it in need of some TLC. It has great potential though.



We ended up for the night in Sibiu, which is another very nice old mid-evil city. This one is completely restored to its old glory though. At the time, there was a festival going on, so lots of activity and tourists but fun.





Next day was one of days I was looking forward to: the Transfagarasan Highway or DN7C, which has also been featured in Top Gear as being the best driving road in the world.



About halfway, I had already finished a smoke by the time the first of the others arrived there. Then I had to wait some more, because my Dad had my camera in his top-case and has a somewhat more sedated pace then me.



Then you get to the top, having done and looking back at this, and you think they TG guys are on to something. But then you down the other side. Which is a total friggin' disaster. I kid you not. It will kill your shocks, relocate you kidneys and loosen your fillings and it still won't be over. Doing 10mph with ESA set to COMF and you feel you are bouncing around like on an MX track at full speed. It is ridiculous.

After that horrendous experience, which cost a lot of time, we stopped early and checked in into a hotel next to Poenari castle.



Poenari castle was owned by Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Vlad Dracula.





You can only reach it by foot, and only by climbing 1480 steps. That's a loooooong staircase. Local stories have it that Vlad would have the head of one of his enemies impaled on a stick next to each and every step as a reminder for anyone going up not to mess with him. Vlad lived in rather brutal and ruthless times, but even to his peers he was considered to be extremely brutal, ruthless and cruel.

BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:42 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Next stop was Bucharest, the capital of Romania. We drove through it, and it is a most beautiful city but only made a quick stop. It was 40C by now, and it is not much fun riding in those temps, let alone walking around sightseeing wearing motorcycle gear.





Dictators palace, 150,000 square meters. 'Nuf said.

We made Constanta for the night, our most eastern destination and right on the Black Sea.



View from just across the street from the hotel. So far, not much problems with hotels, but the roads in Romania can use some work. But by far the worst in Romania is other traffic. Completely nutters. Doing 70mph in city limits. Overtaking in blind curves. Think of anything suicidal to do in traffic, and it is business as usual in Romania.

People are very nice and friendly though. Very helpful and most speak enough English or German to get around without much problems. Difference are huge though. On one hand you have horse-drawn carts, and on the other hand Audi Q7 SUV's. Beggars and multi-millionaires. It is also quite a dirty country. They seem to just drop their garbage everywhere. Every parking space next to a country road is used as garbage dump. Bigger cities on the other hand are very clean.

Next up was a short day into Bulgaria to the city of Varna. This is where we planned our first day of R&R. We picked ourselves a nice hotel.



And a room with a view.



It is a nice old city, with lots of things to see, but it is also the city the rich come to have vacation. So lots of high-end cars, shops, restaurants etc.








BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:43 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Bulgaria was one of the surprises of the trip. Nice roads, clean, extremely friendly people. Really nice place to visit. After a bit of R&R it was time to head down the coast into Turkey.



Just for a quick dab, passing through to Greece. The border crossing was soooooo annoying. Of course it makes perfect sense to have office 1 to 4, and you have to visit 1, 4, 2, 3 and 4 again. Thank God for a police officer speaking English, understanding the procedures and willing to help. We'd probably still be sitting there if he hadn't been there to help.

After a quick dash through Turkey, on perfect, billiard smooth, nice curvy roads btw, we had to cross the border to Greece. Now everybody knows the Turks and the Greeks don't particularly like each other, but big guns on either side, tall fences, speed traps and decontamination pools is a bit much in this day and age in Europe. That Greek decontamination pool fried my Autocom btw, which meant no more comms and no more spoken GPS instructions for the rest of the trip. Nice and quiet though.

The day started a bit grey with a few drops now and then, but not enough to get wet and it quickly turned back to sunny again. So we had lunch in a little town with a restaurant on a mountain.



Food with a view, what else can one which for?

Following the coastline on beautiful twistie roads, we quickly fell in love with Greece as a biking country. Amazing view over the Mediterranean and the roads battled for attention.



After a long day in the saddle, we arrived in Thessaloniki for the night and we indulged ourselves in the comforts of a very nice hotel right on the coast.





Our hotel (The Elektra Palace Hotel) is on the left. We arrived just in time to watch the sun set over the harbor.



After a very good meal on the roof terrace of the hotel we had a few drinks in the city. Everyone has seen the news on the economic state of Greece lately, but it appears at least in Thessaloniki they forgot to tell the people. We were there on a workday, and the city was filled with nice cars, motorcycles, people dressed up going out, lounging in expensive bars and restaurants like there was no tomorrow.

BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:44 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
The following day, we were on the bikes again heading for Macedonia. More excellent curvy Greek roads to enjoy. Macedonia itself wasn't all that interesting, but we had a nice hotel near a lake before heading out to Albania.



Albania was a bit of double edged. The south was beautiful, clean, great quiet roads. The north dirty, over crowded and bad roads. The capital Tirana was a disaster. Imagine streets 4 lanes wide in both directions, no lines, no signs, completely swamped with cars, throw in some road works where 4 lanes turn into 2, when the locals actually feel 3 should fit, navigating on feel because there is no map coverage and trying to keep the group together in traffic only matched in chaos and craziness of the drivers by cities like Milan and Rome and you get a feel of how I felt. It wasn't pretty. Albanians are also obsessed with Mercedes. It doesn't matter what type, or how old, if you have a Merc, you have made it. As a result, 7 out of 10 cars driving in Albania is probably a Merc. From 30 year old 200D's to the latest and greatest SLK's.

Anyway, we were happy to get out. And after riding 30 miles to the border in a road construction, which translates to 30 miles of dirt road with big holes in between dump trucks and cars, we ended up in Montenegro fed up and covered in white dust.

Getting from Montenegro to Croatia was uneventful. Roads are decent and the views are great. But it is not very large. Croatia is amazing. Great roads and absolutely stunning.









After a nice but long day of riding, we decided for another day of R&R in Cavtat so we would have time to see the old city of Dubrovnik the next day. I have to say, I can really get used to those 5 star hotels.






BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:44 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Dubrovnik is great. The old city is completely there in all of its grandeur and it is a pleasure to walk the walls and see the city from that perspective.















After a day of relaxation and playing tourist, it was time to get back on the bikes and do some riding. Croatia kept amazing with its views and roads.




BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:45 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
A little bitty hotel in the inlands of Croatia was our home for the night so the next day we could get into Italy and to the Dolomites. This day proved to be the only day with rain, but that one day it came in torrential downpours. Not a whole lot of fun so we just tried to get to Arabba as quick as possible. By the end of the day, it was freezing cold and not a whole lot of fun but we made it the planned hotel safely.

Next day had a bit or riding the Dolomites on the program, an area which I absolutely love. Been there many times, and know most of the roads but I just love going there over and over again. My friends had never been there, so it was a good opportunity to show them why I love it so much. I made a few more converts.









After a bit of playing, it was time get moving again and do some more serious business. We stayed over night in a little dreamy mountain village just of the Timmelsjoch, which we were going to concur the next day.






(what is connected in friendship cannot be separated in politics)

Some fun little roads through Austria, to get back to Italy.




BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 6:46 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , , Netherlands
Posts: 24
Next on the menu was the Stelvio. I don't have any pictures of that, because my dad and one of my friends did not want to do that one and took an alternate route to Livigno. And since those little bitty sports cases don't hold all my stuff AND my photo gear, I was without camera that part of the trip. Then again, I have been there so many times and made the same pictures just as many times, I didn't really miss it. Though the light was very pretty at the end of the day.

After Stelvio it was getting late and by 8pm we arrived in Livigno where the others were already waiting. Livigno is a cold well, and the next morning we woke up with ice on the bikes and temperatures as low as 0.5C. Fortunately temperatures went up as we climbed out of the valley onto the Bernini Pass.



After that it was just crossing Switzerland into Germany and onto the autobahn to get home.

In all it took us 7500km to cross 17 countries in 3 week plus 1 day.

Some after thoughts:
- The flatlands of Hungary are boring
- Romania was a disappointment. It has beautiful places, but the bad roads and suicidal car drivers take away most of the fun
- Bulgaria was a huge suprise. The friendly people, usually good roads and beautiful country side made it a highlight of the trip
- Greece is a motorcycle paradise. Too bad it is so far away for me.
- Croatia was the absolute stunner of the trip. It had everything. Culture, history, beautiful views and excellent roads to play on

If you want more pictures than the few I showed here, visit the gallery.

BMW R1100S 'Bumble Bee' | HyperPro 3D F&R | motoyoyo clamps | Staintune | some other bits
BMW K1200S black/blue/silver | still stock

N3608'43": Been there, done that, forgot the T-shirt
N7110'21": Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


homepage | gallery
throttlemeister is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 9:10 am
Sooper Dooper Moderator
 
chuckwilmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Posts: 1,025
Wow! Thanks for the tour! I love it!
chuckwilmot is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dolomites and Livigno 2009 - Link to a long trip report with lots of pics zzrman Ride Tales 5 Jan 11th, 2010 6:14 am
15 Major Swiss passes and 1300kms in 2 days ( lots of pics) Alpinebiker Ride Tales 8 Feb 10th, 2009 9:53 pm
Silver K1200R with black bellypan, any pics? OX-34 K12/1300R/R-Sport 14 Apr 9th, 2008 1:51 pm
The GT Does a little Sowthwesterm Excursion (Be warned lots of pics) hazard K12/1300GT (Next Gen) 15 Oct 17th, 2007 11:03 am
Pics of Bagless GT at Long Beach Show Ca03K12gt K12/1300GT (Next Gen) 71 Dec 14th, 2005 11:48 am

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome