East Europe and Balkans

August-October 2016

 

As I write this, it’s only January 2016. It already has been a long wait from the start of planning. And still some waiting to endure.

This early (record early) page on a tour is intended to share a few pieces of information about the tour during our process of preparation.

How it Came About

Sibiu in TransylvaniaWhile the list of places to ride is virtually endless, my priority list is a lot shorter. Cuba remains attractive. South America was all but locked in (at least, in my mind) back in 2012 or 2013 but that plan got waylaid. It still beckons. And, of course, there’s the west and north-west of this massive land down under yet to explore.

Having had four forays into the Sub-Continent – two with grandchildren (and another visit soon inevitable as No 3 grandchild get itchy travelling feet); crossed the Tibetan plateau preceded by some non-mc travel in “mainland” China as well as riding Mongolia; and traversed South Africa, East Europe dropped in to my thinking as a place with much allure and mystery (Bohemia, Transylvania, the contrasts of pre and post Communism etc.). So that was the start of the process.

But where to from there. While this thought process was taking shape, I chanced upon a conversation with friends who had recently undertaken a “self-guided” motorcycle tour with Adriatic Moto Tours in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I was already familiar with this company and its owner, Matej (mar-tay), who had organised and conducted the Ferris Wheels Dalmatia tour in 2010 that I did. Maybe that was the answer. And, as it turned out, it was.




The Plan

Adriatic Moto Tours has several guided motorcycle tours across Eastern Europe and the Balkans, as well as into parts of Western Europe and Turkey, which, I guess, can be classified as Asia Minor, Eastern Europe or Western Europe.

Transfagarasan HighwayI examined a half dozen or so of Matej’s tours; and started to join a couple, then a few, eventually five or so before winding back to four. Joining them together required a bit of adding and deleting as well as changing direction in places. But it finally came together into a 48-day mega tour taking in fifteen countries over 48 days.  While this would be a self-guided tour it wouldn’t be a solo one. I had a friend eager to do whatever emerged. Subsequently, another four friends will join for parts of the tour.

This itinerary document represents my merger of the four itineraries from Adriatic Moto Tours (the descriptions are also from the AMT site).

This page, which is part of the same Excel file as the itinerary, has a couple of representative maps.

The modus operandi of Matej’s self-guided tours is that he not only hires out the bikes, but also books all the accommodation and sends you on your way equipped with maps, descriptions, notes, GPS with files pre-loaded; and a notional umbilical cord through mobile phone networks.

Map of the Route

Here is an interactive map of the route we will be taking. There are some inaccuracies especially in Transylvania (Romania) and Albania. The map simply refuses to admit to roads that do actually exist. In any event, other roads might be different once we learn what Matej has in store for us. . (I’m still finding my way with My Maps. You need to click in the middle of the four little right angles at top right of map to get the larger map. Then you need to scroll down to the bottom of the map legend column on the left to get to the satellite mode.) 

Glimpse of the Tour Route

Here's a short video by way of a prelude to the tour. It illustrates the route and highlights the mountain ranges we ride through (check the settings to make sure you're watching in HD):

Guide to the Tour

If you’ve read my pages on other tours, you’ll know already that it’s not uncommon for me to knock up a rough guide for the tour. The contents are invariably borrowed from various web sites but it makes travel a bit more interesting. Here is my rough guide for this tour.

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