Euro Tour 2017

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by Goran Phuket, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. #1 Goran Phuket, Oct 12, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017 at 1:54 PM
    Not sure if there is much interest here but admins advised me to post anyway. This is the report of my biennial Euro Tour.
    6 weeks mostly across Eastern and Southern Europe, just me and my wife, as usual.

    Ride commenced in Munich, Germany where I picked up BMW K1600GTL at Motorrad Zentrum Rentals.



    Munich Germany) - Vienna (Austria) - Bratislava (Slovakia) - Budapest (Hungary) - Sibiu - Transfagarasan - Craiova (Romania) - Vidin (Bulgaria) - Kopaonik National Park (Serbia) - Zabljak National Park (Montenegro) - Sarajevo - Mostar - Blagaj (Bosnia) - Dubrovnik (Croatia) - Boka Bay Unesco Nature Site - Sveti Stefan Unesco Site (Montenegro) - Tirana (Albania) - Ohrid (Macedonia) - Meteora - Athens - Piraeus - Santorini - Patras (Greece) - Brindisi - Sicily (Italy) - Valletta (Malta) - Catania - Palermo - Genoa (Italy) - Monte Carlo (Monaco) - Cannes - Col Del Iseran - Chamonix (France) - Montreux - Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland) and back to Munich.

    euro trip.

    Excellent weather throughout entire trip except 2 rainy days in Sarajevo, Bosnia and on the way out of Switzerland.
    Other than that we suffered a bit during summer European hit wave, especially in flat regions of eastern Austria, Hungary and Romania.

    No issues with bike, it was brand new with only 400km on the clock. All I had to do is to add some tire pressure at Santorini Island and that is it. During entire ride (just over 7,000 km) I haven't seen single road accident. So safe to ride here, even total rider newbie would feel comfortable on European highways.

    Then there were some challenging mountain roads such as Transfagarasan in Romania, Kopaonik mountains in Serbia, Durmitor Alpine hwy in Montenegro, incredibly steep Santorini Island road, Col Del Iseran in French Alps and of course Switzerland.

    Trip involved 7 ferry transfers with longest one being from Palermo to Genoa. We did south to north of Italy before so figured to go on ferry and relax during 20 hours long sail.

    I believe we snapped more than 1000 pics and recorded more than 200gb of video data.
    Obviously I am not going to post all of them, simply no time and topic would be too long.

    Video made prior to our trip, preview of things to come:

    Will have update soon.
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  2. I followed Your Trip on Facebook and it was an Epic even so I am sure this will be even better! A Dream Trip of a Lifetime for Most People!
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  3. Thanks Ian. It was, especially for my wife. She loved it.
  4. Amazing trip.
    Magnificent. Well done.
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  5. Hey Goran - did that BMW have a reverse gear? It's a monster! I could imagine turning into a narrow "no exit" street and being trapped for an hour trying to turn it around... :)
  6. Yes Ben, this one comes with reverse gear unlike my 2012 model.

    But I asked them to disable it anyway, I heard reverse gear causes number of problems.
    This bike is 350kg dry weight but much easier to handle than Gold Wing or other bikes in same category.
  7. Single night in Munich and meeting up an old friend at our favorite beer garden joint before proceeding following day to Vienna.


    It was really hot in Vienna, 37 degrees. Spent 2 nights here:
    We visited many historic buildings and museums, I should write separate report just on this.



    Across the Danube into neighboring Slovakia and visit to its capital of Bratislava which is only 60km's away.
    Unlike Austria, Slovakia doesn't require vignette but had to stop to ask anyway.



    Magnificent Bratislava castle nestled on the hill and visible from far away.
    Austro-Hungarian Queen Maria Theresa used to live here too.


    After few hours we were on our way to neighboring Hungary and plan is to spend 2 nights in Budapest.
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  8. Never heard of anyone complaining about riding in ex-Jugoslavia. And you proved it. Thanks for the report.
    On my bucket list.
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  9. Looks like a fantastic trip and Yes, bet your missus absolutely loved it. Well done.
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  10. Wow, just watched the video... very impressive and professional..! Nice one.
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  11. Once you pass Salzburg in Austria it is flat terrain all the way to Carpathian mountains. Super-highways all the way with strict regulations on speed so gotta be careful. One might think it is uneventful ride, to some extent this is true especially in Hungary but picturesque villages, medieval towns and castles along the way make up for it.

    In Hungary, just as in Austria, motorcycles are required to purchase hwy vignette sticker. Would you believe, they run out of stickers and gave me some computer receipt printout as a proof I made a payment.

    The heat is unbearable, we are in the middle of European summertime heatwave. They say it hasn't been hot like this for decades.



    In my opinion Budapest is much more beautiful than Vienna. We are in Eastern Europe now and sharp contrast in mentality is hard not to notice. And I mean that in positive way. Hungarians are very calm, kind and friendly people. The architecture in this city is mind-blowing. I was here before but went to see only couple of places. This time, thanks to my wife insistence, I believe we visited just about every single place worth seeing.

    I took about 150 photos here, it is very hard to narrow down to just a few but here is my attempt.
    Hungarian Parliament building is definitely my favorite; located on flat Pest side of the city, it is imposing structure and number 1 on every visitor's list.




    But major attractions are across the Danube, at hilly Buda part of the city. Number of beautiful bridges connect Buda and Pest, some have been converted into pedestrian zone only.


    The Jewish quarters and largest Synagogue in Europe



    The rest really doesn't need any commentary otherwise it would be really long story describing what is what. There is so much history behind these buildings it would require separate report on each one of them.






















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  12. Clean streets, beautiful parks, open air bars, restaurants and cafeterias, friendly folks. We spent 2 days walking around, even 42 degrees heat didn't dumpen our enthusiasm. We really enjoyed Budapest but it's time to move on, ride across 14 more countries awaits.


  13. 560 km ride awaits across flat plateau what used to be Panonian Sea. Hungary is one huge farmland; Danmark of Eastern Europe.

    Food is so cheap here, neighboring Austrians and Croats cross in just for grocery shopping.


    Our next stop is Romania, I set my sights on medieval Sibiu which is going to be our base to explore Transalpina and Transfagarasan Carpathian Mountain highway passes.


    I am absolutely amazed by new highway to Bucharest! It is out of this world, brand new, even my GPS had no knowledge of it. It reminded me of best European roads I've ever driven on such as those in Spain. And the best part is, bikes are exempted from paying highway fees.


    Reached Sibiu late afternoon, weather is fantastic. As we were approaching Carpathians, air temperature steadily drops to bearable 25-28 degrees.


    Called my buddy whom I met back in 2007 in California. Haven't seen each other since 2009, we used to ride California coastal highways together decade ago. He used to work there as a bouncer, but one day crossed the line so badly, US authorities throw him out of the country for good.

    Now he runs security / bodyguard company and drives big ass Benz S500 as pictured bellow. What a hell, I gotta move to Romania 555....And that is his wife right there....her mother lives in Bucharest some 400km away and still has no idea her daughter got married. I asked how come and she said she is scared to tell mom she married the guy tattooed all the way from neck down to toes lol....just a little funny story.



    Anyway, as I said plan is to drop anchor in Sibiu for couple of days: tomorrow ride to Transfagarasan and day after to Craiova via Transalpina highway.
  14. It was not to be :( , morning rain screwed up everything. When rains in Sibiu, up there on Transfagarasan is worse than hell.


    Just so you know, this route is usable barely 4 months a year due to extreme climate conditions; area is under snow for at least 6 months and authorities have no choice but to close the road. Since weather conditions are so bad we have to stay in town and decide which route to sacrifice tomorrow because we can't do both in one day: Transfagarasan or Transalpina? Well, only fool would give up on Transfagarasan so Transalpina went out of the window in a jiffy. Even Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear said this is the best road in the world.

    Interesting facts about Transfagarasan:

    It is one of the most spectacular roads in the world. The Transfagarasan rises to a height of 2134 meter and has sharp hairpin turns, a challenge for every driver. The maximum speed is 40km/h. The road is often closed from October till June due to the snow that is blocking the road. Sometimes the road can be open as late as November, but on the other hand it has been known to snow as late as August so it's always good to check ahead of time on the weather and road conditions. The road has more tunnels and viaducts then any other road in Romania. On the highest point of the Transfagarasan near Balea Lac (Balea-lake) is located the longest at 875 m, and highest tunnel of Romania. Transfagarasan was built between 1970 and 1974 by military forces. After the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviets, Nicolae Ceausescu had it built as a strategic military route to cross the mountains in the event the Soviets attempted a similar move into Romania. The builders used 6000 tons of dynamite to clear a path for the road on the northern side of the mountains and on the tunnels. 40 soldiers lost their lives during construction.

    So, instead of just sitting in the room and feeling sorry for ourselves we decide to do Old Town Sibiu tour, walking distance from our hotel.

    The most famous Sibiu landmark is "Bridge of Lies"


    This is Romania’s oldest cast-iron bridge and it was built in 1859, taking the place of an older wooden bridge. The three legends that are connected to this construction piece are older than the cast-iron bridge and the stories date from long ago when there was only the wooden bridge.

    The elders are talking of a legend that says that this bridge could have been used in medieval times to tell if a person is telling the truth or not. It is said that when somebody says a lie on this bridge it starts moving and it starts making weird noises.

    Another local legend says that this bridge and its name had a really close connection to the market nearby and the merchants that used to earn their living in the area. The legend says that when one of those merchants was caught with cheating his customers, he was punished by being thrown off this bridge.


    The third legend that can be heard being whispered in the quiet pubs of Sibiu is about young virgins that, in medieval times, came on this bridge to meet the boys and to plan the wedding and their future. However, the twist of tale is that if the girls were caught lying about their virginity, they would have been thrown off this bridge.

  15. Sibiu is one of the most touristic cities of Romania and it is popular for its medieval past. But we never knew about the oldest restaurant in Romania!!! And I found out about it as we were dining there - by reading the actual story in restaurant menu!


    Well, first thing I did was to google and verify this information and it is absolutely true!


    The Golden Barrel restaurant was established back in 1542 and operates to this day.




    And lamb and trout were delicious!




  16. Few more photos of this truly well preserved medieval town













  17. T-day .... Transfagarasan ride beckons.

    Few intro pics first, but stay tuned for video story. Coming up in a day or two.





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  18. And here it is, Transfagarasan, nothing short of spectacular, Romania’s and one of the world's most famous roads.️
    Video taken 8th of August 2017.


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