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Old 04-25-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
Slim-Line Tonic OP
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Small outing in spring: London to Budapest via Berlin.

Howdy

initially i had planned this as a multi stage trip through various cities, including Belgrade, Zagreb and Sofia-this trip had to be cut short (apparently a friend of my is getting married, so i have to attend, long story) Anyway, here's the planning as follows:

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ms...9993,39.506836

There are three main stages as you can guess, which are planned as follows

1.London to Berlin (2 Day layover in Berlin).
2.Berlin to Budapest (3 Day stay in Budapest+Visit around Pecs).
3.Budapest back to London, with a stopover in Germany.


In terms of the mighty beast i'm riding, i've had to leave my beloved Honda dominator in the workshop unfortunately, the head is kaput, meaning no "easy riding" on my thumpin' old red trailie... THIS SUUCKS!!!!
Dommie
But thankfully i've been loaned a nice courtesy replacement, in the form of a 650s Bandit, woohoo.

At least it won't deafen my earlobes on the motorway. But it's a different experience from what i'm usually used to. Anyway i'll try and update on the road if i can, hopefully!
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:12 AM   #2
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London to Berlin (Friday)

The day started well: rain kept me going slow on the way to Dover. Thankfully i made it, with a pair of wet socks on my feet!
Pic 1 (Ferry)
Set off on the ferry, i met a crew of folks riding their Vespas to southern Europe.
Pic 2 (Ferry)
Now on the boat heading to Dunkerque, doing some further trip planning.
Pic 3 (Ferry)
Pic 4 (Ferry)
Stopped by in Belgium on the way to Antwerp. As you can see the weather showed no respite; the bandit's been on good form so far, being both smooth and economical to ride... from what i hear, people either think it's good at everything or not "great" at anything. It's not what i'd take on a RTW trip but it's a usable beast!
Belgium Pit-stop
It's been 128 miles since i left London but its hard to keep track of the average speed of the journey so far- enter my trusty GPS :-)
Bandit Mileage
Garmin etrex GPS
First stop, Antwerpen. I got a companion! I picked up my Friend Steph who is heading to Berlin with me. She is coming from Brittany and spent a few days here to visit some family/friends. I didn't have much time to visit Antwerp- it's worth a stop though. Just don't choose a rainy day like i did..
Antwerpen
Now we're riding two up to Berlin- just two more borders to cross and then we're in Germany. The weather was dry(ing) at last.
Autobahn 40
Stopped at the Border and off we went heading towards the Rhine-Ruhr cornubation (Duisbourg/Essen/Dortmund...)
Autobahn stop
The rain joins us again..... this mandates a much needed "dry your socks" pit-stop. We're all feeling the strain..
Downtime on the Autobahn
Soon, we turned the service station restaurant into our own bedroom, scattering our gear all over the floor.
Drying up after a wet ride
All this while enjoying some subtle delicacies...
Dinner time
Maybe a Donut too...
Donuts
This was followed by a quick a spot of dinner (fine French cuisine served in Germany)
Le repas du midi
And we're back on the road! We arrived in Berlin in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we got here. Finishing off, it's time to have some Potato bake, or "Kartoffelgratin"
Kartoffelgratin
In total, we covered 1050km since London- that included some our detours in and around Antwerp. Overall quite pleased with the Bandit. It's no motorway/long distance cruiser, but it's doing the job so far.
I'm sleeping most of Saturday morning but i will be visiting Berlin later on this weekend!


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Old 04-28-2013, 05:31 AM   #3
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Looking forward to your next installment.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:33 AM   #4
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So yesterday, a friend and I went on a small tour in Berlin. The truth is, it's not first time coming this year, so the city is becoming familiar. We took a trip downtown,
Berlin HBF
Berlin HBF station- a scary building, it's utilitarianism at its finest; an integrated building designed to be the busiest railway station in Europe-nothing else. Next, we took a ferry trip down on the river Spree:
Spree ship
This journey takes about 2 hours around the center of Berlin (Mitte), passing some famous monuments including the Bundestag, the ministerial offices, Friedrichstrasse station and the Berlin cathedral.
Spree ship tour
Spree ship tour
Here, the Bode museum with the Fernesehturm in the background;
Spree ship tour
And then Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor

That's a good way to spend Sunday in Berlin!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:58 AM   #5
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Nice pictures! Can't wait for more.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:55 AM   #6
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Oh No, i'm not dead yet!

Unfortunately i had not been able to write any of the content for the last week or so because of lack of internet.... so anyway, here is how the rest of the week went!
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:11 AM   #7
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Berlin to Budapest

I set off on Monday to head on the central European route of dreams...
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ms...0657,19.753418

I did not leave Berlin until about Lunchtime- this meant that i would arrive in Budapest by about 10pm at night, including numerous stopovers. Started packing:
Packing up
ALMOST READY!!
Packing up
I headed southwards on the Autobahn 13, towards Dresden. Stopped over on the road for a stop of refuelling:
Break on the road
Nice going so far- we're just on the outskirts of Dresden, in under 2 hours!
GPS
Some interesting sights on the motorway- including some rolling couches!!!
Couches to the car
I stopped by at the German/Czech border. Rain is back with us again... In the Czech republic, motorways are free for motorcycles, which is great news for anyone thinking of a ride down.
Germany/Czech border
The passing of the border on the A17 is quite a scene- you gently climb up into the Erzebirge mountain ridge, before crossing into the Czech republic. Here, the motorway stops and you have to Join the national roads to carry on the motorway a few miles later. I took the opportunity to exit at Usti nad Labem, a small town located on the River Labe, which we met earlier on in Dresden.
Usta nad Labem
Usta nad Labem
We then joined up the local road 30, heading towards Lovosice.The valley gently sweeps up on either side, a visual delight....
River Labe, Czech republic
River Labe, near Usta nad Labem
We re-joined the motorway a few miles later, to head to Prague. I did not have a chance to stop by and visit Prague but it is on my agenda for later this year. I headed on the D1 motorway toward Brno. I was stopped in my tracks by 15km Traffic jam...
Traffic jam on the motorway, Brno
Traffic jam on the motorway, Brno
I then carried on towards Bratislava, Passing through the Danube for first time, before make it to my country of destination! Magyarorszag!
Hungary
I Finally arrived in Budapest around 11pm at night, after a nice ride down the M1 motorway. The climate had changed quite a lot since leaving Brno. It was now warm, dry and feeling really like spring had sprung! We were joined by our mate who is going to show us around Budapest for the next few days; he picked us up on his trusty yamaha scooter. Finally, we made it home!! Time to pack the bandit for the night.
Budapest
Budapest
We stayed by in a Beautiful part of central Pest, located near the Budapest-Nyugati rail station.
Budapest by night
Budapest
#need some sleep now!
Budapest by night
Good night Pest!

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Old 05-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #8
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Good morning Budapest
Good morning Pest!
Time for a stroll around town. We head towards the west of town, known as Buda.
Budapest-Nyugati Tram station
We decided to go and visit the Budavari palota (palace) on Castle hill.
Buda
But before going up, time to have some lunch! (Mixing local delicacies with Pizza, what a purist i am..)
Budapest dinner
Just a little more
Budapest dinner
Finished off with some desert
Lemon cheesecake, Budapest
Dessert
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:46 AM   #9
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Cool2

Now we're up on Castle hill. The first of May festivities are in full swing. Its 26 Degrees, Full sunshine, the streets are buzzing
Budapest
Budapest
Budapest
The view of the parliament
Budapest-országház
Széchenyi Lanchid
Budapest-Szechenyl Lanchid
Duna we love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Budapest-Danube
This river deserves a trip of its own.
Now for a visit of Margit Sziget. The island is located across the Danube and is one of the central jewels of the city.
Budapest-Margit hid
More traffic on the walkways than on the road...
Budapest-Margit hid
Budapest-Danube
Some traditional folk dancing on the island;
Folk dancing, Budapest
Folk dancing, Budapest
At this point the Danube is separated in two halves which join up at the Bridge (Margit hid) before heading southwards towards Nis and Belgrade.
Margit hid, Budapest
We went for a quick visit of the town, checking out various monuments including the Nyugati train station. There are three main stations in Budapest and this one provides services to the eastern parts of the country. It also serves Ferenc Liszt airport.
Budapest-Nyugati Train station
What a day! and before we know, sun is setting down on Budapest
sunset in Budapest

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Old 05-06-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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Later during the week, we took a stroll round Szentendre, located about 20 km north of Budapest. Here, the Danube commences its bend north west towards Gyor and Bratislava.
Szentendre, Hungary
Szentendre, Hungary
The town's history dates back to the pre roman era.Serbs settled here in the 17th century, building many orthodox churches locally;
Szentendre, Hungary
Again, the town sees its fair share of tourists during the summer months.
Szentendre, Hungary
Szentendre, Hungary
Time for another food break
Szentendre, Hungary
Langosz is a Hungarian speciality, consisting of a Fried dough paste, topped up with a variety of toppings. It is best enjoyed with Cheese, salt and Garlic... as you can imagine, it spells out cholesterol with a capital C: never mind that!
Langosz-Cheese and cream
Langosz-Cheese and cream
I'm stuffed now...
Szentendre, Hungary
We got back to Budapest and the week was already nearing the end. Time for me to start packing up, got a long trip back to London to prepare for.
Budapest

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Old 05-06-2013, 09:55 AM   #11
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Budapest to London (Via Vienna)

I started to head back towards London. This was the longest leg of the Journey, going through Vienna, Nürnberg, Frankfurt, Brussels and London. I left Budapest heading towards Vienna, where i would spend a short night before heading through the Danube valley into southern Bavaria.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ms...3405,19.753418
I left Budapest on thursday evening, heading towards Austria
Motorway M1, Hungary
Now, time for an evening in Vienna. Here, the Danube is with us again! The river has an interesting layout in Vienna which has been modified and channelised extensively from the 19th century onwards, to limit flooding and manage its alluvial plain around the growing city. Here's the orignal river layout before modification:
http://www.fadenbach.at/Historische_Karte.php
And now, here's what it is today:
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=48...om=13&layers=T
The below picture shows us the DonauKanal near Augarten in Old Vienna. This still remains very much the same river which has always run through the city centre, altough it has been modified to make it navigable and to control water levels on the nearby Donau Kanal.
Vienna-Augartenbrucke
I had little time to visit the sights around Vienna as there is just too much to do in just one night: it's been dubbed the capital of many things, including art, psychology, music and Opera, amongst other things. The ecclecticism of the city can be felt everywhere, whether in a coffee shop in Wien Mitte or enjoying the sunset on the banks of the Neue Donau Canal.
Vienna
I went for a short sleep before heading back on the road in the early hours of Friday morning..... the rain started to pour quite heavily on the A1 motorway between Linz and the German border. I kept riding at moderate pace and before i knew it, the Bandit was starting to choke on three cylinders... the coil packs were getting wet, because of the endless water spray of the overtaking trucks. Luckily, i managed to get the bike to the next service station still running.

At this point, the bike is runing on three cylinders. I parked under the Service station canopy to get it dried up. As a measure of dispersing wetness, i sprayed some WD-40 on the plugs, and got back on the road.

My solution was a quick fix: 20 minutes later, it started misfiring again, so i had to park it up. This was slowly turning into a nightmare as i had only covered 60 km in almost 3 hours. I managed to get some vaseline to coat around the plugs. The rain started slowing up and the weather was actually clearing up to the north so i went for it and got back on the road...thankfully i made into Germany and the rain stopped

Now, i'm pounding down the Autobahn 3 making the diagonal cut towards the north west of the country. I stopped over for another refuelling stop and took this opportunity to check the engine.
Bandit 650s
It was running fine. I cleared the Vaseline around the plugs too. The bandit is definately not suited for the rain!
Bandit 650s
The problem is that if you run the bike at low revs in the rain, it can misfire quite easily but running at Higher Rpm's is difficult because you'd be going too fast. Doing 75 km/h in heavy rain on an un-renovated Austrian motorway was a challenging experience for me and i don't mind admitting it... hope it does not happen again!

After a few more hours, i passed Frankfurt, Köln, Aachen and Brussels, before make my final straight to Calais. At last! I'm here.
Bandit 650s
What a ride- this last leg of the journey was quite dramatic in many ways.
Nolan Mosquitos
Time to celebrate with some snacking:
Pretzels
The journey was coming to a close-I was both happy and relieved. After the difficulties of yesterday's ride through Austria, doing slow speeds in the deluge of the motorway, i realised that you need the will and courage to go through with it.

This is something which has challenged me in a mental and physical way, like nothing i had every felt before. This is my longest journey solo and i felt like giving up on the way back. You have to ask yourself, how can you reach your goal, how can you get to the end of this. How can you manage the risk while staying postive?

I was asking myself this very question. I think of it as an adventure, a trip worth living, a journey to discover on two wheels where i feel part of the world. The troubles of Vienna taught me a lesson; learn to weigh up courage and bravery to get to your destination.

The bandit has been an enjoyable Bike to ride: the engine is strong and has done me well for the last 7 days. Its power and smoothness is a delight and the brakes are equally as good. Fuel wise, i also think it is a good tourer and i achieved somewhere between 5 and 6 ltrs/100km with a fairly sporty riding style. The seat was ok but i don't think i would do that sort of distance on this bike again, as it really gives me sore knees (i'm 1.78 mtrs tall but i felt cramped on it). The only thing i really wished for would have been better wind protection and a bigger fuel tank.

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Old 05-06-2013, 11:41 AM   #12
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Made it back to London. Time to Return the Bandit.
Bandit 650s
Trip Facts
Total distance covered: 2413 miles/ 3882 kilometres.
Total fuelling stops: 16.
Total fuel used (approx): 220 litres.
Countries visited: 8 (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria).
Donut and pastry stops: 7?
# Breakdowns: 2 partial misfires because of the rain in Austria.

Last but not least, i present to you the Debrecen kolbász, a sausage from Debrecen. As you can see, best enjoyed with plenty of Mustard and chilli peppers.
Debrecensausage

I'm signing out. Enjoy!

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