Black Sea Tour 2011 - 2up on a Transalp

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by asilindean, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    Romania - Ukraine - Russia - Turkey - Bulgarian - Romania

    After the ride from 2010 around the Balkans, I thought that in 2011 it would be the time to head east. The plan was to circumnavigate the Black Sea. That would be around 18 days, 4200 km, 6 countries and 2 ferries. Starting and ending the trip in Bucharest, Romania.

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    The only downside of the trip would be the fact that at that time (july 2011), for foreigners (non CIS, Russian or Georgian passport holders) it was impossible to cross the border from Russia to Georgia. This was the result of the war that took place between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

    More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_South_Ossetia_war
    The only way for foreigners was to take a ferry either from Trabzon in Turkey to Sochi in Russia, or the other way around from Sochi to Trabzon. The ferry does not have a clear schedule ( according to the information posted on the website of Sochi port it runs once a week) and it’s pretty expensive (2 persons in one cabin without a window and the bike 16.500 Rubles / 650 USD).
    Website of Sochi port: http://www.seaport-sochi.ru/lines/
    In theory, according to some information I found on the HUBB and from various people, it is possible to enter Georgia, and from there to enter Abhazia (which is according to Georgia part of their territory) and from Abhazia to cross into Russia since Russia recognise Abhazia as independent country. I also heard that for Abhazia you need visa.
    Didn’t try it thou.
    More recent information on the HUBB (September 2011) let us know that from August 2011 it is possible to cross the border from Russia to Georgia via Vladicavkaz and down the military road to Tbilisi.
    The bike:
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    The same Honda Transalp from last year with some modification made over winter (engine overhaul, bigger fuel tank, new bashplate, new exhaust, new paint).

    Same as last year will ride 2up.
    So, let’s get on with the story then. First a short preview:

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    #1
  2. Dickyb

    Dickyb Bewildered Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,043
    Location:
    Kas-Antalya,Turkey
    Count me in. Looking forward to riding along:freaky

    Cheers,

    DickyB
    #2
  3. Falco

    Falco Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Toronto, ON; Europe for now
    Keep it coming mate :lurk
    #3
  4. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Basel, Switzerland
    Read your Balkans report with pleasure - I'm sure this is going to be a great report! I want to do a Black Sea round trip myself, even more now the border crossing from Vladikavkaz to Tblisi is possible.

    Subscribed. :clap
    #4
  5. V-Twin-Maniac

    V-Twin-Maniac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    256
    Location:
    Germanistan
    let it roll Adrian.....!!!

    visited romania last summer on my Balkanistan trip!!

    I want to see more in your RR :clap
    #5
  6. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania

    thank you for you kind comments. Let' get on:

    We left Bucharest Friday afternoon and for time saving reasons we ride on A2 for 100 km then turn left/north to Slobozia, Braila and Galati . In Galati we stop for refueling and to buy some food for the evening and morning since last year at the hotel in Reni there was none.
    We then proceed to the border crossing from Galati / Giurgiulesti where on the Romanian side there was a nice long queue. We choose the shortest line until we notice that our line wasn’t making any progress. Having a conversation with a guy from the line on the left, which moved faster, he explain that we were wrong choosing the shortest line since it was for all passports (Ukrainian and Russians mainly) as opposite to the one advancing faster which was for EU citizens. By now that was a very long line… but he was nice and let us pass in front of him at the queue. It was Friday evening and a lot of people (Romanian or Moldavian) were trying to cross the border to Moldova. We made it to the other side, where another queue was waiting for us at the Moldavian border. We ride the 800 meters long road in Moldova in order to cross it and arrived at the other Moldavian border where we exited Moldova and finally reached the Ukrainian border.
    All in all, it took us more then 3 hours to cross the 4 borders.
    We didn’t have any problems at any of the border crossings. They were slow but we expected that. Entering Ukraine we were not requested to fill the immigration form and we were not asked for it on exit. Apparently they simplified the procedure since last year.
    We choose to split the ride from Bucharest to Odessa in 2 parts in order to gain a half a day on Saturday in Odessa, and also for my pillion to get used with the bike again.
    5 km or so after the Ukrainian border we reach the small town of Reni where I had slept last year on my way to Odessa’s Goblin Show.
    More info about that here: http://goblinshow.com/

    The hotel is on the left side of the road a few hundreds meters after you enter Reni. It was 25 USD per night for a decent room for 2 persons. Beer and coffee was 1 USD each and bike parking 5 USD. Last year coffee and parking was free.
    At the hotel there was a party of the local fiscal authorities with singers and all. They even sing a Romanian song for us :freaky
    One sandwich, one beer and off to sleep.
    No pics from day one.


    #6
  7. BIKE-R

    BIKE-R Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Hungary, Budapest
    Subscribed :D

    Same place in 2010

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    #7
  8. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania


    We woke up, packed and after a coffee we hit the road. We made a small stop in the center of Reni to withdraw some local currency from the ATM. From Reni we took the road along the north channel of the Danube Delta, Chilia (Kilija) heading towards Izmail. I ride the same road last year on my way to Goblin Show in Odessa and it was in better condition. It seams that the winter has taken its toll on the road. Lots of potholes.
    From Izmail the road conditions improved as we are riding along T1610 towards Tatarbunary.

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    From Tatarbunary one can choose to follow the same road (T1610) or take the road closer to the sea which ends up somewhere between Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi and Zatoka, or continue toward Monashi. The first option is less popular and will take longer since it’s not a main road (tarmac nevertheless) but is more scenic and you can find some remote beaches on the way. The second one will take you to Monashi where you instead of keeping left and north to go to Odessa (route which will force you to cross again the Ukrainian Moldavian border), you should take right and head for Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi and Zatoka. Althou I should warn you that the few km to Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi is full of potholes and some times is preferable to go beside the road (like locals do). But there are only a few km :)

    Entering Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi you follow the signs to Zatoka and Odessa, if I remember correctly at the first light you turn right.
    We did not stop in Zatoka at the sea side but continued to Odessa where we arrived at noon. We manage to find the hostel and also manage to get the bike in the courtyard of the building, which was a relief. A short nap and were off to see the city. The hostel had a private room which we had reserved in advance for the price of 35 Euro/night.
    The hostel was on Koblevskaya Street on the corner of Pl. Soborna near the site of the newly rebuilt Preobrazhensky Cathedral, which was Odesa's most famous and important church until Stalin had it blown up in the 1930s. Not its completely rebuild and has some very, very impressive bell, just to remind you what time is it, that in case you got lost in some reverie over the beauty of the city.
    From there we crossed the street and start our promenade on vul Derybasivska and the recently reconstructed City Garden. We watch there o group of seniors dancing near the kiosk where a local band was playing.

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    Our first stop was at the Kumanets restaurant, just opposite of the City Gardens where I have been last year and I enjoyed the taste of local cuisine. The price of a meal for two was around 350 grivnas, which makes it not a cheap place.



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    From there on we wondered on the streets of Odessa passing the Opera and Ballet Theatre, designed in the 1880s by the same architects who also designed the Vienna State Opera, namely Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer.

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    Then we continued along the Prymorsky bulvar, a pedestrian zone with 19th-century replica antique lamps, passing the cannon from the British frigate Tiger and white colonnaded Odessa City Hall, which was originally the stock exchange and later became the Soviet HQ, finally reaching the famous Potemkin Steps.


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    In the middle of bul Prymorsky, at the top of the Potemkin Steps we admired the statue of the Duc de Richelieu, Odesa's first governor, dressed in a Roman toga.

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    At the other side of bul Prymorsky, we passed the Vorontsov Palace. This was the residence of the city's third governor. The place near the colonnade behind the palace offered us a view over Odesa's port.

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    From Vorontsov Palace starts the Tyoshchyn Most (Mother in Law Bridge) who is packed with "Lovers' Locks", fastened there by couples to ensure the strength of their union. It was built in 1969, made by architect Vladimirsky
    .

    There are two versions regarding the origin of the name. The first one is that the bridge was called this way because it is long and narrow, and gets rocking due to the strong wind, just like the tongue of mother-in-law. According to the second, more accurate version, the chairman of the Party Committee Mikhail Sinitsa decided to build this bridge, because his mother-in-law lived through the gully. He loved her pancakes, and there was no direct connection between his and her home.

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    Crowd at the top of Potemkin stairs and a young lad who shows entrepreneurial initiative
    (om the back of the girl's vest it says Moto Taxi :))

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    Then we headed back to vul Derybasivska where we had some beers (20 Grv) on a terrace watching the people going by. :beer

    After beer, being hungry we savour a “compot” and some cheese cake at Kompot which is a very nice restaurant on vul Derybasivska. Very good dumplings too :)


    #8
  9. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    Hi,

    That was a great ride, and there are so many quiet places there on the sea shore to put the tend and rest. Beautiful.

    For that road I must thank to the inmates from here who posted inspirational RR's :clap:clap

    Thanks and safe rides,
    Adrian

    #9
  10. peterdejongh

    peterdejongh Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    belgium
    A very nice and complete ride report. As I'm planning to go in same direction this year I'm looking forward to read more (and of course look at your nice pics !)
    Thanks for sharing !
    #10
  11. BIKE-R

    BIKE-R Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Hungary, Budapest
    Hi Adrian,

    I totally agree with you. Fantastic places are there. In 2010 we rode from Kamyanske via Kurortnoe to Kerch on dirt road. It was breathtaking. Lovely bays, quiet beaches. It is highly recommended for everyone who want an excellent enviroment to relax.
    #11
  12. Rocketfuel

    Rocketfuel GS'er

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    63
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, England
    Interesting Route. Nice coverage, looking forward to the next legs.
    #12
  13. Flying dutch

    Flying dutch Adventures

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Busan, South Korea
    #13
  14. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    We decided to stay more than half a day in Odessa and have another full extra day in order to have time to visit the city in depth.
    We had breakfast in a very nice cafe named Gogol Mogol, a place I remember since last year.
    Breakfast: 2 omelets, 2 pancakes, water and coffee – 200 Grv
    It is situated right across the house of famous writer Gogol (building which unfortunate is now abandoned). They had a nice terrace surrounded by bicycles painted in lively colours.
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    Gogol house, now in ruins:
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    After a copious breakfast we took the same tour as the day before in the morning light. This time we went down the Potemkin stairs and visited the port.

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    Catherine the Great
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    Colonnade, between
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mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]-->[FONT=&quot]Vorontsov [/FONT]Palace and Mother Bridge
    [​IMG]

    We had a cheap and good lunch at Europa shopping complex on vul Derybasivska where at the last floor there is a self service restaurant with view over the surrounding buildings.

    Then tea for Oana and beer for me:
    [​IMG]

    In the afternoon we went to Shevchenko Park which has a few interesting monuments, a under construction soccer stadium and an Oceanarium. We planed to see the dolphins :)

    The show was very good and Oana enjoy it a lot. I have seen it last year, but I must admit that it has been considerably improved since. The price for 2 tickets was 180 Grv

    [​IMG]

    Small family picnic
    [​IMG]


    The trainers
    [​IMG]


    They can walk on water
    [​IMG]

    Back in the centre we discovered “Passazh” which is a very beautiful (too bad that its not restored to it’s former glory) small street, a shopping arcade, is the best-preserved example of the neo-renaissance architectural style that permeated in Odesa in the late 19th century. Its interior walls are festooned with gods, goblins, lions and nymphs. It is situated across the street from City Garden with the other exit in Place Soborna.

    [​IMG]
    We celebrated our second and last evening in Odessa with a very good sashlik and vodka at Klarabara restaurant from the City Gardens.
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    Hi,

    thanks for the information, it is good for those who planed to take the ferry this summer.

    Yes, I will be on the Transiberian route this year. :evil
    What are your plans?

    Safe rides,
    Adrian

    #15
  16. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    In the mountains
    Hi guys....enjoying your RR, keep it coming. 2Up on a Transalp..LOVE IT :clap:clap:clap

    I guess you'r doing a TRANS Black sea .."LONG WAY ROUND"

    Subscribed.

    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #16
  17. zandesiro

    zandesiro In rust we trust....

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    830
    Location:
    Polygyros, Greece...
    Subscribed.......:lurk:clap
    #17
  18. kopeli

    kopeli moto-traveler

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    GREECE-THESSALONIKI
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. doring

    doring Aventuros

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Bucuresti, Romania
    Great ride. I'm in.
    I was planing for a trip like yours, can you tell me a budget and how much time did you need for.
    Thanks.
    #19
  20. asilindean

    asilindean Adrian

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    Hi,

    Time: we left on the Friday the 1st of July and arrived back in Bucharest on the 2 weeks later, Monday 18th of July. So that is 17 and a half days. Total distance was about 4200 km, considering that we skipped Georgia and took the ferry from Russia to Turkey. From the 17 days, 5 days we rest and visited.

    Money: Gas in Ukraine and Russia is around one USD, in Turkey is 2.3 USD (that was the most expensive part).
    Also very expensive is the Ferry from Sochi to Trabzon - 650 USD for 2 persons and bike. Generally Sochi is pretty expensive, accommodation was double then the rest of the places where we stay. The 2 days in Istanbul where over the average budget.

    We did not camped, which increased our budget and we eat many meals in small restaurants or local food shop. We did not cooked.

    If I remember correctly it was generally around 100 USD per day for the two of us. That includes accommodation, food, fuel and beers.

    hope this answer you question, if you have any other please shoot :)

    Safe rides,
    Adrian

    #20