Cyprus - Greece - Bulgaria 5000km

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Vrakas, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Limassol, Cyprus
    I know i am a bit late since this trip was done last August but its still in my memory ... so here it goes.

    General plan was a single bike (BMW F650GS 2005) my wife on the back and thats how it went from Cyprus to Greece and then to Bulgaria and back with around 5000km riding.

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    The green line is more or less the plan but after making wrong turns in Greece but ... i enjoyed it even more.
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    08/08/08 the bike is at the port to be loaded for its journey to Greece.
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  2. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Spend a day in Greece visiting some friends from a BMW forum in Greece, until the bike arrives and we can start our journey.

    Some photos from Greece.

    Coffee time and someone said hi. :1drink
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    Some food is always needed.
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    ... under Acropolis by night.
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    Platia Syntagmatos
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  3. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    At last 11/08/08, we can get our bike and start our trip.
    After completing some papers and paying some fees at the port we got the mechanism running and we got our bike.

    We left the port of Keratsini, passed above Athens and made a turning left on our way to Meteora that i promised my self that if i didnt go there i would not go anywhere, and so we did and did not regret it what so ever. :clap

    Passing by Thermopyles (a lot of us have seen the movie 300)
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    Meteora in the depth.
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    Another refill and off we go, what a spectacular view and anything you see depending on the angle is different. We went up a monastery running I must say as it closes at 5pm and reaching the top we needed water, not cold but it was what we needed.
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    Me
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  4. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    a few more photos ...

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    Kastraki, we stayed overnight and it was lovely!
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  5. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    viewing the Meteora was a sight for sour eyes but the time is over and we need to reach Thessaloniki and so we leave around 9am. We continue the route through the beautiful country side of Grevena with its twisty roads and through the trees. The twists become more offen and I continue playing with them gracefully. Crossing over a bridge with water under it I stop to take a photo.
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    Around 12pm we reached Thessaloniki (Salonika) and had our coffee.
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    A few more photos from this lovely city.
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    My wife and i under Lefkos Pyrgos.
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    On our way to the next destination it seems that I should of turned somewhere and ended up in Amphipolis :huh where during gas refill an old man told us how to get at Promahonas (Greece - Bulgarian borders). We arrived there at 8pm, found a room that was from the worse I ever saw, but since it was for a night we managed.

    Photo opposite our room a small church.
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  6. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Entering Bulgaria.

    A map with more or less the places we went to .... will go back in 2012, the moto GP will be held there :clap

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  7. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Wednesday and around 8:30 we leave from Promahonas and entered the borders in about 5 minutes, with a simple check of passports from both sides we continue straight to Rila.

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    Stopped at a local petrol station for gas, a coffee and a snack (Mpanitsa) and 7km up the road we turn right and go through a beautiful road and we find a store that had old items starting from stones, cars, bikes, coaches and even canons. :norton


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  8. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    We enter a village with 40km/h sing on the side so I go according to that and it was a good thing since, in the next 4 villages we found radar in each of them. :eek1
    Exit the village and the twists start under the shadow of the trees that created natural tunnels and some times hard to see with the sun glasses on, at some points apart the nice cool feeling we felt cold since we are in forests and a river is just on the side of the road. Finally after all the twists and turns there was in front of us the Monastery of Rila that is worth visiting.

    Rila Monastery.
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  9. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Time to move on, I have already chosen the route to follow, on the bike we are again and we go back towards Greece and find the turning towards Simitli, as usual we lost our way :rofl but asked and a guy there with a car showed us the way with his car and us following him, there was the road to Parzatzik.
    Now this is a real road for bikes, twists, turns, uphills, downhills, braking, overtaking on a narrow road that on the one side is the river flowing and on the other is the train tracks and finding trucks and trailers, this is where you find the greatness of a motorbike, twist the throttle and you overtook. In the tunnels I had a real problem as there are no lights and even the Xenon lights had no effect, I could only follow the cars rear red lights in front and my heart pumping really fast since this was the only measure unit I had to where I was going. :yikes


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    We reach the city of Velingrad and order something to eat, ....
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    found a petrol station and off we go again, this time we need to reach Parzatchik through the narrow and twisty roads but on the side women where selling fruit from the forest.
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    We finally found Plovdiv (Philippoupolis) but as usual :lol3we made a wrong turn and ended up going through the town where all the traffic of a city waiting, a good thing mywife knew that city and we were out of it in 15 minutes and in the next half hour we reached her home town of Hisar.
    Unload the bike and am sure it was relieved from all that weight as I do remember the rear spring using all the limitation and hitting the end. :eek1
    Next .....we will start the trips in Bulgaria! :clap

    How is it so far?
    #9
  10. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Thursday, wash the bike and get rid off the bugs and oil we collected from the road and yes, it was like new again.
    Time to go to Sobot at a place called Shambjala, this is where extreme sports with bikes, paraglide etc take place.

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    There is a teleferic that takes you on a ride for 22 minutes and so we did and reached the top viewing around and watching the paraglide fly from there.
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    Walked around in this marvelous nature taking pictures, where I found a squirrel taking a peek at me so I took a photo, so nice of him to say hello.
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    Crossing over the trees.
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    at the top
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  11. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Patchovski Monastery - Hisar
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    the view from there was excellent, on the one side you could see the town and in all other directions you can see the Rodopi mountains which I will go through them later.
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    I spotted an old oak tree and could not resist to take a photo of this huge tree.
    The bike is under it :wink:
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    I still have some time so i go a bit in the town and have a look around to see the town of Hisar where it is know for the mineral water and baths.
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    and another friend taking a snack.
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    #11
  12. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Stara Planina - Troian - Lovech
    I start todays trip going over Stara Planina mountains and arriving in Lovech but before that I refill the bike with petrol from a station with a guy that didn’t have much to say but more or less showing me the pumps of 95 or 98 octane, I showed the 98 but he then sais niama, I thought, why does he ask if there isn’t any? Filled with gas I go straight for the mountains. From a nice main road I pass through some villages and then turn right and off I go in the uphill and twisty roads, ....

    Here is a video with some part of this road ... in some cases i drop down to 1st gear to turn!

    Reached the top of the mountain and took a photo but ....
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    i spot a monument that i wish to see at close up ...
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    so lets hit the off road part. :clap
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    Time to find the asphalt road and to continue the trip, that’s a huge downhill I thought but managed to descent ....

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    ....without coming off the bike and continued the twisty road all the way down passing on my way Troian that I had visited on another trip to Bulgaria ....
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    ... and continue to Lovech.
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    After the rest, time to go back, unstop this time (apart from three occasions, asking if I was on the correct course :lol3 ), over the mountain again. On my way in to the town I saw a river near by so I thought this is where I am coming tomorrow for some fun, sweet water never harmed me or the bike. :wink:
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    #12
  13. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Kalofer - Piala Rika
    I did mention I wanted to go to the river so with some friends that gathered there, we decided to go to Piala Rika near Kalofer and off we go towards the mountains through the usual twisty roads.


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    After the asphalt roads we followed a gravel road for a while going up and down and we finally reach a park.
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    Time to test the water by walking in it and the same time it was a breath catching experience but I did manage to get in up to my neck but only for a minute, it was too cold for me but everyone else was enjoying themselves.
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  14. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Etera - Veliko Turnovo - Shipka - Buzludja
    Monday and we all get ready to go to Veliko Ternovo. Away we go for the Stara Planina mountain under the tunnels created from trees and as you already know, the twisty turns that are a bikers delight but I only saw a group of three bikes coming the other way.

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  15. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    First stop, Etera, a lovely village that has been preserved over the years and everything there works with the water power, mills, cloth making bakery making lovely sweets and pies using the original recipes with preservatives and old coaches and sledges from old nostalgic times.
    This is one of the times that whatever I say is not enough and the time needed is beyond a simple text, you must see this place in order to appreciate it.

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    We leave this lovely place and off we go to Velico Turnovo ....
    #15
  16. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    and we are in Velico Turnovo visiting a castle with this Lion welcoming us.
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    We are now in the center and there lies up in front of us a castle with the surrounding walls and on the top a sort of “church”, I looked in there but I was out of it in 2 minutes, spooky place with spooky paintings, went behind and found an elevator that took you to the top (if you paid) and you can see a panorama of the town below with its river and trees, nice view indeed.
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    #16
  17. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    We leave this place also and we reach Drianovski monastery...
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    .... with a monument also present there go under the church down some steps, over a wooden bridge ....

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    .... and then uphill that leads us to a cave called Bancho Kyro (small route 600m and long one 4Km), this is where we run out of luck as just a minute before it closed at 6pm, well no flashlight, no lights and no guide, there was no way to enter it so we leave this place and after an ice cream and some water back up the Stara Planina mountains all the way to the top and we see a building that looks like a UFO ....
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    the site is nice and the horses also .....
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    ..... but the wind and rain that started were pushing us away as it became to cold, downhill towards Kazalnook and back to our base after doing around 400km
    #17
  18. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Rodopi - Diabol Gourlo - Iakoutinska Pestera

    big day ahead of us since we decided to go at Diavolsko Gourlo through the Rodopi mountains, so we grab the coat and the isothermal t-shirt and off we go passing through Plovdiv turning off at some point towards some villages. We continue on a pleasant road that in short period the turns started to be more often and on our right hand side a huge dam where there were boats, little green islands, fisherman just like a small ocean.

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    Keep looking around at the lovely nature and the twists become more and more and the warning signs from 60km/h drop to 40 then 30 and the street becomes more narrow and just as I was thinking that’s the limit another sign of 20km/h popped up and then the road was so narrow that only a single car could go by since on the one side a steep mountain from rock ended in the road and on the other side a drop straight in to the river, well I was going less than 20 believe me.

    Finally we reached the cave of Diabol Gourlo
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    and we entered it, water running from everywhere and very dark since even the flash on the camera was weak, but we continue down and then climbed up until we could see some light coming in ...
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    .... we exit this place and the mist from the waterfall we passed inside was visible and coming out of the cave.
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    We collect our helmets from a store that I must mention they kept safe for us with no charge at all and around 30km up the mountains in the narrow and twisty roads we arrive to another cave .....
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    I am now looking at the counter and guess how many kilometers I have left so we can refill and sit down for something to eat and on the way there we stop on the river bank of a lake to rest ....
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  19. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    just a lazy day around the village taking some photos and then to Plovdiv for some shopping, well at least I found some things to buy for my kids and myself and saw the town by driving around on my bike.
    Not much really to write about but here are some photos you might like to see.

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  20. Vrakas

    Vrakas Been here awhile

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    Plovdiv - Old Town of Philippoupolis
    almost time to start our way back but I had to see the old town of Plovdiv (Phillipoupolis) so we arrive there


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    We go up in some old stone roads and find souvenir and antique shops where you can find swords, knifes, old guns and even old microscopes, wasn’t interested in buying anything so we go to the very top and there is a panorama of the whole town.
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    Seen enough and walk down through the narrow streets and enter one of the lovely old houses where in the three floors someone can see the history of Bulgaria with photos and texts, a place worth visiting.
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    Continue our way down and come to an amphitheater that had columns and even the orchestra part, something you don’t usually see in old amphitheaters and having a look at that and some snapshots ...
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    Plenty of window shopping, plenty of people going around and another stop for a cold drink and finishing our drinks finds us riding back to the town for the rest of the day organizing a few bits and pieces.

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