From Zagreb to Volgograd

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Damir, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Damir

    Damir AKA Pudla

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    After coming back from Tunisia (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228997) Linza and I started thinking about our next trip. After a few conversations and a lot of beers we decided to go to Russia.

    Planning route was challenge of its own. At last, we came with plan which looked OK. Ride from Zagreb to Volgograd via Lvov, Kiev and Voronezh, than cross back into Ukraine, explore Crimea, cross into the Russia, drive along Black Sea coast to Sochi, catch ferry to Turkey (Trabzon) and head back towards home.

    Ferry proved to be quite a problem, because we were not able to get exact schedules and it was quite expensive. So we decided to leave Turkey out for this year’s trip. It was sad for us, because we were in contact with lot of Turkish riders and we were looking forward to meeting them.

    Then we got into problem with Ukrainian visas, we were able to get only double entry visa, so we had to abandon Russian Black Sea coast.

    We also had new riding buddy for this trip, Kaso. So on 31.05 three comrades met in Zagreb ready for riding. Liza and Kaso are also authors of lot of pictures in this report.

    Day one, 31.05.08, from Zagreb, Croatia to Lvov, Ukraine

    Our plan is to ride 950 km from Zagreb to Lvov in one day. We started at six o’clock in the morning and we crossed into Hungary one hour later.

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    Plan was to cross Hungary as fast as possible, but we lost some time in Budapest because my Zumo decided to took us for little sightseeing ride trough center of the city.

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    We had nice lunch, Kaso is professional cook, so he prepared some food for first day.

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    Finally we approached Hungary – Ukraine border. We heard lot of rumors about Ukrainian border, so we expected to lose some time there. But, things started to go badly on Hungarian side. Our papers were checked and rechecked, than we were told to push our bikes in some sort of garage. Border official photographed our bikes and checked WINs. One hour later we were free to go.

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    At the other hand Ukrainian formalities were over in less than 15 minutes. We asked border guard with mix of surprise and disbelief: “Is this it? We are free to go?”. He said: “Go”, so we were in Ukraine.

    My first Ukrainian soft drink.

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    After some time we entered Carpathians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpathian_Mountains). Roads were quite scenic, but there was lot of traffic. Traffic is mix of slow moving trucks, new western cars and old Ladas and other relics of ex USSR.

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    At the sunset we reached Lvov (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lvov) and met with Oleg, local rider whom Linza contacted earlier and he agreed to show us the city.

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    Oleg took us to the hostel, and after we went to some food and beer. It was Saturday night and there was lot of people on the streets and atmosphere was OK. We enjoyed walk through the city after long ride to get there. It was too dark to take pictures, so we decided to head back to the old city first thing in the morning to take some photographs.

    To be continued…
    #1
  2. dutch2004

    dutch2004 Dreaming the dream...zzz

    Joined:
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    Location:
    That Green Mountain over there.
    :lurk
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Fantastic :thumb

    Volgograd formerly known as Stalingrad

    :lurk :lurk
    #3
  4. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Always great seeing new (to me) places.

    :lurk
    #4
  5. E-man

    E-man 4-4-09, 12-6-09, 1-13-10

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for posting, I would love to see more pictures of your area.
    :thumb
    #5
  6. Frgich

    Frgich Long timer

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    Location:
    Europe-Croatia-Zagreb
    Odlicno ekipa odlicno :clap:clap:clap

    Just keep those pics coming Damir :D
    #6
  7. Redhead

    Redhead Jieserro Mulla-Ga-Noof

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
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    Location:
    Denver
    Very excited to see this one!
    :1drink
    #7
  8. Carlo Muro

    Carlo Muro Supercàzzola

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    You have my attention:nod
    #8
  9. kejago

    kejago Kev. Haute Savoie, France

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    :lurk
    #9
  10. OutbreakMonkey

    OutbreakMonkey Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    306
    Excellent so far.
    My wife's family live in Dnipropetrovsk. I'm looking at doing a ride similar to you, hopefully next Summer. Unfortunately the next time I will be there will be deep in Winter which makes riding just a little unenjoyable :doh
    #10
  11. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Really....then i have been there many times fighting off Germans. This was all way back in world war 2. (ofcourse this was in a video game) but thanks for showing off the real stalingrad........... from a motorcyclists perspective.

    You wouldnt have any photos of those historic places would you.... like the stalingrad grain silo.
    #11
  12. bongodave

    bongodave Intellectual

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    I'm in. Give me more!:D Nice to see it all, Damir!
    #12
  13. donny662

    donny662 Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Michigan
    And before that, Tsaritsyn

    Thank you, Wikipedia :D
    #13
  14. Joseph B.

    Joseph B. Balkan rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Temerin, Serbia
    Come on Pudla... Almost 24h since your first set of photos.... Don`t keep us waiting... :cry


    Pozdravi Kaso u moje ime, drago mi je sto sam ga upoznao u Umagu. Svaka cast za putovanje drugari!
    #14
  15. Damir

    Damir AKA Pudla

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Thank you all!

    Before continuing I would like to thank my Dad for his help in planning our route and transferring it to the Zumo.

    Day two, 01.06.08, from Lvov to Kiev

    We woke up early and met with Oleg in front of our hostel. It was time to take some pictures of old city and go to breakfast.

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    Oleg told us that there is scene in LWR when Charlie and Ewan are pushing their bikes in hotel reception. Scene was shot in Lvov in front of George Hotel, so we can’t miss opportunity to took some photographs of that “historic” place. :D Frankly, I can’t remember the scene and don’t have DVDs at hand.

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    More photographs of the old part of the city.

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    After breakfast we parted ways with Oleg and headed towards Kiev. Oleg, Thank you!

    Well, it was time to be stopped by police. We knew that we can be stopped anytime, and that policeman will demand small bribes. That is exactly what happened. They told us that we were speeding, driving 72 in 50 km/h zone. We didn’t see any sign, and actually we were driving faster than 72. Our strategy is drive like locals and this was exactly what we were doing. One more explanation, we Croatians are Slavs like Ukrainians and Russians so we understand each other quite well. After some negotiations we paid 20$ and were able to continue. We were stopped once more that day, but Linza managed to negotiate 10$ “donation”, we were getting better. Maybe it sound strange to some of you, but this is way it goes.:huh

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    We met those friendly guys who were working at gas station. In Ukraine and Russia you have to pay for your petrol in advance. It took us some time, but after few stops we were able to determine how many liters we need. Good thing is that petrol price in Ukraine is 0,83 Euro/l.

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    This was first piece of military hardware on display along the road. As we found out it is quite common in Russia and Ukraine.

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    Another one.

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    Driving was completely crazy and we came from part of the world where drives had really bad reputation, so this was serious. Roads are generally in bad condition, and there is some reconstruction going on. There was enormous traffic jam in front of Kiev. As we latter found out, there was truck driver strike because of diesel prices. It was one of the most chaotic traffic scenes I ever witnessed.

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    Oleg's friend Sasha was waiting for us in Kiev. He rented a flat for us in northern part of the city.

    Sasa’s Skoda, unfortunately we didn’t have pictures of all of us together.

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    It was late, so Kaso cooked us a fine dinner, and we agreed that we will visit center of the city first thing in the morning.

    To be continued…
    #15
  16. Stormbringer

    Stormbringer Apprentice

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Rijeka, Croatia
    Hi boys:clap

    Nice story, great trip, salute:devildog :wave
    #16
  17. Damir

    Damir AKA Pudla

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Day three, 02.06.08, into Russia or border day

    For beginning, Sasa, thank you!

    We woke up early and headed towards center of town.

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    Linza is waving to fellow rider.

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    We crossed Dnieper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dniepr) and exited Kiev. Finally we reached some small roads.

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    It was time for lunch because we did not know how much time we will spend on the border.

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    Late afternoon we reached last Ukrainian village before the border, Velika Pisarivka. Border crossing was few km from village, so it took us some time to find it.

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    Approaching border, this is our last photo before entering Russia. We didn’t want to provoke officials by taking pictures.

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    At Ukrainian side everything went OK. Papers were checked, our baggage was opened but not very thoroughly searched. 15-20 minutes latter we were on Russian side.

    Passport check didn’t last long, then we went to immigration office, some more data was collected but it was also quick. Friendly official chatted with me about his time in army in East Germany many years ago. Then customs and our problems began. First we went to insurance office, because our bike insurance wasn’t covering Russian Federation. Insurance guy at first demanded that we should pay in Russian rubles. Price was around 80$ for all three bikes and after some negotiations we agreed that we will pay 100$ and he will accept USD. Unfortunately, while our insurance papers were prepared, border official shift was coming to an end. So he gave us some forms to fill and told us that we need to fill it on Cyrillic. I can read Cyrillic but writing was out of question. Then some young guy in military looking uniform took pity on us and filled our forms. Finally, custom official replacement arrived and he accepted our forms, issued us all necessary papers, charged us 10 Euro each and we were free to go. It all lasted three hours.

    We lost too much time at the border, and one additional hour because of time zone change, so we agreed that is time to find some place to sleep. Luckily, we found motel near the border. Kitchen was closed but nearby store was opened so we bought some sausages and beer. Our spirits were high, we were in Russia, YEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

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    To be continued…
    #17
  18. SteveRed

    SteveRed Adventure Moto

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    Always look forward to your reports guys! You will have to plan a trip to Australia one of these days. I will be in Germany next year for travel and possibly this year for Intermot if anyone is around :freaky
    #18
  19. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    :super:super

    :lurk:lurk
    #19
  20. Phone Guy

    Phone Guy Oddometer: 23,626

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    Location:
    Anderson, CA
    I was in Volgograd in April of 2002 for a couple weeks. Not on a Motorcycle but rode a train from Moscow.... Looking forward to seeing pics of Volvograd. There is 1 building still standing from the war. The Germans bombed just about everything in existance. The building is brick and very large. The walls are very thick which is why it still stood after being bombed. It's near a museum that is round. I hope you get to see it. Also I'm sure you will get some pics of Mother Russia... Can't miss her. Lots of history there.

    Mike
    #20