Romania and Ukraine 2013

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by jesperd, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    An Inmate (exotesthrasouden) and I are planning a 3 week trip through Romania and Ukraine starting on May 19th.

    If you want to join us for, both for parts, and also the entire trip, we'd love to hear from you.

    We're taking the autozug from Hamburg, Germany to Villach Austria the first day. This is because we'd like to cover good distance and it's a bit boring riding German Autobahns. And we move while we sleep.

    Next day, we're riding into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia. Depending on the mood, we're either riding backroads (both paved and gravel), or we may just spend the day covering as must distance as possible, heading directly to Belgrade, Serbia.

    When we hit Romania, we will probably take the route along the Danube River through the Iron Gates. Then north on the 66A, which offers a lot of great gravel and scenery. We'll try to find road 664, which should offer great gravel on the top of the mountains, which takes us south. East a bit, then the Transalpina north, some mountain gravel/dirt roads east. This is late May, so snow in high altitudes may be an issue. We'll see.

    We'll try to hit the old trade route on the Tabla Butii, that offers great scenic gravel roads. From there, it is east towards Ukraine. We will have to ride through Moldova for a short distance to get there, but once in Ukraine, we'll ride along the Black Sea coast towards Odessa. This will most likely be gravel. From Odessa we'll ride towards Crimea along backroads until we hit Yalta and Swallow's Nest. This where we return. A detour along the strip of land towards the Sea Of Azov (gravel). Then north of Moldova (still in Ukraine) towards the Carpathian Mountains, where we will try to ride some mountain gravel roads. Finally, we'll go to L'viv.

    After L'viv we'll head back south again to enter Slovakia, and eventually Czech Republic and Prague, where we'll celebrate the end of a great trip.

    Although we are looking for gravel, we're not looking for anything hardcore. We're riding GS (800 and 1200), so there's a limit to how rough and fast we ride on gravel and dirt. But we prefer gravel over highway.

    We are planning to stay at B&B, low budget hotels, or similar. If available and affordable, we prefer single rooms so we can snore and fart in private. That said, we don't mind sharing, it's more if the option is available. We are undecided on whether to bring camping gear. There's plenty of accommodation options available where we're going. Camping gear will just be for backup. We may end up only bringing a sleeping bag, just in case.

    The trip is about riding, so the intentions are to ride everday, but if we hit anything of particular interest, we may want to stay longer. We keeping options open.

    Generally we like to get started early and be on the move at around 9 am (depending on readiness ;-)) and then call it a day somewhere around 6pm. By then, we (based on tracks from last year's ride in the area), we would have been moving for about 5 hours and stopped for 4 hours (average). We stop to refuel, eat, taking pictures, etc. We may stop for more, if there's something of interest, or less, if not. We do have a great number of POI's that is worth a visit.

    When the day is over (riding wise), and we're found a place to stay for the night, the routine is likely to be gettign a shower, eating, drinking, check out the local night life.

    If you want to join us, we'd love to have you with us. Reply or send a PM, if you want to know more. General input and suggestions are much appreciated as well.

    Jesper

    Here's a rough outline of the route:
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. beebeer54

    beebeer54 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    North Wales, U.K.
    I did a similar trip last year but going through Moldova & Transnistria. You definately want to visit Sighisoara in Romania, I stayed in the cheap Burg Hostel in the centre of the medievil citadel. The medievil town is a bit busy with tourists in the day but in the evening it gets nice and quite. Watch out for the potholes and tram tracks in Lviv! In Ukraine I also stayed in Hostels, some have courtyards which is ideal for the bike security and I found the staff very friendly and helpfull. The one thing that can be a problem in the Cyrillic alphabet! When I arrived in Lviv my GPS screen just went blank, I thought shit! but when I got to the hostel I did a soft reset and it was OK (phew!). I did have maps with me (in Cyrillic & English) as back up but it would be a real pain if you had to use them paticulary in the center of a city.
    Thought you'd enjoy some images that you'll enjoy on you trip - enjoy!! Have a good trip and ride safe.

    Sunken manhole cover!

    [​IMG]


    Drain cover missing or nicked!

    [​IMG]


    Typical street in Lviv!

    [​IMG]


    Chisinau (Moldova) pothole, imagine going into this!!

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. TarmoM

    TarmoM Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Estonia
    Just one small tip for you. You have to go through Moldova if you're planning to drive from Romania to Ukraine near the Black Sea. You can cross from here: http://goo.gl/maps/P0sZq, no border crossings down south.
    #3
  4. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Great input. We're planning on avoiding Transnistria, as reports I have read indicates too much trouble, too many officials expecting presents, and not much to see. So we thought we'd just head out of Moldova immediately. If you have some real experience, I'd appreciate any input as it also bothers me to not explore Moldova as we're there anyway.

    We rode in Ukraine last year as well, but only the Carpathians, so we're looking forward to explore Crimea and Lviv. That for sharing the photos. It is a good reminder to not ride after dark.

    Newer maps for Garmin have pretty good coverage of Ukraine, but we would get printed maps as well. We have been practicing Cyrillic alphabet, so we can better read the maps (I hope).

    We visited Sighisoara last year and I can only second that it is worth a visit. We chose Sighisoara over Brasov as we were told that Brasov is extremely touristy.

    Thanks for your input. Very valuable.

    Jesper
    #4
  5. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Yeah, I don't understand why there is no crossing directly between Romania and Ukraine. You'd think there is enough traffic to support it. Maybe it's a political issue more than anything else.

    From the satellite images, it does look like the border crossing between Moldova and Ukraine is very small, though. I don't know that indicates that it an easy crossing or just not very busy.

    Did you cross it previously?

    Jesper
    #5
  6. Panda*

    Panda* Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Russia, Moscow
    #6
  7. exotesthrasouden

    exotesthrasouden Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Germany
    Been wondering about that too. Surly we'll be able to cross by Giurgiuleşti without issue.
    Thanks for the link Panda*
    Ready to hit the road.

    #7
  8. TarmoM

    TarmoM Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Estonia
    Yes, I used this border last summer. We were coming from Ukraine and going into Romania. It's very small and at that time of the day (around 21.00) very quiet. The Moldova side was a bit scary, as there are few papers to fill, russian language only and our luggage was stripped completely. And you have to pay some small fee for transit. After we were clear to go few border guards asked as to do a wheelie :clap
    Romanian side was easy, they even let us go past all the cars.

    One more tip. If you are planning to drive from south Romania and cross the river near Galati, the ferry only operates during daytime. And there are no bridges.
    #8
  9. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Julia, great report, thanks for sharing. That pub in Sudak looks like a place worth visiting. Is it easy to find? Do you have an address, or even better, coordinates?

    Jesper
    #9
  10. Panda*

    Panda* Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Russia, Moscow
    To my great regret, I called friends to specify the address, and they said that there is no pub! The owner sold everything and now there is a street market!. And it was in the beginning of the street Morskaya, on the first line. :cry
    #10
  11. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    I didn't realize that there were no bridges. Thanks for bringing that to our attention. We will most likely be coming from west, but plans change until they are carried out, so this is very helpful information.
    #11
  12. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    That's a shame. Thanks for trying to find it, though. Your ride report(s) are great and very inspiring.
    #12
  13. beebeer54

    beebeer54 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    North Wales, U.K.
    I don't blame you avoiding Transnistria. I avoided paying anyone till the last check point leaving (there are quite a few!) then I had to pay about 3 Euros which I thought was good but that was the least of my problems! In Tiraspol I got pulled up for a traffic violation, the policeman took me to his "hut" and a Ukrainian biker tried to help me as I don't speak any Russian but the policeman told him to bugger off. So then he started, first he said I would have to spend 30 days in jail, then it went down to a US$300 fine (I held my nerve with my arse twitching!) and then told me to go, so needless to say off I went looking forward to getting back into Ukraine. It's funny how things go from bad to worse! As I was about to leave the Ukraine customs I was told to wait, they brought 3 dogs over and had great pleasure in telling me the dogs could smell drugs (the dogs didn't show much interest though). So I had to take everything off the bike and put my clothes etc into piles, then they took each dog to sniff my things (my arse starting to twitch yet again and a change of underwear later on!!) They asked if I could take the fairing off the bike (FJR1300) that was easy to answer - NO. After 5.5 hours and not finding anything cause nothing was there to start with they said I could go, oh and have a nice holiday!! I'd left Chisinau at 0700hrs to allow for any problems and I got to the Hostel in Odessa at 1730hrs!! The north of Moldova is peasent farming and the capital couldn't be more different a bit like Las Vegas, money changers, bars, casinos and girls (very pretty) I also used a Garmin GPS which was spot on for the Ukraine but not for Moldova and Transnistria.
    When I left Odessa I took the M15 west to Romania but instead of going straight on I took the M15 to Izmajil where it forks south at Kyrnycky which would have been nice if it hadn't been raining and the shit roads pot holes were full of water (how deep?). It's a nature reserve and loads of birds etc, I had a stork drop his nesting material on top of me which gave me a bit of a suprise! I've attached the Garmin map (not very clear) which shows in green my route and at the top right the fork I took.


    [​IMG]!
    #13
  14. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Any tips on Odessa, like motorcycle friendly places (bars, resturants, accommodation)?
    #14
  15. beebeer54

    beebeer54 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    North Wales, U.K.
    As I travelled alone I liked to stay at Hostels and meet up with fellow travelers, I would look at www.hostelworld.com in advance of arriving and put a few places into my GPS. In Odessa I stayed at Antony's Home which was OK for me, it's very central has a gated courtyard which is good security for the bike and in early June there was not many staying there. One problem is accessing some Hostels as you have to either have a code to get in or phone them, in Antony's Home if the main gate is closed you can put your hand through an opening and reach the latch on the inside to open the door in the gate (don't tell anyone!). There's a lot of Hostels close by in that area. Regarding restaurants without a doubt all over Ukraine the best value for money is "Puzata Khata" there's one in Odessa and Lviv just Google the name. It's similar to a canteen with a massive display of food and you just help yourself or they cook it in front of you and then pay after, so there is no having to translate menus. The one in Odessa is on the sixth floor of the Europa shopping centre on Deribasivs ka vul. 21 which is the main tourist place where people strut about, also at one end is usualy where a load of local bikers hang out.


    She didn't like having her picture taken!

    [​IMG]


    Yum Yum.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Thanks a lot for the hints. We will take a look at the hostelworld web site and collect a few alternative as you suggest.
    #16
  17. CRAZY_BG

    CRAZY_BG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Bulgaria SOFIA
    Hi there. A long time ago I visited Romania and was quite fascinated.
    If something can be helpful my travels you can look at it here in the forums

    http://www.motoforum.bg/index.php/topic,18136.0.html
    Bulgarian. of course if you have any questions I would be happy to answer.
    For Croatia, Makedonia

    http://www.motoforum.bg/index.php/topic,10993.0.html


    , Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania Sarajevo, Mostar can see here in my other topic ..
    http://www.motoforum.bg/index.php/topic,56764.0.html
    #17
  18. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    Crazy_BG, thanks for the link to those great photos. You know, having the coldest March in 26 years (at least in my region), snow may become a bigger issue than expected, so it is great to know that there are some good options further south. Thanks a lot!
    #18
  19. novack

    novack Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    St.Petersburg, Russia
    Hi there

    Here is my question regarding the topic (hope this will be useful to topic starter too): what is the best (the most spectacular) way to cross Transalpina and Transfarasan - from north to sound or vice versa?
    #19
  20. jesperd

    jesperd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Malmo, Sweden
    We haven't ridden Transalpina yet, and only the north side of Transfaragasan, so others may me able to help you better.

    Here are my 2 cents.

    Transfagarasan: If the tunnel at the summit is closed, you would probably prefer the north side as this is where the lake and restaurant is. It is a nice place for a cold beer (or a warm cup of coffee as it can be quite cold up there). So I would recommend the going north to south. Also, I have been told the northen part is the most scenic (although we didn't get to see the south side as the tunnel was shut due to rock slides on the southern part). Going back the same way was awesome as well although it is a bit annoying to end up where you started. Sighisoara is not too far away and is a great place for sight seeing, and not as crowded as Brasov.

    Transalpina: We haven't ridden there yet, it is planned for this year. We will be riding south to north as we will try riding the gravel road starting at the top and heading east. It starts at N45 22.823 E23 39.105 and is designated as road 701D on OpenStreetMaps (I'm not sure that is accurate as there is another road with that number too, hence to coord). It is clearly visible on Google Earth, just search the coord. Alternatively we will continue north and ride 7A east. I believe that road is paved.

    At the end of the day, I don't think it matters much. If you take your time, stop a couple of times, get off the bike for a couple of pictures, it would great no matter what.

    When are you planning on going there?
    #20