From The Netherlands to Albania and back in the summer of 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jadvst, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. motolover

    motolover rookie

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    I am surprised this is the only one I made in the camp. Nice to see you had a safe trip back home.
    #41
  2. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    Luckily we made that selfy picture of us ;-) will follow in the next installment. Did you have a nice trip onwards to the south?
    #42
  3. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Day 15
    From Camping Arbi, Lake Ohrid, Albania
    To Camping Enigma, Donje Trebešinje, Serbia
    323 KM (about 200 miles)


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    This was the first day riding back towards home. Not in a hurry, but without too many detours nonetheless. Before leaving we chatted some more with fellow inmate @motolover (see our picture below) and we had some breakfast at the camping restaurant. During breakfast we dried our tent in the sun.

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    During breakfast we dried our tent in the sun.
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    After checking out we rode along Lake Ohrid heading for the border with Macedonia.
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    The border crossing towards Macedonia was quick and easy. Not long after crossing the border we checked out the Lake from the Macedonian side. Also very beautiful.
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    After driving a while through Macedonia we noticed that there was significantly less litter on the streets and the familiar Mercedes cars from the seventies and eighties of the previous century were nowhere to be found. Instead we spotted a lot of Yugo cars (see picture below). It is said to be one of the worst cars ever made (although if this is true, it is amazing how much of them are still riding around).
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    There was no real highway available in Macedonia on our route, so we rode through a few cities. Somewhere along the way we did see the highway being built (look on the left in the second picture below).
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    When we stopped to get gas we saw some more cool old cars.
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    Eventually we reached a highway and it was time to get gas again.
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    There was a price to pay to ride on the bigger roads.
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    After crossing the border into Serbia we quickly reached the camp site.
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    The camp site was situated on an (old?) public pool. We pitched our tent on a little patch of grass and went to the restaurant at the camp site. Just after we got our food and beers a heavy thunderstorm hit our location. Luckily we sat beneath a big porch-like structure. After about 10 minutes the power went out and the rains where too heavy for the drainage, resulting in water well over our ankles.
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    We invited a group of bikers from the Czech republic to join our table because they were getting wet from the rains on their own table. We drank a few beers and we shared some Jonge Jenever (which is a liquor from The Netherlands). It turned out to be a fun evening.
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    #43
  4. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 16
    From Camping Enigma, Donje Trebešinje, Serbia
    To Camping So Sul, Sombor, Serbia
    528 KM (about 328 miles)


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    Waking up, we had a lot of stuff to dry out. The tent did not leak one drop, we just had a lot of clothes on when we got soaked the night before.

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    The Czech guys call themselves Black Widows Liberec. After the fun evening we had, we took a few pictures. They are a group of friends who travel on their old Jawa bikes.
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    After our stuff was sort of dry and we had a bite to eat, we hit the road again. Goal of the day was simply to get farther north.
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    Although we took mostly the highway, sometimes it was slow going with toll ports, traffic jams and well-deserved breaks.
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    Of course the chain needs to be oiled!
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    My bike hit a little milestone of its own.
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    Along the highway at some points people sold Serbian flags and other Serbian stuff. Seemed a bit unusual to us to sell it on the highway.
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    In the afternoon the roads were very nice, with little traffic and scenic surroundings.
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    On our way to a camp site we rode through a few villages. What stood out for us in this area were the amount and size of industrial buildings, often in or right next to the towns.
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    We arrived in the dark at a beautiful camp site, but we were the only visitors. We talked to the nice owner, paid and went to bed.
    #44
  5. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Day 17
    From Camping So Sul, Sombor, Serbia
    To Natura Kamping, Acs, Hungary
    333 KM (about 207 miles)


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    We were a little fed up with highway riding and thus, although unplanned, this day turned out to be a slow one. In the end we only covered 333 km (about 207 miles) to a camp site in Hungary.

    Waking up we got a change to check out what we missed in the dark the day before. As I said in my previous post it was a very nice and organised camp site. The owner built it himself over the past 7 years.
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    While driving off we spotted a Yugo in extremely good condition parked on the street.
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    Driving through the villages and countryside was fun, the weather was good and there was lots to see.
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    Our route let us to a very small border crossing from Serbia to Hungary. It was the only border in the entire trip where we had to open our luggage and answer some questions. We think because we entered the Schengen Area.
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    We rode towards the highway through some nice villages and cities.
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    At a shop at a gas station along the highway we got some food.
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    We had very appropriate tissues.
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    Around 18:00 we were fed up with riding and needed oil. We decided to camp and get oil in the morning. It would turn out to be the cheapest camping of the trip: € 8,- for the night including 4 complementary buns which came fresh from the bakery.
    #45
  6. whysub

    whysub Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Essex, England
    Having ridden to all the Balkan countries in the last five years from the UK, we will be setting off to Albania in a few weeks.

    The only issue has been trying to establish if our bikes will be ok on the SH21 from Shkodar to Theth. The owner of the accommodation in Theth says we will be fine on the bikes we are riding, as it is just the last 17kms that are unpaved, and it is not at all difficult to ride.

    However, your report and your photos make me doubt what we have been told very much. We will be riding a 2008 Moto Guzzi V1200 Sport and a 2007 BMW R1200RS-hardly suitable for anything other that the most compacted of gravel roads, if previous trips are anything to go by.

    We don't want to miss going to Theth, as it looks stunning. The only alternative ways we have of getting there is by hiring a 4x4 , or taking a taxi, both of which are proving to be troublesome, as we can find neither available so far.
    We won't be getting to Theth until late (perhaps 20.00 hours) as we are taking the afternoon ferry from Fierza to Koman (getting here at around 15.30 hours) and then riding on to Theth.

    I think the difficulty of finding alternative transport maybe the reason that the hotel owner is saying we will be fine riding our bikes on this unpaved section of the road. Protecting his booking perhaps although we still have a few weeks to cancel without any charges.

    Any advice or derision most welcome!
    #46
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  7. whysub

    whysub Adventurer

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    Well, we made it, but not on our bikes. The SH21 to Theth is worse than in the photos and our driver said it is worse now than it was a couple of months ago.

    From what we saw the road is being badly churned up by ar*eholes that drive the 4x4 adventure vehicles in the area, moving around at ridiculous speeds trying, no doubt, to give their 6 passengers "an experience", with no regard to the damage they are going.

    Also if you are riding a BMW in Albania, take a spare ignition antenna with too-they are only $30 or so. My friends one decided to stop working whilst we were in Berat, stranding his bike there-he had to hire a car and drive to Split to get one, then drive back again, an 800 mile journey. Be aware they do fail at the most inopportune moment.
    #47
  8. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    My apologies for the late reply, was busy preparing for a trip and riding it :-) Maybe a good thing, because I would have told you that it is do-able. I guess the road got a lot worse after we rode it. Hopefully you did have fun in Theth?

    However, I think you misunderstood my post about our ride to Theth, so for future reference/other riders that want to make the trip: the section you are talking about is not in our pictures, we rode this section in the dark (which at the time was very do-able). We took the southern approach into Theth, which is about 70 km's (about 43 miles) of unpaved road and rode back from Theth on the route you are talking about via the SH21. I put the map again below, we rode into Theth on the dotted line with red arrows (during the day, all pictures are from this route) and back via the SH21 (in the dark). Beware we did not take pictures of the difficult sections, I would not advice riding the southern route without offroad capable motorcycles and at least some offroad experience. On our Transalps with 50-50 tires it was fine, although it was dry that day when wet I think it would have been a real struggle.

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    #48
  9. whysub

    whysub Adventurer

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    #49
  10. whysub

    whysub Adventurer

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    Indeed I misread your route into Theth, which we would never have attempted BUT without your post, I would never have checked out our route. We would have been stranede within a few hundred metres.

    The western approach on the "main" SH21 is shockingly bad, and no doubt thanks to the w**kers driving the 4x4 Adventure cars so dangerously and with no consideration, will only get worse.

    Theth is a beautiful and unspoilt place, and the locals are so friendly. Our host at the Buni Shqipes accommodation spoke some English and organised our 4x4 taxi and secure parking for our bikes in Shkodar.

    Albania is a fantastic place to go to, even if (like us) you stick to asphalted road. Riding on motorways should be avoided, but sometimes there are no options but to. Beware pedestrians crossing, horse and carts, cyclists coming towards you and buses stopping-often dramatically so- to pick up passengers.

    Thinking of going back again next year with my RC8R, as that will cope well on 95% of roads we encountered. And will be interesting on the other 5%.
    #50
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  11. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Day 18
    From Natura Kamping, Acs, Hungary
    To Hotel Dübener Heide, Krippehna, Germany
    735 KM (about 457 miles)


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    Another day riding the boring highway to get home. But as said the morning started off good with fresh complementary buns from the camp site.
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    The first order off business before hitting the highway was to get oil. We found a motorcycle shop not too far from the camp site and scored a litre of 10W40 semi-synthetic motorcycle oil. Our V-twin Honda's like to drink oil on highway speeds.
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    After checking the oil levels it was time to hit the highway.
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    At a stop we tried to dry our towls.
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    We reached the Czech republic.
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    At the end of the day it got cold, really cold and the wind started to pick up. We stopped to fill up and get something warm to drink.
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    We decided to stay at a hotel to be able to ride further and get an early start the next morning. We made a reservation for a hotel somewhere in Germany during one of our stops. Unfortunately, upon arrival, there was nobody there. After making some calls someone finally came (we got very very cold). Somehow our reservation got lost or whatever, we were just happy someone came so we could get warm and some sleep.
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    When visiting a hotel we always take the opportunity to dry out our gear :-).
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    #51
  12. despertaferro2008

    despertaferro2008 Adventurer

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    Precioso viaje...¡¡¡¡¡:aplaudir
    #52
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  13. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    thanks..great to see a ride report that inspires others to do the same. keep it coming.

    i would like to think that this is what i want to do. love to go further south to greece, but that will need another 2 weeks (at least).
    #53
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  14. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    I had to use a translator, but thanks!
    #54
  15. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    Thank you for your kind words! Of this trip there is only one day left altough I haven't got around writing it up yet.
    #55
  16. selecw

    selecw Been here awhile

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    Excellent thread. I will be bringing my bike from the US and doing a tour of the Balkans next Summer.
    #56
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  17. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

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    Thanks! Sounds like a nice trip, how long are you going? If you want more info regarding camp sites, routes or something just shoot me a PM.
    #57
  18. selecw

    selecw Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I will be in Europe for 4 months. Thanks for the help!
    #58
  19. jadvst

    jadvst Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2017
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    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Day 19
    From Hotel Dübener Heide, Krippehna, Germany
    To home, Enschede, Netherlands
    508 KM (about 315 miles)


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    The next morning we woke up late and it took us just as long as breaking up camp to get on the road, but on the plus side our stuff got nice and dry.
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    We started off with a fun dirt road through some stunning sunflower fields that took us to a nice little group of houses.
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    After fuelling up and some breakfast with coffee, we took to the highway.
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    After a while we got cold and drank a hot beverage at a roadside McDonald's.
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    Before long we reached our home town, but we were not ready to quit riding yet, so we took a detour home through the fields.
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    And that was it, we arrived back home... where of course we started planning our next trip! Ride report of that trip can be found here.
    #59
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  20. Pongo

    Pongo Been here awhile

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    Enjoyed your write up, thanks for sharing!
    #60
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