Just a few weeks in the Balkans....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by glitch_oz, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Guess it's all been done before a 1000 times...but here it goes:


    Sept -Oct... autumn in the Northern-Half of the globe.

    This time for something "More South", diving into the old Iron-Curtain countries of the Balkan, back to the '60s, a side-lane into the former Communist-glory and megalomania, a quick-skim of the "NEW"- Balkans of EU-alignment and dependence, a trip through new economies and new-rule societies built on the old foundations of rot, corruption and decay.

    Lump in 6 wide-eyed Aussies with a handful of paper-maps, a lappy and a fleet of hire-BMWs from Bucharest/ Romania and there's no doubt, where that's going to end, aye? :-)

    Garnish lavishly with a good dose of Dalmatian Coast, the odd crash, dive and splat... a bag of stunning islands and a few millennia of history, some top-notch Bulgarian coppers, incredible National Parks, panniers lost in the drab plains of northern Bulgaria, fantastic people everywhere, twilight-roads that have simply disappeared, potholed National Highways that make your kidneys bleed...and folks, places and landscapes in the burning, sinking sun that'll make you NEVER, EVER forget those glorious 3 weeks!!


    Three weeks...4500km...8 countries...6 currencies...6 riders.
    A bag of laughs...exceptional food, brews and local fire-waters...a few of the Big Classics and a myriad of tiny backroads and single-laners at lofty heights or skimming the Adriatic water-levels 4inches above the lapping waves.




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    The Glitz of Doha/Qatar


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    ..and the Department of Justice in Bucharest/ Romania


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    The crumbling decay of the Communist legacy....all 1100+ rooms of "National Parliament", GULP!



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    You'll never leave without a hug...


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    Sunrise over Iskar Lake/ Bulgaria



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    The best cops on the globe... Bulgaria!


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    EVERYWHERE!!...packs of stray-dogs ..or cats, pigs. donkeys, chooks, horses, goats...if it's got legs or wings, it'll be ON THE ROAD!



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    Accommodation got a bit tight sometimes :killingme




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    Told ya there's half the road missing at the exit of that lefthander....into the sinking sun! (shriek!!)
    And not a single warning anywhere!



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    Ancient roads up steep hills...



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    The old Trader's Road in the heart of Shkoder/ Albania




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    ...and a half-day ferry ride through the gorges of Lake Komani



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    for some 160km of eye-popping bends-carving on single-laners back to Shkoder....



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    Stumping vistas...



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    Weird bridges with humps




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    ...and lakes of silver.





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    Roads to take your breath away....



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    ...and "Oh Shiat" moments galore




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    Walled cities....



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    ...or just kilometers of walls along hillsides in Croatia



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    Churches in mountains....



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    ....and fantastic digs among world-famous vineyards




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    Ancient ghost-towns ....



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    ....and getting clobbered by the local Bora-winds for 3 days....





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    Monasteries on island on islands! Yup!!


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    Climbing the heights of the Croatian Coastal Ridges




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    ...and heart-tearing sunsets across the Dalmatian islands.



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    Just to be outdone by it's northern Montenegrin counterpart, the STUNNING Durmitor National Park and Nedajno Gorge... OMG!! :doh::glu:glu:glu




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    ...before an afternoon's madness at the "Serbian Grand Prix" and the delights and wonders of Western Romania, the Trasfagarasan and Transalpina Roads across the Carpathian Mountains.
    Oh....MAAANNN!!! :clap::clap:






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    A 700+ pic rollercoaster-of-discovery of some of what this corner of the world has in store...and ONE HELL OF A RIDE!!!

    :thumbs::thumbs:


    Balkans_2018...You Only Live Once!
    The Full Yarn ---->>>>
    #1
    drumdog, Bors, RedRockRider and 8 others like this.
  2. ak864

    ak864 n00b

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    Looks like a trip of a lifetime! So much history. Thanks for sharing this!
    #2
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  3. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    It certainly wasn't boring, hehe.
    What an incredible place, but 3 weeks didn't even scratch the surface.
    Thanks for looking in :-)
    #3
  4. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    Is that the road from Split to Dubrovnik I see? Can’t tell for sure because I don’t recall there being a guardrail when I was last on that, although that was back in the mid-90s.

    Nice pics...miss the Balkans...very underrated.
    #4
  5. doppler94

    doppler94 Adventurer

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    Incredible trip with those photos! Some are really breath-taking.
    #5
  6. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    ...and if it's not the landscape, it's what you'll find behind the next blind lefthander :-)))
    Like the old guy with the 3 curtain-rods sticking out 6 ft. in front of his bicycle, hehehe...
    ...or the "cable-guy" stringing a new power-cable across the road, exactly at "decapitating" height for anyone coming along on a bike.
    There were some moments....Holy Crap!!



    Thanks God, it is!! :-)

    Now, which pic do you mean re: Split-> Dubrovnik?
    There is not in the selection above, the "guardrail-road" is the road up Sveti Jure in the Biokovo National Park above Makarska, an incredible single-laner
    up the steep and rocky slopes above the Dalmatian Coast.


    A few more of that...


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    ...and YES, that single lane has proven to be just a tad too narrow on MANY occasions!!




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    OMG....wouldn't that be a sight to make you weep after some snow hit those coastal mountains? :wot:

    Don't forget the cold storms of the Bora in this area (also in winter), there are also some small ski-resorts just a few k's away... for a reason, I guess.



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    How lucky can you get??
    A sight as rare as hen's teeth!!!!

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    Oh man, this is GOLD!!


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    Makarska, ferry harbour on the coast....



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    The 2 Baby-GS's taking a breather....layer upon layer of Dalmatian Islands in the background.


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    #6
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  7. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    Fantastic scenery. I would love to ride there someday.
    #7
  8. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    It certainly turned out a bit of a surprise to us, didn't expect all those mountains and deep gorges along the way, whatever the country!

    Thanks for looking in....and leaving a note :-)
    #8
  9. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Excellent, it seems you have done your homework planning the route. This is probably the first year since 2010 that I don't get to ride the Balkans, and I'm still impressed every time. Will read the full report as soon as I can!
    Where was that bumpy bridge?
    #9
  10. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Mes-bridge just north of Shkoder
    https://www.inspirock.com/albania/shkoder/mes-bridge-a188290113

    It sure is a stunning place to visit.
    And yeah, a bit of homework goes a long way. More needed for the next trip...and some better-suited bikes, Rentals can only get you that far.
    #10
  11. Cyclenaut

    Cyclenaut Been here awhile

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    Great pics and RR
    #11
  12. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Thanks :-)
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  13. Teabar

    Teabar Been here awhile

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    Fantastic pics, Glitch. Have done a couple of trips myself to the region but somehow missed Sveti Jure - gutting after seeing them pics. Have sat on the harbour edge at Makarska so it's great to see that elevated view - thanks. Too many other great pics to single out. How expensive were those 310s? And how did they perform off road? Could be an option for me in the future - don't want the weight of the conventional adventure bikes.
    Off to read the full report now.
    Steve
    #13
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  14. blackSP

    blackSP 46 59 59 46 46 21

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    Been a few times in de Balkan for longer, 2 weeks, hard core offroad riding. Really stunning countries indeed!
    #14
  15. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    That is my lifetime dream ride (that and Turkey), but too old now. Had to hang up the helmet a few years ago due to balance issues. Thank you for "letting me ride along".

    .
    #15
  16. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    G'day my friend....

    Faced with "hangin'-up-the-helmet" in a foreseeable-future myself, it is a real pleasure to have had you along for the ride, Sir :-)
    Many thanks for the note...and you're always welcome to any of the other rides and adventures (just done another 2 weeks of New Zealand Bliss!....still to be written up) .
    Turkey? No idea if I can squeeze that in for you :-)
    And we still have to make it to Virginia....New England was a cracker, though!! :-)
    http://www.austouring.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4139&page=42

    Hope you'll enjoy, cheers, bud :-)

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    #16
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  17. malloy

    malloy Long timer Super Supporter

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    @glitch_oz Visited your full report on austouring.com . . . stunning, wonderful pictures and narrative. Thank you for the great effort it takes to do such a fine report. Looks like a good time was had by all. :clap:clap:clap:clap


    I'll be visiting some of your other travels in the future. Good Stuff for a C19 shut in. :-):-):-)
    #17