Tatar Rush 2007

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by nerudarider, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    This is a story about a 3 week solo ride in June 2007 from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Stockholm</st1:place></st1:City> through the Baltics, <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region>, <st1:place>Eastern Ukraine</st1:place>, <st1:place>Crimea and </st1:place>Carpathia to <st1:City><st1:place>Istanbul</st1:place></st1:City> as a final destination.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The report is titled Tatar Rush 2007 because my ride mainly covers the westernmost expansion of the Turkic Tatars and because the ride can certainly be called a rush southwards and, er, it was done in 2007&#8230;
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    ***

    I&#8217;ve ridden between <st1:City><st1:place>Stockholm</st1:place></st1:City> and <st1:City><st1:place>Istanbul</st1:place></st1:City> 5 times earlier and even had a detour through <st1:City><st1:place>Moscow</st1:place></st1:City>, but this trip was still significant for me. The main highlight was of course <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region>, eastern <st1:country-region><st1:place>Ukraine</st1:place></st1:country-region> including <st1:City><st1:place>Kharkov</st1:place></st1:City> and <st1:place>Crimea</st1:place>.
    <o:p></o:p>
    The intention was to wrap it up in 2 weeks but my 1200 GS broke down (thankfully before I entered <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region>) and so I was stuck in <st1:City><st1:place>Vilnius</st1:place></st1:City> for 5 days. But let&#8217;s begin from the start:

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    Taking the evening ferry from <st1:City><st1:place>Stockholm</st1:place></st1:City>, you get a good rest and start around 0900 from <st1:City><st1:place>Riga</st1:place></st1:City> port terminal. Apart from Jurmala which is the main sea side resort for <st1:City><st1:place>Riga</st1:place></st1:City>, I had never been on the Latvian coast so I decided to ride it with the goal of reaching <st1:City><st1:place>Klaipeda</st1:place></st1:City> in Lithuania before the evening.

    The rest of the story is a photo-novel.

    Jurmala/ Latvia

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I saw some folklore dancing in Tukums/ Latvia:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Pictures from Ventspils/ Latvia which an important port city.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Me against the bull!


    [​IMG]


    Stopped for lunch in Leipaja:
    [​IMG]





    Even though the road is pretty flat and straight, it was by no means boring and I really enjoyed some fast sweeps on the way to <st1:City><st1:place>Klaipeda</st1:place></st1:City>.

    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    Unfortunately a very nasty sound from my transmission started to develop and the fun ride turned in to a nervous struggle to reach the somewhat large city of <st1:City><st1:place>Klaipeda</st1:place></st1:City> before the bike totally broke down and left me grounded on the side of the road. By the time I reached Palanga, the sun was about to set and I decided to wait there over the day and continue to Klaipeda next morning &#8211; just in case I would need to tow my bike to Vilnius where the only BMW mc service in Lithuania is located.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Anyway, I parked the bike and decided to forget about it until next morning. It worked well...

    Pictures from Palanga/ Lithuania

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Watching the sunset is a major event in Palanga

    [​IMG]

    <o:p>To be continued...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #1
  2. Steez

    Steez USMC Infantry

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Nashville / Chattanooga, TN
    :lurk

    My jealousy will be the death of me...
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,826
    that's one heck of journey route!! :clap

    Thanks for taking us along :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    ...



    [​IMG]

    Monday morning the BMW CAR service in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place><?xml:namespace prefix = u2 /><u2:City><u2:place>Klaipeda</st1:place></st1:City></u2:place></u2:City> called a mc mechanic in but he could not help me. They advised me not to ride too fast and not to exceed 4000 rpm. <st1:City><st1:place><u2:City><u2:place>Vilnius</st1:place></st1:City></u2:place></u2:City> is ca 320 km away. The road is a double-lane motorway. It was going to be a boring day! I had time to experiment with shadow-pictures :D

    [​IMG]

    After one of my most boring rides so far I finally reached Vilnius.

    [​IMG]


    My transmission had broken down completely. I don&#8217;t know why. It was only 19000 km and 9 months old. It was going to be changed under the two year BMW warranty.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>


    The official BMW service Krasta Auto provided an excellent service. :clap
    [​IMG]


    It was a great relief to find friendly and professional people to help me out when my bike broke down at the very beginning of my journey. The excellent service BMW has offered me everywhere around <st1:place><u2:place>Europe</st1:place></u2:place> is why I&#8217;m going to buy BMW again next year when I renew my bike. :thumb <o:p></o:p>


    [​IMG]


    While waiting for a new transmission to arrive and to be installed, Krasta Auto provided a car and so I took the opportunity to visit nearby Trakai.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Trakai is where some Karaimu Tatars have lived for more than 500 years. They have been isolated from the rest of the Turkish world after their leaders Toktamish of the Golden Horde was defeated by Timurlane (Timur Lenk - founder of the Timurid Turkish Empire) and sought refuge at the Lithuanian King who quickly took advantage of their military skills and had them settled around his castle to become his personal guard.


    Lithuania was a great power in medieval times...

    [​IMG]

    The Tatar Turks were treated with respect and were given the same royalties as the Lithuanian aristocracy. In return the &#8216;Totorai&#8217; as they are called in <st1:country-region><st1:place><u2:country-region><u2:place>Lithuania</st1:place></st1:country-region></u2:place></u2:country-region> were always loyal to <st1:country-region><st1:place><u2:country-region><u2:place>Lithuania</st1:place></st1:country-region></u2:place></u2:country-region> and even fought for the Polish/Lithuanian army led by Jan Sobiesky against the Ottoman Turkish siege of <st1:City><st1:place><u2:City><u2:place>Vienna</st1:place></st1:City></u2:place></u2:City> in 1683.

    Here's some more information:

    [​IMG]

    The Karaites who belonged to the Golden Horde were superb horse riders. Did you notice the bearded guy resembling a medieval 'rider' on the top left corner? No wonder modern hardcore bikers are beardies! Don't you think he could just have been riding a H-D or a ADV bike?


    The Karaites houses can be recognized from their 3 windows facing the street.
    [​IMG]

    This characteristic of their homes has a religious reason I don't remember. The Karaites has a religion based on Jewism and managed to preserve their faith amid numerous initaial Teutonic Crusades pillaging Lithuania, the strong Catholic tradition of Lithuanians and finally communism in the Soviet Union.


    Coming back to their Totorai's isolation from the rest of the Turkish speaking world, it was thus very interesting to be able to understand the Karaimu Turkish written on the menu and to drink genuine Turkish coffee in <st1:country-region><st1:place><u2:country-region><u2:place>Lithuania</st1:place></st1:country-region></u2:place></u2:country-region> :)

    [​IMG]



    Almost like the original... Or wait - maybe THIS is the original?

    <o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I instantly became friends with the Karaimu restaurant owner, who had a Turkish flag next to a Lithuanian flag in his restaurant.

    [​IMG]


    Even the hospitality has endured - just read the text below:

    [​IMG]


    Thanks for the hospitality my friend!

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here are some pictures of the Trakai castle.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>No comment!

    [​IMG]
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>To be continued...</o:p>
    #4
  5. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    After I got my bike I made a last visit to some of the many beautiful lakes nearby <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place><?xml:namespace prefix = u2 /><u2:City><u2:place>Vilnius</st1:place></st1:City></u2:place></u2:City>.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Even had a chance to do some off-road riding on tarmac :D </o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    Finally my pleasant stay in <st1:City><st1:place><u2:City><u2:place>Vilnius</st1:place></st1:City></u2:place></u2:City> had come to an end

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Next:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    A Turkish rider entering <st1:country-region><st1:place><u2:country-region><u2:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region></u2:place></u2:country-region> for the very first time&#8230; :thumb

    I had no idea I was gonna get busted in Minsk! :baldy
    </o:p>
    #5
  6. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    Thanks Gadget boy and and Steez :ricky
    #6
  7. gianlukx

    gianlukx Minimum Speed Always

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Turin, Italy
    I need more pics......please please please:lurk
    #7
  8. Davainis

    Davainis n00b

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Lithuania, vilnius
    Hey i live in Lithuania !!! :D:D more pics !! i am happy that you like lithuania :clap
    #8
  9. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    They're on the way! Just have to upload them first :D
    #9
  10. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    I don't like Lithuania...

    I LOVE LITHUANIA!!!! :D :D :D
    #10
  11. Sancho

    Sancho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Israel, The land of contrasts...
    As a kid i visited some of the places you rode through, when they still considered a soviet block.
    It would be interesting to see those places now after so many changes...
    I' m saving this great report and maybe i will do the same soon.

    :wave
    #11
  12. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,368
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    very interesting report !
    I mean the places you visited are not well known places for us, western europeans.
    As said previously, you gave us some very good points for a future ride in the area ! :wink:
    Keep going, that's gooood.
    /thierry
    #12
  13. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    Thanks for your comment Sancho! It was very interesting for me as well. Where did you go in Belarus?
    #13
  14. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    Thanks kktos :D

    I was a stranger to the countries I rode through as well, as far as I know I'm the first Turkish or Swedish rider that went for a solo ride on a bike. But you know, now that I've done it, I can tell you that the most difficult part was the bureaucracy on the border crossings!

    Just do it ;)
    #14
  15. Sancho

    Sancho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Israel, The land of contrasts...
    I was a couple of days in Minsk, but i hardly remember it.
    On your track i was also in Lithuania and Ukraine, my relatives lived in Kharkov, until we all left to Israel in the beginning of the 90's.
    #15
  16. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    I drove to Kharkov and stayed there over the night. Big city with three big parks! That's about all I remember of it :D
    #16
  17. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,493
    Location:
    New Hampshah
    :lurk
    #17
  18. Steez

    Steez USMC Infantry

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Nashville / Chattanooga, TN
    That's My kind of girl...

    :nod Ohhhhh Yeeaaahhhh
    #18
  19. DRglidarn

    DRglidarn Panzer pilot

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    :lurk

    What a great ride! and very interesting with the historical point of view in the ride report. So lets hear more about the Turkish history in Europe, keep posting please!
    #19
  20. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    Next morning it was time for a Belarusian exploration!

    The first target city of Lida is not a long ride from Vilnius. On the way I saw a religious ceremony:

    [​IMG]

    Entering the Belarusian border station.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    It took me about 1,5 hour to pass through the border control. I think there was about 7-8 different ‘huts’ or stations that all needed separate declarations (in Russian of course) to be filled out. None of the border guards knew English and I can’t speak Russian… In the end I guess one of the guards felt sorry for me and helped me out with all the forms. I left all bureaucracy behind and hit the throttle!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    There are few things in life like entering a new land for exploration! :D

    The first thing that I noticed was that there seemed to be no-one around. Very few cars, no people along the roads, scarce villages… the country seemed empty.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>

    Almost more cows than people!

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    First stop was the city of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Lida</st1:place></st1:City> (once headquarters for Toktamish after his defeat to Tamerlane). Here’s the fortress in Lida.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I also came a cross a similar church ceremony which was very similar to the one held in Lithuania</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Next stop was Navahrudak. Entering the city...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ...and from there to <st1:place><st1:placeType>Castle</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>Mir - one of the foremost touristical attractions in Belarus. I still don't know why. It's basically a new looking old building.</st1:placeName></st1:place>
    <st1:place><st1:placeName></st1:placeName></st1:place>
    <st1:place><st1:placeName>[​IMG]</st1:placeName></st1:place>
    <st1:place><st1:placeName></st1:placeName></st1:place>
    <st1:place><st1:placeName>I took a picture with the bike anyway... just in case I'll get the point later on :D </st1:placeName></st1:place>

    [​IMG]


    It was amazing how few people there was in all three cities. Best thing to do then was to hit the road straight to <st1:City><st1:place>Minsk!</st1:place></st1:City>
    <st1:City><st1:place></st1:place></st1:City>
    The motorways are excellent in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Even the single lane roads are OK for any kind of bike. You’d just probably have to ride slower with a sports bike due to some poor levelling and dirt on some sections.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    On the road I saw another biker for the first time in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region>.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    This is Vladimir and Anastasia. They are an very lovely couple who were very hospitable to me and insisted that I would visit their home just outside <st1:City><st1:place>Minsk</st1:place></st1:City> for a cup of coffee.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <st1:City><st1:place>Anastasia is a teacher and Vladimir</st1:place></st1:City> is a professional motorcycle mechanic and both are members of the coolest mc club in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Belarus</st1:place></st1:country-region> – Minsk Racing Clan :thumb ( www.racingclan.bn.by ). <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <st1:City><st1:place>Vladimir</st1:place></st1:City> gave me a club sticker as a souvenir and I proudly placed on my bike.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>(I put this unrelated picture to show the club sticker)</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Later on <st1:City><st1:place>Vladimir</st1:place></st1:City> offered to fix my rear mud guard which I repeatedly managed to brake when I’m riding down from sidewalk pavements in the cities.

    [​IMG]

    He tried for at least 1,5 hours and finally got it done! Thanks <st1:City><st1:place>Vladimir</st1:place></st1:City>!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I’m waiting for <st1:City><st1:place>Vladimir</st1:place></st1:City> in his garage while Anastasia has brought me some coffee :D I love riding in distant countries and making new friends!

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Vladimir and Anastasia offered to have dinner that night. They had to take their car due to some business in <st1:City><st1:place>Minsk</st1:place></st1:City> so I headed off in advance to book in to a hotel.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Ahh… a dream coming true – entering <st1:City><st1:place>Minsk</st1:place></st1:City> with my bike!

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Before checking in to the hotel I took a brief trip around the city.

    [​IMG]

    Everything is clean and in order. A sunset picture in front of the central park (don’t remember the name).<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I was very happy riding around in <st1:City><st1:place>Minsk</st1:place></st1:City> that evening.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>A view of Minsk from the top of the hotel</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Later on after checking in to the hotel, my new friends came and picked me up for dinner.

    [​IMG]

    We talked about many things and life in general. They had been to the Turkish coast for holiday; I hope I’ll have the opportunity to host them if they come again. Thanks Vladimir and Anastasia, your names are carved in my memories!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Next morning - a room with a view

    [​IMG]

    I was chatting with this nice Norwegian couple during breakfast.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately I lost their contact address but I hope I’ll run in to them one day. Not literally of course! :D <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    It was getting past <st1:time Hour="12" Minute="0">noon</st1:time> and I had to move on to <st1:City><st1:place>Gomel</st1:place></st1:City> to enter <st1:City><st1:place>Chernigov</st1:place></st1:City> in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Ukraine</st1:place></st1:country-region> that day. Wanting to ‘test the sound of my new transmission’ ;) I accelerated a bit too fast just outside the hotel which was on the main street cramped with police… and I got busted for excessive speeding!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    This is nothing new for me. Like most of you guys reading this knows – it happens. Usually you just relax and negotiate with the law. In countries east of <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region> I’ve experienced that the police can be understanding if you’re a lone biker in a foreign country. But the officers were not flexible this time… I raised the amount but they refused! <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Thanks to Ivan, who’s a bartender in a nearby club, I could understand what the problem was – the speed was so high they had to take my licence!!! Therefore they had asked their boss to come to the ‘crime scene’ Gulp!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Ivan and me still smiling…

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>In the end, the chief police was a nice guy and let me go after charging me the highest possible traffic penalty there was – ca. 30 USD.

    I was happy to finish this incident without further problems and decided to hit the road towards <st1:country-region><st1:place>Ukraine as soon as possible. After a short city tour of course...</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region><st1:place></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region><st1:place>Ladies and Gentlemen; some more images from Minsk:</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region><st1:place></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Next.....</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Exit Belarus Enter Ukraine - </o:p><o:p></o:p>
    Encounter with the Goldwing brotherhood from Kiev
    <o:p></o:p>
    #20