The Balkans, Greece, Turkey then Serbia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, Sep 10, 2021 at 3:51 PM.

  1. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio and Surprise, Arizona
    This trip has been put off too long because of Covid. It may not be the ideal time to go, but I'm not getting any younger. My very rough plan for a route is: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo (if the rental company removes that restriction), Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and back to Croatia. I fly out September 13 and return October 20-probably. The motorcycle I thought I was renting fell through yesterday. I couldn't wire transfer my payment to a place with no street address. Modern banking? I'm not ready for it. But with only 4 days till I leave, I found another rental that accepts credit cards. The bike I'm renting is the exact bike I wanted for this trip. It's a 2016 V-Strom 650 with top and side cases.

    I waited as long as I could to see if Americans were going to be allowed to travel these countries. A few riders had been locked into countries with Covid lockdowns and had to stay for months. That could be annoying when paying for for a rental bike. Previously I saved flight info incase the Covid situation eased. Round trip flights to Zagreb, Croatia were around $950. For 1 day the price dropped to $524, and I took it without a bike rented. Yesterday it was up to $1800. Flights can be tricky and require checking before you get to the airport. Since I'm double vaccinated I am permitted at the places I touch ground. I hope it doesn't change in the next 3 days. Returning to the USA I will need to get a PCR test before getting on the plane. It needs to be done within 72 hours of departure. The Atrium Hospital told me their results take 36-72 hours. It might be expired before getting to the airport. I'll need to find a test site before I get to the airport for my return.

    The 10 countries I hope to travel in will use 8 different currencies. That can be an expensive hassle. When I travelled through Mongolia I left with $180 worth of tugriks. Nobody will exchange that currency. Nobody.
    I will post on this Ride Report daily if I can get internet. And if the pictures aren't good, you know, it's my cameras fault.
    #1
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  2. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
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    Location:
    Redding, CA
    Following!
    #2
  3. EZ-D

    EZ-D Davidprej Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,087
    Location:
    Lafayette, LA
    Perfect! I'm hoping to do a similar ride from May to July 2022. I'd appreciate info on your rental bike as I was thinking of shipping my '16 Vstrom 650 (coincidence right?) thinking it'd be too expensive to rent.

    I'll be sailing out of Croatia in May then riding and then hiking the Tour de Mont Blanc mid July - https://www.tour-du-montblanc.com/

    Will be following!
    #3
  4. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    27,036
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    have fun and keep us posted.

    hopefully, i see you down along the Adriatic coast.
    #4
    Doogle likes this.
  5. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio and Surprise, Arizona
    I will probably be posting mostly the same information and pictures on AdvRider and Facebook. On the AdvRider I post some details:hotels, prices, mileages, that may help others thinking about traveling the same areas. I use that forum to help plan my trips, so it's a pay back.

    Our pickleball 24+ hour marathon was a good warm up for this lift off till touchdown-16 hours. I did manage 3 hours of sleep on the Transatlantic flight. With little sleep and 6 hour time difference here, tomorrow might be a sluggish day.

    Well I got to my room about 5 pm. Then an hour wait because the entry code wasn't specific enough. I wanted to go to sleep, but always too curious to see a new place. I'm in downtown Zagreb, Croatia, population of 750,000. Riding in from the airport, I told the cab driver it looked like a very clean city. Walking around this evening adds to my belief. It's clean, comfortable, and seems safe enough that I wouldn't mind my granddaughter walking around here at night alone.

    I didn't go too far from my room because I have a tendency to see more than I want. Translated=I get lost. I saw a Catholic church (Zagreb Cathedral) that is being restored finally-1880 earthquake. I think the Pope visit may have influenced it. Then I found a long tunnel. Gric Tunnel was a shelter during WWII and the 1990's Croatian war. Facebook please fact check for me like you do everything else. Anyway I'm sitting here drinking my favorite new dinner, Karlovacko .5 liters and watching happy people enjoy this city. There are soooo many places that have had wars and people say "Don't go there Doug", and they are great places. I had an offer to go to N. Korea a few years ago while in China. Okay, I pass on some interesting places.

    When I went to pay my bill, I talked to the cook who sent 3 bread balls to my outside table. Supper. My server said only drinks were allowed. He must have bent the cooks arm a little. I tried to buy him and my server a drink since they had no way to include a tip on the receipt. Didn't work. The bartender kept sending beer and shots to our table. When I left they wouldn't let me pay.


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    #5
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  6. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio and Surprise, Arizona
    Pula, Croatia Jela Apartment $57 193 miles

    Last night when I returned from my evening on the town, I started to do my Facebook report. There was a password issue and I couldn't post.I fell asleep and woke up at 7:00. I didn't know if it was am or pm. Luckily it was still am. My bike was delivered at 10 am. Great talking with the rental guy. So about 10:30 I started off for Pula, Croatia with perfect weather. I didn't realize I got on to a toll road. I haven't converted any money to Kuna's yet. I tried at a couple ATM's on the toll road, but no success. When I finally got to a toll both, they did take credit cards.

    I was very tired all day. Too little sleep on the flight from Ohio and possible 1 more drink than I needed last night. I was trying to find a room in town first. But I saw the Pula Amphitheater/Arena first. So I parked the bike and went in. I think it was about $11. It's the 6th largest existing Roman Amphitheater. It was built in the 1st century and held about 20,000 people. After leaving there I walked to a McDonalds to get WIFI and book a room for the night. The room is another apartment. It is excellent and has over 550 square feet. Once here I took a shower and simultaneously did 2 days worth of laundry. Don't ask. Then it was time to organize my belongings in the bike storage compartments. When I got the bike, I just stuffed things where I could. Tonight I organize. Tomorrow I go to, oh I haven't looked into that yet. I think it's probably Bosnia.

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    #6
    MrBob and EZ-D like this.