From Zagreb to Volgograd
After coming back from Tunisia (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228997) Linza and I started thinking about our next trip. After a few conversations and a lot of beers we decided to go to Russia.
Planning route was challenge of its own. At last, we came with plan which looked OK. Ride from Zagreb to Volgograd via Lvov, Kiev and Voronezh, than cross back into Ukraine, explore Crimea, cross into the Russia, drive along Black Sea coast to Sochi, catch ferry to Turkey (Trabzon) and head back towards home.
Ferry proved to be quite a problem, because we were not able to get exact schedules and it was quite expensive. So we decided to leave Turkey out for this year’s trip. It was sad for us, because we were in contact with lot of Turkish riders and we were looking forward to meeting them.
Then we got into problem with Ukrainian visas, we were able to get only double entry visa, so we had to abandon Russian Black Sea coast.
We also had new riding buddy for this trip, Kaso. So on 31.05 three comrades met in Zagreb ready for riding. Liza and Kaso are also authors of lot of pictures in this report.
Day one, 31.05.08, from Zagreb, Croatia to Lvov, Ukraine
Our plan is to ride 950 km from Zagreb to Lvov in one day. We started at six o’clock in the morning and we crossed into Hungary one hour later.
Plan was to cross Hungary as fast as possible, but we lost some time in Budapest because my Zumo decided to took us for little sightseeing ride trough center of the city.
We had nice lunch, Kaso is professional cook, so he prepared some food for first day.
Finally we approached Hungary – Ukraine border. We heard lot of rumors about Ukrainian border, so we expected to lose some time there. But, things started to go badly on Hungarian side. Our papers were checked and rechecked, than we were told to push our bikes in some sort of garage. Border official photographed our bikes and checked WINs. One hour later we were free to go.
At the other hand Ukrainian formalities were over in less than 15 minutes. We asked border guard with mix of surprise and disbelief: “Is this it? We are free to go?”. He said: “Go”, so we were in Ukraine.
My first Ukrainian soft drink.
After some time we entered Carpathians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpathian_Mountains). Roads were quite scenic, but there was lot of traffic. Traffic is mix of slow moving trucks, new western cars and old Ladas and other relics of ex USSR.
At the sunset we reached Lvov (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lvov) and met with Oleg, local rider whom Linza contacted earlier and he agreed to show us the city.
Oleg took us to the hostel, and after we went to some food and beer. It was Saturday night and there was lot of people on the streets and atmosphere was OK. We enjoyed walk through the city after long ride to get there. It was too dark to take pictures, so we decided to head back to the old city first thing in the morning to take some photographs.
To be continued…
Volgograd formerly known as Stalingrad
Always great seeing new (to me) places.
Thanks for posting, I would love to see more pictures of your area.
Odlicno ekipa odlicno :clap:clap:clap
Just keep those pics coming Damir :D
Very excited to see this one!
You have my attention:nod
Excellent so far.
My wife's family live in Dnipropetrovsk. I'm looking at doing a ride similar to you, hopefully next Summer. Unfortunately the next time I will be there will be deep in Winter which makes riding just a little unenjoyable :doh
You wouldnt have any photos of those historic places would you.... like the stalingrad grain silo.
I'm in. Give me more!:D Nice to see it all, Damir!
Thank you, Wikipedia :D
Come on Pudla... Almost 24h since your first set of photos.... Don`t keep us waiting... :cry
Pozdravi Kaso u moje ime, drago mi je sto sam ga upoznao u Umagu. Svaka cast za putovanje drugari!
Thank you all!
Before continuing I would like to thank my Dad for his help in planning our route and transferring it to the Zumo.
Day two, 01.06.08, from Lvov to Kiev
We woke up early and met with Oleg in front of our hostel. It was time to take some pictures of old city and go to breakfast.
Oleg told us that there is scene in LWR when Charlie and Ewan are pushing their bikes in hotel reception. Scene was shot in Lvov in front of George Hotel, so we can’t miss opportunity to took some photographs of that “historic” place. :D Frankly, I can’t remember the scene and don’t have DVDs at hand.
More photographs of the old part of the city.
After breakfast we parted ways with Oleg and headed towards Kiev. Oleg, Thank you!
Well, it was time to be stopped by police. We knew that we can be stopped anytime, and that policeman will demand small bribes. That is exactly what happened. They told us that we were speeding, driving 72 in 50 km/h zone. We didn’t see any sign, and actually we were driving faster than 72. Our strategy is drive like locals and this was exactly what we were doing. One more explanation, we Croatians are Slavs like Ukrainians and Russians so we understand each other quite well. After some negotiations we paid 20$ and were able to continue. We were stopped once more that day, but Linza managed to negotiate 10$ “donation”, we were getting better. Maybe it sound strange to some of you, but this is way it goes.:huh
We met those friendly guys who were working at gas station. In Ukraine and Russia you have to pay for your petrol in advance. It took us some time, but after few stops we were able to determine how many liters we need. Good thing is that petrol price in Ukraine is 0,83 Euro/l.
This was first piece of military hardware on display along the road. As we found out it is quite common in Russia and Ukraine.
Driving was completely crazy and we came from part of the world where drives had really bad reputation, so this was serious. Roads are generally in bad condition, and there is some reconstruction going on. There was enormous traffic jam in front of Kiev. As we latter found out, there was truck driver strike because of diesel prices. It was one of the most chaotic traffic scenes I ever witnessed.
Oleg's friend Sasha was waiting for us in Kiev. He rented a flat for us in northern part of the city.
Sasa’s Skoda, unfortunately we didn’t have pictures of all of us together.
It was late, so Kaso cooked us a fine dinner, and we agreed that we will visit center of the city first thing in the morning.
To be continued…
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