Having bought my first bike April last year,
I finally went on my first real motorcycle trip in August.
As for the route/planning:
No plan sounded like a good plan. I wanna see some of the Balkans, that's it.
Well, ok, I ended up "planning" at least some.
As in "what-countries-to-go-to-in-which-order", not that I'd sticked to that plan
According to my first estimates,
I'd be doing ~7000 km within 3 to 5 weeks,
which already seemed a lot, considering that I had originally opted to do the same distance in 8 weeks,
mainly trying to stay away from paved roads [due to a couple reasons I had to abandon the "8 weeks"-idea, though
Obviously I ended up doing even more kilometers,
going through Czech Republic -> Slovakia -> Hungary -> Romania -> Bulgaria -> Macedonia -> Albania -> Montenegro -> Kosovo -> [Serbia, more on that matter later
] -> Montenegro -> Serbia -> Bosnia -> Croatia -> Bosnia -> Croatia -> Slovenia -> Italy -> Austria -> Germany
The first day was a rather short one,
I didn't start before 11:30 AM and still didn't have to hurry at all,
as I stayed with a friend in germany instead of going to Czech Republic this day,
so the ride was pretty relaxed and I took some small roads through the german countryside.
A couple impressions:
The next morning it was time to say Goodbye!, not only to my hosts,
but also to sleeping in beds, at least for a couple weeks.
I was actually going through Czech Republic in a pretty good pace,
mainly because it's really not at all far away from home and I'd rather spend more time in the countries which are further away and thereby in a way harder to reach.
The same applies for Slovakia&Hungary.
Therefor I didn't stop for pictures too often and tbh the first couple days were more or less uneventful,
so I'll just cut these short by showing you some more random pictures without any comments:
At this point I may add that (afterwards) I felt like I should have taken at least a handful more pictures during those first days....too late now, though, at least I still have all the tracks (I had a GPS tracker running all the time),
just in case...
At some point in Slovakia,
I spotted 4 guys on cross and trials bikes on the side of the road,
as they looked like one of their bikes broke down I turned aorund to ask them what was wrong and whether I could possibly help them out by offering them to use my tools.
As it turned out, three of them were from Austria (Walter, Andi & Horst) and they were on their ways with their local guide (Marsi), when the engine of the Ossa 300 gave out (major mechanical breakdown), so there was no way of helping them as I didn't find a spare engine in my luggage
Just because I stopped and offered assistance they invited me for a Kofola (a local lemonade) in a nearby restaurant,
while waiting for their guide to come back with a transporter to pick up the Ossa.
By the way, the Ossa is a 2014 Prototype, one of 5 at that time, the owner obviously got some good connections to the company.
Here's a small teaser
(crappy cellphone picture):
After Marsi got back they've also invited me to stay for lunch with them (yummi, Pizza!), meanwhile they told me how this was already the second bike they broke during their trip,
the other being a 300 KTM which they'd "dropped" on some steep hill, resulting in a broken tail and bent forks.
At least they got humour
While they ran out of backup-bikes,
Andi announced that he was gonna call it a day after lunch (thanks again for paying for my meal, guys
as he was just too exhausted from the previous days.
So Marsi, Walter and Horst headed out for some more, while Andi and me took some pictures and then split ways, too.
The same day I made it to Hungary,
but I had to resort to camping in some field, as there were no camping places nearby.
Of course, when I started packing up my stuff at 5 in the morning it was foggy and everything was wet and cold,
including my tent
Next up: Romania.
After kinda rushing through Hungary on decent, paved roads,
I finally arrived in Romania.
Gotta love the public roads in rural Romania
Some kilometers later the roads bot a bit wider and generally speaking a bit better, making it safer to go near the speed limit (90kph).
Just generally speaking, though.
See that stick there? That's all that you've seen coming towards the bridge,
if it weren't for that stick I'd have probably hit that with at least 50 kph as you couldn't see that the bridge had collapsed until you were maybe 15 meters away.
Talking about a friendly reminder to be even more careful on the roads in these parts
That could've ended bad
Originally I had intended to try and go through Romania in close to one day,
after I had come to realize that this just wasn't gonna happen, considering my riding habits, and after reading "Fagaras" on a road sign, I remembered something about a sweet mountain road, called the the Transfăgărășan.
Have a guess where I went next
After getting there at about 7:30 PM, I met two romanian guys on my way up,
one of them (Almos) spoke english
Of course I directly asked where they were gonna set camp for tonight,
to which they replied something along the lines of "Somewhere along the road",
which was fine by me and we ended up riding the rest of the Transfăgărășan together and camping together,
including Dinner and a planned breakfast
The next morning, however, I was told that we had some visitors that night (we didn't pitch our tents and instead just slept under the stars), a Momma bear and their two cubs, who were after our breakfast, jsut leaving us some cheese :(
Now it's even known in Romania that it's hard to wake me up once I've fallen asleep,
as everyone who was camping around us woke up from the bears looking for food - everyone but me
The day before, after setting camp,
I discovered something that before this day I've ever only heard legends about.
I must have lost the Clip from my chain's clip lock somewhere in Romania.
Before anyone asks, yes the clip was mounted the correctly.
And yeah, I will still be using clip lock style chains in the future, I might carry an extra clip, though.
So a quick Ghetto-Fix was done (still holds up to this day, 8'000 km later), meanwhile the other two guys adjusted their chains' tension, using my tools
Today's plan was that they wanted to ride the Transalpina, which I had never heard of before, and they invited me to come. Sure, why not?
And I wasn't disappointed, at all. We went up to over 2'000 m above sea level and were rewarded with a great view
Later on the same road we met a guy who reaaaaaly seemed to love my bike,
as it was time to move on we almost had to forcibly seperate them
After those 400 wonderful kilometers over the Transalpina and a couple tiny roads through mountain villages it was time to say Goodbye once more,
we quickly exchanged email addresses after dinner and went on seperate ways, I was heading south to Bulgaria, while they were heading north to get back home.
That's about it for the first couple days,
next up: More Romania and then some Bulgaria