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Old 04-11-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
Andy G OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
Oddometer: 551
Dolomites, Greece, Balkan: 8 countries in 15 days

Through the Dolomites (I) to Ancona (I), with the ferry to Igoumenitsa (Gr), some days on the Pelopones (Gr), home through the Balkan, Albania and the Kroatian Coast...



Munich (D) - Dolomites (I) - Ancona (I) - Ferry to Igoumenitsa (Gr) - Patras (Gr) - Xylokastro (Gr) - Patras (Gr) - Sarande (Al) - Durres (Al) - Shkoder (Al) - Stari Bar (SRB) - Petrovac (SRB) - Dubrovnik (HR) - Split (HR) - Maslenica (HR) - Karlobag (HR) - Senj (HR) - Rijeka (HR) - Postojna (SLO) - Ljubljana (SLO) - Loiblpass (A) - Villach (A) - Salzburg (A) - Munich (D)

2 weeks, 3.800 km, a 91' Transalp, a 03' F650GS, great landscape, roads, tracks, people...

So this is how it started:
We (that is my ex-GF Anita and me) originally planned to leave Munich together and take the direct way to Ancona in Italy, get the ferry to Greece, spend some days at a Buddhist retreat place near Xylocastro and then have a relaxed trip through the Balkan back home. But at T-48h Anita got the opportunity of a big job. She's a violin maker, self employed and she couldn't reject it. At T+24h, with no end of the job in sight, I decided to start alone. I said I'll go to the Dolomites (part of the Italian Alps), enjoy the twisties and passes and wait for her there. Soon it became clear that she would need two more days to finish the job, so I went on to Greece where we finally met again. Due to the delay and an addtional relaxing day in Greece the "relaxed trip through the Balkan" became some sort of rallye...

More to come...

Cheers, Andy
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:39 PM   #2
MichaelJ
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Well...

Don't stop now

On another subject - How much fuel does that tank hold?
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #3
locorider
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Well Andy, Nice to hear from you! Bring all those pictures and experiences here!!!

Thanks for sharingand keep it coming!
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
GB
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Bring it on Andy!

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Old 04-12-2009, 02:48 PM   #5
Andy G OP
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Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ

On another subject - How much fuel does that tank hold?
It is sold as a 34l tank, but I never managed to squeeze more than 32l in. This makes a range of 400 to 600km on the Transalp, depending on load and road surface. The tank is made of fibreglass by Boano, Italy and sold in Germany via African Queens.

Cheers, Andy
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:45 PM   #7
Andy G OP
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Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
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Part 1: Through the Dolmites, ferry across the mediteranean sea, to Greece

Day 1:
As I already told, Anita still had to work so I advanced to the Dolomites to enjoy some twisties. Near Wolkenstein:



Did some more passes that day: Sellajoch, Passo di Fedaia, Passo di Falzarego and Passo di Giau. Shortly after Passo di Giau I stayed for the night in a nameless village in a rather spooky but pretty cheap hostel. When I'm travelling alone I don't like to stop too often so there are not so many pics of this day. Anyway the weather wasn't so nice. In the evening I phoned Anita and we agreed to try to meet on the Karapass in two days.

Day 2:
Because I know the northern Dolomite rather well I decided to roam around further south. So I didn't take any of the famous passes today but stuck to smallest country roads. Selva, Zoldo Alto, Forno, Logarone, Ponte, Pieve, Farra, Col Brombolo, Vittorio Veneto, Valdobbiadene, Broso and Monte Grappa were my stations today. From Monte Grappa I went to Grigno in the Brenta valley which I wanted to see for a long time. It is really impressive, narrow valley, high mountains. Also I had to turn north again if I wanted to reach Karerpass tomorrow night. In Grigno I climbed up the Passo di Brocon to Castello where I found a pretty Hostel and called it a day. I phoned Anita and she told me she won't make it to Karerpass tomorrow but will need two more days. During the evening with a great pizza with locally collected mushrooms, speck and a cold beer I decided to go to Greece tomorrow.

Valle di Zoldo between Forno and Longarone:


somewhere in Bosco del Cansiglia (Bosco means forest AFAIK)


I even found a gravel road that was not explicetly forbidden:


Ascending Monte Grappa:


Viewpoint on the ascend. Monte Grappa played some role in both world wars and is the highest peak in the Vicentinian Alps. I didn't visit the memorial site on top, it started raining and was pretty cold. Instead I had a coffee and a chocolate bar at the Refugio Bassano at the peak at 1742m altitude (Refugio = mountain hut, sometimes with food / lodging)



approaching the Brenta valley:


view from my hostel in Castello:


Day 3:
today I had to speed up a bit to get my ferry at Ancona at 4.00pm. But I didn't want to miss the Passo di Brocon. Early morning on the pass:


Made it just in time... went to the port (I still had the coordinates on my GPS from beeing there the last time), parked directly in front of the ticket office, ran in, bought a ticket (the girl at the counter just said hurry up) and rode on the ferry immedeatly (no waiting this time ). I was still unloading and bonding the tranny when the ferry took off. I wanted to check out a sleeping place I discovered last time: in the main stair case under the lowest stairs. With carpet, rather quiet, dry and halfway dark. Hmm, I slept better on other places, in the end it was to light and uneasy. Next time I'll sleep outside on the deck again.

Insertion for those who don't know the Greece-ferries:
The trip takes about 20h. The cabins are really pricey (> 300€) and the seats are (I can sleep everywhere, but not while sitting). Third possibility is to just buy the passage and find a sleeping place somewhere on the ship, meaning no cabin, no seat. It's the cheapest and for me its the permission to do what I want...
end of insertion

on the vessel, leaving Italy:


We arrived at Igoumenitsa at 0600 in the morning. I didn't want to stay on the ship till Patra this time (same price) but ride along the coast. It was absolutely woth it!!! After season, almost no traffic and in any case more exciting than beeing on the ferry for another 5h.


Greek coast:


My private breakfast beach. After being caged on the ferry for almost 24h I first had a swim and then a nice big breakfast. There was nobody except me, maybe it was to early for the Greeks...


Around noon I got real hunger. And as I was still standing on the rather deserted main road of small fishers village thinking of what to do about it the door of the Taverna next to me opend and the Chef asked if I'm hungry ... so I had a nice steak with Greek salad. Later a Greek family joined in the restaurant, but there were absolutely no tourists!


The ascend to the Buddhist retreat center "Karma Berchen Ling". 15km from the next permanently inhabited village, 10km of it gravel road, the last 500m depending on how the last winter was rather tricky (I dumped bike, GF, me and equipment there some years ago while trying to get there two up in the night while raining).


more to come...

Cheers, Andy
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:52 AM   #8
DRglidarn
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Thanks for sharing your trip with us! Your Transalp looks like a great ride too!

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:56 AM   #9
picoda
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waiting for more
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:50 AM   #10
Andy G OP
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Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
Oddometer: 551
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRglidarn
Your Transalp looks like a great ride to!
Thanks! After owning it since 1995 and modifiying it in 2005 I still like it! Almost 150.000km across Europe, and she still makes me smile.

I'll post some thoughts about equipment / bike and the trip itself in the end...
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:45 PM   #11
kuyaoli
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great ride, beautiful lady, what a pitty it's your ex-gf
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:30 AM   #12
kktos
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Excellent ride ! keep it coming !


You're from Munchen but there's a D on ur license plate ? Dortmund, Dusseldorf ?
I share your tastes for woman ;)
/thierry
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:20 AM   #13
Undo
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Nice pics and info. We are planning a trip to Albania this autumn. In what period where you out there? Where did you get you GPS maps for Balkans, especially Albania?
Many thanks in advance.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kktos
Excellent ride ! keep it coming !


You're from Munchen but there's a D on ur license plate ? Dortmund, Dusseldorf ?
I share your tastes for woman ;)
/thierry
One D is from Deutschland that's for sure :P
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:31 AM   #15
SpitfireTriple
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Ah! All these images of Albania, especially the Sarande - Vlore stretch. I remember it from September. It really is the "Final Frontier" in Europe. But it's westernising rapidly. I'd recommend any biker in Europe ride there, and ride there NOW.
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