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Old 11-30-2012, 09:14 AM   #1
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MotoEuroTour`12 on VFR 1200 FD

I think every traveler has his own list «must see», which is constantly updated with new items: somewhere in the Moto magazine saw the photo from Alpine passes, friends sent the link on a beautiful place, in the report of other moto-travelers found something new, on Google map accidentally found a absolutely fantastic pictures of landscapes - everyone has his own sources to supplement the list.
When we chose the final destination of our first big trip of the season’12 the glorious city of Barcelona, my husband and I started to supplement the route with items from our list «must see»: tunnels in the Italian passo San Boldo, Canyon Verdon in France, blooming lavender fields of Provence, French fjords in Cassis, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
And this is what came of it:

21 days, 8650 km.

Moscow (Russia) - Budapest (Hungary) - Ljubljana (Slovenia) - San Remo (Italy) - Monte Carlo (Monaco) - Canyon Verdon (France) - Cassis (France) - Figueras (Spain) - Barcelona (Spain) - Moto GP Catalonia (Spain) - Montserrat (Spain) - Carcassonne (France) - pass Colle dell'Agnello (France-Italy) - Bergamo (Italy) - Venice (Italy) - San Boldo pass (Italy) - Ljubljana (Slovenia) - Moscow (Russia).

All our big trips begin the same way: start from Moscow at 5:30 am, filling a full tank at the gas station near the home and at the end of the first day - spend the night in Poland, and the end point of the second of the day depends on the route, this time it was in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. We never pre booking hotels, just not to be depend on a certain day and place. But this time we decided to depart from tradition and take advantage of the high civilization - not reaching 15 km. to Budapest, we stopped at a gas station and used our notebook for booking a hotel. So in Budapest, we did not waste time and immediately settled into the hotel, put our VFR 1200 FD and went to see the city, which is divided the Danu River into two parts - Buda and Pest.

Parliament, the second largest in Europe.

In the evening we rode ship on the Danube. This is our tradition: in each European capital, we ride on the river by a ship and drink grog, like real sailors)))

The next day since the morning was rain, but we had more plans for exploring Budapest. Matthias Church. Photos of interior decoration, we first saw a few years ago on the Internet, but it looks more beautiful in real life, and with stained-glass windows and colorful tiled roof - creates a strong impression. Unfortunately, there are carried out the restoration works and not everything is open for inspection.

Fishermen's Bastion.

And the last photo in Budapest - not so popular back side of the Parliament.

Then our way laid towards the capital of Slovenia - Ljubljana. Time to time the rain stopped and we stayed on the motorway for making pictures of this beauty.

I have a special love of poppy flowers from my childhood, but in 1987 in the Soviet Union (or in Russia) poppy growing was forbidden, all poppy fields were destroyed and since then I have never seen them again. Can you imagine the feelings I felt when on the sidelines of the Hungarian motorway I saw this miracle? And all this because we went on a trip rather "early" - at the end of May, so we caught all the wealth of spring bloom (usually we went to Europe in July-September). But at the same time, such an early trip "gave" us so many rains and thunderstorms, which we have not experienced yet!
So, the next stop - Lake Balaton, the largest in Central Europe, but because of the heavy rain we did just a few photos, ate delicious in the restaurant and drove on.

Ljubljana. We were here last year, but Sebastian (Seba), whom we met at, long time invited us in guests and we were not able to refuse him. Seba also moto tourist, he went on a trip to Morocco (for me it's cool.) Our first meeting:

Seba is very hospitable, communicative and good guy and very similar to the former Russian president Dmitriy Medvedev, so we call him now, not only Seba, but Medved (in english it means Bear). He lives with his girlfriend Tina and dogs Chili and Popper. Looking ahead, I want to say that Sebastian became a true friend to us, and we had traveled together many hundreds of kilometers through Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, but it will be another report. For now we enjoyed Seba and Tina hospitality.

The next morning, after breakfast in the cafe with Seba, we moved to San-Remo, to which was little more than 700 km. We crossed the whole of Italy is quite fast on the Autobahn, but expensive - 48 euros. Towards evening we were in San Remo but first we stopped a little village Bussana Vecchia, which we went on a very difficult serpentine - I do not know how local people can go there several times a day, we just did not fall a few times there!! Bussana Vecchia was destroyed the strongest earthquake in the late XIX century, later there began to live painters and artists who opened their shops there. But when we walked there, everything was closed - in Italy, everything closes early.

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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San-Remo. City of music and flowers! What there are wonderful smells, it just does not describe in words!

The next day, a beautiful coastal road, we went to Monaco.

The Principality of Monaco, Monte Carlo. We were lucky, because the day before we arrived, the F1 race just finished and workers have not yet managed to disassemble the stands and other construction. So we drove a few laps on the famous city route. Went up in the prince's palace on the hill, on foot ..... why not make everywhere «green» light for motorcyclists?

After Monte Carlo, we went to a small French town of Biot, there is the famous glass-tableware production of colored glass with bubbles. Each product is made ​​by hand by masters from the Czech Republic and France, and you can watch these processes, and for a fee you can do it yourself. I persuaded Robert to buy two glasses with bubbles, they are quite expensive, but very beautiful!

After good eating in a local restaurant, we went deep into Provence, heading towards the beautiful Canyon du Verdon, but the evening was approaching and we got into heavy rain (we did not have time to dress raincoats) so stopped for the night and drying in a small family hotel with an inscription «bikers welcome». The friendly owners, home cooking, a fire in the fireplace, a glass of cognac - what else need the tired traveler?

Canyon Verdon - the largest and most beautiful canyon in Europe, in some places it reaches a depth of 800 meters. Do not save time, there need to spend a whole day, to travel on all routes, enjoy the wonderful views and air, to meet other travelers. But with gas stations there is a problem, so do not forget to fill a full tank.

There we met the guys from the Z-Club, Germany. They were touring on their Kawasaki.

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
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The next item on our menu, were the famous lavender fields of Provence. And that's my biggest disappointment on this trip! If we went on a trip for a couple of weeks later, we would see all the splendor of lavender fields, and now we got only green bushes.

Here's a photo from the Internet for you to understand that we have not seen.

But the famous poppy fields and many other flowers we saw. Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and many other great painters, who painted Provence - now we know why your picture so eye-catching!

At night we stayed in a very comfortable small hotel with incredible home cooking. There there was a funny incident: the majority of the French, and especially in the countryside, do not recognize any other language except French. A very long time I tried to explain in English, Italian and German, that I want a glass of semi-sweet wine. As a result, the hotel owner brought a glass of wine (dry) and a large box with sugar, and in that time he looked at me absolutely wild eyes. So I had to accept and drank a dry wine, which I do not like very much.

Near our hotel was a small airfield, where small planes constantly flew up and very tempting circled above us. So in the morning we decided to go there and fly on anything. Again, a very long time we told that we want, filled the paper, waited the pilot , and finally - flew. Wonderful, but as Russian pilots say - flying like pancake, meaning quietly, without aerobatics.

Cassis. Here begins the azure coast of France. In this city we came to see the fjords. Photo fjord turned only one, and not the most revealing. But one local resident told us about Cape Canaille - the highest in continental Europe (about 400 meters).

It's time to leave France and go to Spain, to the town of Figueres, in the Salvador Dali museum. We stopped at a gas station near Cassis, and a Frenchman became very expressively point the finger at our motorcycle and say something. At first we did not understand, but then he pointed to the rear wheel - it was flat tire, somewhere we "caught" a small piece of wire. Therefore, the remaining 400 km to Figueres we periodically stayed at gas stations to pump up the tire.
A few photos from the museum of Salvador Dali.

Well, finally, we got to Barcelona and began to travel in the center, looking for the hotel. At that time in Barcelona, ​​held two large events - international music festival Sonar and Moto GP Catalunya, so crowds of people walked through the streets, all the hotels were full, and if we found a free room, then at least the price was more than 2 times! After 3 hours, we gave up and decided to go into any cafe with wi-fi and try to book a hotel in We quickly found a hotel in the center, but when we came to them, it turned out that hotel parking was full, so we had to put our bike (!) for 20 (!) euro per day in the nearby public car parking. For 4 days - 80 euro!!!

So, Barcelona! Very beautiful, noisy and cheerful city, with lots of interesting sights: it is creations of genius Gaudi with absolutely fantastic Cathedral Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), the Gothic Quarter, Hill Tibidabo, Plaza de España, the famous Rambla - the longest (1 km) pedestrian street of Spain, and also the largest aquarium in Europe, with 80 meter transparent tunnel, passing through the huge Oceanarium. And this is only the smallest part of what you can see in Barcelona. We were very pleased with the special stop line for bikers before the traffic light - a very wise decision! But underground passages between subway stations amazed us - they are so long, that you can forget where and why you are going.

By tradition, we planned our trip for the next stage of Moto GP, which took place near Barcelona.

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:56 AM   #4
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Four days in Barcelona passed very quickly, and we had to continue our journey. Early in the morning we pumped up by the compressor (good, that we take it with us) the rear wheel, which completely blown away, then we drove 500 meters to the Michelin service, where they closed up the hole for 15 euros.
The next stop was in the mountain monastery of Montserrat at 60 km. from Barcelona, where is stored the famous statue of Black Madonna (La Moreneta), patroness of Catalonia.

It's time to say goodbye to Spain and go back. We were in France, Carcassonne, the most beautiful castle-town, with double walls. By the beginning of XIX century, the castle was abandoned and almost destroyed and the government even wanted to dismantle it on the building materials. But the well-known writer Prosper Mérimée, who was also the chief inspector of historic monuments, persuaded the government to restore the castle. Restoration made the famous architect Viollet-le-Duc, but many people think his work quite controversial - for example, the famous cone-shaped tower, covered with slate, were originally with low slopes and covered with tiles. In any case, since 1997, Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From the region of Gascogne, where the town of Carcassonne, we again went to Provence, which we liked so much. We had lunch in Orange and for the night decided to stop at the camping at Lake Serre-Ponson, but everywhere was a failure, because no one wanted to take us for one night.
They probably still wash bedding in basins, not in washing machines, so it`s very laborious for camping management to take guests for one night. J Well, do not need, we spent the night in a nice, inexpensive hotel.

The next day our way ran through the National Park Kera and the mountain pass Colle dell'Agnello (2744 m), which is the third in the ranking of the highest paved alpine passes after Stelvio Pass (2760m) and the Col de l'Iseran (2770 m). At the pass we got into heavy rain with hail, there was cold, the snow lay around. When we crossed the highest point and moved to Italy, the rain and the hail stopped and from the lowlands with great speed ran up such a fog, that could be seen only at 2 meters ahead, but we had to go down the winding road. The last photo shows the approaching fog.

Later in the afternoon we arrived in Bergamo - an old Italian city.

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:57 AM   #5
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After spending the night in Bergamo, we went in the direction of Venice.Last year we were there, but this town requires more than one day, so we decided to walk there again, but not the most "tourist" routes.
And here is a car we met on the motorway on the way to Venice.


Waking up early in the morning (like last year, we spent the night in Mestre, a city on the mainland near Venice), we found that Robert was bitten some kind of pterodactyls, which masquerade as mosquitoes - the bites were huge, and the next day they looked like bruises and stayed for about a week! Sebastian told us later, that it was a new type of mosquito - tirgasty mosquito (tiger mosquito), it is striped and very painful bite. After this incident, we included the elektrofumigator in our list of obligatory things for the trip.
Since the morning was rain, but for us it was usual situation. We drove to the Alps, to watch the tunnels at the pass San Boldo.

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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Excellent Trip

Great photos.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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After tunnels of San Boldo, beautiful alpine road we went to the infamous dam Vayont, where 09/09/1963 was one of the largest technogenic catastrophes in the world. Because of the combination of natural and human factors, giant landslide from the mountain Tok hit in the dam reservoir, causing a tidal wave, which ran over the top of the dam and completely destroyed several villages in the valley. According to various estimates, died from two to three thousand people. The dam held, only 1 meter of the top was destroyed.

We traveled to the Alps for a few hours, and then drove towards Ljubljana, where Seba was waiting for us. But on this day we have not got to Ljubljana, because of tired and spent the night at a hotel in Postojna.
There we met Vicenc and Helena, moto-travelers from Catalonia (Spain), with whom we had a very enjoyable evening.

We are again in Ljubljana. Bought a new raincoats. Seba introduced us to his friend Ivan. Ivan has a very interesting bike - Harley Davidson, which was redesigned the famous Slovenian studio Dreamachine Motorcycles.

The next morning, with Seba we wanted to go travel to Slovenia, but again was rain, so we decided just to get to Lake Bled, which was promised to the sun. Lied!

The weather was absolutely not for walking, so we had to say goodbye to Seba and went to Austria, and then to Moscow. In conclusion - photo in new raincoats, especially pay attention to the feet)).

Oh, and for the most curious - a link to the album with all the pictures, 1,5 thousand there)).

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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nice ride....enjoyed all the pics
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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Absolutely Amazing, thanks for posting up your pictures. Don't see many VFR1200 posts, very cool.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:08 AM   #10
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Wow!! Absolutely spectacular ride!! Thanks for all those pics and the ride details.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:40 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing your pictures bring back memories? Great bike for touring.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:30 AM   #12
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Great to see your photos of the cities, I tend to keep to the small towns and miss a lot of stuff.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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What a magnificent ride! Loved the pics of fantastic scenery etc.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:28 AM   #14
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Very nice!
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:43 AM   #15
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great pics, really like your ride photos

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