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Old 08-20-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
nerudarider OP
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Tatar Rush 2007

This is a story about a 3 week solo ride in June 2007 from Stockholm through the Baltics, Belarus, Eastern Ukraine, Crimea and Carpathia to Istanbul as a final destination.




The report is titled Tatar Rush 2007 because my ride mainly covers the westernmost expansion of the Turkic Tatars and because the ride can certainly be called a rush southwards and, er, it was done in 2007…


***

I’ve ridden between Stockholm and Istanbul 5 times earlier and even had a detour through Moscow, but this trip was still significant for me. The main highlight was of course Belarus, eastern Ukraine including Kharkov and Crimea.

The intention was to wrap it up in 2 weeks but my 1200 GS broke down (thankfully before I entered Belarus) and so I was stuck in Vilnius for 5 days. But let’s begin from the start:




Taking the evening ferry from Stockholm, you get a good rest and start around 0900 from Riga port terminal. Apart from Jurmala which is the main sea side resort for Riga, I had never been on the Latvian coast so I decided to ride it with the goal of reaching Klaipeda in Lithuania before the evening.

The rest of the story is a photo-novel.

Jurmala/ Latvia







I saw some folklore dancing in Tukums/ Latvia:






Pictures from Ventspils/ Latvia which an important port city.






Me against the bull!





Stopped for lunch in Leipaja:






Even though the road is pretty flat and straight, it was by no means boring and I really enjoyed some fast sweeps on the way to Klaipeda.





Unfortunately a very nasty sound from my transmission started to develop and the fun ride turned in to a nervous struggle to reach the somewhat large city of Klaipeda before the bike totally broke down and left me grounded on the side of the road. By the time I reached Palanga, the sun was about to set and I decided to wait there over the day and continue to Klaipeda next morning – just in case I would need to tow my bike to Vilnius where the only BMW mc service in Lithuania is located.

Anyway, I parked the bike and decided to forget about it until next morning. It worked well...

Pictures from Palanga/ Lithuania












Watching the sunset is a major event in Palanga



To be continued...
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008

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Old 08-20-2007, 12:26 PM   #2
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:45 PM   #3
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that's one heck of journey route!!

Thanks for taking us along

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Old 08-20-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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...





Monday morning the BMW CAR service in Klaipeda called a mc mechanic in but he could not help me. They advised me not to ride too fast and not to exceed 4000 rpm. Vilnius is ca 320 km away. The road is a double-lane motorway. It was going to be a boring day! I had time to experiment with shadow-pictures



After one of my most boring rides so far I finally reached Vilnius.




My transmission had broken down completely. I don’t know why. It was only 19000 km and 9 months old. It was going to be changed under the two year BMW warranty.




The official BMW service Krasta Auto provided an excellent service.



It was a great relief to find friendly and professional people to help me out when my bike broke down at the very beginning of my journey. The excellent service BMW has offered me everywhere around Europe is why I’m going to buy BMW again next year when I renew my bike.





While waiting for a new transmission to arrive and to be installed, Krasta Auto provided a car and so I took the opportunity to visit nearby Trakai.



Trakai is where some Karaimu Tatars have lived for more than 500 years. They have been isolated from the rest of the Turkish world after their leaders Toktamish of the Golden Horde was defeated by Timurlane (Timur Lenk - founder of the Timurid Turkish Empire) and sought refuge at the Lithuanian King who quickly took advantage of their military skills and had them settled around his castle to become his personal guard.


Lithuania was a great power in medieval times...



The Tatar Turks were treated with respect and were given the same royalties as the Lithuanian aristocracy. In return the ‘Totorai’ as they are called in Lithuania were always loyal to Lithuania and even fought for the Polish/Lithuanian army led by Jan Sobiesky against the Ottoman Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.

Here's some more information:



The Karaites who belonged to the Golden Horde were superb horse riders. Did you notice the bearded guy resembling a medieval 'rider' on the top left corner? No wonder modern hardcore bikers are beardies! Don't you think he could just have been riding a H-D or a ADV bike?


The Karaites houses can be recognized from their 3 windows facing the street.


This characteristic of their homes has a religious reason I don't remember. The Karaites has a religion based on Jewism and managed to preserve their faith amid numerous initaial Teutonic Crusades pillaging Lithuania, the strong Catholic tradition of Lithuanians and finally communism in the Soviet Union.


Coming back to their Totorai's isolation from the rest of the Turkish speaking world, it was thus very interesting to be able to understand the Karaimu Turkish written on the menu and to drink genuine Turkish coffee in Lithuania :)





Almost like the original... Or wait - maybe THIS is the original?





I instantly became friends with the Karaimu restaurant owner, who had a Turkish flag next to a Lithuanian flag in his restaurant.




Even the hospitality has endured - just read the text below:




Thanks for the hospitality my friend!






Here are some pictures of the Trakai castle.





No comment!




To be continued...
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008

nerudarider screwed with this post 08-21-2007 at 04:24 PM
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:59 PM   #5
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continued

After I got my bike I made a last visit to some of the many beautiful lakes nearby Vilnius.





















Even had a chance to do some off-road riding on tarmac





Finally my pleasant stay in Vilnius had come to an end





Next:


A Turkish rider entering Belarus for the very first time…

I had no idea I was gonna get busted in Minsk!
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008

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Old 08-20-2007, 11:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
that's one heck of journey route!!

Thanks for taking us along

Thanks Gadget boy and and Steez
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:50 AM   #7
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I need more pics......please please please
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:27 AM   #8
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Hey i live in Lithuania !!! more pics !! i am happy that you like lithuania
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:47 AM   #9
nerudarider OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gianlukx
I need more pics......please please please
They're on the way! Just have to upload them first
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davainis
Hey i live in Lithuania !!! more pics !! i am happy that you like lithuania
I don't like Lithuania...

I LOVE LITHUANIA!!!!
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:12 AM   #11
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As a kid i visited some of the places you rode through, when they still considered a soviet block.
It would be interesting to see those places now after so many changes...
I' m saving this great report and maybe i will do the same soon.

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Old 08-21-2007, 05:47 AM   #12
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very interesting report !
I mean the places you visited are not well known places for us, western europeans.
As said previously, you gave us some very good points for a future ride in the area !
Keep going, that's gooood.
/thierry
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancho
As a kid i visited some of the places you rode through, when they still considered a soviet block.
It would be interesting to see those places now after so many changes...
I' m saving this great report and maybe i will do the same soon.

Thanks for your comment Sancho! It was very interesting for me as well. Where did you go in Belarus?
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:59 AM   #14
nerudarider OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kktos
very interesting report !
I mean the places you visited are not well known places for us, western europeans.
As said previously, you gave us some very good points for a future ride in the area !
Keep going, that's gooood.
/thierry
Thanks kktos

I was a stranger to the countries I rode through as well, as far as I know I'm the first Turkish or Swedish rider that went for a solo ride on a bike. But you know, now that I've done it, I can tell you that the most difficult part was the bureaucracy on the border crossings!

Just do it ;)
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Ida Mountain - Turkish west coast 2005
Moscow detour - Istanbul to Stockholm via Moscow 2006
Meteora Sunset - Istanbul to Larisa and back 2007
Historical Balkan - Istanbul to Stockholm via Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw 2007
Tatar Rush from Trakai to Yalta to Istanbul 2007
Turkish Coastline - Riding in the Aegean and Mediterranean Coastline 2007
Heaven at the Gates of Hell - Chapadas in tropical Brazil 2008
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by nerudarider
Thanks for your comment Sancho! It was very interesting for me as well. Where did you go in Belarus?
I was a couple of days in Minsk, but i hardly remember it.
On your track i was also in Lithuania and Ukraine, my relatives lived in Kharkov, until we all left to Israel in the beginning of the 90's.
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