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Old 01-30-2013, 01:04 AM   #16
Steve G. OP
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Made a similar trip last summer.

If you're going to Romania for the Transfargarisan, you owe it to yourself to make a loop and do the Trans Alpina at the same time. The Trans Alpina is stunning and by far a better ride than the Transfargarisan.

Not sure on your route through Austria, but the old highway from Innsbruck to Bolzano is an absolutelly stunning ride. By far a highlight from my trip.

Stelvio is a must if you haven't done it before, and if your close to Bolzano, you're close to the Stelvio.

Enjoy the trip.

Yes, I did the Stelvio in 2009,,,,twice actually, in one day,,,,,in the morning!! Yes, Innsbruck to Bolzano is,,,,what they say,,,,,epic!
I will be noting down the Trans Alpina as a must do. Thank you!
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:25 AM   #17
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Glad I could help... Us B.C. boys gotta stick together!
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:46 AM   #18
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Glad I could help... Us B.C. boys gotta stick together!

You a BC boy?? Kewl.

When we stayed in Bolzano, it was astounding the volume and quality of the produce. We walked from the hotel to a produce stand to buy grapes, the friggin' things were as big as gold balls, and sweet as candy!!! We acted like fools eating these things.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:12 AM   #19
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Gabriola Island to be exact.

There was a street festival going on in Bolzano when we went through. some italian/bavarian fusion cuisine going one... was odd but really good.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:57 AM   #20
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Gabriola Island to be exact.

There was a street festival going on in Bolzano when we went through. some italian/bavarian fusion cuisine going one... was odd but really good.

Yes, Tirol/Tyrolia is a strange mix of pre, and post Austria culture.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:02 AM   #21
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K, I get it.

The bike rental places I've chatted to have full comp insurance within the EU. However,,,,,in the Eastern European countries of Poland, Czech Replublic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, all the Baltic states, and all of former Yugoslavia [Bosnia/Herzagovina, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, there is no insurance available at source to cover loss and/or theft. If there is intention to ride into these countries, we must put a bond on all of the machines to cover 100% of value.
So, I'm going to assume that this insurance, purchasable at each of these countries' borders, is for loss or theft, or as we call it here, fire & theft. I guess we may be looking at up to 10 countries where special vehicle insurance is needed,,,this could add up!!!

Interestingly, there is no mention of exclusion of coverage within Slovinia, or Croatia. This will have to be confirmed by us when we pick the bikes up. But it's not as easy as I would have thought, as I assumed all EU states were under the same mandate, and sort of included the "Schengen Area". I was wrong.
You're not exactly wrong, just mixing apples with oranges I think. There's a difference between the "authorities' bureaucracy" and the policies of private companies like insurers. The schengen area is a construction by the authorities of the countries members of the EU (plus Switzerland and Norway, who are not EU members, but except the UK and Ireland who don't want to play as much with the others), which in short allows their citizens to move without restriction or passport controls over the whole area (some of your posts also seem to mix up non-EU countries with those that are: Slovenia is a member, Croatia is not, for example).

The insurance companies however rate their risks as higher in some of the countries - they are private companies. Like nordicbiker says you can have different rates within one country (Sweden, which I am from too) depending on where you live - cities are rated by those companies as having higher risk of accidents and theft for example, so you pay more there than if you live in the countryside. I don't know how it works in terms of insurance for rental bikes, but the insurance for my bike is fully valid in all EU countries, including those that became members in 2004 and 2007. I could see that the rental companies and insurers that deal with rentals are slightly more wary of risks when you go for a trip that covers multiple countries, but this I think will vary with each rental place.

Oh, and btw, it'll be an awesome trip, of that you can be sure. The situation in northern Kosovo is slightly brewing lately, but it's not too much to worry about. People are very friendly to visitors in the region generally (although the cops used to try and milk the travellers as much as possible in the past).
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:48 AM   #22
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... some of your posts also seem to mix up non-EU countries with those that are: Slovenia is a member, Croatia is not, for example...
But will accede on July 1st, 2013, subject to ratification which is likely to be a smooth process.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:27 AM   #23
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But will accede on July 1st, 2013, subject to ratification which is likely to be a smooth process.
That's true. There's likely to be a somewhat restricted Schengen application to begin with though - set by individual member states. The other countries mentioned don't have this on the near horizon though.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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You're not exactly wrong, just mixing apples with oranges I think. There's a difference between the "authorities' bureaucracy" and the policies of private companies like insurers. The schengen area is a construction by the authorities of the countries members of the EU (plus Switzerland and Norway, who are not EU members, but except the UK and Ireland who don't want to play as much with the others), which in short allows their citizens to move without restriction or passport controls over the whole area (some of your posts also seem to mix up non-EU countries with those that are: Slovenia is a member, Croatia is not, for example).

The insurance companies however rate their risks as higher in some of the countries - they are private companies. Like nordicbiker says you can have different rates within one country (Sweden, which I am from too) depending on where you live - cities are rated by those companies as having higher risk of accidents and theft for example, so you pay more there than if you live in the countryside. I don't know how it works in terms of insurance for rental bikes, but the insurance for my bike is fully valid in all EU countries, including those that became members in 2004 and 2007. I could see that the rental companies and insurers that deal with rentals are slightly more wary of risks when you go for a trip that covers multiple countries, but this I think will vary with each rental place.

Oh, and btw, it'll be an awesome trip, of that you can be sure. The situation in northern Kosovo is slightly brewing lately, but it's not too much to worry about. People are very friendly to visitors in the region generally (although the cops used to try and milk the travellers as much as possible in the past).

Recent conversations I've had with immigrant Cdns here has given me a taste for the situation in northern Kosovo. My neighbour, a very 'liberal' muslim escaped the war with his family, still has his old house in Mitrovica. He tells of hearing shells being lobbed in that territory from Serbia when he goes back for visits in the summer. I had a conversation last weekend with a bike mechanic friend of mine who's from Serbia, who does not even recognize Kosovo as an entity. He warned not to go to Kosovo for fear of being robbed at gunpoint by police and residents alike. The distrust of each is very high. I must admit that being from western Canada, I've never been in a part of the world where the mutual dislike is so thick it could lead to the situation of 20 yrs ago. It's kind of weird that it could happen in this day and age so close to the calmness that is Western Europe.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:28 AM   #25
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Recent conversations I've had with immigrant Cdns here has given me a taste for the situation in northern Kosovo. My neighbour, a very 'liberal' muslim escaped the war with his family, still has his old house in Mitrovica. He tells of hearing shells being lobbed in that territory from Serbia when he goes back for visits in the summer. I had a conversation last weekend with a bike mechanic friend of mine who's from Serbia, who does not even recognize Kosovo as an entity. He warned not to go to Kosovo for fear of being robbed at gunpoint by police and residents alike. The distrust of each is very high. I must admit that being from western Canada, I've never been in a part of the world where the mutual dislike is so thick it could lead to the situation of 20 yrs ago. It's kind of weird that it could happen in this day and age so close to the calmness that is Western Europe.
It's like the classic story when the people tell a traveller "don't go there, they're barbarians and will rob you and kill you", and then when you've gone there and tell them where you came from they'll be surprised and say "how did you ever dare come that way - you're so lucky those barbarians didn't rob you and kill you".

Ok, that's an exaggeration. It's not the calm and cozy streets of Smallville, Utopia, no doubt. There are rouge elements (read: mafia) running much of the show. There's also been a few skirmishes in the past year or two that indicate it's heading the wrong way. It certainly makes a lot of sense to listen to the people you know who are from there. It's however vastly more dangerous for them than it ever will be for you, because you're not part of either of the ethnicities (or are you - just realised I don't actually know who you are :-) ). When I visited Mitrovica for work, granted several years ago, we could not cross the bridge because our driver was Albanian. We could have easily walked across though without problems. Things are simmering under the surface, but unless you wind up in an actual demonstration/riot, or happen to be unlucky enough to be in the direct line of fire of a stray shell, you'll most likely be just fine. With regular street smarts.

Check your foreign ministry's travel alerts, and take them for what they are: indicating places you may wish to avoid, but also a manner in which they cover their asses.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:01 PM   #26
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It's like the classic story when the people tell a traveller "don't go there, they're barbarians and will rob you and kill you", and then when you've gone there and tell them where you came from they'll be surprised and say "how did you ever dare come that way - you're so lucky those barbarians didn't rob you and kill you".

Ok, that's an exaggeration. It's not the calm and cozy streets of Smallville, Utopia, no doubt. There are rouge elements (read: mafia) running much of the show. There's also been a few skirmishes in the past year or two that indicate it's heading the wrong way. It certainly makes a lot of sense to listen to the people you know who are from there. It's however vastly more dangerous for them than it ever will be for you, because you're not part of either of the ethnicities (or are you - just realised I don't actually know who you are :-) ). When I visited Mitrovica for work, granted several years ago, we could not cross the bridge because our driver was Albanian. We could have easily walked across though without problems. Things are simmering under the surface, but unless you wind up in an actual demonstration/riot, or happen to be unlucky enough to be in the direct line of fire of a stray shell, you'll most likely be just fine. With regular street smarts.

Check your foreign ministry's travel alerts, and take them for what they are: indicating places you may wish to avoid, but also a manner in which they cover their asses.

I hear ya. I'm not orthodox Catholic or Bosniak Muslim, but a caucasian non practicing Church of England anglican. I consider all religion to be at the heart of all problem conflicts on earth, but respect anyone who wants/needs it in their life.
Interestingly, I have checked with my government's current security status of this region:

http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/kosovo

http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/serbia

http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/bosnia-and-herzegovina

http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/macedonia

http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/croatia
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:34 AM   #27
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Interestingly, I have checked with my government's current security status of this region:
Steve, one other thing, the fine print in overseas travel policies including the one provided by your employer's or union's group insurance policy will often have a coverage exclusion for countries listed on the US State Department or the Canadian Government's information (i.e. Warning for travelers) site.

Of course with you I don't have to say buy MedJet. This is essential coverage for all Canadians traveling by MC anywhere.I know that the standard group and travel contract wording will "get you home" but I recommend that there be no dicking around on the "when they get you home" part.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:29 AM   #28
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Steve, one other thing, the fine print in overseas travel policies including the one provided by your employer's or union's group insurance policy will often have a coverage exclusion for countries listed on the US State Department or the Canadian Government's information (i.e. Warning for travelers) site.

Of course with you I don't have to say buy MedJet. This is essential coverage for all Canadians traveling by MC anywhere.I know that the standard group and travel contract wording will "get you home" but I recommend that there be no dicking around on the "when they get you home" part.

Good points Bill. I know I've got out of country medical coverage, and also BCAA [AAA, AA] Tripguard unlimited travel medical coverage. I'm just folding open my current plan to see what kind of wording there is regarding quick extraction out of a situation.
In your European travels, have you undertaken any motorcycle travels inside former Soviet Union countries?
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:34 PM   #29
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Make sure you get the green insurance card from the rental company. There's a chance that you're lucky and they have a few countries on it which are not in the EU.
I did a very similar trip in 2010 (see link in my signature) and had been wondering about security, too. EVERYONE I met insisted that I had to go through Albania up to Croatia, and I am very glad I did. I think as long as you stay off the tourist high spots (big cities, main highways) the risk is actually not that high. One thing I would do different is the route along the Adriatic coast: it would be far more interesting to ride a route away from the coast.
Border crossings are probably very easy. Within the EU there's the Schengen agreement and even for the other countries I never had to get off the bike or wait more than half a minute. I never had to pay anything. Turkey was different, but that's not on your route.

Have fun,

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Old 02-11-2013, 06:24 PM   #30
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Good points Bill. I know I've got out of country medical coverage, and also BCAA [AAA, AA] Tripguard unlimited travel medical coverage. I'm just folding open my current plan to see what kind of wording there is regarding quick extraction out of a situation.
In your European travels, have you undertaken any motorcycle travels inside former Soviet Union countries?
Hi Steve,

It doesn't mnatter what the booklet says, get Medjet. I have a working knowledge of these things.

I have not been outside of the green card zone as of yet. I expect Stefan will be at the BMW MOA fest in Portland in July, I would spend some time with him there if you can get down.

regards,

Bill
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