My 9 countries in one week road trip - KawiForums - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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My 9 countries in one week road trip

So after coming back from my motorcycle trip this year, I realized that I’ve crossed or ridden through nine different countries in about a week’s time! It may sound a bit odd but that wasn’t my primary goal while planning my route and connecting the dots on the map, as my only concern was a well-rounded trip with beautiful routes connecting equally appealing destinations. So this way, slowly, and without initially realizing it, a circular route stretching from the Balkans to central Europe was formed and I set off to “conquer” it alone once again.



After spotting a big weather opening over my area of interest, I departed wearing my summer gear from a very hot Greece. I had managed of course to fit all season equipment in my big tail bag so I wasn’t worried about the weather changing up north. I was very eager to ride and break my 1146km in a day riding record, but since I have friends and a free night stay in Belgrade stopping there after 700kms was a no-brainer. To compensate for that I’ve decided to ride through the tiny state of Kosovo but as I tried to enter it after crossing FYROM, they asked me for an extra 15 euro for their own green card, as the one I already had wouldn’t do. In the end I only paid 10 euros but the guy told me that in order to enter Serbia from Kosovo it is necessary to already have a Serbian stamp on my passport, so in the end I had to exit Kosovo again before entering into south Serbia and eventually reaching Belgrade.

The next morning I am off to Croatia and Zagreb, it’s capital city which I missed visiting when riding to the Dalmatian Coast a few years ago, and eventually to Maribor, Slovenia, for some rest and a good night’s sleep. The highway towards Zagreb is perfect and crosses through some nice scenery so I arrive with plenty of time for an intermediate stop.



I am now only carrying a tank bag with me, which is light and easy to move with only the really essential stuff in it. The city has nice parks, a beautiful and lively central square and offers me some nice images around the cathedral and the historical center.













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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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After a light meal and a coffee I set off towards the Slovenian border and Maribor, and as I am getting closer the scenery and the smooth flowing road become more beautiful with the minute.





But at the border I am shocked to witness car lines at least half a mile long! Thank God I am on a motorcycle then, as I ride through the cars and border control in no time. As I am entering in the beautiful small city, I stop on the bridge for the first photographs and devour a huge pleskavica (Serbian burger) after settling in my hotel. Maribor is a stunning destination with many beautiful spots, cozy atmosphere and many festivals all year round, and the nice bridge views as a highlight.













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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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So, for the moment, everything is perfect, the weather amazing and both me and my motorcycle in good moods. Can things get any better than that? Well, it seems that they always can as the next morning the sun shines in the blue sky as I am leaving Maribor behind me, and as the first miles go by, a dreamlike scenery unfolds around me. Green hills covered with vines, scattered farmhouses, a blooming nature perfuming the cool air and flowing through all that, a perfect, winding road, all mine, following the hilly landscape. Soon I am rolling with my helmet open and my right hand un-gloved in order to take pictures, but soon I decide to enjoy this piece of motorcycle heaven to the max. The natural flow of the road matches magically with the scenery and creates a sense of familiarity when, almost enchanted and without realizing it, I see some Republik Ostereich signs and know that I’ve reached the Austrian border. There’s nothing around except for an old villa from which the Austrian controllers wave me to keep on riding.







The scenery in southern Austria is equally ideal, with even better road (if that’s possible) and a lovely view at the interior of a valley. The experience of riding on that road and in those conditions is the definition of riding pleasure and something that I will never forget! After a while the turns are passing through scenic villages and I am starting to see other motorcycles, most of them Ducatis and KTMs, and while I am saluting the rider on a fat touring BMW, his peg scratches the road and he picks up the bike surprised! The surface of the road is smooth and shines like black sandpaper, this is the road where you can’t lock up and you can’t slide no matter how hard you try and yet, that’s just a small detail that completes the puzzle of riding nirvana! Definitely the ultimate riding highlight, the best surprise and best part of the whole trip…











Inevitably though the horizon widens, the hills and the turns disappear and I finally see that damn blue sign with the word Graz and the highway sign next to it...
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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While slowly coming to my senses after the afore mentioned delirium, I remember telling to myself to be a good boy when riding through Austria so I buy a vignette at a gas station and promise to adhere to the local speed limits and laws. Despite hearing so many horror stories about Austrian and German police controls I haven’t seen any officers yet, and my 140kph seem rather slow even for the second lane of the autobahn which, oddly enough, doesn’t seem as perfect as the Austrian country roads. Then of course I realize that after THE ROAD everything seems less perfect and that I am just nitpicking.

So after a while I arrive at the scenic Graz, park near the river, and after having something cold to drink I proceed to know it a bit better. The floating café is a nice surprise and the little square that follows have stairs leading high up to the clock tower, a landmark of the city, and also to gorgeous views. The successive layers of shadow and light create a mesmerizing sensation when viewing the rooftops from above.















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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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After leaving Graz I head towards Vienna, but since I’ve already visited this city in the past I turn right and continue into Slovakia and Bratislava, its capital. There is a political convention taking place and the city is bristling with police, so I decide to pay a bit more and select a hotel near the center in order to ride less. Bratislava lives in the shadow of the Big Three, Prague, Budapest and Vienna but in reality it is on the same level. The UFO observation tower and bar/restaurant is wisely integrated in a bridge pylon, so it offers great views without spoiling the aesthetics of the city.







The old city center is amazing day and night, with many weird sculptures and musical events. Slovaks are also good at promoting their products and heritage in a non-plastic, touristic way.















The blue church is very nice and different and Bratislava’s castle, nicknamed “the Bed”, by the locals is, of course, the main sight, built on the highest point of the city.







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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Extremely satisfied by Bratislava I ride towards Hungary, avoiding Budapest and Visegrad which I visited during last year’s moto tour, and I head instead towards Lake Balaton and the scenic little city of Pecs. I am also avoiding the highway and I am rewarded for that with a gorgeous ride through horse farms, dense woods and winding roads before reaching the shores of Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in central Europe and vacation spot for many locals.





The lake is huge and can easily be mistaken for the sea and a ride around the Pannonian MotoGP of an old, forgotten era, calms me down.





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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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After another good route through trees and little rivers I arrive at Pecs and at one of the funkiest hotel rooms I’ve ever slept in. Lucky for me the hotel is also next to the historical center of this beautiful town, a former European cultural capital and crossroad of civilizations. Its center gradually opens up in front of me in various levels and has a three dimensional feel which is hard to depict in photographs, along with the colors and hues of the autumn evening.























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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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After many days of sunshine though, it seems that my luck is running out. The next morning I eat my breakfast early and set off to return to Belgrade through Croatia and a special route that I devised last night in order to avoid the rain. I know that I will eventually get wet before returning to Greece through Bulgaria but I couldn’t care less after meeting all my travelling targets and enjoying so many destinations with abundant sunshine. After yet another day with my Serbian friends and a stroll through the Skadarlia bohemian neighborhood I had to admit that it was time to return.







As my bike was rumbling and leaning through the Cresna gorge, I could smell the damp earth through my half opened visor and I was happy. It was simply the elation that only a motorcycle trip can still offer, against all odds and circumstances
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 02:41 PM
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Looks like a great trip, good write up too.
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