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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ridden in Eastern Europe? I'd like to do a trip beginning in Germany and proceeding on a route something like this:
Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and back to Germany. I'm only concerned about Czech Republic to Russia. I'm concerned with:
1) Being American (may be unpopular)
2) Not speaking the language
3) Road conditions and driving safety
4) Lack of mechanical service
5) Border crossings
6) Physical Safety
7) Safety of the bike and theft

Has anyone ever ridden in these countries? Do you have any advise? I'm not adverse to inconvenience in exchange for a great cultural experience, but I don't want to have me, my friend or the bikes harmed. I'm open to any thoughts. Thanks! Jon
 

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I have been to Czech and most of the others a few times, great places, very scenic and out of the big town still very cheap, you can still get a meal and beers for around $10 each. Hungary I've been to twice, it was cheaper than Czech but it was a few years ago, but I believe it's still cheap. Poland, roads are junk, driving is appaling, but there's not many vehicles ! Poland is also cheap, go to Malbork Castle in the North of the country, stunning. Latvia is also very cheap, hotels etc. need to be booked in advance and always get one with a guarded car/bike park, same for Poland and Czech. Russia, not been to, but I know one or two that have and say it's great but you have to be escorted everywhere and you must have an invitation to go and a visa beforehand, then it still can take 4 hours to get in at the border. Finland, Sweden and Denmark are no problem as is Norway, Finland is the most expensive, out of the three and Denmark is cheapest, fuel is very expensive in all of Scandinavia as is accommodation and food, booze is also very expensive. Oh and don't speed in Scandinavia, the fines are horrendous.

1. Not a problem, just don't be too obvious, dress like a local.
2. Not a problem in most places, pointing works great !
3. Road conditions in most places are very good, the only problems would be Latvia and Poland. Driving is haphazard, keep you wits about you.
4. If you're going on a wing it shouldn't be a problem, there are Honda shops everywhere and anyway, it's not going to break down. Get some sort of breakdown recovery cover.
5. For the Baltic states you have to have originals of your Registration document and insurance and they do check the registration against the bike.
6. Be careful, avoid dark areas in cities, keep your money in a hidden wallet or belt, don't flash it around, carry small amounts in different pockets, never hand your passport over to anyone (if they say they're police get them to lead you to a police station - and if they are police they'll speak English).
7. Same as above, always park with it locked, always take everything off it, cover it if you can and use hotels etc. with private parking.

I there's anything else you may need look up Horizons Unlimited website they have masses of information that's relative.
 

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to go to russia you need a russian visa & you need an invitation from a russian living there to get visa & also need to buy insurance at the border.it can take several hours to get through border control.
why not take in some european wing dings on your tour.
here are the wing dings (treffen in europe)
Date Country Location

05.04-09.04.2007 Belgium Koekelare -
17.05-20.05.2007 France Villefranche sur Saône (near Lyon) - -
24.05-28.05.2007 Holland Kronenberg near Sevenum -
08.06-10.06.2007 Portugal Monte Gordo - Algarve - - -
15.06-17.06.2007 Spain Empuriabrava -Girona- -
22.06-24.06.2007 Czech Republic Prague - -
29.06-01.07.2007 Poland Łeba - -
05.07-08.07.2007 Italy Grosseto (Tuscany) - -
13.07-15.07.2007 Denmark Korsør, Island of Sjælland -
19.07-22.07.2007 Norway Steinkjer - - -
19.07-22.07.2007 Switzerland Unterägeri - -
27.07-29.07.2007 Sweden t.b.a. - - -
03.08-05.08.2007 Finland Heinola - -
10.08-12.08.2007 Russia Russia - - -
17.08-19.08.2007 Ireland Stranorlar, Co. Donegal - -
23.08-26.08.2007 Great Britain Carmarthen ( South Wales) - -
31.08-02.09.2007 Luxembourg Niederkorn nearly Differdange

www.gwef.net
 

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insureguy,
While I can't speak personally to your questions here is a general links page filled with personal web pages of world wide motorcycle travelers. Scroll down to the traveler's section and find the area you want to tour; many of the websites are wonderfully informative. I have had great advice and email correspondence with Doug Hackney who offers a ton of tips.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/links/
 

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Europe

I was going to get my GWRRA GoldBook and lookup European goldwing contacts but I can't find the book. If you are not a memember I would suggest joining GWRRA and getting the GoldBook. It list goldwing members around the world. Many off to help if you need roadside assistance, some even offer a place to stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Texastrike, this is great information and I appreciate your thorough response. If I understand you correctly:
1) The bike having US tags isn't too conspicuous? It's hard to blend in when your bike has a big "USA" on the back. Will it make me a target for any trouble?
2) I'm guessing I can get secured parking in hotel lots at night. Is the bike likely to be vandalized or broken into anywhere else during the day? If I put a throttle lock, brake rotor lock and maybe chain the two bikes togther am I good, or is that overkill?
3) You're telling me I can find HONDA service in these countries?? I agree, the bike is generally bulletprooof, but I'm still concerned.
4) I understand the logistics of getting a transit or entry/exit visas in Russia, but I think it can be done. I'm told that I can get sponsored by the hotels. If I'm otherwise up for the inconveniences, am I likely to get in any other trouble? I understand there are restricted places you can't even go. Is an American generally free to ride across Russia? You suggested you know others that have done it. Is there any way I can e-mail them?
5) Other than Russia, are the border crossings reasonably easy? I know according to the US Dept of State that some will require that I have original registration, others the proper insurance and others proof that I can afford to cover the cost of my stay. I have a AAA Int'l Drivers Permit. My insurance policy covers me "Worldwide except Mexico". I know that's strange, but it's true. Will the original insurance policy in English be enough?

Thanks so much to everyone that has offered their advise. If you have any more thoughts, keep them coming. Jon
 

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More information......

3) We have lot of Honda services here in Finland, in every bigger town.

We have lot of Goldwing Club members in Finland almost 770 members....so you can find any help you need....You can use Help Guide and find adresses...So it is in Sweden, Norway and Danmark...
 

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1. The only place you’re likely to get any trouble is, in my opinion, Russia, can’t see anyone else bothering, apart from wanting to say hello.

2. Hotels are not a problem with guarded car/bike parks, you just have to ask when you book. Some hotels will even let you park in the hallway. Parking during the daytime is tricky, sometimes, we always park in full view of a car park attendant, police or someone like that if we can. It’s not overkill, theft is big business in Europe, especially, apparently, Russia.

3. Yup, no trouble at all in most countries and a good breakdown recovery will fly in the bit you need. We were in Russenes, northern Norway, when a friend broke her clutch lever, the recovery (Green Flag, available in the UK) flew one up from Oslo the next day.

4. Get in touch with David Gibson ([email protected]) or Ted Cooper ([email protected]) both of these people have travelled in Russia, mention my name (Graham Butler), they will help if they can.

5. Yes, most you won’t even have to slow down. Over here we have a translation of the relevant bits on the back of the certificate as a matter of course. Your insurance, wherever you get it from, should have the same.
 
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