A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.


sunny 25 °C
View Road of Bones 2014 on ScottyJ's travel map.

Ok let me introduce you to the group. In no particular order we have Oscar, Zulu, Delta, Juliet, Tango, Bravo, Alpha, Echo, Kilo, Romeo, Yankee & Whiskey………….and believe it or not there is significance in a number of these pseudonyms but that will remain with me at this point in time!!

Posted by ScottyJ 06:32 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

The Rabbit Club @^_^@

Lucky me??

View Road of Bones 2014 on ScottyJ's travel map.

I awoke to the groans of Roomie who was struggling to raise his head from the pillow….”Good night?” I asked to which came the reply “Oh Joe, (he calls everyone Joe) I should have listened to you but it was an awesome night and there was no way we could leave” …………………so here is a snap shot of the evening of Roomie, Alpha, Tango, Kilo & Bravo. Armed with the address of the club they taxied to the destination however unbeknown to them the club had shut early but our ever attentive receptionist Loredana phoned the club’s President and advised of the imminent arrival of the ROB crew. Now the President hastily returned to open the club as well as calling a number of other members to attend. You may wonder why I refer to him as the President; well that is what the head of the Timisoara chapter of the Hells Angels is referred to!! …and they were there to show some Romanian hospitality to those visiting bikers. There were a lot of stories about the night but one theme that resonated was that you could not say no to a beer or another shot of Palinga ……protection in Romania is assured!!
The story was told on the faces and in the crusty eyes of our representatives in the breakfast room next morning…………with only 384km’s to go today to Sighisoara let’s hope the temperature doesn’t get too high 

Posted by ScottyJ 06:58 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Revelling in Romania - Part ll

Soiree in Sighisoara

sunny 26 °C
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Before retiring last night I had the good fortune to engage our amazing receptionist in conversation for around an hour. It was enthralling to discuss all things Romanian from her home and family, the country & economy since the fall of Ceausescu, the education system and the opportunities or not for the young. Speaking to another young Romanian the theme was similar, the rich are rich and the poor are poor with virtually no middle class. Under Ceausescu the people had money but there was nothing to buy now they can buy everything but there is no money to buy it with. The Romanians are a wonderful people so warm, friendly and hospitable and the young exude a passion to make their country a better place…….I hope these Gen Y’s can and do make a difference as the guard changes?!
Farewell to Timisoara today for the ride to Sighisoara the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as Dracula. Now legend usually springs from some form of fact; this guy was a monster!! Google up 10 facts of Dracula and you’ll see what I mean and where the legend of Dracula springs from…..the use of wooden stakes, the dipping of his bread in the blood of his victims and the use of fire for incineration of one’s enemies…..the list goes on, absolute charmer!
Awesome ride through the Romanian countryside today, imagine Yarra Valley rolling hills with old world charm. Villages that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, intense agriculture with intact forests and elderly village folk sitting on bench seats as they have always done, giving a wave and a smile that says welcome. Every house in the villages has full, fresh and well cared for gardens, it all looks quite bountiful. On one stop today a local got out of his car and thanked us for visiting his country; his sincerity was quite humbling. We arrived in Sighisoara around 4.00pm to the Hotel Central Park; 9.5 on Trip Advisor and I can see why, tasteful, value for money and again loads of Romanian hospitality. We took the 5 minute walk up to the altstadt, a world heritage listed village established in 1463. Dinner in the square gave me the opportunity to consume 2 x local dishes, a tripe soup and a polenta dish with sour cream; I’ve only got the cabbage rolls to go…..!
Today was a rest day and most of us spent the day ambling through this amazing place soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying coffees, food and conversation in the many cafes around the walled village. All of us are having interviews with Robin our cameraman who is making a documentary of the trip. I did my interview today sitting in the lush seating outside the hotel with the village street scape in the background. It was a lot of fun and the reaction of the locals walking past was priceless, stopping, pointing and wondering if it was someone they should know?! Sadly not 
Roomie was getting a massage tonight in an effort to reduce the discomfort of a shoulder injury he carries by a 6’2 ex Romanian wrestler……… I paid him more to hurt him! Just kidding, hence a late dinner across the road at Martini’s ; pork spare ribs grilled over charcoal with a local spice mix, house red, which hasn’t yet let us down, so good that I can’t add to it. Stands up at 0830am tomorrow as we ride off for Friday night in Bucharest and our last night in this charming country.

Posted by ScottyJ 13:38 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Weightlifters & steroids?....there is a lot more to Bulgaria

Beautiful Black Sea coast

rain 14 °C
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Well the dream start had to come to an end sometime; woke this morning to steady drumming rain and that is the way it stayed! Everyone got to experience what did and what did not work in the wet weather gear department. A very slow day’s riding in awful conditions hence we didn’t arrive in Bucharest until 7.15pm…….and that was about all I was going to say but I needed to experience this place. All of us were pretty knackered but hungry and the snack menu at the Ibis did not look at all appealing to me. With no takers to go out in the rain and find something I asked the receptionist for the name of a good restaurant not far from the hotel…..she was right on the money! Once I announced I was heading out 3 reluctant souls decided to join me and we had one of the best dinner experiences thus far! Our receptionist had recommended we go to the old part of the city to a locals place called “Caru’ cu bere” translated as the ‘beer wagon’. The building was over 300 hundred years old, perfectly restored, 3 floors of dining & drinking, they brew their own beer and have done since 1879, In a nut shell an absolutely amazing experience and the 500+ local patrons obviously also think so…..and to top it off I got to complete my Romanian food journey by finally getting the cabbage rolls which did not disappoint 
The rain continued today as we left Bucharest for Nessebar in Bulgaria. Border crossings take a lot of time and will get worse so it was no surprise that we had only travelled a 100km in three hours with the border crossing. With very low cloud for most of the day there was not much to view and most everyone’s attention was on staying upright in the very wet conditions. I had very mixed feelings as we rode into Bulgaria as it looked a little run down. The usual unkept apartment buildings and electrical street wiring that would rival that in Bali but that all slowly changed, good roads, clean and modern buildings; you can see things are changing in Bulgaria. After a roadhouse sandwich and coffee stop lunch the weather slowly improved so that by the time we reached Nessebar it had cleared up as well as warmed up! Nessebar a car free island and could be referred to as a part of the Bulgarian Gold coast. Without the high-rise and nestled on the shores of the Black Sea it is idyllic and beautifully maintained. You can see that this place would be packed in season which isn’t far away, with throngs of tourists from Russia and Belarus. Of course is was always going to be fish on the menu tonight and fresh grilled sea bass with an Arabian salad finished off the day. Early night tonight as we cross over into Turkey tomorrow and we are going to be met by 50-70 local Turkish bikers for the ride into Istanbul….and apparently they have the evening planned?!!

Posted by ScottyJ 11:32 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

Turkey....why didn't someone tell me about this place ealier

Itching for more of Istanbul......

rain 20 °C
View Road of Bones 2014 on ScottyJ's travel map.

As is my custom whenever I come across a new ocean or sea that I have not had a dip in, then that is on the agenda. Now it’s every day that I’ll get to swim in the Black Sea. After getting up at around 6.00am, doing some exercise on the balcony overlooking the Black Sea, again 4th floor, and no lift I headed down to the little beach for a quick dip. I was surprised to be joined by six others blokes from the group. It was done; it was cold but not Tough Mudder cold! We geared up for a 0830 departure with unpredictable weather for the day, sporadic thunderstorms. Made the border crossing for Turkey and with the new electronic visa there was hope that this would not take long….and it didn’t until we were asked for our green cards….no not the European green cards, the Turkish green cards….where do you get them….outside in the little booth. Processing one Turkish green card took at least 15 minutes. Do the maths 15mins x 15 green cards, yes that’s right 3 ½ hours later the last bike crossed over the border…and actually the Turkish green card is red!!
Over the border we were met by the group of local riders and it was a great reception. We then all took off for the 230km ride to Istanbul. Fantastic ride on fast sweeping highways only to be spoilt by those thunderstorms one being that heavy we had to pull over and wait until the worst passed. Roomie’s bike decided to stop today about 100 kms from Istanbul. It didn’t sound good so onto the trailer it was loaded and reluctantly he rode ‘bitch’ with me. I made it clear there was to be no back seat driving! Finally arrived at our destination in driving rain which promptly stopped once we parked. The local guys had arranged a dinner and of course it was a bazaar type area full of restaurants, cafes and bars, the smells were divine and it was my first taste of Turkey. Dinner was loud with live music, much dancing and introductions to local food, fruits and raki!! Huge thanks to Murat and Asiye for putting the evening and ride day together. It really was a fantastic experience.
So today was a free day in Istanbul. A walking tour had been organised for those who wanted to go so I jumped on board. What can I say this place is so full of history and it is all right here. The Blue Mosque, Haiga Sofia, Topkapi, the Grand Bazaar with over 4000 outlets all wanting to sell you something you don’t need! It is an amazing blend of the old and the new. I found a camera store and decided to replace my camera, not as good a deal as at home but at least the SD cards were cheap! Rommie got the call this afternoon about his bike and the news was not good……the big end bearings had gone and the bike was going nowhere. The workshop have given him a lead time of 15 days to repair which is going to take some logistics to re-join the group but we are all supporting him in whatever way we can to get him back with us…..leave no one behind! On returning to the hotel Asiye had arrived at the hotel to see if anyone would like to join her for a visit and dinner in the locals area of Istanbul on the Asian side. A group of about 9 of us willingly put our hands up and after a series of tram rides we arrived in a part of the city that is regarded as the local shopping and gathering area………not one you would easily find. Of course we were taken to a restaurant that we would also not have found. Turkish meatballs with pureed eggplant infused with cayenne pepper butter and sour cream. A delicate blend of flavours and textures that I found divine……….One day is not nearly enough in Istanbul and it would seem Turkey is warming up to be quite the surprise package!!

Posted by ScottyJ 12:19 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

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