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'99 Poland - Sinai (Egypt) - Poland Trip 

Fifth Leg: transit from Turkey to Poland

 

Transit
Poland, part 2

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Transit: Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia

 

Friday, August 20, 99. Edirne—Bulgaria—Romania 

 

J.: Crossing Bulgaria and Romania in one day?! Impossible! Bulgarian and Romanian roads are terrible. Last year we drove through Bulgaria, then took a ferry over the Danube River in Vidim. This year we were hoping to save some time by crossing Danube in Ruse (the only bridge). In Romania we stopped at a gas station. 

Romania: gas station right across the border

People seemed to be very nice. You could really see that it was a very poor country. 

Romania

Driving through Romania was horrible. The following incident and accident happened:

Romanian cops stopped us just before Bukarest. The officer claimed that we didn’t obey a flashing light for pedestrians 2 km back. Of course, that was B.S. He came up with a US$40 ticket for each of us. Finally he suggested (he “a good karakter” – his own words) a different type of a ticket — a bribe in the amount of US$10 each. When we refused he yelled at us that we were not cooperating and that he was going to hold on to our passports for a week. Well, we decided to pay. Crook!

The accident happened right after the experience with the cops. I was shaken and angry, the road was an old military track more suitable for tanks rather than cars, with tricky railway crossings almost every 500 meters. On one of the crossings I miscalculated my position and fell. Fortunately, my legs weren’t seriously injured. Handle bar got bent, so did the gear shifter. Bad luck and good luck at the same time. I could have ended up in a hospital.  

Checking my motorcycle just after I fell

Another night for free. This time in a corn field.

 

Saturday, August 21, 99. Romania—Kosice

 

J.: The next day we crossed Romanian/Hungarian border (another “hidden charge” for a Romanian officer – US$ 5 each), and Hungarian/Slovakian border. We reached Kosice in the evening. Pretty town, cheap and good beer, beautiful women. I wish we had time to stay longer there.


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Poland, part 2

 

Sunday, August 22, 99. Kosice—Solina

 

J.: We left Kosice in the morning, crossed the border and headed to Solina.

G.: Second time in a row we concluded our trip by the Solina Lake in Bieszczady Mountains, Poland, a spectacular place and a great hang out. 

Campsite in Solina, Poland

I hope to return there many more times. Since it was cold and it rained we decided to leave for Torun the next day.

 

Monday, August 23, 99. Solina—Torun

 

G.: On arrival we were welcomed by Jacek’s family 

Upon the arrival in Torun -with my dad and my brother

and served a hearty meal. In the evening we went downtown to meet friends we met last year, bikers too. We shared our stories, had some good Polish beer and made new friends. It was a nice conclusion of the journey.

 

Tuesday, August 24, 99—Monday, August 30, 99.Torun

 

J.: For a week each of us was trying to sell the bikes. Not so easy. First of all we had to pay duty. Greg got away quite easily. According to the Customs officer, the declared value of my bike was too low. After 3 hours of negotiations, the officer asked for 100 zl (US$25) as a thank you gift. It is old post-communist custom in Poland—you have to contribute to the guy’s new car.

I spent the rest of the week in Torun. Greg was visiting his family all over Poland. I left my motorbike in my brother’s garage. It would be sold in October for ZLP 9,000, which, after deducting duty charge, came down to around CAN$ 2,500. Not bad for a motorcycle with 49,000 km. Greg left his bike at his aunt's, and as far as I know, it’s still there, so if you live in Poland and want a bike, e-mail Greg: przepraszam@hotmail.com

 

Wednesday, August 31, 99. Flight Warsaw—Toronto

 

J.: The trip ended. Greg and I returned safely home.  

Okecie Airport in Warsaw - last hours of the journey

Big thanks for Greg for being a great travel companion.

To all those who never did anything crazy—the time has come. Don’t wait till you retire. Hit the road NOW!

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.


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