When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Bulgarian Treffen

We are planning to head east through Bosnia and Serbia to Bulgaria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we get to the border with Bosnia and we are turned back. In the four days since we were in Mostar, Bosnia the USA has been put on the Red List for Covid danger by the European Union. Countries can choose whether to follow the EU recommendation or not. The border guard says go to Montenegro and cross there.

So we do. We cross into Montenegro, where stopped at a biker bar for lunch. and then on to Kosovo. We get to Serbia and are denied entry. They say go to North Macedonia. So we do. We cross N. Macedonia and get to Bulgaria. We are denied entry. We talked and showed our vaccine cards. We offered to take the test. We said we left the USA 3 weeks ago. We told them about the money already spent on the Treffen reservations (USD $1200) We tried everything. The answer is still NO! So we headed to Greece. They let us in. But only after we filled out a new, Covid related, piece of paperwork. The border agent kept our passports and sent us to a building over on the side of the station. There we talked to this agent and told him our tale of woe. He couldn’t have been nicer. He sympathized with our problem, got the correct papers, filled them out and had us sign them. He deserves a special mention here. So this is a special thanks to Giannis at the border crossing from N. Macedonia into Greece. Probably the nicest border agent on earth. We took the papers back to the first agent and retrieved our passports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what we have here is the route we ended up taking. Same number of days, different destination.

We are in Thessaloniki, Greece. This city has a GoldWing club called The King Riders. They are also Chapter A of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) in Greece. The same association the we belong to in the USA. I met them at their clubhouse last night. They, like all Gold Wingers are a great bunch of people. The club has members from many parts of Europe and is very active. They had their Treffen last weekend. We knew about it but we couldn’t squeeze it into our plans. The way things have worked out we should have and skipped Bulgaria!

There is a YouTube video of our ride to the hotel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KXUkTx4eUE

This page will continue when I do the next update. We have a week to wait until the Turkish Treffen and see if Turkey will let us in. Until then we will enjoy Greece.

Demitris of the King Riders told us of a beach resort to the southeast of Thessaloniki that the club had used for a treffen a few years ago. We decided that sounded like a good place to wait. If you look at the map above you will see three peninsulas. We are staying at the top of the western one. We relaxed and took it easy for a day, wandered the beach and drank beer.

 

 

The next day Demitris came down and took me on a ride around the area. We picked up another member of his club and rode down the peninsula and up the other side. He led us into some of the strangest places. Strange for me that is. There were other bikes, small delivery trucks and some cars there too.

There is a YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMfg2-mMR6o&t=6s

But when we stopped for a break the view was great. The beach where we were staying was nearly empty and quiet. Over here on the other side it was very busy. I could not see any reason for the difference. In fact we were on the west side and got the better sunsets.

After a break at the beach and several emails to the group at the treffen we headed out to meet them. There is a group of 20 GoldWings from the Bulgarian Treffen that are taking the scenic route to the Turkish Treffen. They are staying at four-star hotels and everything, except gasoline, is included in the price. We have signed up and paid for it but like the Treffen are we out of luck until the last day when they enter Turkey.

This map shows our route to the beach and then back to Thessaloniki and east to the border with Turkey at the top right where we joined the others, followed by the ride to the Turkish Treffen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We entered Turkey at a very little border crossing and that was a mistake. Our European “Green Card” motorcycle insurance does not cover Turkey. We know that and plan to buy it at the border like we did in other places. This crossing is so small that there is no insurance office! We are sent back to Greece. We call our insurance agent in Germany and ask for help. He calls the insurance company and get a special Turkey only Green Card for us. He emails it to me and the Greek border guard, whom we told our troubles to, offers to print it for us on the printer in his booth. It took some time for all this to happen but we now have insurance for Turkey. Again, like when we first entered Greece the border guards are the best, friendliest we have ever met. And we have crossed a LOT of borders. So we then go back to Turkey, show our now printed out Green Card and the border agent is now having lunch. So we sit there, in line, in the sun, waiting for her to get back. Finally  she does, remembers us from 2 hours ago, checks our papers and lets us in. We then head about 15 miles north to the Bulgarian border and wait in a gasoline station for the group. They arrive, we greet, they fuel up and we head south to the Treffen. Next is the Treffen.