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Old May 3rd, 2015, 01:45 AM   #31421
Verso
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Quote:
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Back in Slovenia until tomorrow.

Today I've visited the smallest town in the world
Motovun?
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 01:58 AM   #31422
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Tomorrow another 1200 km and we're back at home. A road trip that at least 99,99 % of people will never experience.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 03:21 AM   #31423
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Motovun?
Hum. they are fighting with some Belgian "city" to be the smallest in the world.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 01:48 AM   #31424
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I went to the UK's smallest city today.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 03:30 PM   #31425
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My trip in last 10 days:
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Ljub...464536!1m0!3e0
4500 km (2/3 of that motorways), 3 soviet-style border crossings (I didn't think that driving into ex-Soviet countries is still so complicated)
Of course, Netherlands tourists are in Belarus too
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Old May 4th, 2015, 03:47 PM   #31426
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That's a cool trip.

And yes, the Dutch are everywhere. We have the wanderlust, due to the small size of the country no doubt.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 05:05 PM   #31427
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Dutch weren't with their own car though. Our car with Slovenian register plates was quite interesting for by-passers as very rare occurrence. On the border you de-facto import your car temporarily, this means a lot of paperwork and without basic Russian knowledge or at least good knowledge of any other Slavic language you'll have a lot of difficulties.
But driving there is quite safe and pedestrians have an absolute priority on zebra crossings as every driver immediately stops his/her vehicle when a pedestrian plans to cross a road, even on wide avenues. I've never seen that elsewhere. Electronic toll system for cars is freeflow system (similar to those for trucks in Austria) and works really well, just with a lot of paperwork before setting OBU first time.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 06:19 PM   #31428
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Nice report keber

This was shared by a FB friend today

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Old May 4th, 2015, 07:22 PM   #31429
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keber View Post
But driving there is quite safe and pedestrians have an absolute priority on zebra crossings as every driver immediately stops his/her vehicle when a pedestrian plans to cross a road, even on wide avenues. I've never seen that elsewhere.
Are you talking about Belarus? That's surprising, especially if you compare it with Russia. You usually see that in Switzerland.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 07:24 PM   #31430
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Not a bad drive on a Sunday. Almost no truck traffic, no holiday traffic yet.
But 45 minutes queue on the A4/E411 due to a looooong construction site.

BTW, greetings from Bruxelles
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Old May 4th, 2015, 09:23 PM   #31431
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Slovak speaker of National Council being nicely booed after ice hockey play (95 % of crowd were Slovaks). It is not good to be unpopular.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 09:57 PM   #31432
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keber View Post
Dutch weren't with their own car though. Our car with Slovenian register plates was quite interesting for by-passers as very rare occurrence. On the border you de-facto import your car temporarily, this means a lot of paperwork and without basic Russian knowledge or at least good knowledge of any other Slavic language you'll have a lot of difficulties.
But driving there is quite safe and pedestrians have an absolute priority on zebra crossings as every driver immediately stops his/her vehicle when a pedestrian plans to cross a road, even on wide avenues. I've never seen that elsewhere. Electronic toll system for cars is freeflow system (similar to those for trucks in Austria) and works really well, just with a lot of paperwork before setting OBU first time.
Apart for time-consuming beaurocratic procedures, what feeling did you have towards authorities (road police, border crossing staff,...)? Do you think they were doing their job properly or they had try to cheat you and to extort your money? Do locals feel as "strange" the presence of a foreigner in their country? Does Minsk look like a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis or it was like a trip back in the Soviet day?
Sorry for many questions, but it's interesting to hear stories from one of the less known countries in Europe. I'm also surprised to read that they have good driving discipline, I though they had Russia-like chaotic traffic.
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 12:30 AM   #31433
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Quote:
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buerocratic
Quote:
Originally Posted by italystf View Post
beaurocratic
It's actually bureaucratic.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 04:38 AM   #31434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
And yes, the Dutch are everywhere. We have the wanderlust, due to the small size of the country no doubt.
It makes no sense though. The Dutch have the only country that consistently increases in size
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Old May 5th, 2015, 10:02 AM   #31435
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italystf View Post
Apart for time-consuming beaurocratic procedures, what feeling did you have towards authorities (road police, border crossing staff,...)? Do you think they were doing their job properly or they had try to cheat you and to extort your money? Do locals feel as "strange" the presence of a foreigner in their country? Does Minsk look like a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis or it was like a trip back in the Soviet day?
Authorities were very professional, strict but still polite. We were treated no different like others (mostly Belarus). There were no money transfers on those borders just "Papers, please!"

Belarus are very friendly and as GPS navigation does not work there and we've had no city maps, we had to rely on asking locals for directions to find correct addresses as they are not always logical and they have their own soviet style logic. Locals were always very friendly and we were no "strangers" to them probably also because we tried to speak local language as much as possible.

Minsk is modern city but with soviet style blocks as Minsk was completely destroyed in second world war. They still have a lot of parks, modern buses and really effective subway (trains go in 1'40'' intervals even with large crowds). Cars on the roads are almost as if I would check here through my window except you can still find some Ladas and especially small and loud Russian trucks.

Trip back to soviet state is going through Lithuania or Latvia and especially Ukraine.
[/QUOTE]
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Old May 5th, 2015, 10:52 AM   #31436
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So, you mean that Latvia and Lithuania look like more Soviet than Belarus? I wouldn't have expected that?
In which sense GPS doesn't work in Belarus? Your GPS has no maps of that country or the GPS signal is switched off because nobody can use a GPS there? And if one uses his smartphone as GPS, based on Google Maps is blocked too?

When I bought my Garmin GPS unit back in 2007, it had detailed maps only of EU-15, plus Switzerland and Norway and almost nothing outside it. In Slovenia there was only Ljubljana and the main highways leading to it, in Croatia only Zagreb, Split and the main highways, Bosnia was totally blank,... It was quite an issue during my trip around Croatia in summer 2008.
Eventually, I never updated it, as it costed some money and, since around 2010, I started using my smartphone as GPS, that uses Google Maps and so it's costantly updated and covers all countries.
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“The transponder’s personalised signal would be picked up when the car passed through an intersection, and then relayed to a central computer which would calculate the charge according to the intersection and the time of day and add it to the car’s bill” - Nobel Economics Prize winner William Vickrey, proposing a system of electronic tolling for the Washington metropolitan area, 1959
In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 02:25 PM   #31437
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Lots of thunderstorms today in the Netherlands. It's the first strike of severe weather of 2015 for us.



With some serious hail
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Old May 5th, 2015, 03:28 PM   #31438
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I use newest version of Sygic, which has very detailed maps all around Belarus, but only most important roads inside country. One year old car software had similar maps. As I read in some articles, Belarus government doesn't let western mapping software companies to map their country.

About Lithuania and Latvia, it is visually quite a difference when you cross the border with Poland, I didn't expect that. Cities are similar but smaller villages look worse, with lot of unpaved side roads and many houses in non maintained condition.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 07:20 PM   #31439
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Czech driver stuck in national park on a foothill of highest Czech mountain. On footpath solely designated for hikers. With car. He wanted to take a nice picture
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Old May 5th, 2015, 09:37 PM   #31440
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keber View Post
I use newest version of Sygic, which has very detailed maps all around Belarus, but only most important roads inside country. One year old car software had similar maps. As I read in some articles, Belarus government doesn't let western mapping software companies to map their country.

About Lithuania and Latvia, it is visually quite a difference when you cross the border with Poland, I didn't expect that. Cities are similar but smaller villages look worse, with lot of unpaved side roads and many houses in non maintained condition.
Visual difference between Poland and Lithuania is caused by mass meloration: many houses were destroyed or left unmaintained. Many people moved to artificially built (or expanded) settlements instead. Currently, in the countryside, there are barely no jobs, very little of bussiness, problems of alcoholism, low culture generally, etc.

I think that's a main problem why social situation in the Baltics is far one of the worse in EU. Poland looks somewhat more happy place to me
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