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Old 03-06-19, 02:23 PM
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gerryl
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Originally Posted by pjsingh View Post
How easy were the various boat crossings? Any issues for bicycles on the ferry? How did you carry all that water, and finally you may or may not know this, what's it like for women travellers?
The crossings were easy and a welcomed brake from all the cycling. What you have to be aware of is that the ferries, both on the Black sea and Caspian, are set up for commercial truck and train traffic, so that departure times are far from a sure thing. This isn't much of an issue in Bulgaria when leaving from Varna, a very pleasant city only 25Kms from the ferry dock. Hanging around Varna waiting for a ferry is no chore. Different story in Azerbaijan, the ferry leaves from Alat ~70km from Baku. There you have a choice, hang around Baku and hope you can ride 70kms in as little as 5 hrs, as that is usually how much warning you'll get before departure time, or hang around Alat, which has one unmarked hotel and absolutely nothing to do, a dusty lonely place on the road between Baku and Iran.
On both ferries the bikes are stored with the rest the vehicles, wherever the crew sees fit. If your bike is a delicate precious thing, you may be disappointed upon retrieval.
To cross the long distances of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, I filled up 6 x 2 liter soft drink bottles. I have 4 barely half full panniers, so plenty of room for extra water. This is not a bike packing type of trip.
I came across a couple of Dutch girls in Azerbaijan on their way home from China, they reported no problems traveling as women. Otherwise judging by the number of women waving down rides on the side of the road, especially in Uzbekistan, things looked pretty safe for local women.
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