Our Trip to Hungary, Ukraine & Czech Republic
By Marian Reynolds, GWOCI International Rep
6th Hungarian Treffen
4th - 7th July 2019
Held at the Thermal Hotel and Camping Park in Egerszalok
Total number of GoldWings: 316 from 23 GWEF clubs
1st Place: GoldWing Club of Poland with 39 bikes
GWOCI came 21st with 1 bike
The Treffen was in an area of northern Hungary famous for its thermal springs. It was based in a hotel that also had a camping site, which had a good camping kitchen, showers and toilets and great swimming pools. The heat experienced in Italy and Switzerland continued here so the pools got a lot of use.
On Wednesday night, a number of tents were broken into and cash was taken, a terrible experience for the Wingers involved. This was not the most organised of Treffens. The main tour took about 2 hours (one way) over small mountain roads to visit the biggest book in the world. Nobody saw the book but we were luckier than some and got a bowl of nice goulash - it had run out before the police riders who had accompanied us got to the top of the queue. The Parade of Nations took us into the local town of Eger. Its castle is famous for withstanding an onslaught of Turkish (Ottoman) armies back in the time of Vlad the Impaler. After a very noisy display shooting of ancient firearms, we enjoyed a big bowl of homemade ice cream and headed back to the pool.
The awards ceremony went a little askew. It was very hot, crowded and difficult to hear. We were first awarded 24th place with GoldWing Owners Club of Great Britain in 25th. The places were later changed to 21st and 22nd. The highlight of the night was a violin trio who walked among the audience as they played. They were fantastic and received a well deserved standing ovation. The next Hungarian Treffen is due to be held in 2021.
10th Ukrainian Treffen
11th - 14 July 2019
Held in Yaremche, a ski area near the Carpathian mountains
Total number of GoldWings: 264 from 21 GWEF clubs
1st Place: GoldWing Club of Poland with 33 bikes
GWOCI came 14th with 2 bikes
(joining us were John & Julie Bradley)
This club is close to my heart and, although travelling in the Ukraine has its challenges and is not for the faint hearted, if you attend a Ukrainian Treffen, you will be guaranteed a truly wonderful experience.
Knowing the condition of the roads, we took the cautious approach and went in on the main route M10 from Poland. This road has improved immensely since our first visit and we arrived at the Treffen site without mishap. Some Wingers relied on Google Maps and found themselves on very bad roads resulting in a lot of damaged bikes and trailers. A local welder spent the whole weekend fixing their problems. The police were also active fining some unluckily Wingers. We were glad we had decided to stay at the onsite accommodation as the camping field was very uneven with long grass in places.
It was a fantastic Treffen with some unique touches. At inscription, we were welcomed by girls in traditional dress offering us a little sample of local food and tea, coffee or something a little stronger. On display they had all the Treffen trophies the club and its members had received since it joined GWEF. At the end of the award ceremony, hundreds of blue and yellow balloons were released. Each had a little light inside (modern Chinese lanterns). Each GWEF award came with an individual certificate for each person attending. It was such a nice idea that, for example, John, Julie, Kevin and I each have a personalised memento of the Treffen. How they managed to do this for every visitor is beyond me.
An organised bus tour took us to a folk park higher in the mountains where we enjoyed some local food, music and folklore. The Parade of Nations had a lovely twist to it. One bike from each country carried the national flag and travelled up front with the other Wings travelling behind. When we got to the ski resort, the lead bikes pulled over and all the other bikes rode past and parked up. Then, in alphabetical order, the national anthems were played and each bike bearing its national flag was announced and drove down through the spectators. We were amazed to meet some 'new' Irish, originally from Ukraine, they became Irish citizens 7 years ago and were back in Ukraine for a holiday. They made a beeline for us when they heard Amhran na bhFiann.
Next year's Treffen is due to be held in Uzhhorod, just over the Hungarian border. The roads here are not so bad except at the border where very deep ruts have been gouged into the road from all the truck traffic. Be prepared for delays at the border. This year, for example, we had a very short 30 minute delay going into Ukraine but we had a wait of 2 hours getting out and that was short compared to most other Wingers.
20th Czech Treffen
18th - 21st July 2019
Held in Yvsoke nad Jizerou
Total number of GoldWings: 243 from 22 GWEF clubs
1st Place: GoldWing Motor Club Belgium with 25 bikes
GWOCI came 17th with 1 bike
This was another Treffen held high in a ski area. Based around a Grand House built before World War II, it had the makings of a good Treffen. Sadly, it was let down by an undulating hilly camping area, insufficient toilets and showers with no separate tap available for water for washing up. Some people had camped from the Monday before the Treffen officially opened on Thursday. On Wednesday night, a number of tents were entered and money was taken. Just like in Hungary, the police were quickly on the scene.
Can I please remind members to lock your money, valuables, passports, etc. away in your bike or trailer when you are at a Treffen especially at night? If you see anybody near the tents acting suspiciously or without a wristband, please report them to the Treffen organisers immediately.
GWOCI asked that GWEF look into the whole issue of Treffen standards and requirements at the meeting in Luxembourg.
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