I figured I'd share a few things regarding riding in the 'old world' for the curious or anyone who's planning to come over one day.
My experience spans through Poland, Czech rep, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
First of, I have to say drivers by large are better. I suppose they HAVE to be
THey're skilled, cultural BUT always in the hurry! that last one is most true for Pols and Czechs.
Fins and Swedes are most curteous and subdued, whereas Poles will pass anywhere, anyplace-very impatient drivers.
On a highway, travelling at a cruising speed of 120km/hr I was getting passed by cars like I was standing still.
On that note, you BETTER get your ass to a right side of the road, when they approach from behind, or else SOMEONE is bound to let you know what they think (again, most true for Pols) usually by cutting you off.
It happened to me a couple times, not because I was being discurteous, but simply because sometimes they move up so fast, I don't notice them untill they're already passing...
Quite often a car passing a bike will simultaneously be passed by another vehicle.
All this is scarry as hell at first, as the roads are narrow and mostly not of top quality, though also not nearly as bad as people say, and improving every day.
Once you ride around for a couple of days, get used to the new rules, all is well.
TIR's are a mennace. there is no escape from them, and the force of air as they rush by CAN be dangerous, so beware of the big trucks.
Travelling on a Canadian passport is not a problem. Border checks this far have been nothing but a short formality.
Entering Finland, lined up in 'non-EU' lined, I actually got wavet through lol.
Even though the bike I'm riding is not registered under my name, NOBODY as much as asked me for proof on registration or insurance.
Now speaking of Finland, I'd advise anyone who'd like to visit to come earlier than myself. It IS cold and rainy here this time of year.
End of June to early August are best times. and it is a wonderfull riding country. BEWARE OF WILDLIFE CROSSINGTHE ROADS!!
finnish roads are a dream come true for a motorcycle tourer. Forrests everywhere, and lakes which force thousands of curves onto roads as they weave through the country. I will have to come back one day in the summer, just so I can ride all the way up north into Lapland and down through Norway/Sweden.
oh, and whatever you do, DO NOT SPEED in Finland. They have a penalty system which is based on your earnings, so any speeding fine can be potentially in thousands.
Czech secondary (non-highway)roads are awfully marked, difficult to navigate and often include nasty surprises such as 90 degree unmarked turns, so be carefull.
Poland had a bad reputation for roads being dangerously unkept, but that is not true anymore.Perhaps never was, hard to say..
For myself riding around poland was a largely pleasant experience. Most of hard roads were the ones just under construction or re-construction, influx of EU funds is speeding the fixing process up as well.
Germany is germany...Ornung
Finnish roads, despite of severety of their winters are quite well kept and pleasant to manouver.
Well marked, well made.
Estonia, latvia, lithuania-Don't know yet. Will be riding through that part on Monday.
a few awfull, self-posed pictures below, for those interested.