TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Farewell Greece, Hello Bulgaria

Posted by TravellingStrom on May 10, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

 

 

The rest day progressed well, washing was away with whoever the hotel picked, I had spoken with the Kazak embassy in Bern but they could not understand what I was trying to achieve, so I found an online translator and sent them an email, hopefully I will get an answer soon.  I also contacted the Kyrgystan embassy in Berlin who spoke English and they said just download an application form and bring it in, so no LOI needed for them.  That is the question I asked of Bern, do I need an LOI(letter of Introduction) or not.  After a couple of blog updates I got bored ands so I decided to go for a ride 😉

The first thing I noticed when riding south  was my music was dropping out on the left speaker(in my helmet), but when I jiggled the wire it came on/off, so when I looked, I could see the stressed cable where it comes out from under the helmet liner, you can see the kink 😦

 

It should be an easy fix though, just need a soldering iron and some tape, a broken wire is nothing. So, I am heading south and west and up ahead was a big mountain, called Mt Olympus, and somewhere over there is a geocache I intend to find. The cache was located in an abandoned village that was bombed out during a war here, the only remaining building standing is the church, a nice quaint old place. I searched high and low, but found nothing 😦 But, the views were great and the ride up through the rural areas great 🙂

The funny thing is, there is no cache here as I found out later, it has gone missing and was shut down, that is what happens when you download data three months ago to use now, things change with winter snow melt run off etc. I was a bit low on fuel and just managed to find a village pump before running out, then I headed back to the hotel, where I needed two things, a bank and a repair shop. First stop was a bank, easy, then I grabbed a Giro(same as a Donor meat dish) and a soft drink for a change and had some tucker. And I had spotted a repair shop and after chatting with them, they let me fix my broken cable in their shop, great father/son team here 🙂

After that it was a quiet evening, trying to think about where to go next. It seems, I have crossed most of northern Greece already but missed the countries above here to the north. I had ridden down through Bulgaria, but just passed through, hmm, I will decide tomorrow. 🙂

______________________________________________________________

Hmmm, a bit of shock horror when I got the bill for my washing, I could have bought new ones for that price, 15Euro or 20 bucks!!! I was a tad pissed off, I should have gone looking for a laundromat myself, next time, but only when the clothes REALLY need it this time, I can live smelly a while 😉 Anyway, I had decided what to do, head back east and north to Bulgaria. There was a lovely road that had been noted on BestBikingRoads.com and there were some caches around there too, so I could cover that area and work my way back west through Yugoslavia. I headed off with music in both ears 🙂 It was a tad cool today but it made for great riding, I had to take a detour because one of the interchanges was closed to the north, but after a few hours, managed to reach Bulgaria. I had planned on being here around midday and to get through by 1pm, well, that all worked well, and the exit Greece/entry Bulgaria was pain free and quick at this smaller border. I have a video of the customs inspection, but have slow internet here, so I will upload that another day.

As soon as I got through it was clear I was in a different place, the roads were full of these horse drawn buggies, I don’t mean chokka, but the cars and these wagons seem to work well together, in fact the traffic seems very well behaved! What do I do with all those skills I learned in Turkey? My route I had was going to take me to the start point of the twisty ride I wanted to do, and it was taking me through the mountains, great views and very twisty roads and small rural villages 😉

Now, I had decided to take a small detour to find a cache, it took me right up this mountain and left me at a small table next to the track that takes me to a waterfall. Here I had some lunch before tackling that hike. It was very tough going for 350m uphill and I have to say never again!! The waterfall was not worth the hike and the cache could not be found amongst the gazillion rocks. I found out later from online that it was right where I did not look because it would have got soaked, doh, other people had found it and it was waterlogged. 😦

The only good thing about going up there was the ride through the spectacular views 🙂 I had noticed these deer signs painted on the rocks, but no idea whether they were warnings or not, maybe someone who speaks the lingo can advise 🙂 You can see from my GPS what type of cornering I was involved in, it was quite technical as the road surface deteriorated with lots of potholes and sand on the corners, it slowed me down dramatically, especially as the front end was beginning to feel funny.

I was passing through this small village when I spotted this plane, right smack bang in the middle of the town, real weird!

It was gone 5pm by now and my small 400km day seemed like it was taking forever, well, I was only doing an average of 60kmh and I ended up stopping to check the front tyre, yep it was soft, I was unsure earlier because of all the sand and mud on the road what was causing the twitchiness. Anyway, I pumped some air in it and figured I would look for a hotel soon, I only had about 80km to go to the START of my ride, so anywhere within 50km would do me and I would monitor the front end. Now is the time I wish I had my Tyre pressure monitor, I have the unit with me, but need new sensors in the wheels. It was not long after this I went through a small town called Peshtera and spotted a likely looking hotel. I found out it was cheap enough and booked a room and was soon downstairs enjoying a nice Zagorka beer or three and a bit later enjoyed a traditional Bulgarian dish which was BBQ ducks hearts, with salad and chips with cheese on top 🙂 The hearts were a bit chewy, but fine otherwise 🙂 I was a bit unsure about my front tyre and I may need to fix it, so I decided I would do the loop road and geocaches here tomorrow and stay a second night then head west after that. 🙂 Sorry about the last photo, my camera is playing up!

Cheers
TS

2 Responses to “Farewell Greece, Hello Bulgaria”

  1. 2wheels said

    Bulgaria; now that’s a place we don’t read much about on bike tour blogs.
    Looks ok too.
    Hmmm, BBQ ducks hearts?
    I guess if one is hungry enough.

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