Travel Blog

Bulgaria   2         11.Aug. - 09.Sept. 2016

 from  km  11`369  to  km 12`158      total 789 km


After a few days more than a month, I was now again in Bulgaria. And again I feared, that it might be as uncomfortable as by our first visit in Widin. But after a very short time, I realized that it was completely different. Friendly and agreeable. Only some kilometers after the border I found a nice campsite. This site was just adjacent a very important bird area (IBA) for Red-breasted goose and is also a well visited reserve during summer time

After two days resting in this nice campsite, I decided to cycle along the Coast to Varna. I rode on top of the famous Thracian Cliffs were, the most interesting and most difficult to play golf court is. That statement I got from a very addicted golfer. In Varna I camped in Golden Sand camp site but it was very stony and uncomfortable, therefore I moved to a nearby B&B. On the camp site I found my first real Scarab the mascot of my bicycle.

After some days which were filled with writing on the blog and a little bit of chilling on the beach I was on the road again. At this time it was a revolt in Istanbul and so I decided to ride through Bulgaria to Greece. Already in Varna I tried hard to find  a possibility for a ferry from Eastern Europe to Africa. It was also impossible to get on to a cargo ship because all the shipping companies refused to take a dog on bord. I was already told in Varna that there are virtually no yacht  who go through the canal of Suez because the raids in Somalia. Now, I saw no other chance than cycling through Bulgaria to Greece and hoping for the help of greek Rotarians with their connections.

My first stop was at Pobiti Kamani, the stone desert near Varna. This is a natural wonder and there exist several different theories how these sculptures developed (see Wikipedia). I stayed some time on this mystical and magical place and decided at the end to stay overnight in a nearby secluded place.

The following two days I road along the motorway Varna - Sofia but I was most of the time so far away that I was not disturbed by the noise of the cars. It was the time of the interessting harvest of the sunflowers. After two more days I reached the balkan mountains where I found a nice Hotel.

I crossed this first chain of mountains through a nice gorge with a slowly sloping road. Along the road grazed donkeys, cattle, sheep and goats. These animals were either staked or herded by men often with dogs. These dogs often got some hanky-panky with my companion on four paws. The second night I stayed away from the street on a little hill with a marvelous sight on all four directions. After a nice breakfast I had to cycle the first real mountain pass with a marvelous 40 kilometer downhill. The Area was characterized by the mosques of the muslim community. The communistic time was documented by the heroic sculptures and the modern time is marked by the many dead dogs, jackals and other animals along the road. Victims of modern traffic.

In the flat part between the two bulgarian mountain ranges I stopped in the City of Sliven. After the stay in a nice hotel connected with a visit in the local Rotary Club I rode easy to Plowdiw, a town just before I had to go for the next range, the Rhodope Mountains. At the edge of Sliven I saw a new hardware store with a few cars and also one of the horse carriage waiting for their owner with his charge. You will never see these small, wiry horses going slowly, they are always in trot or even in gallop.

At the edge of Plowdiw  I saw again a striking, orthodox church but soon after this lovely picture the rural area started and the slope got worse and worse. After a hard day with many breaks in between, I finally reached a plateau with Lake Batak. On the way I found out, that the village of Tsigov Chark has a camp site and quickly I decided to stay there for at least one night. The site was realy a wonderful place at the edge of this deep blue lake and during this weekend it was also the final destination of a hichhicker ralley. There were about 150 people on the site most of them from Germany but also two young woman from Zürich. It was a pleasure to speak again some words in Swiss German.

After one day of rest I started with the next heavy mountain chain of the Rhodope. Forests of fir trees and alpine pastures reminded me very much on our Jura mountains. On the way we also passed some more reservoirs with he biggest of it near the little city of Dospat. With the very steep shore, the mysterious clouds of fog it looked like the landscape of norwegian fiords. The fish cages in the middle of the lake reinforce this impression. on the southern side of this range, against the Greek border, one met again and again nice and neat villages with a mosque of their middle .

I cycled through a valley where on both sides of the road stones for gardening and deco were mined.Here manual work was done and after some hard days  hundreds of pallets were ready to be transported to many countries. Watching the horizon in the south I knew that behind this range I could find Greece. Due to my  first gastrointestinal disorder it took me some days more to the border of Greece because I spent three days in Goze Deltschew to recover.

When I felt better again I rode southwards and soon reached the border. Through one last tunnel and Greece was greeting on the other side.