Bike-Ride To Australia 20th-November 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 20th-November 2011 Pirot, Serbia to Valkarel, Bulgaria. 84 miles. Well, I’ve finally made it to Bulgaria! It was only a short ride this morning to the Serbian/Bulgarian border, and there were no problems with the crossing.

Cycling through Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, I could help but notice the large amounts of tanks! I hope theirs, not something going on that I don’t know about, i.e. war! As is usually the case in big cities, I got lost! I eventually found my way out, but I had to cycle down a motorway for a couple of miles. By the time I’d got off the motorway, it was dark.

Is there something I don’t know

Off the motorway, I looked at the map for the next town in the hope of finding a hotel. There was nothing! With no sign of a bed for the night in the next few miles, I resigned myself to a long ride in the dark to anywhere that half looked as if it might have a hotel. I was halfway up a long climb when a car pulled up alongside me. Fearing the worst, I was all set to turn around and peddle like made back down the hill. I needn’t have worried. The man in the car was just asking if I was okay. I said yes and asked if there were any hotels nearby. None for miles, but I want to help you, you come and stay at my place! He replied in his broken English. You follow me! And with that, we proceeded up the hill. Stoyan (whose name I later found out) led the way with loud dance music blaring out from the speakers in his car!

There are tanks everywhere
Are We There Yet

The hill was a lot longer than I thought, and I was grateful to arrive at Stoyans house. Stoyan made sure that my bike was secure for the night before taking me in to meet his family. He had two small children, a seven-year-old boy and a baby girl of seven months. His wife, whose name I never got! (Or rather I did, but it went in one ear and straight out the other!) Served us up some cold meats and cheese while Stoyan broke out the Raki! While we sat eating and drinking, Stoyans wife was on the phone. And from what I could work out, she was telling her friends about the English man they’d found on the road! And sure enough, a few minutes later in walked Stoyans brother and girlfriend, and a little later their dad!

Bulgarian family
Stoyan and his family

They were all pleasant and friendly, and we sat around talking for the evening with none of us really understanding each other! But it was a very entertaining and enjoyable evening. The warmth and friendship some people show towards strangers is very touching and much appreciated.

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