Tues 22nd. Valkeral to Edirne Turkey 85 miles. Didn’t seem quite as cold this morning. Because I left the hotel before breakfast was being served, that wasn’t until 8 o’clock, they said they would do me a breakfast to go. One ham and cheese sandwich! So stopped off at another cafe, breakfasts always better after a couple of hours anyway. Not a very eventful day it was overcast for most of it, made it to Turkey today which I wasn’t expecting. There was so many different check points not too sure what they all where, luckily I got waved through some of them so I wasn’t queueing for as long as the cars. Riding up the main street in Edirne, it’s so busy, the speakers on the mosques were blaring out calling people for prayer, up above in the sky there was thousands of crows, quite a lot busier than it’s been on this trip, but I suppose I am nearly in Asia.
Mon 21. Valkarel to Parvomaj 98 miles. God it was cold this morning, mind you it didn’t help coming down hill for nearly an hour, I was so cold I was wishing an up hill would come just so I could warm up! In the end I stopped off at cafe so I could warm up, also decided to have an omelette, whilst sitting there I glanced at the clock and noticed the time, I then asked the owner if it was correct and it was, didn’t realise Bulgaria is 2 hours ahead of the uk I thought it was when I got to Turkey it was 2 hours! That would also explain why Stoyans dad was keen to get rid of me as I’d said I wanted to be gone by 7 and it was only just gone 6! When I went to bed I thought it was nearly midnight but when I was in my room doing yesterdays email it was only nearly 11! Managed to find a hotel tonight and before it was too dark, don’t fancy being on this road in the dark, it’s the main road from Turkey to Europe, there’s so many lorries.
Sun 20. Pirot to Valkarel 84 miles. Eventually made it to Bulgaria short ride first thing to get to the border and no problems there. Got a bit lost in Sofia but eventually found my way out although I did have to ride down the motorway! It was dark and starting to get late and there no sign of a hotel or even any towns! I’d sort of resigned myself to a long dark evening and long ride to anywhere that half looked as if it had a hotel. I’d stopped on this hill when a car pulled up to see if I was ok, I said yes and asked if there was any hotels nearby, to which the reply was no, but I want to help you, you come and stay at my place. We proceeded up the hill with Stoyan as I found out was his name later, driving in front of me with his loud dance music blasting out of his car, although all I heard was the heavy sound of bass! We arrived at his place eventually, the hill was a lot longer than I thought. He proceeded to make sure my bike was safe then took me in to meet his family. He had two small children one of 7 years and one 7 months, whilst we were eating cold meats and cheese, his wife was obviously phoning around telling people to come and see what they’d found, sure enough after only a few minutes in walked his brother and his girlfriend, who were also very nice, then a little bit later his father came in. 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 to strangers is very touching and much appreciated.