Bike-Ride To Australia 22nd-November 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 22nd-November 2011. Parvomaj, Bulgaria to Edirne, Turkey 85 miles. Breakfast wasn’t until 8 o’clock this morning, so the hotel said they’d do me a breakfast to go. They needn’t have bothered. All I got was one ham sandwich! After such a filling breakfast, I felt greedy for stopping at a café!!

I had the fright of my life today! Cars and lorries were coming past me as normal, and nine times out of ten, I can tell the difference between them. This morning, I heard a lorry and moved closer to the kerb, as I usually do. I was just bracing myself for the inevitable backdraft as it passes when bang! One of the tyres blew, I nearly shat my pants! Luckily I have more than one pair!

Bulgarian Turkish border control
One of the many checkpoints at the Bulgarian Turkish border

Well, I’ve made it as far as Turkey, country number ten, which was a bit of a surprise! But going on my previous form about when I reach other countries, it’s not really surprising! There were plenty of checkpoints on the Bulgarian/Turkey border, certainly more than on any other I’ve crossed. Luckily they waved me through a couple of them.

It was a short but busy ride from the border to Erdine. And cycling up the main road into Edirne was very noisy! The speakers from the mosques were blasting out the call to prayer. And above in the sky, there were thousands of crows, cawing away! I can tell I’m getting closer to Asia!

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Bike-Ride To Australia 21st-November 2011

World Bicycle-Tour 21st-November 2011  Valkarel to Parvomaj 98 miles. Boy, was it cold first thing this morning! Mind you. It probably didn’t help coming downhill for the first hour! I got so cold I started to wish an uphill would come so that I could warm up! In the end, I stopped at the first opportunity, which was a little café.

Small house
Stoyan’s house

Not surprisingly, the café owner didn’t speak any English! And the only thing I managed to order was an omelette and some coffee. And that was only because I saw the eggs on the side and pointed to them! None the less it still went down well, and I soon warmed up.

Tanks in Sofia Bulgaria
More tanks from Sofia yesterday

While eating my omelette, I glanced up at the clock, noticed the time, and wondered if it was correct? It was showing an hour later than my phone! I showed the café owner my phone, pointed to the clock, and gestured to see which one was correct. The owner pointed to his watch, which agreed with the clock on the wall. Now that could explain a lot! When I went to bed last night, I thought Stoyan’s clock had said midnight. Yet when I was in bed writing my blog, my phone said 11 o’clock. It would also explain why Stoyan’s dad was so keen to get rid of me this morning. Before going to bed, I’d told him that I wanted to be on the road by 6! I didn’t think the clocks changed until I reached Turkey!

I managed to find a hotel tonight before it was too dark today, which was just as well. The roads are so busy with lorries! I didn’t fancy cycling in the dark.

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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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