Sunday 20th November 2011

Bulgarian family
Stoyan and his family

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.

Saturday 19th November 2011

Stara Planina Serbia
Somewhere in the Stara Planina Serbia

Sat 19. Knsjazevac to Pirot 41 miles. Hard work today. Didn’t wake up until nearly 8 o’clock, spent last night with a Romanian football team who were there for a tournament between Romania, Croatia and Serbia, that much I do remember! Everything else seems a bit of a blur, I’d had about 5 pints before they asked me to join them, they then gave me some Romanian whiskey which I thought was more like vodka as it was clear but they insisted it was whiskey, then it was onto wine all this was home brewed as it was in old coke bottles. Don’t remember going up to bed or what time, all I saw this morning was that I’d obviously fallen over in the bathroom and smashed the shower screen! Went down for breakfast and the hotel owner asked if I was ok and how was my head! He said that there was a lot drunk. I confessed about the shower screen and said I would pay for the damage, he charged me 100 euros which I thought was pretty good of him and he seemed ok about it all and wished me a safe journey. Due to my late start, I didn’t start riding until 10 o’clock, it was hard work think I was still drunk from the night before and it was all up hill! Should have made Bulgaria today but due to my late start I obviously didn’t i’m about 25 miles away so should be there tomorrow country number 8.

Friday 18th November 2011

Hills in Serbia
On the road near a place called Bor

Fri 18. Zagubica to Knajazevac 75 miles. Thank god I didn’t have to camp last night, it was cold enough in the room. I saw on the tele at breakfast that it was -6°c last night! Mind you it did only cost €30 for bed, breakfast, evening meal and beer! Put an extra layer on this morning, needn’t have bothered, spent the first 3 hours going up hill, I’d soon taken off the extra layer plus more! Didn’t seem half as cold today maybe it was all the hills, even going down them wasn’t that cold, mind you I didn’t go that fast the roads were in such a bad state I’d have either broke my bike or worse still come off. I did get up to 47mph at one point though! Should be in Bulgaria tomorrow night.