Welcome to Bulgaria!

Apologies for the delayed blog post!!  I’m horribly behind again.. I’ve really really been on the move.. Meeting so many people, wonderful hosts, riding the bike a lot, leaving little time for blogging. Always a tough decision, should I go see that or meet them, or update my blog.. Have to say that I tend to choose enjoying my experiences over sitting at a computer while visiting an amazing place.. But I always have good intentions!!

Anybody recognize this bike??  It’s Doug Wothke’s Harley creation he rode through Europe and the Middle East (including Iraq!) last year… if you’ve not seen it,  he has a great blog at http://www.motosapiens.org

I made my way finally… to Bulgaria!!  This part of the world was not originally in my route plan.  With all the changes in my route, I am ridiculously far behind, but doesn’t matter!! I’ll get there when I get there..

I’m on my way to Doug and Poly’s Motocamp in Idilevo Bulgaria (www.motosapiens.org)

Just after going through all the Turkey and Bulgarian border checks.. and to date, I must say I’ve not had the first problem with ANY border crossings on my trip…knock on wood.. It’s just time consuming. I pulled over quickly to tuck everything away properly.  Couldn’t help but to notice a sign in English!!

I would imagine it would be good business around here!! I’m not horribly convinced it’s actually a Doctor’s office though.. 😉
And a few more views from the road …

After spending several weeks amongst Greek and Turkish language.. it was clearly exciting enough for me to see the Cyrillic letters again in Bulgaria and hence take a photo of a common road sign.. bringing fond memories of reading road signs in Russia..!

Horses, buggies and gypsies, have been common on the road from Albania, Greece and Turkey..I don’t usually take the highway, so this one stood out for me.. you wouldn’t see this sort of sight on the highway between Sydney and Melbourne!
I’m on my way to Doug and Poly’s Motocamp (www.motosapiens.org).. with the morning ferry in Turkey and the stop over to ANZAC Cove, many km’s and border crossings, I needed to make up a bit of time and do a little highway tonight.
Finding a place to sleep wasn’t easy.. and when I did it was weird, but it’s all part of getting used to another new country, language, etc etc.  What’s worse I hadn’t eaten all day.. no restaurants around and the one grocery store which was quite large actually, had no green vegetables or fruit! The few other veggies they did have were old and shrivelled up.  I realized later that green vegetables and fruit are not much part of the culture here.. oh no!  Was odd to see, but I come prepared.. I always travel with Spirulina which is my favorite way to supplement in times I’m lacking greens.  I’ve actually had just spirulina as a meal at times.. and it’s all right.. not the most fulfilling meal, but does the job..

Polly was kind enough to give me the route to the camp and everything I need to stop and see along the way.

Pulled into Shipka.. and noticed the graveyard death notifications outside, called necrologs?  I hadn’t seen this custom before. You will also find them on streets corners, lamp posts, etc.  A sort of replacement for the notices you would see in your local paper, however in their culture, you wouldn’t likely to take it down any time soon.. They feel this way they are being watched by the dead, so you better be good!

Also in Shipka is this most beautiful Russian Church.  It was built to commemorate the Russian soldiers who died in a battle with the during the Russia-Turk War in 1877-8.

This entire journey seems to be about the churches and history in each place.  I’ve seen so many that I tend to not go and look at them any more.  I know that’s bad, and they are all amazing..however this one is really unique compared to the others I’ve seen, so it gets my attention.

Next – on to another large monument. Again, I’ve seen so many, however, have a look at this thing!!!

It’s called Buzludja Monument, and I now know it’s strangeness is one of a whole series are supersize alien like monuments built during the communist era in Bulgaria.  It had a huge parking lot and not a soul around.. completely vandalized and dismantled.. with graffiti in large red letters at the middle bottom says ” Forget the Past”..  Being up here on the mountain top alone with this monument felt a little un-nerving, so I didn’t hang around long.. It looked like something I may have seen in a scary movie and wasn’t sure what was going to come out of the openings.. and whatever it might be, who would save me!??

I find most any monument or statue around the country have that super strong rigid sort of style.. a real reflection of they type of culture and history from this area.  There are many examples I could give, but I won’t bore you.. Just look at this one of three women.. usually I see a more soft way of representing women, but even these ladies look very very strong!!

The roads are fairly rough around here.. not maintained much and I also noticed by the look of the rubble in the road that it doesn’t get much traffic.

But it was nice to ride up and down the mountains/hills from spring into winter and back into spring..

WINTER

SPRING

On to another bit of war history.. some serious fighting around these parts.. again, with the Turks.

I made my way down to a small roadside cafe.. was really craving salad even though I knew I was asking too much.. funny that when you know you can’t have something, you want it more.

The guy spoke a little English and with the “salad”, I got fried cheese??  and chips.. ha!  Abundance of cheese and potatoes around here, and my “green salad” was actually white cabbage..  which I like! But wasn’t what I had in mind.. I have always been taught that beggars can’t be choosers while on the road. 😉

No question as I enter Gabrovo, to see a bit of Bulgarian city life and another very strong monument is here for the greeting!  The boldness of it all.. but after meeting many Bulgarian people, I don’t get the sense in my short time that they are hard rigid people in general..  Either it never was (except for the government) or times are changing..

Finally make it to motocamp..  with a different sort of greeting.  I knew the rain was coming.. and also with good intentions to explore Bulgaria more with Poly, we didn’t get to as the heavy rain kept us at camp for a couple days.. which left me with no more view of the country! ?But a much welcomed break for me to catch up on the computer.

Polly

I really was comfortable at the camp which added to my ability to stop for a bit! :-)))

They showed me the photos of what it was and what they’ve turned it into.. Updated but still definitely a great taste of old Bulgaria.  Here it is.. Motocamp Bulgaria. A lovely place including a satellite dish..!! If you’re on motorcycle, you must stop and stay here, you’ll love it!!

Haaaa!!  JUST KIDDING!!  This is not the camp.. serves Doug right for as much as he teases me..  (this is Gypsie camp near Sofia)

Here is the real camp.. ;-)))

The Bar.. out back.. really cool!

With a few toys around the place..

And one very well recognized Lenin.. whom I saw in every single town square in Russia, didn’t expect to find him here again in Doug and Polly’s Bar.

Doug obviously isn’t here.. He’s on his way back from America on his next Harley creation, a Sportster 1200 modified to take on the Russian roads we did last year.  I can’t stay around camp, so we plan to meet on the route as I travel north.

I so much enjoyed staying in this small village and really wish I could have stayed longer, really… I was so comfortable!  But I must go…

On my way to Romania..  two last sights of Bulgaria that gave me a little chuckle.

I stopped for fuel and noticed these apartments across the road. While sitting on the bike with my water I pull out the camera to have a closer look.. stalker!  But I didn’t notice until I was looking at the photos on my computer, this apartment with the one piece of underwear hanging to dry..  maybe they are a moto rider like me with minimalist lifestyle?

But then… I find a different apartment again only one underwear.. And next door a single hosery.. 😉

Well, that’s a small and incomplete view of life in Bulgaria..  I didn’t have near enough time in this country.. as usual!!  Meaning I will have to go back for more someday.. but put it on your list!
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About kangamerican

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-) View all posts by kangamerican

3 responses to “Welcome to Bulgaria!

  • Polytimi

    Sherri, another great post!Just love to read your descriptions, thoughts and looking at the photos, so well-coordinated!Thanks again for sharing all this and…"forget the past!"…P.xxxx

  • Operator7G

    Another wonderful update! As for the choice between updating your blog and experiencing the moment, that's a no-brainer, and you're making the right choice. You have to live the moment and experience life to its fullest. You can always update the blog on rainy days when you can't or simply don't want to get outside and about.

  • George F

    Great pics, I'm now trying to catch up to your travels. You didn't go inside the huge concrete monument? I can't believe you were spooked ;-)The apartments seem to be falling apart 😦

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