Saturday 11 June 2011

mud grass and churches

Doris hiding from the rain
fruit and veg stall
So there I was, plodding my solem way through the wheat fields of Northern Bulgaria when I thought of camping. Again the side of the road had just enough appeal for me to opt in but then the strangest thing happened. Sitting there I pondered my current situation. For all intents and purposes I could have been sitting in the railway reserve outside my parents house in Nelson. There was nothing particually Bulgarian about where I was or what I was doing so I chose to try and do something about it. I locked Doris to a tree (only to come and get her soon after) and went to find some people to have a chat with  in a neighbouring small village. As is typical with Bulgarians there was a group of social drinkers on the side of the cobble stone street, so I stopped, bought a beer from the corner store and parked my sore bum beside them. As curosity grew through the village I was inundated with visits from people both young and old. The usual rigmarole ensued where I had no idea what they were saying but agreed full heartedly usually to an explosion of laughter and a pat on the back. After some time I was invited with Doris to watch a gave of footy between Bulgaria and Macedonia in a drinking hall not unlike the rugby changing rooms of the late 80s. Stale ciggy smoke wafted just below the cealing as the crowed became more and more animated as the game wound down to a 1-1 draw. I was invited to an elderly mans house when he discovered I had nowhere to sleep, so at the end of the evening we wandered to his place in desperate need of a make over and I rested my head on a bed for the first time in a while. The morning light painted the walls in red and orange as it came through the painted glass. A wardrobe better suited to a story book with a big cat and a mean lady took up the remaining space in the room and the cobwebs suggested bugs could be plentyful through the summer. Two industral radiaters gave the sence of a very chilly and long winter in the disintergrating room. Still, this man had nothing and gave it all to me, a huge high five for that chap.

Off roading
Doris and I have been for some accidental off roading and had ourselves knee deep in grass and spoke deep in the stickest mud available. Unfortunately the dirt road I had used to camp on had turned into a slip and slide with the torrential rain brought on by another mid afternoon thunderstorm.

We have covered just over 3500km now and doris is streamlined and good to go, at least I hope. So far so good. Its amazing when you treat a lady with respect and she repays it, interesting life skill for one to stumble on when embarking on a trip solo.

Old building typical in bulgaria
I was into my second hour of a climb the other day and I thought hmmmm, this is a pretty big hill, still we kept going and some time later and a bucket or two of sweat I had creasted a pass of just over 2000meters above sea level. The most beautiful vistas overlooking the plains were casually akin to the high alpine meadows of the rocky mountains. Jaggered rocks pierced the mountainside and gave the feeling of remotness. What does one do at such a time?? Of course you do what any normal warm blooded person would do and you dangle your feet over a cliff while you eat you pasta meal setting up your tent for the night time chill to come and greet you.

In the morning I woke to a misty and invigorating morning and upon walking back to the road I pushed off and did not need a single peddle revolution for 20.83km. So in summation, it was in fact a big ass hill. One day I would love to come and walk around these beautiful mountains and spend some time on the open mountain pastures.

I head to romania in the morning after a night in Sofia, Bulgarias bustling capital. Thank you for all your comments and emails and the text messages, its awesome to hear what you time and the inspiration it gives me. Believe me, when you wake to a wind and the imminent rain on the dark side of another climb, you need what you can get.
Some ants

Rila Monastery
On getting to Sofia I had a man come to me while I was reading my map and trying to work out where I was heading. He was a physisist amd wanted to know everything about the bikee, the ride what I ate, where I camped and proceeded to walk me back in the direction he had come from to make sure I had a place to stay. He insisted on giving me his cell number and his email and asked if we could go for a bike together the next time I was riding in Bulgaria. A gesture well received at the end of a long day.


  1. It was great to read your blog and to see that you are safe. You seem to come across some interesting people. I did like the butterfly and Doris hiding from the rain!!! It would have been a change to be free wheeling instead of pushing it uphill. Trust u to be swinging your feet over the edge of a cliff. Take care.

  2. Oh Robin! so good to hear your tales. As I read, it is like you are telling them to me at a camp fire over a few beers. Bloody magical.
    Canada's good, families good. I opted for a broke summer full of adventure instead of working: such a bum. I'm running my second half marathon mid July, and every time I run your voice pops into my head about some running knowledge tid-bit you passed to me. Its a huge motivator. SO, if your struggling up a hill, just remember to think of me naked, it'll help.

    Live it; love it.