Flying along through Bulgaria

(for English see below)

Photo gallery

Schnell unterwegs

Leaving Rila

Leaving Rila

A typical Bulgarian flower garden

A typical Bulgarian flower garden

3000 km

3000 km

Bulgarian lunch in Plovdiv

Bulgarian lunch in Plovdiv

Plovdiv

Plovdiv

Plovdiv

Plovdiv

Plovdiv - Roman Theatre

Plovdiv – Roman Theatre

Apparently Australia has a fuel company located in Bulgaria

Apparently Australia has a fuel company located in Bulgaria

"Istanbul"

“Istanbul”

26.04.13 Svilengrad, Bulgaria

26.04.13 Svilengrad, Bulgaria

Spring time

Spring time

Unsere letzten vier Tage in Bulgarien (22. bis 25. April) verbrachten wir bei sommerlichen Temperaturen auf etwas weniger spektakulären, dafür guten Strassen. Wir legten täglich so viele Kilometer zurück, dass wir uns in Plovdiv, der zweitgrössten Stadt Bulgariens, sogar noch mal einen velofreien Tag in einer charmanten Pension mit eigenem Balkon und Küche gönnten. Plovdiv ist mit einer über 6000 Jahre dauernden Siedlungsgeschichte eine der ältesten durchgängig besiedelten Städte Europas, wovon auch heute noch zahlreiche Ruinen und Bauten zeugen. So interessant Plovdiv auch ist, an unserem “Ruhetag” genossen wir es vor allem, in Strassencafés und auf unserem eigenen Balkon zu faulenzen und lesen, ein gutes Nachtessen zu kochen und ebenso guten Wein zu trinken – fast wie an einem gemütlichen Sommersonntag in der Schweiz.

Am 26. April überquerten wir die bulgarisch-türkische Grenze (Paul als Australier mit teurem Visum, Annina als Schweizerin ohne Visum im Pass) und liessen die EU endgültig hinter uns. Das Gefühl, es bis in die Türkei geschafft und damit die erste grosse Etappe hinter uns zu haben, ist überwältigend!

Flying along

We left Rila (22nd April) hoping to head around the mountains (who knew Bulgaria had so many!!) on or way to Plovdiv, but as it turned out, we the next 2 days riding past a few of the Bulgarian ski resorts.  Luckily for us, we only had to ride past them, and not through or over them.

We then arrived in Plovdiv mid-afternoon the next day (23rd April), dropped everything in our pension, and headed off to grab a late lunch.  We’d planned a rest day for following day, so we were happy just to people watch and enjoy a beer in the warm sun.

Wednesday (24th April) was spent enjoying the sights of Plovdiv.  Plovdiv histories spans around 6000 years, on account of traces of its Neolithic settlement from around 4000 BC, ranking it as one of the world’s oldest cities.  The city was founded upon seven hills, and was originally a Thracian city, before becoming a Greek and then a major Roman one.  It later changed hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires, before coming under Ottoman and then Russian rule before finally becoming part of Bulgaria.

This patchwork history brings with it a mix of architectural styles, ruins and defenses dating from different millennia.  An ancient Roman theatre has been wonderfully restored and the view over Plovdiv from the remains of the fortress atop one of the hills is fantastic.  The cobbled old town is filled with Revival-era housing, some painstakingly preserved and others decayed and falling apart.

We set off the next day (25th April) knowing that we had a bit over 150km to the Turkish border, and then about another 20km in to Edirne.  After 120km of sunshine we called it a day, found a peacefully located campsite (very rare in Bulgaria) and prepared ourselves for the crossing in to Turkey the next day.

Off again the following day (26th April) propelled along with a nice tailwind we quickly approached the end of the EU borders.  Sunny skies kept us fairly warm, and we can only begin to get a feeling for the temperature extremes that will greet us sometime during our travels through Turkey.  We were waved through the Bulgarian passport control, rolled through no man’s land towards the Turkish crossing point, and then after a few formalities felt Turkish soil (me USD60 lighter than Nina, courtesy of the required visa) under our wheels for the very first time.

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