Thursday, 17 May 2012

UNCLE BULGARIA HERE WE COME

We left Poland in a blaze of sunshine! We crossed the border into Slovakia through the mountains. The area is a ski resort and the roads were real fun. Into Slovakia we continued to be blessed with lovely scenery and weather.  The last time we travelled through Slovakia we stuck to the motorway – boring – but this time it was a real treat. Into Hungary and the weather and temperature took a nose dive. Thankfully we didn’t have to far to ride to reach our destination for that evening – Magyar Route 66 Biker Guesthouse and Campsite. The site is in Szilvasvarad and is run by a Dutch guy called Leen. When we arrived, he was out taking his Hungarian visitors on a bike tour but arrived shortly after.   The site has a swimming pool, a bar area, a grill area – it has everything you need! Leen brought us a welcome beer and after tea we joined him and his friends for a drink. We were given a shot of some Hungarian drink. They only gave us a small shot, which I think was wise!
In the morning, we set off in our waterproofs as it was still damp and cold. We headed straight for Romania. Just through the border and we met a couple with familiar accents – they were originally from Consett - just down the road from Sunderland.  Romania is a beautiful country. It also has a lot of stray dogs roaming around. They tend to ignore cars but for some reason the sound of the bike must anger/excite them and they chase you. Now that may sound funny but having experienced it the last time we were in Romania, it can be quite daunting. Having a barking hound chasing you – you’re trying to get away from the dog, watch the road, watch the Romanian drivers, not get the dog under your wheels.  On one occasion this time I thought the dog was going to leap onto the sidecar! On the other side, some of them are quite cute and I forget that they are manky and stroke them (then wash my hands). With the amount of dogs roaming around there is the inevitable road deaths and I still find it difficult when we see dead dogs lying at the side of the road.
The Transfagarasan Pass was beckoning and we stayed at a campsite just a few km north of the start.  The campsite owner told us the pass was shut. It was due to open on 15th May (the next day) but it was staying shut longer. We went up anyway and as expected the ‘closed’ sign was up. We spoke to one of the souvenir shop owners and he said it was closed due to snow further up but that we could go up and take a few photos then come down so that’s what we did and it was well worth it. The road was littered with rock falls and snow was covering half the road in places but the views are out of this world. We got up to just over 5000 feet before rounding a corner and being met with snow on both sides of the road. It had been cleared but snow had slipped from higher up and came down and blocked the road again.  This now means we will have to come back to Romania at a later date so we can do the pass.
 
 Leaving Romania we had torrential rain accompanied by lightning – beautiful but a wee bit scary too! As we entered Bulgaria there was no let up in the weather and it continued all the way to Moto camp Bulgaria in Idilevo, where we were meeting up with Will. By the time we arrived there the thunder was also filling the air. I don’t think I’ve experienced thunder and lightning that went on for so long. We were greeted by Polly, Ivo and Peach and of course Will. Polly put the heater on in our room while we had a cuppa to warm up and we enjoyed our first evening in Bulgaria in lovely company. We are hoping also to catch up with some other friends while we are here but they have had real weather problems coming down the other side of Europe,  Darren and Leigh have had their tent wrecked in the storms – so not sure if we’ll see them or not. Belle and Nads were to be coming here but have had to change their route after being stuck in Sarajevo due to snow so hopefully we’ll catch up with them in Istanbul.

10 comments:

  1. Superb! So good to hear you're going so well and all your experiences too. Really gets the imagination going.
    Good to know everything is holding up, that's one well-prepped Beemer :-)

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, everything is not holding up :( the seat box is leaking like a sieve with a hole in it! We're not best pleased. Iain and Darren have been on it all day fizing it, making it watertight.

      Delete
  2. Bleeding hell never realised the chariot could travel so far so quickly you will be back before you've been forgotten at this pace, Slooooowwwww doooownnnn a Little and chill out. But its all looking good nice little reviews to keep the interest to us poor sad bugggers back at home.Jake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jake, we just need to be out of Europe, it's very expensive. Hope you're getting on ok with your bike :)

      Delete
  3. Keep the reports coming. Hope the weather gets better for you although you might be begging for the rain when you're being plagued with mozzies. Paul and Vanessa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent! Sounds great fun. Keep it coming please.
    Cheers
    Col

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's lovely being able to follow your path and read about your experiences!! Not jealous in the least ;-) when you cross over the border from Bulgaria into Turkey that's where I used to live n work!! Edirne has an amazing mosque and the little town of Kirklarelli was home for a year. There wasn't much happening there 12 years ago, agricultural community with clothing factories, but it was bloody cheap to live there. I loved Istanbul - hope you guys find it as amazing as I did. Take care, Kirsty xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. For the dogs - plenty more ahead ;-)try a water pistol (childs, not pump action b4 Iain gets carried away). Generally they don't like 'em, and the passenger can have some fun. Also handy when it gets very hot for self-use, wet T-shirts :-0 FyB XX

    ReplyDelete
  7. It sounds really great. I'll be chasing after your wheel tracks in about 2 weeks. Taz & Joel still with me but leaving for France today and I'll be setting off on the 4th June for a gentel meander but via Italy and the Horizons meet in Greece.
    Have Fun & Ride Safe

    ReplyDelete
  8. It was nice to meet you in ─░stanbul..wish you best,happy,healthy and lucky trips..

    ReplyDelete