Monday, 10 July 2017

Trans Euro Trail - Bulgaria - North, then down to Sofia

Monday 03rd July 2017

A day of really epic rain storms, thunder, lightning & high winds. We had to move early this morning as it had rained a lot of the night and the van was in danger of getting bogged down on the lake shore. Half asleep I drove away, feeling the van sliding sideways into the deeper ruts as we traversed back to safer ground. Once there Lucy pointed out I’d left the milk for her cereal, so I had a wander back to find I’d driven over it when pulling away... Ooops!

From here we went down to Sofia to the KTM shop there, EDI Motors. They were pretty helpful but the shop was expensive, even by UK standards, so we bought the replacement bearings we needed, some oil and Lucy found a KTM jumper she liked.

Most of the towns in the lowlands we’ve passed through have been a bit of an eye opener really, pretty run down with lots of grey high rise flats everywhere, some of which house people but should really be condemned. Not a nice way to live... There seems to be no end of all of the older western european cars, bikes and trucks floating around, plenty of Mercs, BMW’s and Audi’s. Along side this seems to be lots of older russian vehicles which are used a lot in the mountains as the newer vehicles can’t cope so well with the rough terrain and the russian ones are cheaper for spares at a guess. The motorways all have really good service stations and facilities and there is Wifi pretty much in all of them. We spent a lot of today in a town called Samokov, where most of the rain seemed to be falling. The roads had become rivers, the emergency services were out in force and in general the place was deserted of anybody, all hiding from such a violent storm. We ventured out at one point, (when the rain eased a little), to get a drink and just to look at the place. There seems to be a few town squares here, all with outdoor wifi, cafe’s and lots of statues, murals and a large war memorial. It’s a pretty nice place really, especially compared to some of the towns we’ve been to so far. It appears to the gateway into several ski resorts in the surrounding forests too. 

After we’d eaten a lovely meal in a restaurant and the rain finally slowed down, we left the town to get back to the TET at a town called Dolnya Banya. The TET comes right through here. There are plenty of motels, food shops and 2 petrol garages, plus a bank to change currency at. As you enter from the north, the ford has been damaged and now looks impassable, (especially in today's water levels!). But the tarmac bridge to the side is fine. As you exit the town, heading south, you ride past the local dumping ground, which is unsightly at best, so close your eyes and keep going!!

All in all, an eventful day, but not for the reasons we’d expected... the forecast is better from tomorrow onwards, so it’s back to riding time again now... whoop whoop!