Monday, 10 July 2017

Trans Euro Trail - Serbia into Bulgaria

Sunday 02nd July 2017
Romania, Serbia into Bulgaria
We set off following the TET through the remaining part of Romania. This consisted of traversing fields, villages and a few minor tarmac roads to the border crossing. Leaving Romania meant getting the van looked at by both the police and customs officals, who were all really chatty and friendly. Once you cross no mans land into Serbia, it’s a repeat of the same process, with a bit of a discussion about Birmingham, Ipswich and football with the police man, (as these are the parts of the UK he’d visited!).

Serbia was flat. Covered in sunflowers and wheat, with really good quality roads. There are plenty of dirt trails that meander around the tarmac roads Danube a few times too, but we were uninspired by this north eastern corner, so after a visit into the nice town of Kovin, some nice chats with a couple of people, we took the peage motorway south to a town called Paracin, (530 ??). Here we picked up the TET again as it headed towards Bulgaria.

The TET branches north about 15km outside of Paracin, heading into a park area, we carried on the good tarmac road to Zajecar and the border crossing into Bulgaria. At the border, we repeated the process of the border, again with a very friendly Serbian team, less so with the Bulgarians unfortunately who seemed surly and miserable. At this border both sets of officals wanted to see all the vehicles paperwork, even though it was just a cursory glance and the dog’s passport too. Bulgaria also has a 15 euro charge for the van, funny the 5 euro change from the 20 euros I gave the guy didn’t reappear with the paperwork though!

The roads in Bulgaria were a step up from Romania, but not by much. Kulu & Vidin were run down and looked really shabby places. We filled up with van fuel at Vidin but hadn’t seen any other fuel stations since Serbia, so it’s maybe worth filling up in Serbia before you cross the border.

We picked the TET back up at Montana, bypassing all the flatter farmland and heading straight for the lake on the outskirts of town. It’s worth noting that both the Open Street Map software and the Garmin Worldwide DEM Basemap seem to lack any real detail of Bulgaria with loads of info missing on both. Some is available on one version and some on the other, but neither has all the roads or tracks on them.

At Lake Ogosta, we parked up for the afternoon, watching massive thunder and lightning storms track across the surrounding hills and the lake itself whilst drinking wine and making riding plans now that we were back into the mountains again. We’ll pick up the TET again from here and see where we end up tomorrow.