Road To London: Bulgaria (Bulgaristan) And The Unknown
Friday, March 16, 2012
We left Istanbul headed towards Bulgaria some 300km away as interacting with the locals in Turkey wasn't easy although the people are generally friendly. Istanbul is too touristy and outside Istanbul less people speak English so we just decided to move on.
Riding out of Istanbul we discovered that the city is so large that after 30km there was still no sign that you are out of the city. Places along the roads are all built up and join with the next town. Along the way people waved to us and shouted greetings that we could not understand.
We stopped for the night at Silivri, Luleburgaz and the last town Edirne before crossing into Bulgaria. Before Silivri we were stopped by a bakery operator who insisted to fete us with cakes, cookies and teas. He was so kind that he even packed some for us to take along. It was getting dark and we later stopped at a petrol pump to ask anyone who knew of a hotel nearby. There wasn't one and we finally ended up sleeping in a storeroom at the pump.
We continued our journey to Luleburgaz, stayed for the night and then continued to Edirne. Edirne is the last town before the border and we managed to see some of its attractions. Edirne was the old capital of the Ottoman Empire and the old mosque was built in 1414. Another mosque is similar to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and with exquisitely crafted interior.
Our cycling route was generally undulating and at some stretches the hills were really steep that I had to push the bicycle to the apex before continuing. The good thing about hills is that after reaching the top it is then down all the way without pedalling sometimes for many kilometers.
The border to Bulgaria is about 20 km from Edirne and it was a relief that the crossing procedures were simple. At the Bulgarian side, Aede had to remove his helmet as his photo on the passport showed a chubby face while now he has lost all the 'baby' fat. The terrain on the Bulgarian side is also hilly so we also had a tough time.
Things here appear gloomy and dreary and while the roads have very light traffic we are again seeing the occasional horse and donkey carts when passing the inhabited areas. Our first night in Bulgaria was in Svelingrad about 15 km from the border. After spending the night there we moved on. We encountered more hills and also the persistent drizzles before arrived at the next destination. It was cold and at times faced with strong headwinds. We are now at Haskovo about 70 km from Svelingrad and it was snowing when we arrived.
Some people have asked for my email to contact me so it is firstname.lastname@example.org. And those who wish to talk to me on Skype this is my Skype ID: adnanxtreme. I shall try and reply to all if possible, but please remember to consider the time difference, I could be cycling or sleeping while you are up and about with your daily routine.
Bulgaria is a small country and we should be out in 4 days time. Next is Romania. Regards and take care all.
Leaving Istanbul, part of the old Ottoman
Goodwill and friendship everywhere
Tools of a Shoeshine in Turkey
To Bulgaria (Bulgaristan)
Old Ottoman bridge built in 1429 by Mustafa Pasha
during the reign of Sultan Suleiman Shah
On the way to Haskovo
Proper bicycle parking in Istanbul
Before leaving Istanbul
Boiling chicken soup in the room
If you wish to get in touch with Adnan Osman (his personal blog: http://oadnanxtreme.blogspot.com/) or would like to help him on his endeavour, you can email him at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can reach Adnan through his wife, Marina Wong (03-77856058 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or his son, Adely (email@example.com)