Bulgaria was going to be a road section. I had decided that prior to arriving. I had two destinations in mind. Sofia, the Capitol and Plovdiv, the home town of a friend of mine.

Having entered the country at Deve Bair in the North East of N. Macedonia, it was a straight 100km run to Sofia.

On arrival I booked a hotel and made my way to the outskirts of Sofia.

The family hotel marsina.

The hotel looked good but it was far from it. The place smelt of cigarettes and damp. There was a child’s birthday party taking place when I got there, not an issue as it would surely end before I went to bed. What actually happened was more and more people turned up and partied loudly into the early hours.

Next morning I went to the centre of Sofia.
There are many Russian monuments to WW2 soldiers who died.
I had read how artists had painted one monument and it was now an attraction in its own right. However as you can see the artists work had been removed
Glorious buildings adorn the capitol
This church has a contravercial image of a bald Jesus at the entrance
The statue of Saint Sofia is the newest statue in the city. It replaces an old statue of Lenin. On her left arm an owl symbolises wisdom and on the right a laurel wreath considered a symbol of peace
Whilst excavating for a new underground shopping centre a near complete Roman town was found. Its in great condition and you can see the heating systems and sewer systems
The oldest and smallest church in Sofia. St Petka church
Batemburg Square

I’d had my fill of Sofia so headed south towards Plovdiv. I got an amazing hotel at a great price, so I booked two nights.

Nothing says class more than an orange PVC chair with leopard skin cushions
Next to the hotel was a park and huge statue atop the hill
A 16m high statue of Aliosha stands in memory of soviet casualties of the second Soviet occupation of Bulgaria
Plovdiv from the monument
Looking down on my hotel
That evening I went to the singing fountains. Water jets and coloured lighting accompany the soundtrack to music played throughout the park
A great friend of mine is from Plovdiv and works in London. I tracked down his Grandmother and called him on video call. It was quite a surprise for him
As I headed south it was time for fuel and coffee. As I filled up I was joined by a guy on a BMW GS800
Next morning in a howling gale I set off to the Communist monument known as the UFO building
Many bike travellers visit this crumbling monument.
Known as the Bulgaria UFO it is really the Buzludzha Monument. A former Bulgarian Communist Party Headquarters.
Signs on the outside say it is under restoration. I saw no signs of that as the wind literally shook the roof apart
Walking round the open side the wind nearly took me off my feet
Did I mention it was windy?
Some grass
There was nothing on this impressive statue. Google says, Dimitar Blagoev Nikolov was a Bulgarian political leader and philosopher.
Some villages have old soviet planes in their squares. Most are war memorials
This one is in the infant school playground
Sunset looking up at the statue I visited
Next morning it was time to head off towards Turkey, but not before being turned away from a military base that was shown as disused.
At a fuel stop I was joined for coffee by a guy on his BMW GS800
That guy was Michel.

Michel is a Lebonese guy who was travelling home from Germany on his newly purchased GS which replaced his 650 that was stolen. We chatted for a while and Michel told me he intended to catch a ferry that would bypass the need to travel through Istanbul. I knew I would ride through it twice but I could go with Michel and then visit Istanbul on the way back. Michel was happy for me to join him.

It was nice for me to just follow rather than be navigating as we headed to Tekirdag port. On arrival we boarded the ferry within an hour but then waited another hour to sail

We were first on
The bikes dwarfed by the ferry superstructure

We had just left port when we were told the crossing would be 3 to 3½ hours. In the end it was nearly 5 hours. I slept across a bench seat in the empty cafeteria. I think it was, 3am when we arrived in Bandirma, Turkey. I had found a hotel very close to the port and happily they had two rooms. We would regroup at 9am.

Author: benjackson63

A new adventure biker just starting out on my blogging adventures.

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