It`s about time i written something in the blog, i know.. to be honest i didn`t anticipate how much time it would take getting things sorted at the end of a day with winding down after riding, and then on the odd days off the brain feeling like the gear box has fell out, it feels just putting snippets doesn`t give the trek justice, i suppose something is better than nothing.
The madness and organised chaos seems to be becoming a way of life, where everything seems to be becoming lost in translation in an international game of charades, from drawing a picture of some chips on a waitress`s note pad, to asking for a cold bottle of water and the guy pointing to cigarettes behind the counter, to asking for the toilet, taking a slight bow in the way of a thank you and desperation for the need, then being led to a prayer room filled with rugs in the side door of a petrol station.
After coming from Sarajevo close to the border of Serbia in the republic of Serbia district, i stopped at a petrol station for some water and a look at the map, the pump attendant walked over out of the blue, to say up ahead for 15 km`s the road ends and turns to asphalt, with 23 unlit tunnels, he didn`t have to much of a luck of concern, i remember his words, go slow. it was 4.30 pm by this time and was considering camping up and covering the distance the next day, eventually the road literally ended, tarmac one side, one lane potholed road the other, pressing on through tunnels 400 metres long, pitch darkness where the torch wasn`t bright enough to shine a way, after 5 km`s the back wheel popped on a rock, the pump didn`t work to fix,so pushed the bike on, after 2 km`s the pannier rack bolt snapped, dropping the rack to the wheel making for heavier pushing, getting dark and considering to camp only to be swayed by the warning signs for mines on either side of the road, sweating, thirsty and running on adrenalin i arrived to a small village, where thankfully some nice people helped and allowed me to stay the night at their place, waking up at 6.00 am to coffee and Raki
Crossing into Serbia felt like cycling in a cross between Switzerland for scenery and England for atmosphere, but then the large print on the sign entering said welcome to Serbia, prices of things were cheaper than western Europe and the people friendly, i had a puncture one day at 5.30 pm outside a car garage, the guy working there walked over, the first thing he said was Raki,when i turned that down.. Brandi?, settling for a can of lager with his family on the lawn to his house, the day after at 5.30 pm another puncture happened outside a garage, the bike literally rolling to a stop as the tyre deflated, not sure if this was happening for a reason, sitting down to fix the bike in the garage forecourt and meeting friends as though we`ve been friends for ages.
Heading to Bulgaria from Serbia was near enough one straight road which must have been a through road for tourist coming from Bulgaria and Turkey, near enough every other car was a Dutch and German car with a dash of UK cars.Bulgaria felt like it was holding onto something tightly, crossing the border gave the first sense of arriving to Asia with a heat that felt like someone was blower a heater to my face.
Arriving in Sofia felt like Barcelona, a nice place, urban, rustic which came more to life when it got to night time