Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Two things you may not know about Bulgaria:
- The Cyrillic alphabet was invented here in the late 9th Century so the Bible could be distributed to Slavic countries
- When speaking to one another, Bulgarians nod to say no and shake their head to say yes
Bulgaria and Greece are the first european countries you encounter when coming from Turkey. I expected new five metre-high fences topped with particularly sharp wine bottles, but instead we stopped at a small queue of traffic at a little kiosk. Then a dirty, bearded man weaved towards us, his eyes flitting over the bike. He said “this must be for you” and handed us a plastic pouch containing our European vehicle green card insurance papers and road vignette. This was the amazing service you can get from fellow motorbike travellers.
We had pre-arranged this insurance with a lady in Bulgaria who also ran a guesthouse. She had then had this delivered to the border in case we had trouble getting into Bulgaria without it. When we got to her guesthouse she fed us for two days and let us use her extensive motorcycle workshop. It was pretty perfect!
Bulgaria is a friendly place with some excellent food and a fascinating history. But we couldn’t stay long as we had a hot date in Romania in just a few days. So we treated ourselves to a few local sights before stumbling onto the banks of the big blue Danube. It was here that a slightly random international river crossing would take us to Romania.