As the title can suggest, I didn’t have big expectations about Bulgaria, I knew it was on my route but was basically a passage point to Greece and a point of return exiting from Turkey, however one of the big advantages in traveling with free time and without any pressure is that even on passing points I end up stopping and discovering a bit of the region I am at.
I didn’t do a lot of stops in Bulgaria, on my first passage between Serbia and Greece I just did one stop in Sofia the country’s capital city. It is a capital, it has the life of a capital, but it’s not to big, it can easily be explored in one or two days, it has some cool monuments to look at and a central avenue full of bars and restaurants with a great view to the mountains witch is also a big landmark of this city. It is also an important economical center with a lot of foreign workers and locals specially in the IT area, mostly programmers for what I realized.
Around one month later I got back to Bulgaria, this time in August and followed the entire Dark Sea coastline heading to Romania, I didn’t do many stops this time too, however it was enough to realize why there were (and still are) so many wars and people fighting for a piece of this sea. Beautiful beaches, water with a nice temperature, and great prices for most central European tourists make this coast a top touristic point, mostly concentrated on Sunny Beach, I went there attracted by this curious name, I never heard anything about this place before. It is a typical beach side city with a long thin sand beach, a lot of hotels, and all kinds of entertainment such as water park, kids fun-parks, restaurants and a bars and night clubs area that doesn’t sleep, I don’t usually do this and since I left Portugal I haven’t been on a night out clubbing and the Bulgarian prices were an incentive for that, o I ended up buying a ticket for one of two biggest clubs in the city witch for 7.5 Eur would earn me the right to enter the club on Saturday night with 2 drinks included, and also included a ticket for a boat party Sunday at the end of the day with all this I got to the conclusion I am too old for this kind of life.
After i left Sunny Beach i stopped by Balchik, an historical city close to the Romanian border with one nice beach and a great seaside promenade, it looked like it is frequented mostly by Polish, Romanian and German tourists, a calm and more familiar environment comparing to crazy party hell in Sunny Beach, on my way out from there the van witch was already strange since a couple of days back with some problems with direction and front brakes, this day she started making a lot of noise like there was something dragging in the front part so just after leaving the middle of a gypsies neighborhood I stopped and went looking for the problem I was suspecting from the front wheels so I took out my hydraulic jack and lifted both of them the left one was perfect, rolling nicely without any problem, the right one was completely loose like you can see on the video in the end of this page. I checked the wheel nuts witch were all tightened and I saw the problem was behind that and outside my mechanical skills so before I called the insurance roadside assistance I asked my friend Google for nearby mechanics, ended up in an old shed witch used to be for cows 500 meters away from where I stopped the van where Rumen Krivan former professional rally car driver and now mechanic close to retirement lives and works, a well lived person and fluent in English, he quickly took of the wheel and we confirmed the suspicion that there was a problem with the bearings witch were completely destroyed. The part was ordered to arrive the next morning, and my home was parked in front of the workshop where I’ve spent the night, in between there was a nice dinner with an exchange of drinks with this new friend. This was it, less then 24hours before I stopped I was on my way to Romania with the van repaired.
This was my experience, it is not one of the safest countries and like anywhere else you must have some caution choosing your parking space, however it’s well worth to visit.
Stay with the video and pictures of one more country on my adventure.