Today we start a 3 day ride in Bulgaria with Assen. It is very overcast, but hardly rained. It was however cool. The first part of the day was to scoot down the highway A3 until Dupnica where we changed to the parallel secondary road.
From just before Blagoevgrad we did a 30 km in and 30 km out to visit the Rilski Monastery.
“ The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is in the Rila Mountains 117 km south of the Capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River and at 1,147 m. It is named after the hermit Ivan of Rila (876-946). “
Returning to the secondary road we rode into the mountains to the ski resort at Bansko for a late lunch break.
We left this road for an even smaller one to start east at Gotse Delchev on the 197 to Devin after 363 km. We had a few sprinkles, but some really cold wind and at Bansko it was 11 degrees. We managed to arrive to Devin before the real rain. Assen treated us to a night at a Spa hotel. We actually had a small house with 2 bedrooms. The food here was very good too. Rakia and “mixed grill”.
Today it is much warmer and sunny. We started out the day on the “maccaroni” road essentially all down hill and very curvy. This passed 3 dams. We did not meet a single car on the way down! Epic ride.
We had a big milestone for the F800 today it turned over 200,000 km just before Plovdiv!
We then had a shorty stint on the highway and turned north to cross the plain. after lunch we spotted a sigh that said “Valley of the Thracian Kings” and so we had to make a small detour to check this out. From the road it just looks like a pyramid shaped mound covered in grass, but it is actually a 2500 year old tomb found intact. It was never pillaged. There is no mortar and the dome is held together by the weight of the perfectly cut stones only.
From here we headed up up up. Our goal was the Buzludzha or “ the space ship” perched on the mountaintop. Communist monuments are everywhere.
“The House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party (or informally, the Buzludzha Monument) was built on the peak by the Bulgarian communist regime. It commemorated the events of 1891, when a group of socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement that led to the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party.”
You can no longer get inside thru the front door as it is almost in ruins. There is a way to sneak in but it involves some serious drops and climbs. Trevor did some recognizance for us. It was very windy here and a chilly 8.5 degrees.
The road from here is patched patch and leads to the next peak where there is a war memorial.
Then we had an almost unobstructed ride down the other side of the mountains. Our next stop was to see the castle In Veliko Tarnovo. Now it is almost 7 pm and we are making for Motocamp Bulgaria.
We had an amazing surprise when we arrived as Orvar (king of Sweden) had beat us there by 40 min. He had pushed another 650 km with no lunch to meet us. We are very thankful to Ivo and Polly at Motocamp for their hospitality. The whipped together a very nice dinner for us with very little warning. Ivo has also been getting our green card insurance for Europe in the last 3 years.
We were also served a very nice breakfast here to start off our day.
Today’s plan is to get to the black sea on the Macaroni roads. There is a nice curvy small road leading out of the village towards Elena.
The really good part is between Elena and Tvarditsa. Then it is time for gas and a coffee break.
By the time we got to Silven it was after 2 and we has lunch in the main park. This involved a bit of illegal riding thru the pedestrian area, but we finally found the grounds keeper who showed us where we could park.
Now we wanted to make some miles so we hopped onto the secondary highway and joined the main highway just before Burgas.
From here it was a 30 km ride to the beach town of Sozopol.
The first place we booked using the wifi in the square turned out to be way out of town and when we arrived they seemed surprised someone had booked…weird aparthotel. That cancelled we headed back to the town and Assen rode about for 15 min and found a nice small hotel where the neighbour across the street agreed to park his car outside so we could put the bikes inside. We are not as concerned as everyone else seems to be about this issue. Assen did have to park outside, but we used one of our bike covers and cable locked it to the fence.
During dinner we got a call from some of Assen’s friends who were at their weekend house 30 km south in Lozenets. After a few calls and text messages we finally decided we better go. We all squeezed into a taxi with poor suspension and arrived just before midnight to a party in full swing….Sara the sober one drives the guys home in the hosts jeep at 4 am.
No surprise we had no luck with a cab at 330 am in small seaside Bulgarian town…Thank you Nicolai for the loan of the Jeep. Sara the sober one drives the guys home at 4 am.