Our appointment with the Indian embassy in Sofia was on a Friday, so we caught a lift with Tamara’s mum, as she went back to the airport. The interview went easily enough (they didn’t even bother questioning me…. after all Aidan is a respectable architect) and afterwards we went on a rather futile hunt for a metal bar. We did find a wickid big church though. Then it was time to take a coach back. The driver kindly dropped us at the top of the road into Idilevo.
The next day we decided to save a bit of cash and go wild-camping for a while. Apparently no one minds if you free camp and make bonfires on any of the unused or state-owned land, so no need to tuck away somewhere hidden. We finally left Motocamp late afternoon and only got as far as a field down the road. We wanted to see the monument at Buzludzha the next day, but that’s another post.
On the way back from the monument we stopped in Veliko Tarnovo for supplies and disappeared into the countryside. We crossed a small river and moved into a cosy field next to the Hotnitza waterfall.
One day was really rainy, so we just holed up in the tent, and didn’t come out.
But the rest of the days we enjoyed the last few days of summary heat, splashing about in the cold river for a wash and cooking dinners of chicken, eggs poached in tomato sauce, cheese burgers and jacket potatoes over the bonfire. The nights were starry clear skies and cold, so we huddled around the glowing embers till the wine ran out, listening to the jackals howling all around us.
On Friday we were supposed to go back to the embassy to pick up our visas. It was raining in sheets and it wasn’t gonna let up all day. We packed up our tent and were pretty wet by the time we set off. Pippa’s battery is completely fucked now, so we had to jump-start her off Seven again. Then Aidan had to ride her across the river and skid up the muddy bank on the other side with his bald tire. Of course the bike fell over, but Aidan couldn’t hop off, as he had to keep the clutch in and the throttle open so as to not stall!
Some muddy acrobatics later we had rescued Aidan and both bikes back onto tarmac to ride the three hours through the rain to Sofia. We were soaked through within minutes and the 8 degrees and driving-wind made for a freezing ride and numb hands and feet. We stopped a couple of times, shivering uncontrollably, trying to warm up with horrid petrol station coffee, but we never really thawed out. Of course the embassy realized they couldn’t issue the visa that day, as it would expire before our return flight. All that suffering for nothing!
Nothing to it, we’d have to come back a few days later. Off to the hostel for a hot shower, and then into town to a bar. And this time we found Rock it! and it was open. Some yummie food, beers and shots with the bar staff cheered us up somewhat. For the first time in ages, we were in a bar, where they played rock and metal instead of crappy europop 🙂
The next day was supposed to be sunny. But the Sofia – Varna highway crosses some mountains close to the capital, and there we were caught in dense fog and freezing rain. For the rest of the way it was just grey and cloudy, but we were soaked through, feet swimming in our boots, and we’d had enough. So we returned to Motocamp to make use of their hot showers, prepare the bikes for storage and repack our stuff for India over the next few days.