Thursday, 09.05.19, Bachkovo to Istanbul

Day 17 for the records. Back a short stretch on the same top highway towards Burgas but turning right soon to southeast towards Turkey. Actually passing a 3 country corner Bulgaria – Greece – Turkey.

Border procedures into Turkey cost me a Visa for 25 Euros which was obtained quickly. The reward was that the Diesel price was 20% less than in Bulgaria. I filled at the border. My original plan was to stop rather far outside Istanbul and travel to the city by train or bus. But I became brave and found a camping site on the eastern side of the Bosporus and drove there on the city highway. Crossing the Bosporus on this impressive hanging bridge was exciting. Not the least because I took pics and videos and was one hand driving…. Ups. The nasty surprise was that the Camping Site Google suggested did not exist. And you guess what followed. Very tricky maneuvers to get out of trouble of VERY busy and VERY narrow roads. Found parking lot nearby for 36 Lira per day = 5 Euro / day. Nearby hotel receptionist gave me all the advice and recommendations I needed to find my way around and changed my Euros to Lira without commission.

Took group taxi to the ferry terminal, asked a lady how the payment for the ferry works. She went to the kiosk with me and ordered an Istanbul card for me. It can be loaded with cash at machines all around the city and is used for public transport. It cost me 17 Lira, about 2,5 Euro and would pay for the ferry there and back and for the tram around the mosques.

I could not believe the recommendations of the receptionist would work out so easily and I would be sight seeing in mid afternoon in the center of Istanbul. On the ferry I took the upper deck and enjoyed crossing the Bosporus again towards Europe and took the shots. I also spoke to young lady who came down from Edirne near Bulgaria, which I passed on the highway. Her English was limited. I also watched a group of what must have been Scandinavians. They were obviously touring Istanbul as well.

In the hotel I received also a map and I knew where I was, but not the individual buildings. So I followed the Scandinavians and also took the tram. Good choice, they knew their way around better and after 10 minutes we arrived at the Blue Mosque. Here I lost them and followed my guess and the crowds and found Hagia Sophia, the Obelisk, another mosque and finally the closing Grand Bazaar. At Hagia Sophia an beautiful young Russian lady asked me to take a photo of her. I did it with pleasure.
On the way back I was very hungry and stopped at a bar style self service arrangement, because another lady who just left, sad in passing by “it is really good food”. As it also looked good in the display I did it and had great noodles, rice and yogurt salad. And all for 12 Lira, another 2, Euro. Back to the ferry and crossing back in charming twilight. To find the right group taxi took about 10 minutes and another young lady next to me helped me to tell the driver where I wanted to get off. It worked not so well, I was dropped 2 km before my destination. Good digestive walk “home” at 10 p.m. along the shores. No problem whatsoever.

Wednesday, 08.05.19, Sozopol to Plovdiv and to Bachkovo monastery.

Day 16 for the records. Soon after Burgas started a top highway to Plovdiv and I made the usual coffee break at ÖMV again.
To find parking in Plovdiv was very hard work. Negotiating very narrow roads and circling around until suddenly a big lot was there near old town. Also very reasonable prices. Yes, I took the bike and started a pleasant tour around. Some steep stretches with ROUGH cobblestone surface were a little challenging. First I found the remains of a Roman Theatre above town. Stunning.

As I missed the Archeological Museum in Varna I visited the one in Plovdiv. No regrets, wonderful artefacts from centuries B.C. Old Town was not too big, took it easy back to the car and left for Bachkovo. In the next town of Asenovgrad Garmin lost me, sent me into narrow roads and I had to reset it to come on track again.

The last 5 km lead through a narrow and picturesque gorge with wild waters alongside the road. Cobblestone surface the last 500 m through all the stalls with the usual tourist articles. Parking for 24 h cost me 6 Lewa, 3 Euro.

What a jewel of a monastery at the end of the world. Enjoyed every minute walking around and shooting the pics. Spoke to two French ladies from Paris, because the one had crutches and could not put the one foot to the ground.

As mine was the only car on the parking lot, I had a wonderful silent night.

Tuesday, 07.05.16, Nessebar – Ropotamo – Sozopol

Day 15 for the records. Left Nessebar rather early and stopped later at ÖMV fuel station for coffee and croissant. Spoke to young lady who sold tobacco heating systems which take out (thousands of) poisonous ingredients from cigarettes. Makes her boyfriend cough much less. She does not smoke. Cost 90 Lewa = 45 Euro. So cheap for good health…

Selling smiling healthier smoking

Drive towards Sozopol but pass it on the side to the Ropotamo National Park which I found in Marco Polo. It was a bit tricky with Garmin and Google to find the right entrance but once in it was one of the best ideas where to go. Drove on a very small and bumpy road into the forest only to find a closed barrier deep inside. To turn around was a peace of art and I stopped the motorhome just there. Took the mountain bike and started my excursion into the unknown. What an unexpected adventure and surprises all along my way.

Later then to Sozopol. To find parking did not take too long, it was the harbor’s parking ground and was cheap again. Took the bike again and cycled around for about one hour and then first sat in a posh hotel with Wifi, later again in a Greek restaurant with a view to the sea and the other side of town. What a blessing in the sky. After my return to the parking spoke my neighbor motor home user, a young lady from Sofia who visited her father.

Monday, 06.05.19, Vana Veche to Varna to Nessebar.

Day 13 for the records. I had a very early prayer walk along the beach and was blessed with a light show which could have been a present from God. Made me very humble and grateful for my eventful and safe journey so far.
Crossed the border soon and found a man helping newcomers to by the road tax from a machine. Changed Lei to Lewa. Drove to Varna and stopped at the harbour first for coffee and cake. Found a great restaurant with a view.
Drove up to town and found parking near the Archeological Museum which was as small miracle. Only to find the museum as all other public places of interest closed because of another public holiday. A little sad but I decided to make the best of it and still cycle around the city. Was not in vain.

Mystical morning at the beach of the Black Sea:

Next comes Varna.

First stop at Harbor restaurant Nemo, fine dining with a view.

Archaeological Museum and Roman Bath closed. Such a pity..

Moved on to Nessebar which is on a peninsular connected only via a small dam.

Another spot with a view for about 4 Euro per night.
At the harbor
” I am the light, the truth and eternal life”