These are countries I did not know much about.
Since they were not on my originally planned route, I didn’t do much research, actually none. Had enough difficulties to keep the information of the other countries in my mind.
However, Romania indeed surprised me most positively! My time in in Sibiu or Hermannstadt (formerly Siebenbuergen) was terrific. Now I was riding to the eastern part of Romania to explore the delta of the Danube (Donau). Once again I was passing large fields of Sunflowers, all looking a little ‘burnt’ or over-ripe for harvest. Also by now I was used to pass a horse-drawn cart. Some loaded with hey or other stuff, others with lots of little children having a joy-ride. When passing I am always mindful to pass slowly with little as possible engine noises. I feel for the horses … my soft side.
For the first time I feel not-happy-Jane! with maps.me. Somehow It cannot discern between a normal, sealed road and muddy, unpaved side roads. It tries to direct me to the latter, always selecting the shortest way. Alright, I shall use my instinct, it had been under-utilised anyways. Following the paved and most obvious road, occasional road signs and trusting that maps.me will re-join MY path sooner or later.
Approaching the Danube-Delta the landscape becomes a little more ‘unkempt’ and flat. But with only a few kms to go, a little and unexpected rise is ahead. Once climbed over I could see Tulcea, my destination, already.
Tomorrow, I shall do a Danube-delta excursion by boat.
I wander from my accommodation down towards the harbour area. It takes me about 30 mins. The Danube is pretty wide here and carries cargo as well as passenger ferries. I find my boat and there are five other guests on board. The boat is wooden, has a ‘roof’ and I do like the look of it.
The excursion will last 5+ hours and includes a lunch at some fishermen’s place. It does remind me of the Yellow Water Billabong: it is hot, birdlife on the shores, however no crocodiles and the vegetation is different.
Honestly the amount of birdlife is substantially less compared to my favourite Northern Territory spot. But we see plenty of other birds: white, grey, even black Herons, Comorans, even a flock of Pelicans and other birds.
The lunch spot is at one of the many islands in the Delta. There is a fish soup, cooked fish and later grilled fish – a fish-indulgence indeed. I am happy, as trying the local fish was on my list. A good day looking over the delta, which is surprisingly large, ultimately ending in the Black Sea.
Next day I am fighting strong winds, again, as I leave Tulcea and ride into Bulgaria.
Entering t their border I hand over my two documents: my passport and my bike’s passport (rego). All is carefully scrutinised, photocopied and entered into a computer. Again, nobody notices that my rego paper is already beyond its used-by date. My rego finishes on 5 August and I haven’t received yet the new version from home. So I hope this ignorance continues.
In Bulgaria I get lucky: I pull over to have a drink of water at the edge of a road in a little parking bay. Out of the woods steps a Prostitute and offers me a blow-job …
Such is life.
I happily refuse, at least thrice, as this woman is in a friendly way persistent. Turns out she is from Turkey and that’s how she is earning a living. Well, food for thought.
Unblown, I continue towards the costal town of Varna. Here I booked accommodation but upon arrival – and it was hard to find – nobody is there. Again, people are friendly and an old retired sailor, being a neighbour to ‘my’ property uses his mobile to call the man. The man comes and tells me “There is a problem!”. “Let’s solve it!!” is my response.
Turns out they have no electricity neither water. I feel as if that is not quite true, but what can one do? Asking for alternative accommodation. I wanted to be at Varna’s south-side, meaning I had crossed already the city and the river. This would allow me to get started the next day, having the ‘bottle-neck’ already behind me.
Hmmmh, so I ride on. Now I am already at the southern edge of Varna. I stop at the next sign which kind-of reads like ‘Hotel’. Indeed it is and I happily book in with a room and balcony overlooking the Black Sea towards Varna.
A restaurant is conveniently located just 50mtrs away. Later I shall have there my authentic first Bulgarian meal.
But I cannot pay!! So I unload the bike and ride back towards Varna to find a ‘Bankomat’. Well, I don’t even know where a shopping area is, no sign in the maps.me.
I cruise around a little and park the bike where I can see a few shops. I walk past what looks like a little pub or café with a few locals sitting outside. Here I ask for directions, which are willingly given. English works well. On my way back, now proper Bulgarian money in my pocket, I decide stop again at this little place, the Papagala cafe, and order a coffee, having bought some pastry from a baker just two shops down. Naturally a conversation develops and we learn about each other. What a friendly mob! In the end they refused to accept my money for the coffee and eve presented me with a little flag of the Bulgarian National soccer team. Of course, next morning, before riding into Turkey I shall drop of one of my last little Koalas and a BMW club sticker!!
Done that and Turkey awaits. The road leads through small towns along the Black Sea coast. Traffic is dense and progresses slowly. So I take the next possible turn-off away from the coast. This is still on my route as I aim for Gallipoli, Turkey as my destination.
My selection turns out to be a brilliant choice. Soon the road I am on has hardly any traffic. The road has a smooth, almost new surface. It has fast flowing bends, leads through forests up into the hills and it a real joy to ride on! Must report it to this motorcycle road website as a great motorcycle road in Bulgaria!!
After about 80kms it ends right at the border post. Here I shall establish a new Personal Best: the crossing took about 30 mins. Helmet off, show my ‘maturity’, waved through the Bulgarian exit post, no checking at the Turkey side. The border post is very friendly and not irritated when I have to pull out my laptop from the saddlebag to present my e-visa number – all good, no stress.
The downhill ride into Turkey offers a similar type of road, just not quite as enjoyable. A few more potholes and tighter corners.
I ride all the 500kms directly to Gallipoli but cannot camp here. The area is now a National Park and I rather respect this. So back I track to the small village of Eceabat and find a room with sea-views.
Tomorrow the plan is to visit the ANZAC site. Perhaps another piece of the puzzle working to complete my integration into Australia …