Sunday, 21 August 2011


Mountain roads, sun and sweat, the scream of half exhaust piped Ladas, Yugos, Zastavas, big ends about to pop and strange prehistoric trucks, that should have died out with the dinosaurs but someone here must have invented a crude fuel that kept them wheezing along in a cloud of black soot, rufusing to give up their right to exist.
No wonder many of them here still prefer to use horse and cart.

Well tonight I have running water from a tap and a tiled roof over my head, courtesy of some local stone workers handy work, 800 meters up in these Bulgarian mountains. They had made a little shelter just off from the road where they were working, a place to sit, eat, a fire place, a just perfect.
A real luxury that arrived just in time as the first drops of rain started falling from the dark storm clouds that were boiling overhead.
I was just asking the question today, how long does this consistent blue skies and 39 degrees hold out for here? The answer came quite quick, so I promptly turned into this little refuge, avoided every drop of rain and quickly made myself at home.
I did not even try to explain myself to a few of the workers that were still hanging around, I had become quite used to their open, friendly ways and it was obvious I wanted to take shelter, there was no need to ask and they did not expect you to, just day to day neccessities of life, these bear neccessities of food, rest, shelter, friends, family and compassion towards one another, which I have had great experiences of throught my journey so far through east Europe.
Most people here are working the land, out of neccessity, to subsidise low income, few jobs, but it becomes a way of life, all the family working together and providing you resist all the temptations and crap that is available elsewhere then there is no need for much else, then you seem to have a pretty balanced, happy life, with time with each other, the bear neccessities of life will set you free.
I see families having time together, all living together in one big house or community, I have stopped to talk to all of them from the young to the old, and they all have this quality of time and space in their lives, they listen, they try to help, they want to know about you, the attention and compassion is there, and it is not just because I am a novelty for them as foreigner travelling on a strange contraption, there is that part of it of course, but I observe the same spirit between themselves that I am seeing less and less from my part of the world, we have become too complicated, too crowded, too proud, too fearfull, losing time with all the gadgets and accessories that were designed and marketed to make you believe they will give you more time, make you more successful, make you more popular, the land of more is more, and of course with our economic problems they say the way out of it is to keep consuming, there is no place here for economical, simple, ecological living, reasonable life styles, good for the planet and our health but not enough waste and money to be made from it, we are advised to keep spending and the only way to keep consuming is with more debt, which has caused this snowball effect in the first place, the cracks can only get bigger in this way of thinking.

Fortunately for the people here, there is space and land, which I think this is a big part of the equation for happiness, humans need a certain amount of space to be respected, if we are too crowded together then we get territorial, aggressive, fearful.
Soon the space and tranquility of the mountains may be compromised, over the next two or three days as I head further east to the border of Turkey, where the visa applications start and then further to be geologically bottle-necked through Istanbul and battle with Iranian visa applications and Pakistan uncertainties, a part of the journey that I have not been looking forward to having a morbid fear of paper work, delays and formalities. Any mountain I will attempt to climb over with pleasure, no matter the effort involved, but this stuff breaks my spirit so easily, I hope I find the strength to conquer this Everest.

Timeless villages

What no stress?

Yes the bike attracts a lot of attention....sometimes it is hard when you are tired and just want to stop, rest, eat....but I have to remind myself what myimpact makes for them and just a few moments of my time stimulates their imagination and shares the journey, maybe they will dare to dream and to follow them one day?

More climbing to come I think!

Another great night with mother nature who refills my cup to the top every time, meditating of the day and of the days to come, how amazing this world is to give yourself to it and all its possibilities, to trust, to have faith and light to show the way.

OK maybe thats why they look so relaxed...?

Half up this bloody hot mountain, soaking wet with sweat.

Tobacco production and drying.

...and they all still have these missile silos.

A handy shelter for the night....just in time as the first rain came, storm clouds boiling overhead I was lucky to find just in time.

Just a shame to see a bit too much plastic being thrown away, bottles at the side of the road, spoiling some great natural surroundings......

OK what is this? has someone just lost at Scrabble or what...!

........and that was Bulgaria, next Turkey.

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