Bulgaria, Athens to Katerini to Sofia, 8-9 August 2013

Athens to Katerini mainly a freeway along the coast with a few hills and tunnels thrown in, 9 toll stops E14, a real nuisance having to stop take gloves off dig the money out of my pocket put the change back, gloves back on, past Mount Olympus, did not see any Gods must have been nap time, 435km, 4:40 hrs, a fairly big town but nothing special.

Katerini to Sofia was a bit more exciting, freeway up to Thessaloniki about 120km 2 tolls at the start E1.60 and E0.80, after that 2 lane road and just before the border 4 lanes. I crossed the border at Kulata, queue of cars on the Greek side 34c hot and when I got to immigration they said go and park we have to stamp your passport took about 10 min not sure what they were doing, did not even look at the bike documents, short ride to the Bulgarian side and they were just waving everyone through no immigration or customs or stamps. Rode on and came to a barrier road blocked and the dug up on the other side so turned around and an old guy pointed sideways looking at the GPS I could see a turnoff so rode to it and then after a few kilometers came to a fork, GPS said go right, sign said go left, so went left and realized I was heading towards Macedonia so turned around and followed some local cars and came to another road block but only half the road, cars were circling and trying to figure out what to do, finally one guy went around the barrier and everyone followed, a few diversions with fine white powder, dust blowing, then the road was completely blocked with piled up dirt and on the other side was the highway but we could not get to it, so everyone turned around and drove back.

I decided to see if I could ride over the dirt mound but got my front wheel to the top of the mound then stalled as the rear wheel sunk in to the very soft dirt, bogged so struggled and pulled the bike backwards uphill onto the road nearly had a heart attack, started to ride back resigned to the fact that I would have to go the long way around which meant changing money at the border, refueling probably add a couple of hours to the journey. Then I saw an old truck that was carrying firewood that we had all passed a while ago, turn off on to a dirt track and realized that was the way around the road block, hahaha so I followed the truck up a hill, again fine powder and slippery and saw the highway on the other side only a few hundred meters and I was going again.

After that narrow 2 lane road lots of traffic and towns and trucks and police with radar slow going, hilly at times, finally came to a new freeway 60km out of Sofia straight upto 120 kph all the way 375km, 5:25hrs, what a ride.

There are no tolls in Bulgaria, you have to buy a Vignette 5 euro for 7 days.

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One Response to Bulgaria, Athens to Katerini to Sofia, 8-9 August 2013

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