01-31-2014, 06:03 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Alright then, time for an update during a long stopover in Singapore.
Originally Posted by Colebatch
About time !!!
Sorry for the lack of postings, but I had to make good use of the riding season in New Zealand
So, I left the Valbona valley early in the morning
The weather was a mixed bag all day. I had heavy rain, sunshine, and everything in between, including heavy fog. The road map seemed to be more of a guideline. There were long stretches of road construction that had turned into mud. Roads didn't exist where my GPS map told me they should be but there where new roads being build in other places. I just followed the general direction I was going and that was fine.
Coming up to this little river crossing (that's the new main state highway) was interesting. Super slippery mud on a steep downhill grade
Just before the crossing I met some pretty miserable looking Polish guys on big GSes. One of them fell down during the crossing and broke one of the indicators off. He was pretty pissed about it.
I eventually popped out at Lake Ohrid and made my way to a little campground just outside Pogradec. There was a dirt bike parked up outside so it seemed like a good place to stay. Had a great evening chatting to the German owner, who's name I unfortunately I forgot.
In the evening my phone shit itself and I had to do a factory reset and spend half the night reinstalling all the software again.
I actually left reasonably early but realized in Pogradec that I left my ID at the campground. So had to return
Crossing into Macedonia was easy enough. The Macedonian customs officer wanted to impress me with his impeccable German. Unfortunately, the only way he knew how to strike up a conversation was a full on inspection of my bags. I would have been happy to just talk to him!
It was still pretty early so I decided to try to make it all the way to Bulgaria. I had enough fuel and food that I didn't need to get any money.
I crossed into Bulgaria in record time and found myself a room in a little pension in Petrich.
The next morning I was winging it on little used dirt roads along the border to Greece.
I had lunch at lake side restaurant in Dospat I knew from a previous trip.
BTW, this area of Bulgaria is a great for offroad exploration.
Eventually I came into the ski areas, also popular for summer holidays.
When I arrived in Plovdiv I went to the guest house I had my parts sent to. The girl at the front desk told me that the Bulgarian postal service does not deliver packages and I have to pick it up from the post office. Sure enough, somewhere in the tiniest of small prints on the DHL web site it does say that DHL just hands it over to the Bulgarian Post, which may or may not deliver. Considering this, the steep rate that DHL charges seems to be a bit of a ripoff.
Anyway, I went to the central post office early in the morning. The town was still waking up.
I asked around and eventually made it to the correct counter. The very grumpy looking old woman started yelling at me when I asked her something in English. She started to get more and more agitated and tried to wave me away. It was quite hilarious. All the other postal workers stared at us and looked embarrassed. Although I don't speak any Bulgarian, it was clear that she kept yelling at me that she can't be expected to speak English and I should get lost. Well, I stood my ground with a big smile and eventually she wrote down the address of the post office that would actually receive my package.
At the post office another customer spoke German and we figured it all out. It would be a few more days until the package was due to arrive.
So, where do you think is the best place in Bulgaria to kill some time?