There are some days on a long trek where the only positive thing you can say is…..at least it got me a day closer to my goal….
Yes, it has been one of those days (in stark contrast to yesterday). What can I say about it? Well, it was 120kms of featureless, busy highway, where the majority of the vehicles were heavy trucks heading for Turkey. To add insult to injury, I had wished the BBC weather app had got it all wrong…..but no, it was spot on. It rained heavily for 80kms, so the conditions were as bad as I can ever remember them, on any trek. The town of Haskovo couldn’t come too soon.
But as I rushed to skulk in a McD’s, I grabbed this quick picture for your education
…now you know how to spell the name of the global burger-maker in Bulgarian……well, not really true Bulgarian, which would be written in Cyrillic.
Talking of which, the Bulgarians are much less forgiving (than the Serbians, for example) about us westerners understanding their language. Very little of their signage and instructions etc. are rendered in the Roman alphabet. I’ve carefully studied my Cyrillic crib sheet, time and time again, but I couldn’t pass a test in it.
Anyway, in 24 hours time, I’ll be struggling equally with a completely different language….and no, I don’t have a crib sheet….
In Sofia, when I was chatting with a couple of Turkish lads in the Mosque,
the one that had some knowledge of English kept keying words into Google Translate on his phone. When he asked what I did for a living, I told him I was retired, but he didn’t understand….so he handed me his phone to key in the word ‘retired’. When he finally understood, he looked at me and scratched his head, saying something in Turkish to his friend. They were both student engineers studying in Sofia, but since neither had a knowledge of Bulgarian, I kind of wonder how they managed.
Using my tent has become an exception these last few days.
Both Serbia and Bulgaria simply don’t have a camping culture. I was told by Atenas, a Bulgarian, that it’s an inheritance from their communist past. But I loved the comment made by an Aussie back in Austria. He and his wife were riding two weeks of the Danube, and when I asked if they were camping, he looked at me shocked, and said: “look my wife thinks that ‘camping’ is moving down from 5 star to 4 star!” I said to her: “you need your fluffy towels at the end of the day, then?”.
She nodded at me sheepishly…..