Summary Sofia – Erzurum

More than 3000 km have passed since my last update. Here you have the second summary of a journey that has taken me to beautiful places and let me meet wonderful people. Since leaving the Eurovelo 6 – Danube route I’ve been traveling solo. Sometimes easy, sometimes hard but always memorable. The list could have been longer, there are so many places to visit, but I had to make choices. Not always the best, but finally only mine.


Summary-Sofia-to-Erzurum Summary-Sofia-to-Erzurum_Large_01Summary-Sofia-to-Erzurum_Large_02Summary-Sofia-to-Erzurum_Large_03

The Trail

wise words on a coke bottle

Traveling from Strumica (Macedonia) to Petric (Bulgaria), I stopped to have lunch at a small shop in the village of Staro Konjarevo. There I talked with the the shop owner named Duco. When I was ready to leave he gave me a bottle of coca-cola as present. After a while I got a crave for some fake sugars and what I read was very suitable for the moment:

“Love is all around me”


A bit like the Tour de France

Yesterday was my 35th anniversary. And I spend it on the road. Traveling from Sapareva Banja, Bulgaria to Delcevo, Macedonia. What I thought to be an easy ride was a hard one. Trying to avoid the heavy traffic on the highway, I took a smaller road between Bobosevo and Blagoevgrad. According to my map the roads connected, in reality there is no passage. Not preoccupied (h , I enjoyed the scenery and returned for a ride of 7km. Then it starts raining and had to wait for an hour before it stopped. Already late in the afternoon I though I just had 2 hours to go to reach mi destination. Boy was I wrong. The 25 of the 36 km separating Blagoevgrad and Delcevo, are uphill, going from 400m to 1100m. It took me 3 hours to reach the border. Starting to get stressed out, thinking that the check point would be closed, I reached the border. Their I encountered a beautiful sight, 1 km of cars waiting their turn to pass the border. It gave me a great feeling that, it was now my turn to pass all those vehicles. Some people on the side of the road congratulated me for my effort and clapped (“we like” they said) ,  this is my comparison with competition cyclist reaching the end line at the Tour de France (I know, I’m exaggerating). After crossing the border I just had to let gravity do the work and reached Delcevo in a breeze.


The Trail

Summary Antwerp – Sofia

For those who like numbers. I prepared an image file with detailed GPS coordinates of the places I visited or slept. Distances traveled. If I traveled alone or with company. And if a slept in a tent, hostel or warmshowers


I divided the image in 3 parts for better detailSummary-Antwerp-to-Sofia_Medium




The Trail

Tasty Words

The day before my departure my dear friends Sonja and Steven and their kid Kobe. Gave me a present to open the day after I would start my trip. The words gave me  comfort and the jam stilled my morning hunger

“Een reis van duizend kilometers begint met één enkel stap” -Lao Tse-

“a journey of thousand kilometers begins with a single step”


Hostel Lavele and Mario

Visiting Sofia, Bulgaria wasn’t part of the initial plan. But saying that, I didn’t have have a plan since the beginning of this trip. The trail that I’m following through the Balkans (The Iron Curtain Trail), would lead me through east Serbia, west and south Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece and finally Turkey. Sofia wasn’t on the trail, but being so close, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the city.

Alex, one of my travel companions on the Danube river, showed me his travel book about Bulgaria, so I would have some initial information about the city of Sofia. The book was written in german, so I didn’t bother to read it. I just took some pictures of the most important pages, in my case, nice hostels were I could spend a couple of days resting and working on the blog. From the different options that the book gave, I chose Hostel Lavele. And it was a wise decision.

During large part of my trip I’ve stayed in a tent. This becomes your portable home, always ready to set up, wherever and whenever. But it’s always welcoming to have a bed to sleep on. And when visiting big towns I mostly stay at a hostel. They have all the basic services you need (bed, shower, food), information of all what is going on in the city (the options are more alternative and budget friendly), you get to know a lot of interesting people from different countries and the staff is always friendly. Hostel Lavele has this and more. The location near the city center is perfect, you can get to all the places and activities by foot. And the atmosphere is very familiar, which gave me the necessary time and space to rest.

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I was well received by the hostels owner/manager Mario. He always gave me a hand when I needed help or some information. Mario being a bike enthusiast himself,  accompanied me to a local bike shop for some spare parts and gave me some tips on bike maintenance. When hungry I trusted him with his tips about the local cuisine. And he was always ready to share or listen to a story. Very insightful person.

You can follows Mario’s passion for bikes on the following facebook page “I love Cycling” And on his facebook page “The Armchair traveler”, you can read interviews of people that stayed at the hostel.

So you now know why the initial plan for staying 3 days became 6. Merci Mario for all the help and attention!!!