Radoslav K.

The warmhowers community has been so great to me. Not so widespread as couchsurfing, but the hosts are very understanding to the needs of their fellow bicycle traveler.

Traveling through the south of Bulgaria, following the Eurovelo 13 (Iron curtain) trail, my options for finding a warmshowers host were limited. Luckily there was Radoslav who lives in the town of Kardzhali in the Eastern Rhodopes in Bulgaria. He agreed to host me for one night.

Rado is a self employed computer programmer, his office is based in Kardzhali. We met at the city center, at one of the open-air restaurants the town has to offer. I felt very relaxed and welcomed at Rado’s home. He invited me to a gathering at the home of one of his friends. It’s always interesting to know how people in other countries socialize. So different but also so the same. Being there I was confronted with the fact that just a handful of the present guests spoke English. I don’t find this a problem. I enjoy to hear the sounds and emotions of a foreign language, without always knowing the meaning of the words. Talking to the people who spoke English, I got to know the dreams and challenges of the Bulgarian youth. And with the Bulgarian economy not doing so well, they have quite a few challenges.

The next day I left Kardzhali content and grateful for meeting Rado. I took the alternative path to the town of Ivaljovgrad that he showed me. It was a good proposal from a good host.

Thank you again Radoslav.


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Radoslav with his steel horse

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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!!!




A night out in Pernik

After arriving in Pernik, Bulgaria, I had no plans whatsoever to visit the town. Get something to eat and go to sleep was the main course of that night. I went to a small family restaurant that served some gyros. After enjoying my meal and drinking a cold beer, I called my parents to say that I arrived safe and well that day and give an update of my journey. I talk to my parents in spanish (with my mom) and dutch (with my dad, ok not formerly in dutch but in the dialect of our hometown: Antwaarps).

Some of the other guests at the restaurant heard me talking in spanish and they invited me to their table which a gladly accepted. When you are all day on the road by your own it’s very welcoming to talk to someone. Mony and mony (I think that their formal names are Simeone) and other guy who’s name I can’t remember. One of the Mony’s had worked in Portugal, so we communicated in a mix of portuguese and spanish. Italian and ingles formed also part of the mix. They gave me some great insights about Bulgarian culture and compared it with Mexican and Belgian culture.

It was a interesting night, so sometimes it’s best not to expect a lot and embrace the momentthe guys at Pernik.


Buca and Sasha

After I left Zajecar to go to Knjazevac, I decided to take a road less traveled, instead of biking on the main highway. The road should have taken me through the villages of Sljivar, Leskovac and Lasovo. This was a difficult road but the surroundings were beautiful. After a couple of steep climbs and taking a midday breake, a truck stopped and the driver told me that the road up ahead wasn’t accessible. Surprised and feeling bummed I had to turn around and take the same round back to the point were I started.

After leaving Zajecar (again), tired and with the spirit a bit broken, two cyclist approached me and asked me where I was heading. With no plan anymore, they invited me to join them to the lake near Grliste. Buca and Sasha showed me a great place to camp near the lake, nearby a monastery and a fresh water source. They made sure with the locals, that I would be taken care of. I felt calm and secure, took a bath in the lake, had a good night sleep and was ready to hit the road again the day after.

Thanks again guys for your kindness.

Sasha and Buca

Sasha and Buca


Motel Beba

If you are in Zajecar, Serbia, and need a place to stay, be sure to try out Motel Beba. I got in Zajecar at nightfall and started to look for a place to spend the night. I asked the bartender at a local cafe where I could find a cheap hotel, but that didn’t help very much. People aren’t always informed what the accommodation facilities are in there town. After a quick search using the app Tripadvisor, I found out about Beba. Google maps send me in the wrong direction. But  local taxi company shared their WI-FI connection and loaded the correct GPS track, and off I went.

The personal at Beba (I can’t remember their names) were very kind, inviting me on sugary drinks and ice-cream, a delight when you just traveled 120km on your bike. Discussed on what direction I should take to get to Sofia, even when I said to them that I was planning to take another trail.

You would think that this shouldn’t be an entry under this section. But the personal at Beba were very kind to me, even when they didn’t have to, surpassing what’s stated in their job description.


Astrid and Johannes

I met Astrid and Johannes (Germany) briefly on my trip between Kladovo and Negotin. They started their trip in Budapest and are traveling up to the Black Sea, following the Danube. It is a preparation ride for their next journey starting from Istanbul and going to China. They were riding +20 year old bikes, formerly owned by Johannes parents. Very enthusiastic and curious, they were learning how to get prepared for their next big trip. And what better preparation than experience. I found their setup a good example that you don’t need high tech material for this kind of trip. But I must add that I I’m very happy with my setup.

I’m looking forward to here from you guys once you start with your big journey.

Astrid and Johannes

Astrid and Johannes


Martin S.

I regret I don’t have a picture of Martin with his recumbent or fixie bicycle. I contacted Martin through the warmshower community and he didn’t hesitate to offer me a place to stay at his apartment. A very knowledgeable guy about bicycles and biking, he is really a bike enthusiast. He loved my Surly LHT, it passed his quality control ride : ).

Hope to meet you again and share at one point or the other a trip.


Zoran K.

Warmshowers is not only a way to get a free bed and a warm shower. But a way to get to know the local culture and exchange our experiences with others. You get first hand information on the surroundings and which roads to travel. Having a profile and offering help to strangers, makes you an ambassador of your town and country. And Zolan is a great ambassador for the town of Backa Palanka, Serbia.

Liane contacted Zoran very last minute, and he didn’t hesitate to open the doors of his house to four strangers. We met Zoran at a local pub nearby the orthodox church St. John the Baptist, which his company has been repainting. Zoran told us a lot about current Serbian traditions. Backa Palanka is also known as “little china”, due the fact that all people are going there by bike. After a couple of beers we went to the store to buy some cevapi (balkan sausage) and Zoran prepared it in his serbian barbeque, the pan has a wok-like form, and the food is baked in pig fat. I must say it was delicious.

When it was time to leave, Zoran gave some produce from his garden, so we had some healthy food for on the road.

Thanks again man, and you are always welcome wherever I might be!!!

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Zoran and his bike

Serbian barbeque

Serbian barbeque



I met Milan through the Warmshowers social network. Something such as Couchsurfing, but specifically for bicycle travelers. It was my first Warmshowers experience and it was a great one. Milan and his family are my benchmark for Hungarian hospitality. I had a pleasant ride to Bölcske, Hungary, but had to push the bike to arrive there on time. As some already know me, I didn’t arrive on time.

Tired and a bit nervous to what to expect, I was warmly welcomed by Milan and his parents. I got fed delicious pizza, with the produce of their farm. Drank the home made rakia, wine and beer. Milan taught me about Hungarian culture, his experience traveling from Denmark to Barcelona by bike,  and about the families vineyards.

I told Milan about an strange encounter on the way to his home, the road between Dunaföldvar en Bolcske. In the middle of nowhere while I was sending a text message, a woman with a strange walk and a crooked eye, passed me by and returned slightly after and started talking to me. After a few attempts to explain to her I didn’t understand what she was trying to say, she emphasized on the word sex. I kindly refused the offer and went on my way. When I told Milan about my strange encounter, he told me:

“You will see a lot of strange things in the Balkan”

The day after, we met Alex and Liane in town’s center (they camped in Dunaföldvar), and we visited the vineyards the day after and learned how they try to maintain the craft of wine production. He gave us two bottles of their fine wine, which we enjoyed the night after.

I don’t know when but the postcard from China will arrive.

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The wine cellar

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Grape tasting

Thanks again mate!!!

Milan in front of one the families wine cellars

Milan in front of one the families wine cellars

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One of Milan’s ceramic creations, with the scripture: “The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness”



Bernadette and Robi

I met Bernadette and Robi (Switzerland) on the road between Baja and Kopačevo, while riding along with Liane and Alex.

Bernadette and Robi are very experienced travelers. On this trip they were completing the eurovelo 6 route between Budapest and the Black Sea. The last part to complete the whole tour.

I talked a lot with Bernadette about her experience traveling in Asia. This gave me new insights on my future plans and also made me very enthusiast of whats to come.

The last time I saw them was on the road between Brnjica and Kladovo (Serbia), near the so called Iron Gate.

Wish you the best!!

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