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Maria and Gerry’s Travel Diary

Friday, 23 Jun 2006

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

MapAnd So To Bulgaria.
Weather still hot,yesterday it was 37 C.From Belgrade we drove south finally leaving the huge Hungarian Plain to travel through pleasant undulating countryside as we approached the Balkan Mountains.Our target was the the city of Nis on the river of the same name.We ahd our lunch there then when we got closer to the Bulgarian border we were forced to do a 25km detour on roads that we would expect to find in the more remote stretches of the East Coast.Not too bad fot the occasional clapped tractor or horese or cart but not on for lots of big trucks or our bus a 450hp turbo charged 45 seater Volvo.Anyway our driver Caspar excelled himself dodging potholes,various farm transports,careless peasants and big rigs driven by crazed Turks.
He got a gratefull applause when we jouned the main road again.
The deour was so exising tunnels on the main road could be heightened to take the big tourist buses.
At the border we noticed the now familiar quiess of big trucks at the border but we were made welcome to the Replublic of Bulgaria as the big sign at the boder post proclaimed.
However this welcome did not last very long for after about half an hour on their rather bad roads a cop waved down the bus.It seems we were doing 52 in 59 k zone,never mind that there were no speed restriction signs to be seen.Our tour guide and driver got off the bus and followed the cop to his roadside cubby hole.Shortly thereafter the driver came back and got to bottles of beer from the on board fridge.Turned out the cop thought we were Hungarian touristd as our bus was registered in that country but when she said we were American,English and New Zealand they did not want to pursue the mattewr and the beer was deemed to be an appropriate fine.So we continued to Sofia on indifferent roads damaged by recent floods but also general neglect of the infrastructure.The Sofia Princess hotel owned by a Turkish company was agian 4 star.That night we had a buffet dinner at the hotel and a change to talk to fellow travellers
In our tours so far have spoken to maybe 40 Americans and with exception of one person all are anti Bush and anti the invasion of Iraq,some vehemently so.
While on that detour today in Serbia we experienced rain and a thunderstorm