Cherni Osem to Sofia

Alie and I moved on from Lovech to the little town of Cherni Osem. A small, very rural logging community at the foot of the Stara Planina hills. Cheapest accommodation yet at £3.20 pppn. However, Alie did remark it was worth every penny.

In a change to the normal custom of eating out every night, we decided to eat in. Raiding the local store of all the normal veg we could find, adding a packet of meat and thus having a hearty stew in front of an open fire beneath our bedroom. Accompanied of course by a bottle of Bulgarian red wine I had been carrying for the past week (now I know why). And it all cost next to nothing. A rather fine ending to a week long trip.

Walking around the village in the afternoon highlighted once again the very slow rural pace to life away from the big cities and the Black Sea resorts. People were out chopping wood ready for the winter, as well as tending their industrious gardens. Everybody seems to have at least a couple of fruit trees, marrows, tomatoes, peppers, paprika, herb section, flowers and not forgetting bees. Not only to support themselves but also to sell on the market or at the local shop. None of the produce we ate came very far at all.

We also had a look around the town of Troyan and its associated monastery where we unsuccessfully attempted to find a room for the night. The local plumb brandy festival may have been the reason. We did get a bottle though. The town itself though dull to look at, was a nice surprise once you started investigating.

A final 3 hour trip to Sofia and then the flight home, spending the night on the floor at the airport, in true traveller style on the concrete floor in the corner.

Once again I/we seemed to have packed such a lot in to such a small amount of time.

For me, the little idiosyncrasies of all the countries I have visited some how bring back their own warm memories. The relaxed café culture of Subotica and Berlgrade; Kotor and it’s old town on the Fjord; Albania and it’s proud history; and best of all, the clash of cultures that is Skopje. Simply fabulous.

Eastern Europe is a bit of an acquired taste Alie will openly admit its not everybody’s cup of tea. She did state however, that on the plus side, there were loads and loads of trees which is a good thing, the timer indicators on traffic light to know how long you have to wait were also useful and not forgetting the beautiful melon ice cream. Never ask her about bus station toilets though.

Well that is it for another trip.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these little updates as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Thanks for all the feedback and catching up with those I have not contacted in a while. Remember, folks, just get out there and travel. It’s easier than you think!

Until the next time … Happy travelling