Hill Climb in Rila, リラでヒルクライム
Rila monastery is the biggest temple within Bulgarian church. It has 1000 years history. I am not a big fan of visiting historical church but decided to visit it because an American tourist I met told me it was very pretty monastery.

For getting there, it's about 20km oneway from Rila village. I thought I would leave my bicycle in somewhere safe in the village and take a bus. However, according to some village people I met, a bus leave only at around noon. I was at the village almost early morning so have a long time to the noon. Then, I decided to cycle up to the monastery.

Unexpectedly, the way to the monastery was not as steep as I expected. I could manage to get to it in two hours with all luggages still on my bicycle. The traffic was also not bad at all. I thought it was because it's early in the morning.

At a small village on the way up. Friendly local and his grand kid.

The Rila monastery was in the valley and snowy Rila mountain behind.

There were not any souvanior shops around. I guessed its because the monastery was one of the world heritages.

Entrance, 入り口。it doesn't have entrance fee of cause, もちろん入場料はありません

The church in the centur. It was very pretty.

So many fresco arts.

The souvenir shop in monastery. Actually, this building is the oldest building in this monastery.

There were not many tourists as I expected there would be so many, so I could take enough time to look around. It was beautiful monastery as I've heard.

It was my last mission in Bulgaria so now I will be heading to Macedonia.
[2013/05/17 21:26 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Hill Climb in Pirin N.P., ピリン国立公園でヒルクライム
Cycling mountains near the Greece border. There were some villages where still old buildings left that have roof constricted special way with rocks.


There was Pirin national park on my way. It is one of world heritage in Bulgaria.

There were some route where can be accessed inside of N.P. However, non of them were connected, so I need to go and back same way if I want to get inside. As a cyclist, it's stressful to come back same way but there were nothing I can. I chose a route from Bansko.

At an entrance of Pirin N.P. ピリン国立公園エントランスにて

I thought it's good idea to leave my all luggage instead of taking all up for 13km, so I hided bags behind bushes and took off. There were plenty of nice hiding space for camping.

Crumbing hill was more than I expected. Even without luggages, it was very hard work. However, the view on the way was breathtaking.

I reached to the snow line so couldn't go farther by bicycle.

There were no choices. I left my bike at a restaurant opened I saw on my way and decided to walk from there.

I forgot to bring lunch so asked people at the restaurant. They prepared one for me even though it was before opening.

A chalet at the end of the road. Since no cars can reach there, it was very quiet.

Snow mountains, 雪山。

I couldn't walk more than 1km away from the chalet due to snow, but it was very beautiful.

I believe July and August will be the best season. I heard that there will be a bus service from Bansko to the top. It looks well organized for hiking so will be nice to backpack for few days.

After cycling up very hard and hiking in snow, it is time for a beer. If it is in Japan, this beer, in a mountain, cost $7. However, now, Bulgaria, it costs only $1.5.
[2013/05/16 01:13 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Ando san's home, アンドウさん家
I left Provdiv after staying for 2 days. I knew there would be nothing interesting for me in Sofia, the capital of this country, so now, I'm heading south where it looks beautiful mountain area.


Bachkovo monastery, 30km south of Provdiv.

There were beautiful wall arts. The sun lights coming into the main building beautifully through the spaces on the top of the roof. It shins on pilgrims and smokes inside of building. There were kind of special atmosphere.

As I cycled into mountains, the weather started getting bad. Then, eventually, it started raining and thunder. The temperature dropped since it was high elevation. I felt awful.

A god was there. I met a guy unexpectedly. It was super nice coincidence. He was from England and had a home in a town I just stopped by a shop to buy stuff. He kindly invited me to stay his home since it was bad weather.
そんな中、救いの神のごとく現れた人物 アンドウさんに出会った。名前だけ見たら日本人だが、バリバリのイギリス人。道端で声を掛けられ、天気が悪いからと家に招待して頂いた。本当ありがたい。

His name was Ando. He is a professional saxophone in England. He owns the home in Chepelare and was just visiting there for few days. He likes skiing mostly but also cycling. He took me a restaurant and a bar after. We enjoyed that night until mid night. In the next morning, I got hung over, and it was still bad weather. I shamelessly asked him if I can stay his home one more night. He said off cause. He was very nice person, and i was really pleased meeting him. Than you, Ando san.
アンドウ さんはプロのサックス奏者で今いる町 Chepelare にマンションを買って 年に何度かブルガリアに遊びに来ているらしい。スキーが趣味で、家はスキー用品だらけ。自転車も好きなようで、4台もブルガリアで所有している。この日はアンドウさんに連れられてレストランやら飲み屋で夜遅くまで飲ませて頂いた。そして翌日は二日酔い。外は雷。全く出発する気になれず、図々しくもあと一泊させて頂いた。本当にありがとうございました。

His Web: andorjensen.co.uk
[2013/05/13 11:31 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Rose Valley and old city, Provdiv バラの谷と古い街プロブディフ
Bulgaria is called "Land of Rose". I heard that 70%of world rose consumption for perfume is from Bulgaria.
In my guide book, there is even area called rose valley, between Sofia and Kazanrak.
However, according to some people I met, there were not much roses flowering this valley, so I decided to skip this valley and head to Provdiv.

ブルガリアはLand of Rose とも呼ばれていて、香料に使われるバラエキスは世界の7割がこのブルガリアで取れた物らしい。

I had couple of passes on the way. It was nice ride through light spring green forest and many flowers along the way. I'm pretty sensitive for pollen so in this time of year, looks flower pollens annoy me with itchy eyes and running nose.

In about 40km noth east of Provdiv, town called Brezovo, I unexpectedly found area where many rose farms were. There were many people picking rose flowers. I was very curious so had a look at how people collect.
They were picking very fast without groves.


They didn't speak English at all but I understood 1kg is for 7 Ref which is about $4. It was very peaceful atmosphere there. I liked it. Bulgarians are very relax and nice people.

As I went through rose valley, I arrived Provdiv. This ancient city is 4000 years old which is considered as one of oldest city within Europe. As I walk in old town, I was impressed that people's life and ancient remaining, such as old roman stadiums etc.., were mixed naturally.

Old Town, 旧市街

Battle Arena for old roman empire, this used to be a battle arena for animals. When I visited there, kids play with historical dance.

A stadium in new town, it was used to be 400m long, and now most of it was under the new town. People discovered this when they dug the ground. Local person said that it's better not to dig anywhere in this town otherwise something discovered might make a problem.

Weekend Bazar, 週末のバザール

[2013/05/12 00:28 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Who is this??この人わかる??
I really enjoyed visiting Velico Tarunobo and talking to some Japanese staying same guest house. This guest house was awesome as I've heard.


Walking around town, this place looks like Onomich, Japan as there was many hills and cats,
町歩き~毎日 この街は坂が多くて猫も多い、日本の尾道みたい

Hostel Mostel, Dome 20LEF(10Euro), clean, nice stuffs, 2 meals included (Dinner is always small portion, so not suitable for cyclists), free 1 glass of beer at dinner(Always some one who can drink so you can get more), free kitchen and WiFi.
ホステルモステル, ドミ20レフ(10Euro)、部屋綺麗、スタッフ素晴らしい、2食込み(夜飯は少なすぎてチャリには向かない)、夜飯時にはビールサービス(基本1杯だが飲めない人がいるので、もらえる)、綺麗なキッチンとWi-Fi使えます。

I encountered a famous Japanese guy within Japanese travelers.

He used to work at a famous guest house in Istanbul. I've heard that he would take off in May, so it was totally unexpected coincidence. He was very fun to talk with. Took a photo in front of the guest house with him, a Japanese retired gentleman and a stuff of the guest house.
[2013/05/09 18:22 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Velico Tarnovo, ベリコタルノボ
Main freeway in Bulgaria is awful. There were no space for cycling. However, secondary roads were opposite. There were no traffic; tractors and coaches tuning. I thought it's better to have good map for this country.


Working on his field.

There were many springs along roads, so very easy to get nice cold water.

No traffic so wedding going on middle of a road.

Veliko Tarnobo is my second stop.

This is 5000 years history old town. Old houses sat on hills surrounded a castle. As you walk through old township, you feel time slipped.

Fun to walk allays.

In this town, I stayed at a guest house Taro, the Japanese cyclist I met in Istanbul, recommended. It's called Hostel Mostel. Seems they renovated old hose to a guest house, so looks very nice. People are friendly and helpful, so I can also recommend to the others. I take some days off here.

[2013/05/07 23:24 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
ブルガリア Bulgaria
As I entered Bulgaria side, there were Russian languages and cars have been appeared on my way. That remembered me when I cycled central Asia last whole summer.


The border area was a part of national parks, so there were beautiful forest.

As I came through this forest, beautiful rape flowers were appeared on my sight.

When I first went to a shop, I was shocked how things were cheap. For example, a ham that would cost $5 in turkey was $2. 500ml can of beer that could be $2.5 was 90cent. I was very pleased and happy to be able to enjoy beer after cycling.

A glass of beer with black sea behind.

My first stop was the ancient city, Nesebar. This city has 3000 years history vis Roman and Osman Empire. For me, the city was more Osman style. However, there were still many things remained since Roman Empire such as sight of water fountain, sculpture etc..,
this city was well organized for tourists but it looked over-repaired so looked pretty new.
ブルガリアに入って最初に立ち寄ったのは黒海沿岸の小さな街 ネセバル。ここは3000年の歴史を持つ要塞都市。ローマ帝国やオスマン帝国の支配にさらされて来た経緯を持ち、街の雰囲気は自分にはオスマン時代の面影が濃く残っていたように感じた。中にはローマ時代の物と思わしき彫刻や噴水跡など残っていて、町歩きは楽しい場所であった。ただ、修復を過度にしてしまった感があるのがもったいない気がした。

Many souvenir shops.

I stopped by a caffe for beer. They treated me a beer for free. What a nice people

Since my first day of Bulgaria, people have been friendly and nice. I like their smile when I shopped at a store or passed neighborhood. I wonder they are so nice. Maybe because of yoghurt? will find out.
[2013/05/05 03:15 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
I ♡ cycling
A day before I left Istanbul, I met a Japanese cyclist. His name was Taro. We had some common friends on Facebook. I coincidently found that he was coming to Istanbul. I contacted him and we could meet a day before I took off. He left Japan Feb, 2011 and crossed china, central Asia and Europe. Then now, he was on the way to Japan in deferent route. Since he had cycled Europe already, I could correct some useful informations from him. It was nice meeting with him.


I left Istanbul with Taro's escort and headed a border of Bulgaria. As Taro told me about the traffic from Istanbul, it was just like nightmare, especially 20km from the junction of the airport freeway was a hell. I never cycle that road again.

After passing hell, the road became more peaceful. It was all brown color only I could see when I cycled winter of turkey last year. However, now it became flowery green lands. This atmosphere remembered me how I liked cycling and the way to enjoy cycling; enjoying scenery and meeting local people, finding camping spot and then cooking a dinner with checking a map.

I had been feeling that my spirit of moving forward had been come back after I flew back from Australia. I don't exactly know why but think it's because season changed and refreshed in Australia. It is for sure good sign to me.

It took me 3 days to the border. The road became hilly before 70km from the border. However, it was pretty enjoyable because the forest had been massive green for spring.

The border check point was in pretty remote area. Turkish border was very friendly and easy. It took me only a few minute to pass through. Now, I'm in Bulgaria which is my 18th country in this trip.
[2013/05/02 21:17 ] | Bulgaria | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
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