Cruisin’ the country

Kostandenets moto
View over the valley (Kostandenets – BG) ©yannbastiaans

For people on a quest for freedom Bulgaria is a wonderful place to spend your life. I have to admit that for most Bulgarians this is not true. The low wages and high unemployment are a shame for the European Union, of which Bulgaria is a member state.


Emenkloof brug3
Bridge trough the Emen Gorge (BG) ©yannbastiaans

If you come from abroad, what little money you have can be put to good value. Not surprising if you know that the average wage here is around 200€/month. Many Bulgarians have to manage with less. The fact that everything is – in our Western eyes – cheap, reinforces that feeling of freedom. A good meal in a restaurant, drinks included, costs around 5 euros.

Silistra fort
The fortress of Silistra overseeing the Danube (BG) ©yannbastiaans

But what I really wanted to talk about is that the notion of ‘property’ here has not (yet?) evolved as it did in Western Europe. Fences and barbed wire are, outside of the conglomeration, almost non-existent. Dirt roads and paths trough the fields and woods are open to all, making it a huge open and free countryside for hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders, off-road motorcyclists and 4×4 enthusiasts. Everything is accessible, nobody will chase you away stating it is ‘private’ property.

So the youthful adventurer’s spirit came back to me when I first crossed this country from West to East. That made me decide to buy a motorcycle. To explore, to travel, to visit new places, to discover the rich culture and the great past of this country. Romans, Greek, Ottomans and Thracians all left traces of their rich culture here.

Communist congress center near the Shipka pass (BG)
Communist congress center near the Shipka pass (BG) ©yannbastiaans

Driving off-road I found an old paved road, half disappeared and overgrown, winding it’s way trough a gorge near a river where kilometers away stands an old castle. My first thought was that this was a Roman road, but I am no archeologist. Now I think this road could possible date from around the 4th century, around the time the castle and fortified town further on was built on a high rock.

Svalenik moto
Very old trail trough the valley near Svalenik (BG) ©yannbastiaans
Omurtag Mig
Mig on display at Omurtag (BG) ©yannbastiaans

Besides the rich past the nature is also overwhelming. Plains, hills and mountains roll over into each other, painted in the brown, yellow and green colors of the vast agricultural fields, or in the light green colors of the fields with grass on the hills that are grazed by the flocks of sheep, goats, horses and cows, and in the dark colors of the cool forests. High rocky cliffs protrude from valleys, and force the rivers below to cut their path trough the country.



It makes me feel young and adventurous to explore and discover. The knowledge that, despite its appearance, Bulgaria has to offer everything available in every European country, reassures me. I am talking about internet, hospitals, good restaurants, supermarkets, luxury goods, etc.. So from that point of view it maybe makes me a couch-adventurer? ?

Love, Yann ❤️



The old town of Tryavna (BG) ©yannbastiaans


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