April 14, 2010 GMT
Week 5-6

30th March – moved to Alexandropoulis, 40 km from Turkish border.


2nd April – not content with mastering tyre-changing on the road, Bob decided to do an oil-change as well. So we scoured the village for 8 litres of high-quality oil, to stop the service-light flashing on Sheila’s Beemer. Fell out with a few local dealers, who wanted to fleece us (synthetic prices for mineral oils!). Improvised a catch-tank from a used water bowser left by one of the many German pensioners staying at the same campsite. My Dad would have been proud of the craftsmanship and engineering that went into the manufacture of the catch-tank using only a Swiss-army knife, a concrete bollard and a large rock.


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Caption 1: Oil change in Alex


April 3rd – Decided it must be Easter, given that all hell broke loose last night at midnight. Fireworks going off left, right and centre and priests singing for hours.


April 5th – met an old Austrian biker yesterday, who had been Greek island-hopping for a couple of months, on his way back home to catch the last of the winter snow. Also a German bloke called Hotti, in a 4-wheel drive truck, who had some excellent advice and stories for us. He also swapped our novels for us, so we now have something more to read. He’s been away for 22 months, and was wending his way slowly back to Cologne.


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Caption 2: All the comforts of home, borrowed from the closed on-site restaurant.


April 6th – left Greece for Bulgaria. We’ve obviously chosen a little-used border crossing, since the road stopped being a road almost immediately, and the local pack of stray dogs lay in wait for us. Bob blasted through, leaving Sheila to play British Bulldog with them. Rural countryside looks incredibly poverty-stricken, and donkeys and carts still look to be the chosen form of transport. Stopped at Pomonia, at a Holiday Club, a fairly swish holiday complex.


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Caption 3: Looking over Bulgarian Black Sea, towards our holiday complex.


April 8th – short run to Balchik, still in Bulgaria. Found small family hotel, (we know this because of the large banner outside) who let us park the bikes next to the swimming-pool and in sight of the local security guard, who seemed to take us under his wing, and was always there when we left the hotel. The town is famous for its Castle, a summer residence of the Romanian Queen Maria. We had another cultural interlude, and spent a morning walking around the gardens.


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Caption 4: Balchik Castle, Bulgaria


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Caption 5: More Bulgarian Black Sea views.


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Caption 6 : On the road in Bulgaria


April 12 th – moved on to Romania. Realised we should have changed our Bulgarian levs before we left Bulgaria. There’s evidently some bad feeling between the two countries, and even the banks won’t change them, so we’ve sent them back home, to deal with it.


April 13th – short run to Tulcea, on the Danube Delta (no, I didn’t know it ran to here either!).

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Caption 7: Romania has a feel of 1970’s Birmingham.

Posted by Sheila Oldfield at 12:22 PM GMT
 


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