Day 208 | Saturday October 8
After a few days of recovery I felt well enough to continue again. I want to thank Frank and Petra for the possibility to let me stay at their wonderful B&B for 4 nights and taking care of me. They sent me away with a bag full of hagelslag sandwiches, fruits, cookies and some pocket money.
Plan for today was to go to Plovdiv and do a stop in Buzludzha.
Buzludzha is the former headquarter of Bulgaria’s Communist Party. I had seen pictures of this place a few years ago and something attracted me to it, like most soviet constructions do. I didn’t know it was so close to Pchelishte until Frank showed me a picture of this place and said “don’t you want to visit this?”. A no-brainer.
The headquarter is build on top of a 1.441 meters high Balkan mountain and it looks like it comes straight out of a James Bond or Alien movie. It’s nicknamed the Bulgarian UFO for obvious reasons. The building is very symbolic to the Soviet times, it’s huge, ugly, a lot of concrete, hard to reach, powerful and yet it is beautiful. The entrance to the building is iconic, a long wide staircase leads to a big entrance were letters from metal are starting to fall from the walls. Many visitors left writings in graffiti on the wall mostly referring to the communist times, “never forget your past” and “enjoy communism” in Coca-Cola font can be seen.
The building is not being looked after or controlled so it’s starting to decay fast. The inside got very unsafe and unfortunately for me just 2 months ago they decided to close the building from entering. A shame because the pictures you can get there are unreal.
Because I had to climb a lot I lost range and it was impossible to reach Plovdiv with the remaining energy I had left. I decided to go to Stara Zagora instead. This would safe me also time as this city was more towards Turkey. I got to Stara Zagora around 7 and during the trip didn’t feel well again. I didn’t had the energy to ask people for their help so I opened my laptop and saw there was a cheap motel which I could afford with the money I received from Frank and Petra. The place looked a bit dodgy, in the room next to me the guests were practicing animal sounds and taxi’s dropped off cheap dressed lady’s who left just an hour later every time. They probably didn’t feel comfortable in this place too…
Day 209 | Sunday October 9
After 209 days I would reach country number 20 this trip, Turkey. Before I got into the country I needed to print out my visa. With the money I collected via the new donation tool I could pay for this online, a very easy process which I did a few days ago but I forgot to print it out at the B&B, stupid because I lost some time with this. In a city close to the border I found a nice man who could print it for me.
Crossing the border was easy this time, not many questions asked and they didn’t take much time to check the car. In the afternoon I arrived in Edirne, just 20 kilometers from the border. On CouchSurfing I found Hasan who could host me. I thought it was better to have someone waiting for me as I always need some time to adjust to a new environment before I feel brave enough to go to a place where no-one has offered help.
Hasan welcomed me with traditional Turkish tea. After I slept an hour (I am still exhausted) we had dinner (Turkish pizza) and plugged the car in at his work. Hasan lives in an apartment on the 5th floor so at his place it was not possible. Unfortunately at his work the electricity-grid was not strong enough to power my car so I drove home and we decided to charge the car tomorrow as I only need to do 70km to the next place.
Turkish people seem very open and friendly. In two days I am going to reach Istanbul which means I will be in Asia! After 7 months I’m finally reaching the second continent!