Sofia to Perot, Serbia 86km
It was pretty hard getting on the bike this morning. It was -2°C, and really foggy. The assurance of one of the staff that the fog should only be around the city helped a little, as I left the warmth and comfort of the Hostel Mostel, and hit the soggy, bleak streets..... I don't know how the locals live with it. It really is bleak.
30km later, I'm still in dense freezing fog, and I find the first open cafe. As per usual, the lady serving is grumpy, from boredom I reckon. On top of her grumpiness, she had no food, and a choice of Nescafe Coffee, or Nescafe Coffee. I bought one, just so I could sit inside and defrost, but I couldn't face drinking it...... And then I dragged myself back out into the freezing bleakness. I'm in a "fug". I'm not smiling, I'm feeling depressed, and I'm thinking of the 30°C summer day happening in Canterbury.
Some of the youngsters at the hostel were in a "fug" as well. When I arrived on Xmas Eve, (2pm), some were just getting up for breakfast. They sat around until 10pm, then hit the town. Xmas morning they rolled into the dorm at 4am, and stayed in bed until late afternoon. Xmas Day, they were out on a pub crawl from 10pm again, and rolled in about 4.30am, straight from the Strip Club. Boxing Day didn't really happen for these guys. They were deep in "fug", especially the one who realised mixing with the stripper had cost him $500. One of the others didn't emerge from his bunk all day. The dorm smelled like a teenagers bedroom ..... fuggy to the max or what? (their idea of travelling the world is slightly different to mine). Luckily, I was able to climb out of my fug.
10kms past the "no food cafe", the fog suddenly disappeared. What an amazing difference. I haven't really seen much of Bulgaria, through the fog, but here, it was very, very pretty. My spirits lifted with the scenery, and the road started to descend through a beautiful conifer forest, all the way to the Serbian border. I'm in the sun, I'm going downhill, the fug disappears.
A Bulgarian exit stamp, and a Serbian entry stamp took about ten minutes. Makes me think of the three and a half hour crossings in Central Asia. So quickly, I'm in country twentytwo, and it's amazing. The first village is old world Europe. Cobbled streets, bakeries, small shops, horses and carts filled with hay, and thatched roofs. I'm following minor roads through the villages, and dogs are not chasing me. I'm smiling. I'm having fun. And I see my first cycle tourist since central Turkey. Viktor from Austria, is heading to Antalya.