The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Geiranger, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Welcome to Bulgaria. Country #51 for us!

It was chilly on our last night in Turkiye. The temperature was 1C (34F) when we woke up and there was frost on the windshield. So we got up and drove right away to warm things up.

It was only about 100 kms (62 miles) or so to the border, but we needed to stop and top up the fuel tank one last time, as well as fill one propane tank.

We took the back roads most of the way.

We woke up to sunshine, but it clouded over soon after that.

Love traveling the back roads.


Just us and the tractors.
I'm sure he was thinking we were lost!

We stopped and filled up the propane and the diesel fuel. It will be a long time before we see prices this cheap again! Both are quite a bit more expensive in the European countries.

But then we turned onto the main road leading to the Bulgaria border.

Lots of trucks. We've often seen trucks lined up to cross a border, but never like this. The lineup was 12 kms (7.5 miles) long! 

It seemed to go on forever.

Ruth took a video for you...


It amazes me that the border crossing system is this inefficient. Think about how much money is wasted because of it. 

Arrived at the border.

First, we had to exit Turkiye. We were two days under our 90 day allowance. They checked Max's licence plate in the customs computer and to our surprise there were no fees in the system. We were expecting to be charged for crossing the bridge in Istanbul.

Welcome to Bulgaria.

They checked our passports, asked where we were going, and that was that. The girl came out and asked us to open a few cupboards and doors, and then sent us to customs where they did the same thing.

Many of Bulgaria's highways are toll roads and they have a vignette system where you pay by time, not distance or roads used. So we had to park and go inside to a self serve machine to buy a 7 day highway pass for 15 lev ($10.40 CAD, $8.30 USD). 

Bulgaria is part of the EU, but it's not part of the Schengen visa zone. The Bulgarian currency is the lev, which is pegged to the euro at about 1.55. So while they don't officially use the euro, technically it's the same thing. 

On the road in Bulgaria.



By this point in the day it had become overcast and drizzly. 

We arrived in the town of Elhovo where we needed to do some grocery shopping, get a Bulgaria SIM card to get on the internet, and find an ATM to get some local cash.

Because alcohol was quite expensive in Turkiye, we didn't drink much of it. And we didn't drink any hard stuff at all during our time there. However here in Bulgaria, it's the exact opposite. Alcohol is downright cheap. And I was pleased and surprised to see that they carried my favorite Scotch!

My favorite blended Scotch!

And only 19 lev ($13 CAD, $10 USD) per bottle. And I picked up four different cans of Bulgarian beer, and Ruth got a noname bottle of Amaretto and a 3 liter box of cardbordeaux wine. The wine was on sale... 3 liters for 7 lev ($4.85 CAD, $3.85 USD). Wow!

We left Mex parked at the grocery store and walked into the center of town to find a cell store.

Downtown Elhovo, Bulgaria.
It's pretty quiet because it was drizzling with rain.

Easter in Elhovo.

Found a cell store, and the girl spoke surprisingly good English. We bought a prepaid SIM card with 15 GB of data only for 15 lev ($10.40 CAD, $8.30 USD). That should do us for our one week in Bulgaria.

Wandering around town, we came across this 1959 (?) Cadillac.
With California plates that say "LOVELVS"

Sure would be neat to know the history of this car.
How does a 1959 Cadillac end up in Elhovo, Bulgaria??!

It's actually a nice little town.

We found an empty parking lot on the outskirts of town near a park and decided that would make for an okay overnight. And it was... a few cars driving around until 11:00pm or so, but it was quiet after that.

My first Bulgarian beer!

Yesterday's drive 143 kms (87 miles).

We aren't going to do much touring around Bulgaria. We're only here to pass through to Romania, which is not really that far away. We're going to try to find some places to do some hiking, and we're going to stay away from the cities. Sofia and Plovdiv will have to wait for another time.

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Nice price drop on this Wireless RV Backup Camera.

And in Canada...

14 comments:

  1. Quite the change of scenery. Now if the weather would be more cooperative.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the scenery is a little different and now because it is spring, things are much greener.

      We hope that the weather improves too. :-)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the pictures of our drive. Yep, spring has arrived and things are getting nice and green. :-)

      Delete
  3. Glad the border crossing was easy and you were able to overtake all the trucks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are glad that the border crossing went so easily too. I can't even begin to imagine how long it would have taken if we had had to wait in line with those trucks!

      Delete
  4. When crossing the border how did you know that you could pass all the trucks and go to the head of the line? Also just think of all the money to be made there with a food cart selling to those stalled truckers. Californians are moving ever where.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have crossed enough borders through the years, especially between Mexico and the US to know that the trucks are always funnelled into special lanes just for them and cars go through a separate area. Plus the road was wide enough to allow for vehicles to pass the trucks and still have room for vehicle to pass coming the other way.

      We actually did see a guy in a little truck that moved along side the trucks selling sandwiches and snacks, we are sure that he has a great business going for himself.

      Delete
  5. Wow... that's a crazy number of trucks! Interesting that alcohol is super inexpensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we though that was a lot of trucks too! We can't even begin to imagine how long it would take for them to get through the border!

      We have found in general that wine and beer are definitely cheaper in Europe than back in Canada and in the Balkans is seems to be even cheaper. We can understand the higher prices in Turkey because it is predominately a Muslim country so not much alcohol gets drunk there.

      Delete
  6. Old Smuggler! I haven't bought any for quite some time. I will check the price here in Mexico tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will be interested to hear what the price of Old Smugglers is now in Mexico!

      Delete
  7. Lucky you did not have to wait with the trucks. How did you know to pass them and not get behind them to wait?
    K~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, very lucky that we didn't, not sure how long it would have taken to cross the border if we had.

      We have crossed enough borders through the years, especially between Mexico and the US to know that the trucks are always funnelled into special lanes just for them and cars go through a separate area.

      Delete

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