Goodbye Asia, Hello Europe…

On the ferry to the Dardenelles

4 July

Canakkale to Plodiv Bulgaria

The morning was still warm as we boarded the ferry with our cars for Plodiv. We travelled across to the Peninsula and the Dardenelles, passing through fields of sunflowers appeared to nod their farewells as we headed for the border. Fields of gold, green and yellow wheat and sunflowers  flashed by us as we travelled North West.

Fields of goden sunflowers followed us through out out trip from turkey and europe. Depends on the clmate……..

The Bulgarian border was dealt with quickly. To travel on the expressways and highways we needed to buy a viniette.  The purple of lavender was introduced into the landscape, and provided a contrast to the increasing fields of gold and yellow.

The old town of Plodiv was enchanting with many of the wooden and stucco houses from the 1850’s were being restored. We viewed the ancient ruins of a Roman theatre, Agora, amphitheatre, and several churches including Virgin Mary and St Dieter where we saw an exhibition of superb icons painted by the graduates of the Art academy who spent up to 5 years studying how to write(paint) icons. This town is a walking town because the streets made of cobblestones and flagstones are very narrow and steep.  After dinner, we stopped at the Agora to watch fireworks and a military display of machine gun fire and rifles. A charming city seeped in history – it is amazing to see how far the Silk Road and the Roman empire reached.

Storks on the look out
Plodiv – beautifully restored buildings
Art work on the walls near the Art Academy – Plodiv
Another large roman theater complex – truly amazing for all those centuries ago!
All newly restored houses with beautiful wooden cantilever overhangs enhanced by detailed stucco painted walls. A real compliment to the towns people and owners. Keep it up!!

5 July

Plodiv Bulgaria to Craiosara Romania

Now we are on the final run to Abingdon and the little MGs seem to sense they are returning to their roots. What we thought would be a 3-4 hour journey finished up being about 7 to 8 hour trip due to the biggest multicar accident we have ever seen. 40 cars collided at 6.00am in dense fog and smoke on the freeway – at least 20 people were taken to hospital some in a critical condition, fortunately there were no fatalities. We came across the accident at about 9.30am and  were diverted by the police on a 2 ½ hour journey through the country side along with thousands of other travellers. The border between Romania and Hungary is the Danube river which we had to cross by car ferry unfortunately it had a mechanical fault and was running 45 minutes late. We arrived in Craiosara around 6.30pm. At the hotel we enjoyed a refreshing swim, delicious dinner with Jazz. Just the thing after a very long and hot journey.

Haystacks standing sentinel over the vast hay fields.
Crazy looking tower in the park and lake attached to the Danube where we had lunch. Don’t know what it was used for.?? Serbia on the other side
More Guards…..

6 July

Craiosara Romania to Timisoara Romania

no camera here – doh…

Travelling on the way to Timisoara we followed the Danube and could see the Serbia on the other side of the river. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Orsavo on the banks of the river. Weird being so close to so many countries. This was another slow journey due to a single carriageway all the way and a multitude of heavy trucks and transport vehicles coming in both directions. But it didn’t spoil our view of the fields of sunflowers, wheat and mown hay stacked into conical bundles around old tree trunks or sticks. This left the bundles looking like scraggy scrawny remnants of scarecrows standing like tired sentinels in the mown fields and valleys. Along the way we were greeted by more storks in their nests perched on lamp posts or chimneys.

Some of these places we are travelling through we haven’t heard of, until Tony mentioned the revolution in 1989 and Ceausescu the dictator.

Timisoara is an old town with a beautiful Greek Orthodox Cathedral with towers and a detailed green, yellow and white tiled roof near the pedestrian plaza, where thousands of people protested in 1989 starting the revolution.

After a lovely dinner high up on a terrace above the town we walked back along the canal; stopping to watch a dancing competition. All the participants were dressed in their regional costumes, dancing their traditional dances to a very energetic band. The evening was very warm and people were enjoying themselves.


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