Enjoy Communism

Enjoy Communism

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We decided that a concert would be a good idea to start our one year long trip. We were a little tempted to go in the opposite direction and visit the Woodstock (telling ourselves that it is on the way to the Balkans), but we knew that it would delay he start for at least one week. Wiola accidentally found the information about the upcoming concert of Glen Hansard. So we decided to embark on our journey the first of August and go straight to the concert in Milevsko. Who of you has not heard the music of Glen or not seen the film Once – should catch it up.

Czech town with the population of 8000 people surprised us with a stage built in front of the old temple and a crowd of people waiting for a concert with a bottle of Francisian wine bought in the small door of the monastery. Glen Hansard’s concerts are often held in big cities as Paris or New York, but even in small Milevsko artist went on the stage and  gave a moving, two-hours long performance. When we came back to the tent talking about concert and our first impressions of the journey, I immediately fell asleep. The only thing that disturbed Wiola while sleeping (because only earthquakes can wake me up), there were mice running under our tent. As it turned out in the morning, the whole campsite was sifted by mice burrows. Locals were quite surprised by our presence in Milevsko and whenever we came to the bar at the campsite with a catchy name “Demon” we aroused interest. So we could safely recharge the phones there, leave some luggage or pay for a meal even with the smallest Euro coins.

Our 2 euro “deal” :)

The next day we went from Milevsko through Brno, Bratislava and Budapest to Szeged in Hungary. The driver, who has won our hearts that day turned out to be a young Egyptian, currently living in Bratislava. He was so worried about us that he offered to stop a car that will take us to Budapest before it gets dark. We did not have time to think about how it intends to do on the highway, and a moment later we saw him flashing lights for a car with Hungarian plates. Men sitting in the car looked terrified when our long-bearded swarthy driver opened the window and started shouting something in their direction. Fortunately, he quickly concluded that further attempts do not make sense, because the Hungarians seem to be quite frightened of him.

Although a gas station close to Szeged had greeted us with a storm and pooring rain, a plate we noticed it in the morning, very similar to our favorite MMW42, announced a successful day. After a while, we were already on the Serbian side of the border, and another Polish guy who was catching cars in the direction of Novi Sad, didn’t believe that we can find a ride directly to Belgrade. A few minutes after he drove off,  we were going towards the capital with nice French driver We didn’t know yet that we would travel together for the next four days.

During a typical hitch-hiking conversation we found out that Jeremy also wants to stay in Belgrade and he was looking for accommodation.That is how we got a ride to the doors of one of our favorite places – Star Hostel. We spent the evening on the integration with other guests of the hostel and drinking Serbian beers.

The next day we arrived with Jeremy in Sofia, where we were supposed to stay in Kajt’s place, who is so hospitable that he took care not only about me and Wiola, but also our driver. It turned out that also my another friend from Wroclaw is temporarily living there, so we had company for every day. The guys kept saying that Bulgaria is rather average, but an evening stroll through the streets of Sofia was quite pleasant. The temperature dropped to twenty few degrees, Kajt told us a lot about the history of the city and took us to an interesting bar, at first glance similar to Lviv’s “Kryjivka”. We were waiting quite long before the bartender opened the door to Hambara. In a dark room resembling a barn, lit only with candles, even on Monday, almost all the tables were taken. Although the interior is unfinished in Bulgarian style and there is a gap in the floor that could kill somebody, it’s definitelya place worth visiting.

On the second day in Sofia Tomek wanted to take us to the mountains, luckily the weather was not good and he just showed us the city. We went to the place where you can buy freshly made fruit juices in almost all tastes. Nothing could help us more on a hot day than a cold drink like this. In the evening we came back to the apartment and spent time listening to the worst music that can be found on the Internet (we have a special playlist), alternating with joyful songs Jeremy played the accordion.

One of the many stores with freshly made fruit and vegetable juices – Sofia, Bulgary

After driving last kilometers with Jeremy it was hard to say goodbye. But our French friend was going for folk festival in a small town near Sofia, and we were heading Gabrovo, where we wanted to see the impressive building of the Communist Party of Bulgaria (Buzludzha). We hoped that we will reach the building which is 20 kilometers away from Gabrovo by hitch-hiking. The first part of the trip was fairly simple and we caught a car going at the very beginning of the trail. Navigation showed that we have to walk 12 km walk uphill, on a completely empty road. I was skeptical about the idea of ​​entering the trail at 4 pm, but Wiola was so fierce that in the end we moved towards the top. Fortunately, the trail turned out to be adapted to our abilities and the entire route was paved. Along the way, we were able to stop a small truck for about 2 kilometers. When we finally reached the giant Soviet building, we knew it was worth it. The building of the Communist Party of Bulgaria did an amazing impression. While we’re going down the hill we counted that our navigation doesn’t quite know the trails and in the end we walked “only” six kilometers in each direction.

When we reached Bulgarian-Turkish border we felt slightly stressed. Everyone warned us about the Turks and even if we wanted to check it on our own, we started to watch out for each other more than usual. We walked the border without any trouble, and the friendly guards just kept asking us what are we going to visit in Turkey. We stood with a piece of paper with the name “Edirne” close to the gates and waited for the first car. We saw two hitch-hiking waving at us from across the street. They were coming back to Bulgaria and we thought – ” they survived”.

Buzludzha – Gabrovo, Bulgary
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We've met each other during classes the least associated with our faculty at the university and it couldn't be an accident. Silly grinning at our English teacher telling about his hitch-hiking adventures, we haven't known yet that we will begin to travel together. The series of unfortunate events made us share a tent, a camera and memories. Now almost nothing can stop us from hitch-hiking.

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