Headwinds & Hawthorn

After a week on the road and 300km into what felt like a constant headwind we have reached the pretty port city of Varna on the Black Sea. Not ones for sticking to the main road, a never ending rollercoaster through an agrarian quilt of wheat, rapeseed and ploughed fields, we took a detour to the sacred valley of Zalmoxis. It is an ancient place of human sacrifice, where we offered our sweat in happy worship and our legs were stung on the nettle road.

At night we seek out the seams of forest where hawthorn encircle us and the amusing choral arrangement of the blackbirds, cuckoos and other yet to be identified singers, awaken us. It is as magical as it sounds but it is also hard. The road feels long and the fertility of the earth in this area leaves her open to abuse – the ploughs scratch and the pesticide silence of the apple orchard makes an unfit place of sanctuary for sensitive travellers. So in the dark, tired and a little afraid we pedal on until the walnut trees harbours us. This journey’s tale will not only be about human kindness it will be about the happy patches of land that sing lullabies and craddle us.

Time to write is rare in a nomadic life and these are unedited snippets. I want to tell you so much more about the constant hunger, the laughter, the arguments, and the people we meet. The farmers with their open handed shrug of query as you emerge from a night in the bushes, or the young boy cycling with a fishing rod stuffed down the back of his jumper whose eyes widen in amazement when he hears that we are on our way to India, of the wedding procession through the village that I completely failed to capture through fumbling fingers and exhaustion, or the bleary eyed guy in the deserted village who wishes us Latcho Drom – safe journey. The nomads know us and the others marvel or eye us with suspicion.


And Hers
Crossing the Danube
Pe curand.


Communist era monuments
Art on road next to recycling plant


Dobro utro!


The Sacred Valley of Zalmoxis
The nettle road
Detour to Thracian-Roman ‘rock cult’ temples = worth it.


Porcini mushrooms, courgette and rice – delicious.
Sleeping safely in a ring of hawthorn
Beltane magic


Bulgaria is dotted with communist era monuments


Varna – Finally ‘Miffy can see the sea’
Fine dining

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