On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Camping in Bulgaria

By Stuart Lowe on

In Plovdiv, a lady had the unenviable job of sweeping the detritus from between the gaps in these giant cobbles.


I hopefully have just enough Bulgarian Leva left to pay for the campsite tonight. It depends what Euro-Leva exchange rate they use. On that point, it has been quite common in Serbia & Bulgaria for people to quote prices in Euros. I find that frustrating as I have to convert that to the local currency and GBP to work out how much it is and if I have enough cash.

At a petrol station rest stop I refueled my body and, as I was about to go, met a lovely German family who've driven from Munich. Today they drove from Niš and are heading for Turkey. They asked for a photo with me. I asked for one back.

German family

I saw a sign pointing to the intriguing Monument of Envy. I headed that way but my route was blocked by a needless "cars only" sign so no Monument Of Envy for me. I'm not at all envious of the cars.

Monument of Envy

I started to notice a road sign I haven't really seen before; a "no horse and carts" sign. Bulgaria still has a noticable number of people getting about using a horse and cart.

No horse and carts

Looking down to Harmanli

The campsite was a few miles after Harmanli and turned out to be owned by an expat Brit. His parents lived nearby and they'd all moved to Bulgaria about 10 years ago - one of the benefits of freedom of movement we all enjoy by being in the EU. They were friendly and even let me pay in GBP using today's exchange rate. I had a visit to the local village shop and bought what I thought was chocolate milk despite the protests of the lady in the shop. I should have listened to her as it turned out to taste like liquid shredded wheat but even worse than that sounds. In the evening, the campsite owner hosted a big party for the graduation of the son of one of his Bulgarian friends. Everyone on the camp site was invited.

Biser camp

Graduation party

During the evening I was warned about the only campsite on my route in Turkey. I was heading there the next day. Apparently the lady who ran it was extrememly strict. They said I might be OK as she likes young men. Ooo err.