Bulgaria in May; half a ride & a faceplant

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by asphaltmueller, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    Well, came home early from work today, as the muslim holidays prevent work flowing in, and was contemplating - should I do a report on that ride or not ?

    In case of doubt always go for it, so let's try

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    I set of in Ankara leisurely, as I had about 600kms to go until Cerkeskoy near the Bulgarian Border, where I would meet my friend Birdal (inmate VENTURER) and stay the night in a cheap Hotel.

    The Jawa and me hat just completed a appr. 2.300 km tour to South Turkey and the bike had not seen a service, I had just changed the faulty regulator

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    the Cankurtaran pass, the gateway to Anatolia

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    I was going to the Horizons unlimited meeting in Bulgaria, end of May, at RTW-Dougs place
    I had wanted to go earlier, and visit friends in Macedonia and Serbia, but the Boss had asked me to fill in for her the first half of the week, and so I could leave only on thursday morning.

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    As this was a ride with a goal and a tight timeframe, I had chosen the highway, which when nearing Istanbul is becoming really stressfull

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    crossing into Europe

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    a little turkish lesson ? this word means "strawberried"
    don't speak the "g"

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    I arrived in Cerkesoy, about 100kms west of Istanbul and checked in to the Hotel and waited till Birdal got of his Job as an englishteacher

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    Birdal and me suspect real estate specualtion letting those old houses decay; normally Turks tend to restore old stuff - but that's an Industrial town far from tourist tracks

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    BMW-Rider Birdal wondering what strange piece of junk I'm riding now - last time I had been there with the MZ-hack. The Jawa is a nice and easy to ride bike, it's just geared a bit to short for the highway. I had bought it, when I decided not to separate the MZ from it's hack, as the setup is real good. My friend and Jawa - freak Mehmed found this former police modell on a turkish e-bay clone, and after some service and repairs she was good to go ("See : "Mission on a Jawa" report)
    But I did get a seized piston on the highway - I hadn't checked the bike well and hadn't noticed that the lower cooling fins had been solidly backed with mud from my ride over the Taurus mountains the week before. Here the "never wash a running system" credo had been wrong. I put in a bit more oil to the mix and continued a bit slower - did well untill the end.

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    Dinner in the Dürüm-Truck (a Dürum is a very little bit like a Nacho or so)

    Next morning, arriving at the border -I had put my camera on some stupid mode, but some of the photos are, well, acceptable may be.

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    Bulgarian side

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    old and new - or some progress there is

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    need some commie real estate ?

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    changing the red star for a more modern symbol

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    Main transit route through Bulgaria

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    the cardboards prevent the swallows from shitting on the guests

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    but good and cheap food

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    heading north on smaller roads

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    that's middle class housing - actually I've been in some houses like that and it's not as bad as westerners tend to belive
    usually it's decent folk living in there and that makes the difference

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    approaching Shipka pass - that's this strange communist flying saucer memorial - RTW-Doug has postet some on it - I didn't have time to visit it this time

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    former corporate farm

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    The memorial on Shipka Pass, where Bulgarians and Russians fought the Turcs in about 1880 - a war that ended with the independance of several Balkan states.

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    just a teaser for the follow up - Gatling gun

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    I'll have a beer now, read you tomorrow
    #1
  2. zadok

    zadok Been here awhile

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    Interesting seeing this part of the world.:lurk:D
    #2
  3. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

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    Love reports from this region..tks for sharing..
    #3
  4. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    Thanks for the comments !

    It seems that Smugmug is down and so I can't access my photos and much less copy them in a ride report.

    Here is a Wiki-link to the Shipka-Pass Memorial

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipka_Pass

    I had been stationed in Bulgaria for 2 month in 1999, during the Nato action against Serbia, and even then, without being partial to the Turks in anyway then, I felt pity for the Turkish Soldiers that had to attack up those really steep mountains.

    Anybody being near there I advise to take the time -especially as the road is a real good, twisty ride. The memorial itself is maybe not exactly fantastic, but definitely worth a visit.
    I just regreted, that they didn't sell stickers in the souvenier shop - bought a pin, but can not really put that on the bike.

    OK, so 15 min. later, I can acces my photos

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    wind farms and the communist memorial - you pass the Shipka memorial to acces it

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    normaly you have to walk a long flight of stairs, but the barrier was open, and so I just went up

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    looking south

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    field artillerie pieces; likely russian or german - the battles, or series of it, were about 12 years after the US Civil War

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    unfortunately not focused - realize the seats beside the barrels - the gattlings were treated more like a light artillerie piece then what we understand as a machine gun

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    Inside the memorial taking photos was forbidden - so I took only the Gatling photos.
    If you make your way there, you should of course go in; and the view from the Top is really something

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    I was lucky and didn't get wet from those rain-clouds, but the road up had been still pretty wet, which had spoiled the ride a bit, as my turkish tires aren't the best on slippery surfaces

    Mountain artillerie piece
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    going down, I lost my way a bit in the next town and came through some half abandoned villages

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    You can see a lot of abandoned houses in the Bulgarian Country side - I think it would be a good time to buy some holiday homes now

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    slowly I was approaching Ildilevo

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    and arrived in the late evening

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    I won't make many comments on the Horizons Unlimited Meeting as such, where Doug had invited me to make a presentation on my winter ride, but will try to keep telling about the riding involved and the country.

    I didn't mention much about the roads yet - having read a report of a greek inmate who focuses quite a bit on the state of the Tarmac, I got to say, : the Jawa can cope with it, so any half decent bike can, and I had real fun. Those Bulgarian country roads are simply good riding.

    A smile and a beer for the tired traveller - life is good

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    read you tomorrow
    #4
  5. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    whole bunch of pics :beer
    #5
  6. PerpetualMotion

    PerpetualMotion Adventurer

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    As a great great grandson of one of those Turks, I can tell you that the Ottomans were really the Sick Man of Europe around that time.

    IMO, the Turks defeated themselves, the Russians didn't really have to do much... I don't mean to take anything away from the Bulgarians or the Russians, just stating a few facts.

    The Ottoman army outnumbered the Russians, and the Russians were relatively weak as they had to travel a long distance and the Turks had all the time in the world to get ready. There was no way for a semi-organised Ottoman army to lose that war. From a purely military point of view, the Ottomans shouldn't have lost, but their officers and the ruling class were useless. The sick man was literally dying.
    #6
  7. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    Well, so I'm back, having spent two days with worthy occupations - motorcycle repair and drinking - and two days being lazy.
    First as a comment to Perpetual motions post : while the old saying of the "sick man of Europe" does have it's foundations, it sometimes is too bleak; see for example this link :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osman_Nuri_Pasha

    and the Ottoman Empire wasn't the only one that didn't survive the first world war. As an Austrian I would know.


    OK; so Doug and Poly have a real nice place there in Idilevo, near Sevlievo in Central Bulgaria.


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    In the back that's Tony who was riding with Colebatch on the BAM - road

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    it was a really good meeting with lovely folks, but I don't think I should write about that; I'm not even a member on the Horizons Limited Forum

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    so we went on a ride the first day, southbound


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    Mainstreet of Ildilevo


    first break

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    no idea, what that villages name was

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    We went to Dryanovo Monastery, inbetween Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryanovo_Monastery

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    even a bike in theyr small collection of historical stuff; a nice place, indeed

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    working class heroes, I assume; this relief must have been built to commemorate 100 years of the Bulgarian Uprising against the Turks


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    the loo was refurbished by the European Union
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    not a sustainable operation, it seems

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    we continued on foot to the nearby Bacho Kiro Cave, where the remains of neolithic men and animals like sabre toothed Tigers and Cave Bears had been found

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    Water catching station for the village below

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacho_Kiro_cave

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    every where small coins on the ground; should be some sort of lucky charm

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    having a look at Veliko Tarnovo, the ancient capital of bulgaria

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    wonder why this guy is raising his hands in desperation

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    back at the camp

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    a rare 500cc 4 stroke Jawa, belonging to one of the local guys; showing what the Jawa engineers would have been capable of if left alone by the Commies

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    and at the beginning of an nice and "wet" evening Dough was giving us a presentation on "How to keep your shit"; latter I annoyed the crowd with some tales of alpine winter riding.

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    The next morning was a beautiful one, and an other ride was on the programm

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    but that's a story for tomorrow :1drink
    #7
  8. zadok

    zadok Been here awhile

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    Looking like a great country to explore and it looks like you are having a great time.:clap:D
    #8
  9. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    No big deal. You put the camera in a different color balance mode. You can correct the images in an image editor (like Photoshop) by doing a "Color Balance Correction". Balancing your too-blue photos to about 4200K did the trick, but "your mileage may vary".

    Good ride report, and good pictures.
    #9
  10. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    OK, let's get on with the report;

    we had some - moreless - fun in the morning

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    warming up my bike, I had a look at the former collective farm installations of the village

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    reloading from forest going to street legal transport

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    you see a lot of those old russian trucks standing besides country roads, obviously used for forestry work


    getting ready for the ride out

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    but first some more fun

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    the sunday ride was planned to go to Belene at the Danube, where there was some Roman festival, with re-enacted battles and gladiator stuff and such

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    first we stopped at that Dam and latter at some beautifull river falls; a bit touristy, but nice -forgot the names, but it was inbetween Ildilevo and the town of Levski

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    in community service and such you can still see some old soviet stuff - mostly vehicles that have some special, professional installations and as such are more expensive to replace

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    we weren't the only riders at this waterfall place

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    down in the village

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    found a nice T-Shirt with a Kalashnikov at a souvenier stand there

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    OK; chow call, gonna upload now & read you later
    #10
  11. GreeKKTiNoS

    GreeKKTiNoS Been here awhile

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    :ricky
    #11
  12. TRadventure

    TRadventure Adventurer

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    Andy, let me correct the meaning of that word. :deal
    It actually means "Happiness" :evil & the word next to it "Share"

    it looks like Bulgaria is empty, where are all the (young) people?
    #12
  13. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    the shame you put me in due to my notoriously bad turkish language command just fits with the really shitty day I had today.

    That also fits as I have to write about a day that ended shitty

    filling up in Levski; a Town with a majority Gypsie population, which makes it a target of, well, jokes

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    our tour leader that day - sorry mate, forgot your name

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    A GS marking her territory

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    we were nearing the Danube and the goal of the ride, when - approx. at the hight were the ambulance is standing - , I went into a blind corner to find myself facing a car on my side of the road.

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    (Accident scene photos have been taken by Nils - thanks mate)

    My biggest problem with what happened is that I don't really remember what happened.
    I swerved to the right and managed to pass the car without crashing in the ditch.
    I remember thinking something like "pff you made it" folllowed by something like " that's not where I want to go " - headed left and straight for the side barriers when correcting the right turn which would have led me into the ditch.
    I don't remember anything more, memory starts when I was standing near the bike, which had been picked up by someone.

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    I fell on this, not unlikely I overbraked or at least overcorrected; maybe the gravel was just to thick and the front washed out. I had been a bit fast, like 80 kms, trying to keep up with the others in theyr GSes and Teneres and such. Lesson learned, I hope.

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    but i just don't know and I don't like that.

    I had a serious rip concushion and a broken collarbone.
    And quite a few scratches on my helmet ( pants and jacket also "ATGATT" specs)

    that guy had a dislocated shoulder when he came to fall because of me; Poly fell too, and bruised her knee rather seriously.
    There was no significant damage to the bikes, which were taken back to the camp by Doug and some others later.

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    the ambulance was here quick enough and we were taken first to a small hospital, quickly checked that there was no emercency and sent on to the district hospital.


    the cops were less professional, they nerved the folks at the place for hours and took Poly and somebody else to the station for taking down statements.
    Poly told me they were afraid that I might sue the county due to the bad road

    some more of the road

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    Shvistovs finest
    when you have an accident, they actually open a file against you, because you have endangered the rest of the world.
    I have been officially informed that the proceedings against me have been closed; police report claimed that I had ridden in the middle of the road, though, which I definitely hadn't. Won't protest it, though.

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    sight out of the rear window of the amber lamps

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    Veliko Tarnovo Hospital; after an X - ray and getting bandaged; I've seen much worse hospitals in this world. And they didn't even take down my adress as they never planned to send a bill.

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    the guy with the dislocated shoulder was fixed, too; he was actually more in pain then me. My excuses, mate.
    At the camp Doug let me sleep on his living room Sofa - i needed to sleep sitting up for about three weeks after.
    Had some beers before going to bed, though. Instead of painkillers.


    There's good cops in Bulgaria, too, of course
    That guy serves in Sevlievo, where they have one of the worlds best Motocross tracks; at least it was voted that not long ago. Rides a sports bike, though. (http://trackreviewers.com/reviews/sevlievo-motocross/)

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    (met more good cops there than just him )

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    it's a bit late and I think I have enough interesting photos for one more installment
    bye and read you tomorrow
    #13
  14. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    Great photos and very interesting routes! I'm glad you got the chance to get out and ride, not glad you got banged up! Heal up quick...
    #14
  15. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Wonderful RR! Sorry to hear of your mishap, but it still beats being a couch potato...
    #15
  16. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Thanks for the RR and the great photos of an area of the world I've never seen before. I also enjoyed your narrative about those pictures.

    Heal well and quickly, friend.
    #16
  17. Dickyb

    Dickyb Bewildered Adventurer

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    Thanks for a great RR and pics of places I hope to see soon.

    Cheers,

    Dickyb
    #17
  18. xv1600

    xv1600 Adventurer

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    for a nice thread!!
    I was in Romania about 10 years back, and this reminds me som of it!
    #18
  19. Irish John

    Irish John Been here awhile

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    Glad you are ok. There is great riding in Bulgaria, I used to live in Veliko Tarnovo and taught at the University. Had an old MZ at the time. The cagers there are crazy!
    #19
  20. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. § 2(3)AVV

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    finally I try to finish this report

    I did some interesting things in the meantime, like visiting turkish Wine Festivals or go grilling at the lake and a meeting at the Ankara Motocross ground; especially I'm just back from a 10 days riding holiday in southern Germany and Austria. I will make a report on that later. A lot of work, too

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    A Wine festival in the middle of Anatolia; wonder what Nachtflug would say to that

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    grapes stomping competition; wine was good, BTW, we just had to much of it

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    ferry to the meeting two weeks ago - can you find the Harley ?

    But enough OT, back to Bulgaria and a rather crashed me


    as my crappy Internet has just cut me off from Smugmug, I post this now and hopefully write about the trip home later
    #20