On the road to Bulgaria
This morning we bid farewell to Istanbul and head west towards Bulgaria, travelling through rich farmland, where the horse and cart is still widely used. After an exhausting time in Istanbul, we were happy to have a restful journey and enjoy the scenery.
At 11:20 a.m. we called in at Kirklareli, a Turkish province on the border with Bulgaria in Thrace, on the west side of the Yildiz (Istranca) Mountains. This was our lunch stop – amazingly early for lunch! To speed up lunch, the tour director had placed orders for the group in advance of arrival. Reports from diners indicated that the vegetable soup was bland and many believed it was made of meat stock. All gave the thumbs up for the yoghurt though.
We couldn’t face food at 11:20 a.m. and walked around town as usual. Kirklareli has a population of approximately 350,000 and its written history goes back to the Bronze Age. The province has witnessed many invasions throughout this long past especially during Roman and Byzantine periods and it was captured by the Ottoman Sultan Murat I in the 14th century. As we walked down the main street, there wasn’t much to see and certainly there was nothing in view to remind us of its interesting history. The only interesting bit of architecture was at Fevzi Cukmak, Bulvari where there were a few examples of old wooden houses.
At the end of this main street was a huge roundabout and sighting some military planes on display in the centre, we went to investigate. Across the road on one side of the roundabout was a small park in which stood a statue of the great Ataturk and on the other side, there was the Airforce academy.
After our little adventure, we met up with the rest of the group and then it was off to the Turkish border. Arrival time at the border was 1:30 p.m. and we were required to get off the coach to have our passports stamped. After Turkish immigration, it was a short 50m drive ahead to the Bulgarian border, and from here it was another 100km to Sunny Beach, our stop for the next two nights. We arrived at Sunny Beach at 5:15 pm, and inspite of a long day on the road, we only had time to drop off our bags and then it was off to Nessebar.