This was by far our most scary day, it had quite a few dramatic moments. I have to admit I almost thought we might not make it through quite a few times. We set off from Plovdiv at around 8am, and were very tired from our night before. All was going well until we got on the main road to Istanbul, which was pretty much just trucks going at 100mph or more and zooming past us with very little space, one truck came so close he almost touched my handlebars. There was no hard shoulder for us to drive in and only one lane in both directions, so it was absolutely packed, it was getting pretty scary as they were overtaking each other and coming very close to us. We decided to look for alternate route so we wouldn’t have to travel that way, well we found one, only thing is that it was about 20kms out of our way, so we would have to go up and then across… which we decided was alright, it would add an extra hour to our journey, but it was very stressful on the other road. So we went… first it seemed fine, there was hardly any traffic and it was much calmer… but then, as we got into real rural Bulgaria, we realised it might not have been such a good idea, the roads were just old dirt tracks with more holes then road. This was not the kind of situation you would want a popped tyre in, as not only was it totally deserted, but by now it was about 2pm and the sun was absolutely baking hot, boiling down on us, we had no shade. The villages we passed through were like ghost towns, with no one around and then stretches and stretches of open plains, occasionally a truck or a wagonload of men would pass by (staring at us, because obviously we looked really hot). We decided to try and get back to the main road as the side roads were just too scary and deserted. We tried to comfort each other by repeating the lines from ‘trapped on a mountain’ an old childhood drama tape we had listened to about someone getting lost in the woods with bears, it did make us laugh, but we were certainly frightened. I really felt like our lives were just tiny specks of dust and could be very easily blown aside, it helped me to remember all the dangerous situations I had been in my whole life and how God had always protected me.
Well we eventually did make it back to civilization we had another 30kms of intense traffic to deal with, but thank God we made it off there and got to Haskovo, all in one piece. When we arrived we had two options, to look for a hotel, or to stay with a couchsurfer that had offered us his place… we didn’t know what to do, because staying with the couchsurfer would be cheaper but we didn’t want to stay up late again. We mysteriously got three texts from him (some network fault) and also he told us he could meet us in 10 minutes, so we did meet him. He turned out to be the perfect host, with a wonderful apartment, where we could wash our laundry and cook there, he also let us know he enjoyed an early bed time, which made us very happy indeed…. and there you go… Day 9 ends