To Shipka by bikes

In this article you’ll find out about the monument of Shipka and its significance to the Bulgarian people. No historical factors will be mentioned as the idea behind this article is to encourage people from Bulgaria and not only to go there by bikes or walking.  Also I’d like Bulgaria to be known more with its cultural heritage not with the alcoholic tourism around the sea coast. Usually our site doesn’t have content in English, but we will now start writing using the global language. We really hope this article will reach one of the thousands travelers out there or even beyond that it will make them come here and enjoy our beautiful country. Have a nice reading!

A few months after we come back from Latin America we needed another challenge to break the routine. It was time for something new.

Too much time has passed since me and Plamena last drove our bicycles. No bike in this world deserves to be in the condition my bike was. Breaks and gears not working properly, flat tires, dust, rust and a lot more, but this should be enough to transmit the condition of my bike to you. Plamena’s machine was way better than mine probably, because it wasn’t 15 years old, thanks god as less job had to be done.

It’s already 2nd of March and the thoughts in our heads are that we gonna do it, we will take that train early in the morning and will go to Kazanluk from where we will make our first attack to the top.

Fortunately we didn’t fix the bikes up using Zambian technology – hammer, hammer and again hammer. All I had learned as a child came into use and soon the bikes were ready as much as me for what was lying ahead.

We set off at 04:20 in the morning and even managed to sleep inside the train, which may sound weird to you, but not always people are lucky when traveling with BDZ. Sometimes, if you are blessed enough during winter time you can make a snowman, yes no kidding here, just imagine a snowman inside the train.

Just before we dropped off the train passed through few gypsy buildings and I saw a glimpse of how the world would look like if there is a third world war. Ever since I’ve been trying to erase this image from my mind, so far unsuccessfully.

On our way to the town of Shipka we met another enthusiast who was willing to conquer the Shipka monument. We were cycling together and he was giving us encouragements from the beginning to the end since he had much more experience than us. From Kazanlak to Shipka it took us 1 hour of normal cycling. There are no cycle paths and you must be careful, as Bulgarian drivers are not well known for their tolerance on the road especially to cyclist. Keep as much as possible on the right side of the road and you should be all right.

Now this is where the hard route begins, 15 KM uphill with many turns and lots of traffic. We had to be careful and you already know why. The pressure started to kick in when in front of us was a huge uphill. There was no time for thinking, but for cycling. Fortunately, there were a few straight road sections, which made our way to the top much easier. With the passage of the time our confidence started to grow and soon we knew there’s no way back and we gonna make it. Very pleasant surprise for us was that all traffic was stopped along the route and we could finally cycle without breathing in carbon dioxide. With less traffic in front of us we reached the top faster than we thought and the view was terrific. Smell of Kebabcheta, Karanacheta and Kiufteta was all over the place not to mention also the amount of beer that was consumed alongside with the first three. However we didn’t pay much attention to that and continued our way to the top, but this time walking after we tied our bicycles down. The place was super crowded and It took us 15 min., across the stairs until we reached the top, without people it could have been 10 min., less.

It was beautiful when we got up there as all the clouds suddenly vanished and the sun began touching our exhausted bodies. It was reward for all the hard work done before that.

After we listened to the Bulgarian hymn and sung patriotic songs, we decided to start our descending.

This was the best moment of the day, 30 minutes just going down dipped into full relax. Luckily even the wind was with us on the way back, we even didn’t have to cycle to make it back to Kazanlak.  With the wind behind us we arrived earlier and we had to kill some time before we take the train back to Sliven. This wasn’t a problem at all, as Kazanlak has a lot to offer as you can see bellow.

In general this one day trip was something new for us. We are used to have more time when we travel or do activities. However you can put diversity in your life by doing unusual things even if it is for 1 day.

Put your backpack hit the road and set yourself free!





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