Old Photies.

I’ve been going through my camera. Haven’t looked at it in months. I realised I still had a lot of photos from the last few years. So over the next few days I plan on sharing them with you all. This was taken in Prishtina, Kosovo. Summer 2018.

You can see the rest of my photos on Instagram. Click Here.

‘The Wide-Eyed Scotsman’ is a collection of thoughts, written pieces, opinions and blogs by myself, Aidan Meehan. Unless stated otherwise all of the work on this site is my own. All of the photos, unless credited, are my own. If you have anything to say or if you enjoy my updates please like, share, follow, communicate or criticise. I am not a professional blogger/ writer/ photographer and any interaction which may help to improve my work would be appreciated.

It means the world to me to see people viewing this project. I hope its able to give you something in return.

For all private enquiries get in touch at aidanmeehan94@outlook.com. Thank you.

 

 

 

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Les Villes de La France.

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in some of the great cities of France. Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Nîmes… I’ve really been blessed to be able to experience these places. From the contrasting cultures to the longstanding traditions, I never thought in my life I would have an opportunity to conquer this historic nation.

“La France, le plus beau royaume après celui du ciel.” de Grotius.

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Nîmes
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Nîmes
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Four auld men in Nîmes.
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Nîmes
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A Pub in Nîmes.
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I missed the last bus from Bordeaux Airport to the city centre. So I camped outside and waited until morning.
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Bordeaux
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Bordeaux
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Bordeaux
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Marseille
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Marseille
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Marseille
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Skater boi
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Marseille
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Sick architecture in Lyon.
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La Sucrière, Lyon.

Dubrovnik, Hrvatska.

It was my last stop on the Balkan tour. I didn’t want it to be. But my money management killed off any ambition of making it to Sarajevo. Lesson learned. But I still had a great few days in Dubrovnik to finish off what had been an amazing experience.

To be fair, I could’ve seen it all in a day. Apart from the Old Town there wasn’t much else to do. But I spent some time relaxing and reading after a hectic few weeks of running aboot this fascinating, absorbing (and sometimes baffling) region of the world. Until now it’s probably been looked down on by the majority of outsiders. Still there seems to be an underlying legacy of war, corruption and poverty. But the people fight on and rise above all that they can’t control. It wasn’t so long ago that foreigners like me coming through this area would have been seemingly unthinkable.

Fortunately, things change. We can all enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of these countries and its people through visiting and embracing the amazing cultures.

For the Balkan countries who showed me their kindness… Hvala, Благодаря ти, mulțumesc, Ви благодарам, faleminderit.

Thank you.

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Casual
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Dubrovnik
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Hrvatska
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Scenic
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God Help Us
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Old Town
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Stairs
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Top of the Stairs
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Square
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Painting
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Walloper
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God Help Us Again
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Aw the Boats

 

‘The Wide-Eyed Scotsman’ is a collection of thoughts, written pieces, opinions and blogs by myself, Aidan Meehan. Unless stated otherwise all of the work on this site is my own. All of the photos (unless credited) are my own aswell. I put a lot of work into upkeeping this for little or no return other than the gratitude I feel when my work is appreciated. Please.. If you have anything to say or if you enjoy my updates do not hesitate to like, share, follow, communicate or even criticise (be gentle). I am in no ways a professional blogger/writer/photographer and any sort of interaction which may help to improve my future work would be hugely appreciated.

It means the world to me to see people viewing this project. I hope its able to give you something aswell.

For all private enquiries get in touch at aidanmeehan94@outlook.com. Thank you so much. The Wide-Eyed Scotsman.

Kosovo.

What a dream it was to visit this place. I don’t mean that it had been a lifelong ambition. But my aim at the beginning of 2018 was to go to places ‘off the beaten path’. The Balkans epitomised that but more so than the others, the Republic of Kosovo.

I only stayed one night in the capital city Prishtina before heading further north to the city of Peja. I’d never felt so surreal to be there. The youngest country in Europe. It’s safe to say I didn’t look remotely native. But everyone I met were all humbly welcoming and I even had a conversation with a local in French. He invited me for a coffee the next time I would visit.

Throughout my time travelling in these countries I encountered Islam on various occasions. I didn’t know a great deal about the religion and its teachings but on a personal level for a while now I’ve felt compelled to research a little. So I visited my first mosque while spending time in Sofia and then visited another two throughout my time in Kosovo. The hostel where I stayed in Peja was also stacked with plenty of books and I stumbled upon an English version of a book teaching Islam. I spent one of my evenings reading some pages and resting quietly in my bed area.

I’m not a believer of any religion. My own opinion is that to be a believer in any faith would require years of studying and education. I never enjoyed being raised as a catholic mainly because I didn’t understand it. What I do respect now is the power religion has to change someones life for the better and for that I would not attempt to persuade anyone to give up their learning. Unless it was some dark, hateful shit.

Here’s to you dear Kosovo. You helped me live out a small dream and welcomed me with grace. Until next time.

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Prishtina.
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Abandoned Church.
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Political Graffiti knows no bounds.
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Architecture 101.
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Prishtina
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Newborn.
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Albanian Roots.
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Mosque in Prishtina.
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Peja
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Trail Beginnings.
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Peja Mountains.
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Peja Mountains.
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A Tim in Kosovo.
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Peja Mountains.

Pour L’Amour des Verts

As promised, here are some snapshots from the Saint Etienne and Lyon Ligue 1 derby match. Unfortunately for the home side a first half goal wasn’t enough to see it through. After a disappointing first half Lyon came back out from the break and took control. The final score was 2-1.

However… Quelle ambiance! 

It’s been a while now that I’ve hoped to make it through for a game and, the result aside, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The supporters were friendly & passionate and even reminded me of going to the games back home in Glasgow. Something I miss dearly.

Until next time, les Stephanois

 

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”Stade Geoffroy Guichard”

 

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”Le chaudron va bouillir!”

 

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”Absolute screamer of a vintage kit in the museum. If anyone knows where I can get me one, hit me up.”

 

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”For the love of the Green..”

 

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”Combattre pour son club. Mouiller le maillot. Respecter ses couleurs.”

 

 

Allez qui c’est les plus forts?
Évidemment c’est les verts
On a un bon public et les meilleurs supporters
On va gagner!
Ça c’est juré allez…

 

 

Sofia in Picture.

Dobre došãl! Добре дошъл! (That’s welcome in Bulgarian, ya dafties).

I spent five great days in the capital. After only planning a day visit, I met some great folk and loved the city. Here are some of the sights I took in during my visit.

“While two Bulgarians are arguing, a third one always wins.”
Двама се карат – трети печели

(Bulgarian Proverb about strength in unity).

 

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”Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The posterboy for every Sofia tourism campaign.”

 

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”Sofia”

 

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”Levski Stadium”

 

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”Life after Revolution”

 

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”Chupa Chups”

 

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”The former house of the Bulgarian Communist Party.”

 

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”Difficult following Cyrillic signs..”

 

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”Until next time, Sofia. Благодаря ти..”

 

Feel free to follow, comment on or share the Wide-Eyed Scotsman if you find something of interest/ potential value. I regard this personal project mainly as a facility to continue my own education. If you believe the content could impact, intrigue or inspire (or if there are any constructive criticisms) then your interaction would be greatly appreciated. 

Aidan X

 

 

 

Posted Missing.

Hello all, salut!

I’ve unfortunately neglected my duties to this project whilst I attempt to adjust to my new chapter in life. My partner and I moved into an apartment in Grenoble around two months ago. My time has been dedicated mainly to my new career (Landscaping and Green Space Management), part time work to keep the rent coming and improving my French so I stand a chance of understanding my studies.

Yes, I am studying entirely in French. It’s tiring. Ça me fatigue. But it’s utterly rewarding and I can’t begin to tell you just how putain smart I feel. Now things are settling and I have more of an idea of my routine I hope to continue writing and sharing my experiences with you. I still have many pictures and stories from my Summer trip in the Balkans which I hope to upload in the coming weeks so please bare with me. For now, I’ll leave you with some snaps of my new home, the city of the Alps. I can’t wait to share this wonderful region with you all…

 

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”Le tram de Grenoble.”

 

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L’Art de la Rue.”

 

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”Parc Paul Mistral”

 

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”The mountains of the Alps at my doorstep.”

 

Don’t forget to follow. À la prochaine 🙂

 

The Hidden Life of Trees.

“A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods.” 

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“There are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet. A mere teaspoonful contains many miles of fungal filaments. All these work the soil, transform it, and make it so valuable for the trees.” 

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“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with larger machines.” 

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“If we want to use forests as a weapon in the fight against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.”

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My hope is that the wolves’ stewardship of natural processes in Yellowstone will help people appreciate the complex ways that trees interact with their environment, how our interactions with forests affect their success, and the role forests play in making our world the kind of place where we want to live. Apart from that, forests hide wonders that we are only just beginning to explore. I invite you to enter my world.

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All quotes taken from ‘The Hidden Life of Trees‘ by Peter Wohlleben. Just this week I plunged myself into a new career path. I’ve begun an apprenticeship in landscaping and green space management. l’Aménagement des Espaces Verts.. Paysagers.

It’s a whole new world to me. A path in my life which opened after reading this book. It details a fascinating insight into the lives and communication systems of the forest and trees. I came across it at a time not long after a very upsetting episode where my health took a hit. And the combination of moving to an area of the world with an abundance of ecological wealth and the ‘luck’ to find this book on a spontaneous visit to the Argyle Street Waterstones in Glasgow City Centre, has given me a certain belief that this may just have been meant for me. It’s no surprise to me that the quality of my life has vastly improved since redirecting my focus down this road. And it gives me great motivation to work harder to succeed in these challenges set out for me.

I took these pictures in two separate places. The 2nd, 4th and 5th at the Old Kilpatrick Hills, Scotland. And the 1st and 3rd at the Gorges du Versoud, France.

Crossing Borders. A Three Part Series.

Part 3. Sofia & Stefan.

Now I was focused on finding somewhere to camp. Being on the outskirts of the city would prove to be an advantage, even if I still had to be fairly cautious. I started to walk along the road and my bag weighed me down again. ‘Why did I bring so much?’ Very generously a taxi driver stopped and offered me a lift. I told him I was headed to a fairly large district on the very edge of the city, Boyana. It took its name from an old orthodox church dating back to the 1600’s. The day after I managed to get a swatch of said decrepit temple, but thats another story all the gither. Originally I planned to make my way up past the church and to a waterfall some way into the national park. So I would find somewhere for the night before embarking on any sort of waterfall quest and head for the Boyana waterfall the following day. Despite the language barrier the taxi driver seemed a good man. His wife and child were in the back and we shared some laughter about the comical situation now taking place. They weren’t even going this route in the first place but he took me further down the road in my decided direction and let me out where it was easy to navigate and settle for the night.

There and then I found myself in the middle of this great, stretching road which went on and on until the heady beginnings of the city of Sofia could be seen to commence. Behind lay nothing but neglected fields of despondent, moribund grass. I could only gaze forward which in truth to anyone passing through on an ordinary day in Boyana, Sofia this road would have been just like any other road. Not for me. ”Fuck” I thought to myself. I couldn’t believe I was there. And so quickly aswell. How did this happen? Why did I do this? What do I do now?

I skipped along the road (like a mad fanny to be honest) and cried out cheers of an unburdening joy. ”Yasss!!” A possessed loony among streams of cars passing me on each side, drivers bewildered at the exhilirated ginger traveller playing a game of proverbial chicken. I didn’t care. My hopes now are maybe they read the situation exactly how it was and felt a deep sense of gratitude for witnessing my watershed moment. Or maybe my wishful thinking played no part in their experience and they only seen some foreign alien prancing about oddly on the road. But whatever meant nothing to them meant everything to me. The demons within me who had held me back for so long fought hard to derail me and they didn’t go down without a fight. I had learned to resist however and inspire the adrenaline to sail through me only to instill happiness, periods of absurd peace of mind in situations where usually i’d lose the nut. These weren’t the times when such calm feelings were expected yet for many years I had waited, dreamed and worked for times like this. Truly the small moments that make life worth living.

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”My Watershed Road”

It was too late to enter the city at this point so I searched for a nice spot to pitch my tent. A single person Ferrino Lightent 1.. Snug and secluded. It’s actually class and I seriously regret not using it more. (I only used it twice through my whole trip; this night and then another time outside Bordeaux Airport behind a bush.) Along the road and to the right there was this small lake, kinda like a pond, and a wee dusty beach area on one side. Cars surrounded the pond and the owners sat outside, fishing quietly. The beach area was empty. I kept my distance and went there, far enough to be left alone or to not disturb anyone around. Well I started to set up the Ferrino for the night until a young guy came along and asked me to leave. It was a private fishing lake. I had no idea but I wouldn’t cause a fuss. I started to repack my things into my bag, gutted with my predicament. Then the same guy stumbled around for a bit, spoke on his phone with someone in Bulgarian. He returned to me shortly after.

”Bring your stuff over here man.”

We walked around the lake to the busier side and stood next to this old wooden cabin with some benches outside. I was allowed to set up directly beside it. Phew. After I had my things sorted, Stefan invited me for a drink at the benches outside the cabin. It was his uncle’s place and they made their business by charging folk to fish on the lake and supplying them with food and drink. He spoke better English than me to be honest. We spoke a lot about his life in Sofia and his future, his dreams. It was cool to speak to someone like me apparently and he hoped one day the opportunity for him would also be there to venture out like me. But money was an issue. Bulgaria is officially the poorest country in the European Union and Stefan would only make 12 Euros for a 12 hour shift. 1 Euro per hour. I felt guilty turning up with all the bullshit I had in my bag. I tried to level that with advice of my own and stories from where I’d come from. With each passing topic or story I felt proud and extremely grateful for my start in life. There’s an unsettling discovery to be found in conversations like these. And even if I couldn’t help be born into my opportunities it certainly didn’t lessen the effect of his words.

I didn’t get a great sleep. The cabin was directly beside my ‘watershed’ road and cars drove past frequently as if the traffic never stopped. When I woke up all the fishermen were still by the lake, fairly obvious they had stayed the whole night. Stefan took me to a tram station, much further into the city.

”It’s important to help others out I mean.. isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

Where would I be if it hadn’t been for people like those I had met in my cross country adventure? Without hesitation these folk saw me as another person in need rather than an unwelcome stranger. Stefan later told me that his uncle was ready to let me stay at the beach the previous night but they were concerned about others mugging me for all my stuff. He said anyone like me was particularly vulnerable. I didn’t resemble anything other than a lost foreigner. He fed me Bulgarian sausages in the morning and helped me find my way to the centre without hesitation. We could all learn a lot from a young guy like him.

Stefan.. When you’re reading this, I want you to know how grateful I am for that time and all the help you gave me. You didn’t need to do any of that but since you did there’s nothing but love on my behalf. I look forward to the mad adventure we take on when I come back to Sofia.

Once again.. Thanks mate.

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”Boyana, Boyana”

 

Crossing Borders. A Three Part Series.

Part 2. Eugene & Monica, Bulgaria.

I shuffled past the various cars and trucks who sat attentively in an orderly fashion at the first border patrol, leaving Romania. The road stretched on for a good while with nothing but green grass and the base of a cemented broken road barrier surrounded by the broken segments of its former upper layer. Wild masses of green bush overflowed and the painted road lines had faded to such an extent it was difficult to tell if they were lines at all. At the end of the road there was a sharp turn where the Bulgarian border patrol lay, rendering it invisible from my current view. I found myself in No Man’s Land. Up until now it was obviously easy to be alone on my journey but now I never had a location to comfort me. I couldn’t say logistically ‘I’m in Romania’ or ‘I’m in Bulgaria’. The history of human behaviour will tell you that not having an answer is enough to turn someones life upside down. We crave answers, thirst for knowledge and push ourselves to unthinkable limits for a whiff of understanding. It’s an absurd assurance like this that calms an anxious mind in unsettling moments and keeps the flightful brain from derailing hopeful ambitions. And yet here I was.. free from security. Utterly bereft of my psychological safety net. Except for the Sertraline which often robs me of my own pride in portraying any glory and ridicules me whenever I begin to believe in myself. Considering the circumstances I’ll give myself this one. The road gave me this one.

I sat for a while at an inning in the wall, protected from sunlight by the adventurous shrubbery. This travelling business had really hit me. Emotions ran high frequently. It’s such a fucking buzz. And the adrenaline of pilgramming in these far and distant lands implored me to bask in my awestruck incandescence and lay my spinning head down on my bag for a short time.

‘I’ve come a long way from Clydebank.’

And it’s true. Looking at a globe I could’ve gone much, much further. To the Western shores of the USA, or the most Eastern point of the Asian
continent.

‘In time. Be Patient.’

Some time had passed and I lifted myself to carry on my merry way into Bulgaria. I stuck the thumb out and a car stopped almost immediately after. Surely hitch-hiking isn’t always this easy? It was a classy Audi brief, real expensive gear. The Romanian couple inside who I came to now as Eugene and Monica were my new guides into another world unknown. I was shitting myself at first in fairness. Aggressive tones, reluctant to crack a smile and despite picking me up they seemed to be stressed out their box. I told them of my plans and they reacted with bemusement.

”Why do you want to travel alone in these countries?”

For the kick I guess. Monica explained that her work took her all across the region and avoiding Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania would be more than wise. These countries were poor and I knew of the risk but I did not feel it would be as bad as what they were telling me then. I believed in trust, and aswell good people. But they spoke positively only of where we just came from, Romania. Everything in Romania is the best in Europe allegedly. The culture, the food, the people. Cluj Napoca has the best nightlife in the world. The women of Romania are the most beautiful you will ever see. I admired their pride. It was quite similar to Mihail. They were driving straight through Bulgaria and onto Thessaloniki in Greece. Very kindly they offered to drop me off in Petric at the Bulgarian/ Greek border. From there I could go straight to Macedonia. This was never my intention but I could sense a great distaste for Bulgaria and so I pondered my options.

We spoke about Romanian history, Dracula and football. A couple of times we stopped at petrol stations and Eugene even bought me some food and beer. ‘Romanian hospitality’ he called it. We even took selfies and sent them to his friend. Monica was driving, and like a maniac too. Dodging and weaving through traffic and overtaking when she had no right. I didn’t think I would see another day. After a while we had already passed Veliko Tarnovo and on the way I decided to get out at Sofia.

They dropped me at a station just outside the city. Bucharest to Sofia in no less than 6 hours. My intention that morning was to simply cross the border and camp  at a river just over the way. I had surpassed that and then some. Spent 0 on expenses, and some memories to boot. Eugene and Monica didn’t believe my decision was the right one to make but I knew that my perspective from the outside would allow me to feel differently on matters like this. The sun shone brightly as if to say I wouldn’t be disappointed. So I grabbed my bag, said my farewell’s and wandered on down the side of the Bulgarian motorway with the city of Sofia clear in my sights..

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”Sofia.”