31st of August, 2015
Sofia what a place, to be in a city I never new existed,a weird experience. Bulgaria what can I say, it feels good to be here after our epic journey to find our paperwork. It has to be in Sofia the Bulgarian capital where a mate of Bens residues. Emil a local Bulgarian who is also a speed flyer as is Ben. To kill to birds with one stone, Ben gets to go flying we get our paperwork. So excited we head for the capital, a bed, shower, relief from authorities and catch up on our bodies. Pulling into Sofia the day sun is hitting post communist buildings soon setting we find Emil unbelievably only after a good half hour searching as it all looks the same and the writing has changed to Russian acrylic all upside down and back the front. Food wine crash, we hit a barbecue, amazing salads (tomato, cucumber, onions, sheep cheese), fried cheese, white and yellow very strong taste, but average BBQ as the meat is chosen by Emil our host and vegetarian. Warm wine I was ready to crash as was the team after our 30 hour, 1000km epic.
Unreal to spend a night in a bed, it's small things, shower and toilet in private, well nearly as my body takes its time, I chose the balcony. We know each other very well know one blinks an eye. The views from our balcony represent the rest of the city, big concrete buildings, long forgotten, needing a lick of paints and maybe some colour. I count my lucky stars, being a kiwi, as I Wikipedia the Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian history.
Our Sofia stay is about to take a turn, Ben has ventured off to blow out his speed flying cobwebs (paragliding with an ultra small canopy) with some local paraglider's. The mountains behind the city call beckoning flyers, so Ben is in his element.
Around 11am we get a message from Emil, Ben didn't make the landing spot and is missing!! My heart skipped and is heavy with worry, I feel helpless as Tanja and Camo hatch a plan to help with a search. No less than 20min of anxiousness news unfolds of Bens demise. Unable to make his designated landing zone, plan two hatched at speed and minimal time, Ben aimed for the road. It is his story so not quoting, will attach his words.
The outcome two broken ankles, three hospitals, ex rays, specialists, surgery adamant. Bulgarian styles, Ben is a lucky man, as Emil has contacts within the health sector and understanding of the system. Plus a crash of this scale broken ankles are lucky, it could be a lot worse. Seeing Ben I fell his pride has been hit the hardest, but full respect to Ben, he had one hell of a knock in one hell of a place and handled the jandal.
The Sofia hospital is well described by its steal wheelchairs, lift without inside doors, apocalyptic basement and smoking wards. Like something out of a bad movie Ben had to prepare himself for surgery. Being Friday the accident day surgery was booked for Monday. Not a worry as our car paperwork was still alluding us
Waiting for Bens surgery and the paperwork took its toll, as the surgery day was delayed till Tuesday, no sign of our vehicle paperwork the city and its heat sucked our energy. We decided to stay with Ben until he was safely out of surgery, leave him to recuperate, our paperwork to arrive (now still unknown, maybe four/five days) and blow this crazy city and head for the Black Sea, locally recommend, nothing to loose.
Was a little weird leaving Ben but relieving blowing the bubble of Sofia, a city lost in the past. Sticking with me city gypsy life, no glamor of the movies... racism, poverty, and basic life. Also as a caravan lover the local watermelon dealer lives from is broken down structure parked up on an island in his concrete garden. Fantastic hospitality an food lingers on my mouth and mind.
The coast is a welcome site, a locals camp gives us time to relax, meet some genuine characters and absorb the Bulgarian hospitality. As news from Sofia arrives our patient is ready to roll and the paperwork is waiting. Wasting no time Sonny and Camo endure the five hour return to Sofia. A welcome sight in the morning we are ready to hit Turkey, paperwork in hand two wheelchair riders aboard Turkey boarder beckons.....