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8 July 2011 / leggypeggy

Remain seated—Fasten your seatbelt

Today’s drive out of Bulgaria was the most bone-crushing, tooth-shattering truck adventure I’ve ever had. The road didn’t look that bad, but within a few kilometres everyone was reaching for their seatbelt, then their belongings, then their clothes, then their body parts.

We jiggled and pitched and ditched and bumped and bounced and swore. It was worse than any air turbulence I’ve ever encountered and not nearly as much fun as a good roller-coaster. Will, our driver, admitted it was the worst stretch of road he’d been across in a long time and said it had done-in his front shock absorbers. I was riding over the rear shock absorbers and can confirm that they too are ruined. In fact, I was the only one sitting at the back—everyone else thought they’d get a smoother ride upfront. Silly people.

Of course, it was frustrating and funny at the same time. We had an early start so we could get to the border with Turkey. Instead of breakfast before departure, Lu, our tour leader, announced we would eat along the way. There was bread, spreads, hard-cooked eggs and fruit set up toward the front of the truck. The trick was to get to it. Whenever there was a momentary lull in the lurching, someone would stagger forward until they could sit on the floor in front of the food supplies and assemble their meal. The next challenge was to make it back to your seat. The photos here are of Ian making a valiant effort to keep himself upright and his food on his plate. Lin wasn’t so lucky and ending up wearing quite of bit of her breakfast.

The jarring was so strong that twice my glasses shook off their chain and once they ricocheted off my boobs and hit me on the face. In the end I wore them—safer that way. Marina and I are built pretty much the same and we had our arms folded over our chests so that we might get to the Turkish border without black eyes.

All in all a memorable morning’s drive, followed by way too many hours waiting at the Turkish side of the border. I’m typing this as we move into our third hour of thumb-twiddling here. Wonder what the road ahead is like? Maybe I should buy a sports bra!

Late update: We ended up staying at the border for seven hours and then took taxis and buses to Istanbul. We’re legal, but the truck is stranded. Watch for two instalments soon—the truck saga (is it a bus?) and the most hair-raising taxi ride of my life.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. / Jul 8 2011 11:18 pm

    Good Day LeggyPeggy,

    You first bad truck ride sounds terrible. Maybe they have the money to spend an extra day and fix the shocks…. because I am sure there will be other bad roads to come.

    Is that photos of “Not So Poor John” trying to steady himself on the moving truck? Nice looking interior of the truck and lots of headroom and lights.

    I have been to Istanbul several times (1971) and will write more when you surely will comment….

    Sy S.


  2. leggypeggy / Jul 9 2011 1:18 am

    I’m sure there are bad/worse roads ahead, and I’m sure the shocks will be fixed. It’s all part of the adventure. We knew that before we started.
    The photos are of Ian, a travelling companion from the UK. And yes, the interior is quite nice. More deluxe than our truck in Africa, That’s good and bad. Takes a bit off the edge of the rustic-ness of the trip, but makes life easier too.
    As for Istanbul—I love it. Has to be one of my favourite cities in the world. Not so impressed with border control, but what the heck.


  3. Louise M Oliver / Jul 9 2011 5:07 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    That sure looks and sounds rough! But I really enjoyed the first sentence of the second paragraph. It’s so nice to read someone who can write! I’ll look forward to more true tales of torturous travels.


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