Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | December 16, 2011

More video! (I’m starting to think words don’t matter)

My uber-talented, super generous and gorgeous wife, THE Melody Gilbert, pieced together a little short from one of my most recent rides. (FYI: There’s a nice montage about 1:30 in of some of the back-road runs I’ve made in the rolling hills around Blagoevgrad. This will give you a at least a peek at the terrain I’ve encountered on pretty much every ride.)

We arrived in Bulgaria four months ago toting 11 suitcases and a lot of uncertainty. We have gotten around — at least a bit — to Macedonia (twice), Kosovo, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia. We have traveled a little bit in Western Bulgaria and we’ll get to the Black Sea, Greece, Romania and beyond in the spring. I have gone on innumerable bike rides, lost weight (while drinking vast quantities of Bulgarian beer — a neat trick), enjoyed a new work experience (teaching) and suffered very little along the way.

Yeah, we’ve had our moments of doubt and despair. We miss a lot of things about life back in the States. Our good buddies, our families, our daughter (especially!). We miss a good breakfast, too. But we’ve had lots of laughs, have made some friends and have really enjoyed getting to know some of these remarkable kids at AUBG. All in all, we’re feeling pretty damned good.

We’re wrapping up the first semester and will hand in grades (if you read it quickly it kind of looks like “hand grenades”) this weekend. On Tuesday we’re off to Paris where we have a beautiful place to stay, some good friends to visit, wine to drink, food to eat and sidewalks to, well, walk. So, yeah, we’re hanging in there.



  1. Love the music!

    And, how in the name of the holly cow did you decide to go through mud, snow and who-knows-what on a bicycle? 😛 Did you at least have winter equipment for the bikes? T

    • Ha, ha, Milva.That’s funny. Winter equipment? Like snow tires? Um, no snow tires.

      • As far as I know there are some special bikes that handle icy and slippery roads. Since you are going down a hill you need this even more. 😛 Juust saying 😛

  2. So amazing!! GREAT editing. I’d expect nothing less! you need me to throw some hand warmers or something in the package I’m sending you two?

  3. I have to admit there were a couple parts of the video that made me avert my eyes–too scary! Reminds me of the first time I went x-country skiing. After learning the basics on a rolling lawn on the Mercersburg Academy, my friend took to a state park to learn climbing techniques. Going up was no problem. Coming down? I ended up sitting down about five feet. I just know my Bulgarian bike riding would result in threadbare brake pads! Glad to see you’re have fun, though!

  4. Hey Mark enjoyed the post these last months, what a great experience,You guys have a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  5. Holy Crap! Downhill looks totally scary. What kind of bike and tires DO you have?
    I have LOVED reading all of yours and Melody’s posts. Thanks!

    • A sturdy bike.

      Rubber tires.

      Tell you all about it during ragbrai in July!

      It will be a blast, I’m sure.

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