Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | March 31, 2012

Back on the bike

Not mine, but this picture depicts pretty much what we saw today.

It’s been a good couple of weeks for biking. A little cool in the mornings, but today broke warm and sunny and my buddy Bill and I enjoyed a dog-free ride up a major hill to the small Pomak village of Tserovo. (More on the Pomaks here.) Not sure exactly the climb, maybe close to 1,000 meters, but it took an hour to ride up the winding (but thankfully paved) road. The day was warm with a slight breeze — and because I’ve been dressing for cold mornings, I overdressed.

We reached the top and I was dripping with sweat, so naturally we stopped for a little espresso and enjoyed the warm sun and the interesting sights in the village. Sadly, I forgot to bring a camera so no photos (or video) from me today.

It looked something like the picture above, though, including the snow-capped mountains in the background. Long view, rolling hills, a little green starting to peek through and farmers tilling fields (some with tractors, some with mules, horses and hand plows). The ride down was breath-taking in its speed. We reached 60 kph (closing in on 40 mph). The road was twisty and sand-covered and during part of the ride I started to imagine my breaks failing and me hurtling off the road and down into a rocky ravine. But that’s what makes it fun. As long as the imaging is all that happens.

***

I went on a ride earlier this week and got reacquainted with our ongoing dog problem. I was chased by four, who sent me off my path and speeding toward a dead end. I had to turn around and ride back toward them (after a short break during which I’d hoped they’d go back and lie under a shade tree). Unfortunately, I failed to trick them and so I barely avoided the gnarliest of the bunch. But I’m not complaining, really, since it sounds like Sofia has a bigger problem than we do. But I’ll be careful if I see a pack of 25 dogs approaching. I’ll climb a tree if I have the time!

***

For those who missed it, I was able to get a story published in the Star Tribune (my old paper) a week ago in the travel section. It was a yarn about our driving trip to Belgrade and Budapest in the fall. We also visited Slovakia (but I ran out of room in the story and so didn’t get to mention the great reunion with my relatives there). If you want a reminder of how that trip went, you can check out this video after a night of, well, revelry in Sekule, Slovakia.

Only about six more weeks and we’ll be back State-side. Hope we get a chance to visit with everyone we’ve missed over these many months abroad. Looking forward to catching up!

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Responses

  1. My comments just disappeared. Glad to read you’ve learned to save
    yourself from those dog packs, and that you published back home. We’ll
    all be ready to welcome you in a few weeks – no canines. Ava Dale

    • Sorry about the comments, Ava Dale. But, yes, we’ll stop by when we get back to town. It’s been quite the year. We look forward to a little visit in your back yard since ours is, well, occupied.

  2. and then what?

  3. Wally, I haven’t posted before this, but wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog and your thoughts. Still miss you around the office, but the blog is a wonderful way to keep up with you, and to experience and learn along with you. XOXO to you and Melody! — Pam M. in Minnesota.

    • Pam, thanks for the kind words. I miss you guys back there, too, but it’s really been an amazing transition. So many new experiences; a feast for all the senses. I’m not making much money, to be sure, but I feel like I won the lottery all the same.


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