We found a small, snowy campsite just outside the city centre. That night the temperature dropped to minus 12° causing our grey water tank to freeze solid. This was a major issue as we could not use the shower or bathroom basin – much less of a problem for Tony than for me!
We tried everything to defrost the tank – nothing worked until Tony hit on the idea of putting his BBQ gas ring under the tank, placing a steel skillet on top and “cooking” the tank. Success! An hour later the plug holes were released from their icy grip and everything was working again! Tony was relieved of a grumpy travelling companion and I enjoyed a long hot shower.
We spent the day in Sofia where we saw extensive Roman ruins, a museum where we had lunch of soup and a sandwich – and some exceptionally beautiful ancient churches. Bulgaria had been under Communist rule until 1990 but religion had been discouraged rather than banned. The walls and vaulted ceilings of their churches were covered in rich paintings. Bulgaria’s religious diversity was demonstrated in one city square where there were two orthodox Christian churches, a brand new Roman Catholic Church, a mosque and a Jewish synagogue.
On arriving in Bulgaria we purchased a vignette to cover the cost of road tolls, bought from a machine in a café (with the reluctant help of the woman behind the counter). At the Bulgarian border when we left the country, we discovered we had purchased a one day ticket when we should have bought one for three days. We were fined €150 which we had no option but to pay. It was obvious it was a genuine mistake and it left us with a nasty feeling of having been shafted. Not a nice way to treat a tourist and it very much spoiled what had been a pleasant visit.