May 5, 2013
Distance today = 42.13 km; Total distance = 20,465.63 km; Location = Sofia – 42 40.741′ N, 23 18.734′ E; Start time = 0913, Finish time = 1617
Today was mostly good, although the heat and uneven surfaces got to me a bit near the end.
Carmel, along with Deb and Barry, dropped me at my starting point at Dragoman, and I was on my way. I passed Slivnitsa at the 10 km mark, where a monument and plaque informed me this was where the Battle of Slivnitsa took place during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. Sadly, many young men lost their lives in that very spot. These are the pieces of history you could only ever find out about on a world run.
One thing that has been reinforced to me is that time moves on. As I mentioned the other day, the camping ground in Nis, scene of the 1986 fancy dress party, is now gone. As I crossed the border yesterday, I passed a spot where, in 1986, while we waited in an incredibly long line to be processed, PT and I kept the large crowd amused with our acrobatic antics with a Frisbee. This location now has a building on it. And 12 km on the Bulgarian side of the border, there was a restaurant with an outdoor verandah where we had our last meal in Bulgaria in 1986. I passed this too – the restaurant is now in ruins. Time marches on, and not always for the best.
The road was nice and smooth early on, but as the traffic picked up nearer to Sofia, I had to do more and more running on the shoulder or sidewalks, all of which were very uneven. This is always tough, especially with a sore heel. But I managed to get through a short day, with an early finish.
I now have just 560 km to Istanbul. I am certainly looking forward to getting there, and having my first rest in four months.