Day 20: Sofia and my first Bulgarian Village…

July 4, 2012

This is the blog of events taken place on 7th June 2012 on the Mission : Red Planet ride.

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Today I was supposed to ride from the second largest Bulgarian town of Plovdiv to the largest. Here I had an appoitment with Ducati Sofia and its owners. But first I went to the parent company of Ducati Sofia – Overdrive which was located just outside Sofia. This was a unique facility, in fact the best for tuning and modding high performance cars. The building itself was quite unique and had won an award. It was evident, why.

Mario, who was one of the people behind Overdrive, took me around the facility and demonstrated why they were the best in the Bulgaria – dynos, tuning garages, body kit garage – the works were there under one roof. The problem (or challenge) was that not many people speak English in countries like these, however its more fun rather than a problem since it truly demonstrates you can understand each other purely because of the passion you share. It was quite evident that Mario was a very passionate individual, as he decided to escort us to Ducati Sofia showroom which was in the middle of the Sofia city on his bike.

I was expecting some traffic, but there was none at all. It was perhaps like what New Delhi must have been 40 years ago. There were so less cars an it was all open and free. The roads were good, people few. I loved it. I wish I could go back to and live in the era where there were so few people in Delhi (and retain the modern bikes to ride free!, tsk tsk, greedy me).

Ducati Sofia was your typical Ducati Store, red with some of the most powerful and beautiful toys your money can buy.

From there on Mario took me a very brief tour of Sofia and then dropped me off at the start of an undivided (but nice highway) to the Bulgarian village of Koprivshtitsa.

Koprivshtitsa is a wonderful small ‘museum’ village tucked away in the gentle hills 110 kms from Sofia. The road itself was smooth and a nice ride. I was just worried about running into violent man eating dogs, but I was happy there werent any roaming around on the streets of the village itself, though you could hear plenty of them inside the houses.

I categorize Koprivshtitsa as a museum village since it has almost 400 well preserved and restored buildings from the Bulgarian Nation Revival period of the 19th century.  Collections of ethnographical treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household weaves and embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewelry has also been preserved. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottoman domination was fired in 1876. (From Wiki). It is easy for an Indian to relate to the importance of this since our own first revolt against the British was in 1857 in India, sadly though no one has made an effort to preserve how villages were like back in India, unless one is creating a set for a Bollywood movie…

It was one of the most memorable places in the whole trip as I rode through narrow steep alleys besides old but beautiful and well maintained houses. Tommorrow, I would hit the land of count Dracula and the land of the world’s best road…

Now, the photos…

Fantastic equipment at the Overdrive Bulgaria facility…

Eight such bikes were customized for a promotion in Sofia which happened just a day earlier before my arrival…

Overdrive Bulgaria Building

Thats Mario second from the Left followed by me..

Ducati Sofia…

This wall had been designed by Mario himself…

With a gentleman from the Ducati Sofia showroom…

Sofia..

Koprivshtitsa…

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