The twenty five kilometre ride to the boarder town of Melko Tarnovo is very scenic. The hills and valleys are covered completely by lush greenery. It's beautiful. This is perhaps my favourite part of the country. I think at some point I'd like to further explore the mountainous middle of the country, but that will have to be another time. We come across a road block. The detour is a very rough track heading uphill. We take the gamble to ride over the road block and continue on the main road, unsure of what we might discover. We hurtle downhill until we find the reason for the closure. A section of the road about twenty metres long has just fallen away down the valley. The armco barrier is still intact but has pulled the concrete foundations with it as the road dropped away. It looks quite impressive.
In Melko Tarnovo I stop to send a postcard to Jess. As I sit outside the post office and write it on my knee a voice over my shoulder says “hello” in a rather non-Bulgarian accent. Geert is from Holland and riding to Istanbul with his friend Wilbert. We arrange to meet for lunch in the town centre once we have done our postage/shopping chores. With a well stocked food bag Katharina and I head to the square. Introductions out the way we get to eating a fair old feast. All sharing each others food. The guys finish their 9000km trip in Istanbul having cycled through Scandinavia and then down through Eastern Europe. We decide to ride together. And I suspect simultaneously get a case of “pedallers paranoia”. Communally we make the call to meet at the boarder for whoever is last. It's no surprise that after 9000km they make up the eight kilometre climb like mountain goats leaving Katharina and I in their dust. We catch them taking a rest at the first Bulgarian checkpoint. No real games with the officials, we are all through without difficulty.