Day Thirty-seven: Plovdiv to Edirne
I manage to cadge a lift in the direction of Turkey with a big, full-bellied man with a remarkable head. Almost exactly pyramidal in shape, it tapers from a bull-like neck to a small square crown. He hauls himself up into the cab and surprises me by getting out a very neat pair of horn-rimmed glasses, as if we were in a library instead of a 40-foot truck.
He's a friendly man and his few words of English are mostly destinations. I learn that one of his recent journeys took him all the way to Uzbekistan. Two weeks there and back doing 430 miles a day.
We pull out of the parking lot, a sudden halt to let another vehicle pass sending
a row of hanging icons swinging above the windscreen.
After a mile or two we come to a sign that sets the pulses racing. Well, mine anyway. 'Istanbul'. Two hundred and eighty-five miles down the road.
Late afternoon. Crossing into Turkey at a village called Kapikule. The Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish borders all meet here as Europe funnels down towards Asia. A large mosque is marooned in no-man's-land, but apart from that there's nothing remotely attractive about this place. Blighted by the frontier, Kapikule seems to consist of little more than a lot of concrete tarmac, a lot of steel fencing, a huge gantry with the badge of Turkish customs at its centre, a filling station, a railway line, a truck park and ploughed fields, strewn with paper bags, stretching away on either side.
Choose another day from New Europe
- Series: New Europe
- Chapter: Day Thirty-seven: Plovdiv to Edirne
- Country/sea: Bulgaria
- Place: Plovdiv
- Book page no: 90
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