Churchil, me and the lom: Chosen mails from Bulgaria & Macedonia

Macedonia's flag
Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid
August 26th 2006
Published: October 30th 2005
Edit Blog Post


Vitosha - Aleko 2 Cherni Vrah


While travelling in Venezuella, when I first encountered the extreme unreliability of the locals in developing countries, I invented the SEXA PLANT (MINA TZEMACH) method of orienting: before each turn-about I take, I ask 10 locals, and do complex calculations, which weights their age, gender, look and size of breast (in case the gender is "female"). The map (if I have any) is not weighted much more than 2 old men in these calculation- I think that instead of using expensive means such as sattelites photos, these countries simply pay expressionist artists for drawing their topographical maps.
But when I rode from Sophia to Aleko, all the locals had the same answer, when I asked them on the way: "up". And they were right. This place was simply "up" - the highest you can ride of from Sofia.

On one how much and how mcuh
In Israel, I eat a lot of Bulgarian cheese. And in Bulgaria? 'On one how much and how mcuh' (AL ACHAT KAMA VECHAMA).

Don't touch my Rila

A SHARLILA friend of mine once told me that she wanna be a nun. My immediate response was, that had all the nuns had

Rila monastery
such a beautiful chest and a healthy passion for sex like she has, world would have been a better place for living.
Well, luckily not all the monks are as tactless as I'm. Yesterday I entered Rila Monastery, the holliest place in Bulgaria, riding my bike. When I saw the local monk, I went down the bike and start walking (I know that for some reason people consider cycling as a sign of dis-respect). I asked him politely for a room (it's common to sleep in the monasteries here).
The monk looked at me carefully, and asked me if I don't get cold, wearing my short clothes. I answered that the long uphill made me warm enough.
Only a hour later I understood, that this was his politely way to tell me that wearing "fuck-me" Lycra pants and mitromemim-skaya pink shirt is not very welcome in a monestary.

The Albanian kid

A year ago I rode in the beautiful Velbona Valley in Albania. As I rode upriver and downriver at the same way, I left the bags at the hotel, taking with me only a little bag. As usual in Albania, I took with me no food, trusting good people on the way.
When I got hungry, I knocked on the door of one of the villages' houses, and asked to buy some food. For 2$ they gave me plenty of bread, cheese and grapes. I ate as much as I could, and, as I had no room for food at the tiny bag I took with me, asked them to leave the rest at theirs place, and take it on my way back.
At that house there was a child, about 10 years old. He looked at me with big admiring eyes. For him, I was a kind of an heror - riding huge fancy (in Albanian terms) bike, travelling alone at remote countries.
The child offered me to sleep at theirs home. As his mum was next to him, and posed no rejection, his offer was serious. I told him that I would have loved to, but I have got all my clothes at the hotel in the town down the river. The kid was really disappointed. He tried to convince me, being sure that I was just too shy for sleeping at a foreign family's place.
Remembering the exact location of a specific village's house is a hard task, even for people with a better visual memory than mine. So I collected many signs, which would enable me to find the house on my way bike.
This wasn't enough. On my way back, though I tried really hard, I didn't succeed to find the house again.
As I said, my visual memory is very bad. But one picture doesn't leave my imagination: a quiet child waiting for me to come back, disappointed and worried, after I promissed to visit him again, and didn't do so. YAM SHEL DMA'OT BISHTEI EINAI.

Forrest Gump and the art of bicycle maintenance

Test yourself: are you a brain-fucker?
If you own bike, whose price (in NIS) is higher than the number of kilometers you'll ever ride on, the answer is yes.

Forrest Gump and the art of bicycle maintenance
The most beautiful thing in bike is its simplicity. Cycling is the simplest sport in the world - simpler even than soccer, with its complex "offside" rule.
For riding bike you should know only two things: to move your right leg up & down in a circle; and to do the same with your left leg.

space oddity

But today there are bikes from material like Magnesium and Titanium, which were previously used only for the space industry?

Yes, you are right. And thus, next time I ride in Mars, I shall take with me a titanium bike. For Bulgaria (and Albania, and Guatemala, and anywhere else in our world) my deffect bike are surely enough.

I have got two tactics against rain: one for light rain, and one for heavy rain.
In case of light rain, I simply continue riding.
In case of heavy rain, however, I say "KUS OCHTACK" - and continue riding.

Churchill, me and the Lom

My coach at the Technion's bike team, Gahl Cohen, is one of those multimedia people, who can cycle and navigate simulataneously. I'm, unfortunately, much less qualified: I get along very well with the physical effort of cyling , but adding to it the mental effort of nevigating breaks me. Like Churchill used to say about Etly - I cannot walk and chwin a gum simultaneously. Not very relevant, but the title made you to read this item by the Lom (AD HALOM) - fact.

At pen and at one season
(BE'ET U'VE'ONA ACHAT - a Hebrew translation for simultaneously).

Cycling Orientation on a shoestring
I would like to share with you my simple method for cycling orientation:
A) At a junction, always take the turn which looks more "main".
B) If both look the same. take the downhill one - if you are doing a mistake, at least you'll enjoy it.
C) If both are downhill, wait for a local to ask him.
D) If no local arrives, sit and eat your lunch.

A tale of love and dark - teaser
The problem is, that when Gahl misses his way, at worst he loses some points at a race; however, when I miss my way, at the best case I have to carry the bike on the back for a few kms, and at the worst case I'm stuck all alone by night in the woods - as indeed happened to me in Croatia, Chile and Guatemala, "and the hand is still biased", i.e. - VE'OD HAYAD NETUYA. Today (again) only a bit of luck and (surprisingly) more serious tries to really navigate enable me to write you this line from a warm internet cafe, rather than sleeping in the rain in the middle of the forest in the Rila mountains (the whole story will come later - I
Bike on cliffBike on cliffBike on cliff

National Park Rila
stil have to change some details in it to make it more exotic and picantic. See the "tale of love and dark" for details.

A tale of love and dark

At his masterpiece, "a tale of love and dark", Amos Oz explains that a "good reader" shouldn't ask always "is it based on reality?" - even when the book is an autobiography.
I could have said the same about my stories, but I won't do so. In fact, I'm a bit anxious, as my unreliability became so famous, that I think of adding a marking "happened in reality" to some stories, which were really great experiences at real life. So please recall: there are things that I can't invent: could have I invent such good stories, I would have been a fruitful author, and not just a fucking computer engineering.

The Downhills, the Uphills & Rami Hoyberger

The Downhills
500, 1000, and sometimes even 1500m of vertical difference; 10km, 20km, and sometimes even 30kms of an endless downhill. And only one thought: have I really climbed all of it?

The Uphills
See previous paragraph, but now - 1000 different thoughts: ideas for the blog. This is what make the climbing sections to pass much faster.

The Camery Quintet (for the addicted)

Life is something, which works in downhills; put it in uphill - and it won't move.

Thus spake Zarathustra: "ATA, ATA CHAMUD ATA!" (a short one)

Yom Kipur: the provocative version
Milliards of poor people, who saved food from theirs mouthes for raising levies, to be used for the construction of huge redundant temples, mosques and kathedrals; Hundreds of millions of innocent people, who died in stupid religious wars; zero good answers for two simple question: why TZADIK VERA LO and RASHA VETOV LO; and why should I believe that god is Jehuba and not, let's say, Zeus, or Budha, or Uzi Cohen (well, for the last one maybe there is a good answer).
And on the other hand: one day per year, in which secular cyclists can safely ride in Israel's roads.
Sorry, mister God. Even an enthusiast cyclist doesn't accept Yom Kipur as a good enough KAPARA for your sins. Try harder.

Yom Kipur: the (ALEK) philosophic version

God is dead!

(Fridrich Nietzche)

Nietzche is dead.


Photo Retzach

While riding on the quite road to Strumica, I saw a large lizard crossing the road (only one of the millions of details, which rushing car tourists can't see).
Of course, I moved it from the road, so that it won't be driven (LEHIDARES?) by the next passing car. While doing so, I realized that it was already hardly wound, and was walking very slowly.
Well, after I saved its life (or at least extended them by a couple of hours), I decided I'm reward to a ask it to model some pictures for me. So now, in addition to hundreds of photos of my bikes hung on bridges, trees and tails of cows, I have got also one picture of a large yellow-black lizard riding my bike.

Just a free translation of "Beit Mitbachayim" to English (recall that Beit is the 2nd letter in Hebrew).


And I've got friends,
But they are also lines
In front of your madding skin

(Aviv Gefen).

Lord of the flies

The People
The locals, who invited me for a coffee, which became a meal, which became an invitation to sleep at their place.
The fruit's sellers in the markets and on the roads' sides, who gave me 2-3 fruit by free (the few times I insisted to pay them,

National Park Rila
turned to be big mistakes, because now they loaded me by 3-4 kgs of fruit, which I had nothing to do with).
The shoemakers, the sellers in the working tools shop and the bike mechanics, who repaired my bike, my bags and my shows, and many times refused to being paid for it.

Lord of the flies
Once I read an interview with a German guy, who have cycled for 10 years around the world, including many war areas (Israel was on of the least dangerous places, in which he travelled). The nicest thing he said, was that people always 'came out from their fence' (YATZ'U MIGIDRAM) for helping him. Hardly anyone tried to steal from him, and nobody tried to phsically assault him.
For a person like me, who is a very little believer in human beings and admires the book "Lord of the flies", this is a kind of NECHAMA.

Travel date: Oct-2005

Old Kato

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16



Nove Delchevo, Bulgaria The statue is of Goce Delchev.
Bike on cliff (2)Bike on cliff (2)
Bike on cliff (2)

Rila national park, Bulgaria

12th January 2007

macedonia and bulgaria is one and the same thing. One nation - two states. Actually the Macedonia is geografical name and Bulgaria comes from the name of the nation - bulgarians.
12th January 2007

The Balkans' conflicts
Well, as a middle-eastern, I have got enough conflicts of my own, so I won't say my opinion about the ethnic mess at the Balkans :).
30th March 2007

my kind of traveler! testimony that there is life on Earth apart from TV box and tourist-brochure phraseology.. same as the commentary above ;-/
23rd July 2007

where did u get the info that Goce Delcev is bulgarian too? NO he is not! before u write smth dont ask only one person ro ask only bulgarians Too bad

Tot: 2.243s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 19; qc: 75; dbt: 0.0524s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb