Useful little donkeys, wildflowers beneath olive orchards, roses at the end of vineyard rows, these are snapped through the bus or car window with our cameras set to “action” or “sport” mode. The picture quality is not always sharp, but it helps capture the flavor of what we see. Other images remain in our mind’s eye, influencing our total picture of the country.
At the end of the day we pass a man walking home with his donkey loaded with sticks for the fire that heats his home. (Please click on the pictures to enlarge them.)
In the small fields of Bulgaria there are horse-drawn hay wagons and wagons being loaded with wood, while in the mountains men are logging.
A shepherd moves a flock of sheep outside a Bulgarian village nestled against a mountain.
Roadside stands are filled with jars of honey and jams that glow as the sun shines through them. We stop to buy a jar of homemade, wild blueberry jam filled with tiny berries. Later we eat it on chunks of crusty bread, alternating with bites of cheese and fresh, crisp apples.
This family of Greek women runs a small restaurant, unorganized and charming, near the Royal Tombs of Vergina. Our lunch of salad, bread, sausages and vegetables was relaxed and delicious. As we ate outside, a procession of men and women in dark clothing walked down the middle of the street. They were going to a policeman’s funeral and were led by a uniformed policeman carrying a folded Greek flag.
Just over the border of Bulgaria and Turkey we stop to take pictures before crossing this centuries old bridge into Edirne, the capital before Constantinople.
Old men sit at outside tables in Turkish towns, smoking, talking. No women. We zip past.
Black and white appears on both cows and a small town mosque.
Roses, I seem to have pictures of roses from everywhere.
By traveling a country’s roads we connect with the land and its people at work, much more than if we flew from city to city. Yes, it takes some time, but it adds so much to our journeys and our understanding of where we are. We like to start in a large city and visit a good archaeological or history museum. Then we branch out to various historic and cultural sites, traveling through the countryside. Beside lakes and seas, past fields, stopping for views over the mountains and sometimes hearing cuckoo birds calling, eating at local, non-fancy, roadside restaurants, this is how we travel whether on our own or with our small group of travelers.
The open road lures us onward.