Fri March 09 2018  —  e-mail Manfred

Belgrade to Sofia, via Dabube's Iron Gate. The Carpathian cut through.

Flag Serbia Flag Bulgaria Ladas Sofia.

Thursday, August 19 2009

5 years, 28 days

Sofia, Bulgaria

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

current MB307 5,073

Trekking 442km

Ferry 1,654km

Train 3,738km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 74,843km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > europe > bulgaria > 20090819-sofia


Map, Belgrade to Sofia.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Serbia-Belgrade, pink bus.
Belgrade, Serbia.

Belgrade on 15th of August.

Something feels good about Belgrade (wiki), a big congested city with parking fees, police and all that, a grand city. Feel of a capital of an empire. Late we arrive, hide in an alley, a business district, maybe safe (from police) till morning. Morning, Monday, people go to work, we relocate, central a coffee, play with the iphone, read up on the Balkan and Yugoslav wars and Milošević (wiki) and whether he was as mischievous as they want to make us believe, Žižek says yes, Handke and Chomsky no ... as usual, the left divided. You have an opinion?

"Instead of being troubled by what is really evil, people make a big fuss over what is merely conventionally evil." Diogenes, the Cynic.

What strikes is that Belgrade, the city, its people look innocent and peaceful, the grand capital of Serbia, grandest participant in the Yugoslav wars with its documented atrocities only a decade ago.

Belgrade is town on Danube and Sava, strategically important, attracting wars over 1000s of years? What relation is there between orthodox and catholic church today? Why are these things so important in Serbia? What’s with the Muslims, Serbia was Ottoman ruled for centuries; Belgrade was then called Dar Al Jihad, what a name? Balkan wars 1912/13, Serbian nationalists killed Austrian heir to the throne Francis Ferdinand, Austrians learn in school this is why we had WW1, WW2 and its Croat Ustaše atrocities, after years and years of Tito who was a Croat finally we have Milošević and the Yugoslav wars, in the 1990s, these last wars in Europe. What are the relations between Croats and Serbs today? Do the young bother? Why did both parents of Milošević commit suicide many years apart from each other?

Has it finally come to peace, I have to come back, something feels good about Belgrade.

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Danube Iron Gate.

Danube, border Romania, Serbia.
Danube, border between Serbia and Romania.

After a Chinese lunch we head out, traffic is dense and it takes hours to really leave greater Belgrade. Once we hit the Danube we take a bath, first in a week, a quick one, there are some water snakes. Dangerous, poisonous snakes of the Danube? Probably not.

It is a long way to the Iron Gate, and night falls sooner than expected, the spectacle enjoyable but we miss out on a few sights. Tant pis.

Danube, Golubac fortress.
Golubac Fortress.
Bare chested man, infront of Golubac Fortress, Serbia, Danube.
Bare chest.
Danube's break through the Carpathians.
Danube breaks through.
Ships on Danube. Serbia.
On Serbian side.
Carpathian Mountains Danube cut through. Serbia, Romania.
Evening sets in.
Danube, Serbia, Romania, evening.
Long sunest.
Rose, evening sky over Danube. Serbia.
Rose sky.
Dusk, Danube, Serbia.
Colors fading fast.
Balkan and the Danube.
Shadows grow.
Iron Gate, Danube, Twilight.
Darkness sets in.
Night falls over Danube, Iron Gate. Serbia.
Iron Gate at night.

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Ladas in Sofia.
Ladas in Sofia.
Sofia in haze, view from Vitosha mountain.
View from the Vitosha.

Sofia, church of St. George.
Oldest church in the balkans?

Sofia on 18th of August.

Sofia feels small, small in expanse, how can they stick 1.4 million people in here? I wonder. From above, from the Vitosha mountain, no land marks want to capture the eye’s attention. Just all communist blocks; systematised.

In town, is nice, but what do with it? We find what they say might be the oldest church in the Balkans: St. George, 400 AD, devine affiliation of the place probably predates the church, as might have been the site of a Greek/Roman temple before, then after was a mosque during Ottoman rule. Quiet amazing how these frescos survived.

Some central area where we park/camp, cafes and pubs, arty, but I mean Sofia is more a village.

I liked them all, the former Eastern Bloc capitals; have charm, their smiley way.

Sofia, shop window at pedestrian level.
Street level shop window.
Sofia, underground shop.
Sofia, street level shop.
MB307 parked in Sofia.

Another parking ticket in Sofia, but how can you get this right? Don’t park? Eh -, yeah.

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Have a Zagorka, Iskar reservoir, Bulgaria.
Zagorka on lake Iskar.

Zagorka is the beer, Lake Iskar artificial, Ivan serves the beer, worked 10 years in Berlin, does not speak so much German. Must have been East Berlin? Not because he doesn’t speak German fluently.

We carry on, Borovets a large skiing resort; turn right try to cross the Rila mountain range (wiki), near is its highest summit Musala, and a little road shows on my Balkan's overview map that I bought I think after the Communist fall and that we've been using so-far on this journey east.

We only get s bit nearer to it, road is closed where Rila National Park starts. So we set up camp, is late. A little walk in the woods, nature and nature, dense pine forests, a babbling stream, a quiet away from cities.

Brick of soap, wash feet in ice cold stream.

MB307D in Rila mountains.
Camp in Rila Mountains
Beli iscar/Beli Iskar, Rila Mountains.
Rila Woods, Bulgaria.
Beli Iscar/Beli Iskar.
Beli Iscar, Rila, Bulgaria.

Morning, all the way back to Borovets, then on to Kostenets, Yakovuda, we cannot find our way in these mountains, somewhere we buy Bulgarian mountain honey. Must be quality, must be organic. Local peasant's produce, bought from the peasants.

Somewhere we buy delicious tomatoes, from backyard, creamy sheep cheese; this quality will not sell in Greece. All my life I have prefered the Bulgarian to the Greek "feta". Really nothing can compare with Bulgarian feta.

We have a bad map, are ill prepared, have difficulties finding a way through, not around, we drive high altitudes, up, down, through forests, our path is tiring; peaks are near but never come to our sight.

Afternoon we bail out, the south calling drive into Greece. 21st of Aug.

Bulgarian women hanging Tobacco leaves for drying.
Tobacco leaves.

This is not Chicken hung up for drying, grape leaves neither. ... Whoever said this? > journey > europe > bulgaria > 20090819-sofia

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