We filmed this on a fairly busy road towards the end of our trip. We’d been bouncing along this road for so long, slowly driving round the massive craters in the road, while trying to avoid all the other cars coming towards us trying to do the same thing. Competition for the bits of road that were left was fierce at times, especially with the juggernauts!
The worst bit of road we drove on was the main road from Vidin to Sofia. Now bear in mind that since they opened the new bridge over the Danube in September 2013, this is now a major trunk route for HGVs from Romania and Northern Europe into Bulgaria. So there you are, on a main road, bowling along at about 110kph. Then, suddenly and without warning, the tarmaced road disappears to be replaced by a lumpy bit of dirt road with potholes so deep even the lorries are painstakingly driving round them to avoid being swallowed. The only bit of decent road is right in the middle of the road, but it’s only wide enough for one vehicle at a time to drive on which makes it tricky, given that it’s a busy road with traffic going in both directions. But, everyone takes it in good spirits, there’s no tooting of horns or folk getting impatient. As we were coming out I swear I saw some car fairly fly off the tarmac and into the dirt bit because he hadn’t seen the end of the road!
Vratsa was almost as bad, and traffic slowed to a mere crawl as it skirted around the town. We later learned that each municipality and city is responsible for maintaining it’s own bit of road that passes through it. So well-off towns and cities have good roads, and poorer areas have dilapidated ones. That said, off the major roads, the surfaces were generally in good condition, with just a few areas suffering obvious winter damage.
The upshot of this is that when driving on a road you don’t know, drive as if the road is about to end, because it might just do that. Our South African friends will recognise this approach to driving 🙂