Unlike one of my typical tours, where I would travel along a roughly planned route spanning a few thousand kilometers, I am basing myself this summer in the touristic town of Bled for six nights and making tours from there as well as doing a bit of hiking and cycling around the area.
My bike has been shipped to Thessaloniki in Greece, three weeks before I fly there from Frankfurt. After a relaxing weekend, I collect my bike early Monday morning from the logistics company and ride immediately to Gelibolu in Turkey, across the Bosporus from Asia.
It's the third country today and I'm not really sure where I want to go. As part of my pre-trip planning I highlight interesting places, towns and cities on the map based on guide books and online sources.
Leaving Pridnestrovia and crossing the river into Ukraine, I am soon onto a dead-straight road to Оде́са (Odeca). This whole region is flat and geologically very stable, hence the straight roads everywhere. The only thing that isn't flat is the road surface, which is deeply rutted by all the trucks that drive this route.
Wedged between Moldova and Ukraine, only 30km wide in places, and recognised by no other country in the World, is the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Приднестровская Молдавская Республика) also known as Transnistria.
Leaving Galați after very little sleep as a result of a wedding on the Danube, I head for the EU exit for the second time on this trip. The border with Moldova is just a few kilometres away along the river, on the other side of an old industrial area.
Despite both Bulgaria and Romania being EU members, neither are part of Schengen, so consequently there are border controls. Fortunately these formalities do not take long and my Bulgarian Lev is soon exchanged for Romanian Leu.