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Bulgaria is a country in Eastern Europe bordering Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. It's a good country for hitchhikers since this was a common way of travelling in socialist times when few people had cars.
The script is Cyrillic and it might be a good idea to be able to read it a little bit, for city and street signs and such.
Hitching is slightly easier in the South because the highway Sofia - Plovdiv is a part of the main road from Europe to Istanbul. There are many TIR drivers regularly taking the road that are often willing to have some company. Do not be surprised if some of them - driving from Western Europe to Turkey for instance asks you to put your shoes off when you get in the cabin and/or shows you a photo of their family.
The other most frequent stereotypical driver that would take a hitchhiker is somebody who used to hitchhike themselves when they were young back in the socialist regime days. They will often feel nostalgic about the time they spent on the road and will be happy to share their adventures with you, or let you tell them about your trip. However there are many other people willing to give you a ride.
Hitchhiking is particularly popular in the summer, and is so common along the seaside that you can find yourself competing with other hitchhikers. This makes it easier as well - drivers expect it.
Hitchhiking is also popular activity in the mountain areas, especially in the Rhodopes (Rodopi, Rodopa), where the cars are less but almost everyone of them is stopping.
As friendly as they can be, Bulgarian drivers tend not to care too much about road regulations and speed limits. Be careful and avoid standing in areas with a yellow triangle sign, with a filled black circle in the middle - these indicate places with increased concentration of road accidents and are a part of a campaign of the government to improve travel safety.
- Hitchhiking - автостоп [av-to-stop]
- High-way - магистрала [ma-gee-stra-la]
- Petrol station - бензиностанция [ben-zee-no-stan-tsee-ya]
- Ring road - околовръстно (шосе) [o-ko-lo-vrast-no (sho-sse)]
- Map - карта [kar-ta]
- Bus stop - (автобусна) спирка [(av-to-bus-na) speer-ka]
- Hello - Здравейте [Zdra-vey-te]
- Good day - Добър ден [Do-bar den]
- Good morning - Добро утро [Do-bro oot-ro]
- Good evening - Добър вечер [Do-bar ve-cher]
- Goodbye - Довиждане [Do-vizh-da-ne]
- Bye - Чао - ciao (as in Italian)
- Thank you - Благодаря [Bla-go-da-rya]
- Thanks - Мерси - merci (as in French)
- From - от [ot]
- Towards - към [kam]
- Through - през [prez]
- (To the) left - (На) ляво [(Nah) lya-vo]
- (To the) right - (На) дясно [(Nah) dyass-no]
- Straignt on - Направо (Nah-pra-vo)
- Where are you going to? - На къде отивате? [Na kade o-tee-va-te?]
- I´m travelling to ... - Пътувам към ... [Pa-too-vam kam ...]
- Please stop here - Моля, спрете тук [Mo-lya spre-te tuk]
- A bit further - Малко по-напред [Mal-ko po na-pred]
Reading or writing signs in Cyrillic
- Благоевград - Blagoevgrad
- Бургас - Bourgas
- Варна - Varna
- Велико Търново - Veliko Tarnovo
- Видин - Vidin
- София - Sofia
- Пловдив - Plovdiv
- Русе - Russe
You can use the cars' license plates to help you figure out where a driver might be heading. The registration code consists of two letters, followed by four digits and then two more letters. The first two letters indicate the region where the car is registered. By recent law, the letters have been limited only to those that the Cyrillic and Latin alphabet have in common, so this should make it easier for foreigners, not reading Cyrillic.
It should be noted also that this is not a 100% reliable method, it's just for orientation. It is common that cars registered in Sofia belong to people living in Burgas for example - because they bought the car and are still paying leasing, or because they moved to live somewhere else.