Bulgarian Rail Strikes Mean Goodbye Serbia

Rail strikes in Bulgaria Well, sooner or later my travel luck had to run out. Over the past few years I’ve managed to skate past snow storms, sidestep the ash cloud and avoid most industrial action. After all, it was complete chance I missed the UK strike on Wednesday, flying to Istanbul only hours before.

Yes, when Greece cancelled all international trains I had to pause and rethink – but at least I was at home. And when I couldn’t fly out of Malmo last Sunday, Visit Sweden and fourBGB made the rescheduling as smooth as possible.

In fact, the last time a strike blocked my path was in Brazil in 2005, when the only route out involved a three-way shuffle between the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Today, though, I admit defeat. It seems that Bulgarian railworkers are on strike and that there’s no end to the dispute in sight. The bus timetables are down and even the wonderful reception staff at my hotel can’t understand them. I’ve spent the best part of an hour trying to find out how to hire a car, with every single search revealing “No options available. Try again.”

Even my beloved twitter hasn’t been able to help me out, while flights into Serbia span several days and far too many zeroes.

So, after a day of scouring the internet, plodding around train and bus stations and squinting into my iphone, it’s time to say goodbye to Serbia.

I won’t be able to see you this time. Even a beautiful rail pass through Bulgaria can’t help me this time.

Instead, I’ve booked the cheapest flight out of here, winced at the money lost and put everything back into perspective.

After all, only a few days ago, I was metres away from a crazed gunman.

C’est la vie. Or Такъв е животът as it is in Bulgarian.

 Where am I going instead? You’ll have to keep reading to find out…

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