Drone Crashes in 80s Bulgarian Communist Center; Curious Adventure Ensues To Retrieve It
Nil’s Achilles problem seems to have disappeared after some rest and the Two Steps team were able to get back on the road. For nine days they would be joined by their next guest, the 31st of their long journey, Aleks Culibrk from Slovenia.
Together, they headed south through Bulgaria towards the Turkish border. On the way, they passed by a famous ruin, the Buzludzha conference centre. Originally built by the Bulgarian communist party in 1981, it was abandoned in 1989 when the regime fell. Today, there is a guard stationed outside and the entrances have been walled up.
Unable to enter, Marie and Nil were keen to get some aerial footage of the relic. Unfortunately, disaster struck, and their drone was struck by falling snow and became trapped inside! The guard was not helpful but told them that a key might be found in one of the cities in the valley. A succession of desperate phone calls followed as Marie, Nil and Aleks called every Bulgarian contact they had to ask for help. Help came from an unlikely source. Alek’s cousin is dating a Bulgarian national, who just so happens to be from the city that would supposedly have a key. He was able to speak to the local Chief of Police, who in turn called the Buzludzha conference centre guard who it emerged had been holding the key all along!
With a key finally in hand they tried the door, only to find it was rusted shut. Some brute force allowed them to force the door open and they were at last inside. They retrieved their drone and grabbed a few photos before rushing out and away from the difficult guard.
The trio only had a few more nights in the mountains before heading down to flatter ground. They jettisoned most of their winter gear and rushed onwards towards the Turkish border. The finish line is now in sight, with only a couple of hundred kilometres to go before Istanbul.