Bulgaria: enjoying a mini-holiday on the Black Sea!
We entered Bulgaria just as we left it: there was no-one at the border points to control our passports. As we illegally entered the country we were greeted by endless fields of rape and poppies. The road was fairly good, but unlike Romania the villages and cities were far apart, which made the cycling slightly more relaxed and therefore enjoyable. As we approached Balchik we turned off the main road and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the coastal cliffs. We had planned to stay at the camping ground in the city but then remembered that it was our five-year anniversary that day so we decided to treat ourselves to something a bit nicer. We ended up staying at the Bohemia hotel, a quaint little place run by an Englishman, and had a celebratory dinner by the water. As I woke up the next morning, ready for another day of riding, Angela informed me that she was sick again so we agreed to stay in Balchik one more day so that she could recover. Just as well, since it gave us time to visit the lovely botanical gardens and watch some of the French Open on TV. We decided to make up for the lost time by pushing hard the following two days, hoping to cover more than 200km. Why that sudden hurry you might ask? Well, before we left Vienna in March, our friends Tanya and Chris checked out our route and realised that we would be cycling right by their condo on the Black Sea. Since no-one would be staying there at the time of our arrival, they very generously offered us to have a mini beach-holiday in their nice little apartment.
On the first day we rode 105km, passed the city of Varna, but were told that none of the campsites that were indicated on our map actually existed. Luckily I managed to get a hotel room in a three-star hotel for only 13€. Bargain. On the second day we rode through a range of low-mountains before reaching Nesebar, a historical town situated on a small peninsula and part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. We wandered around the narrow little streets for one hour before having lunch and pushing forward towards Burgas. There we followed the coast on a brand new cycle lane (the first real cycled lane we’d seen since leaving Kazimierz) before getting back on the main road and painfully getting through those last 30 km on a big motorway and a strong headwind. Eventually we arrived in Sozopol and found Chris and Tanya’s condo around seven in the evening. We were knackered, after having cycled 220km and climbed more than 2000m, but delighted at the prospect of chilling out by the beach!