Archive for the 'Bulgaria' Category

Sea and Snow

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

We had a great four rest days in the coastal city of Varna. We managed to get a great deal on a hotel apartment unit that included a tiny kitchen, cable TV, and free wireless internet. The one downside to staying in Varna was the city’s water situation. We’re not sure what exactly was going on, but the entire city was without running water for almost two full days. We couldn’t take showers or flush our toilet, and had to wash our dishes out with bottled water. But having free internet, TV, and a few days in one place more than made up for the water problems.

We left Varna on Friday and rode 70 km south down the Black Sea coast. We expected the road to follow the actual coastline, but it is actually a few kilometers west of the sea. Instead, we rode through rolling hills and forested countryside for the whole day. The trees here are all yellow and looked like they were glowing in the afternoon sun.


Beginning about 10km outside the city of Varna we started noticing single girls standing alone on the side of the road. They were spaced out almost exactly every kilometer, in the middle of nowhere, and they were wearing crazy outfits. Stuff like micro-mini denim shorts with pantyhose, mini-skirts that were 3-4″ long, shiny white boots with stiletto heels, sequined tank tops, etc. They looked bored and lonely, so we said hi to them as we rolled past. I wonder what they were doing out there…? Just kidding.

We finally got to see the actual Black Sea as we rolled into the resort town of Obzor at the end of the day.


The number of hotels in these Black Sea resort towns in amazing. They are everywhere and more and more are being built. This place must really be a madhouse in the summer. Right now almost everything is shut down for the season though, and rightfully so because today we departed Obzor for Burgas and ran into a snowstorm!


The day actually started out sunny, but it turned nasty after about 25 kilometers of climbing. We were up at 500 meters, huffing and puffing along and admiring the snowdrifts on the side of the road, when all of the sudden the sky clouded over and it started to snow. It was funny at first but quickly lost its humor as the wind picked up and things started to get really bad. We had cycled into a blizzard. The Bulgarian drivers thought we were nuts; more than one raised his hands to us to say “What the heck are you thinking?” Luckily the storm disappeared just as quickly as it arrived, but the damage was done. We were now wet and the temperature had dipped to around 3 degrees Celsius. Not exactly ideal cycling weather.

So, instead of continuing on to Burgas we stopped for the day in Slancev brjag, another town of massive hotels. The good news is we still have 10 days to reach Istanbul, so we aren’t really in a hurry. We’ll continue to slowly make our way down the coast until we reach the Turkish border.

November Rain

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

There she is, the famous Black Sea.


We reached the Black Sea in Varna, Bulgaria after a two day ride from the Romania-Bulgaria border marked by the cold November rain that is quickly becoming a constant in our lives. Oh well, nothing lasts forever…

We also hit another important milestone on our way here. At 12:48pm EET on November 3rd, while cycling on a cold, windy ridge about 9 kilometers north of Varna, Sarah hit 10,000 kilometers on her odometer. She has now officially entered the realm of cycling goddess!


Since we arrived in Varna, we’ve been victory posing on the beach and wandering around the city. Varna is the most touristy city we’ve been in for quite a while. There is a huge pedestrian zone with upscale shopping and restaurants and a giant seaside park. The city is pretty quiet right now though; most of the discos along the beach are already closed for the season.


Despite her impressive quads, Sarah is feeling a bit worn out from the five-figure odometer reading, so we are going to rest here for a couple of days before heading down the coast to Turkey.