05. - 14.06.2012 Ruse - Varna 316 km



After our arrival in Ruse it didn't take us long to find a Couchsurfing host: a German called Clemens, who has been living and working in Bulgaria for the last two years, accepted our request. Strolling through the city, we realized that it's quite a small world sometimes because we not only met the 6 Germans again but also Volker. We spent the afternoon in a cafe because of rain and we were really glad about the cooling.

The next day top priority was taking care of our equipment. We went to a nearby park to pitch our damp tent so that it could dry.  After only 2 minutes the police came to inquire what we were doing there and whether we wanted to camp in the park. They didn't quite trust us so they came again 10 minutes later to check if we were still there. Olli also fixed my slightly bent rim and checked and greased his creaking bottom bracket. Hopefully the annoying sound is gone now.

Later in the afternoon our work was rewarded with a little sightseeing tour. Clemens showed us the Rock Monastery of Ivanovo, which is a famous World Heritage Site. Furthermore we were briefed on the Bulgarian snakes: Only the smaller ones (sand vipers) are toxic and in rare cases deadly. Well then :). Clemens also told us a lot about life and work in Bulgaria from his perspective as a German, which we found very interesting. Of course we had to try the Bulgarian beer in the evening and went to a traditional restaurant with live music. Almost everything on the menu was with meat. A hard choice for us vegetarians but salad, cheese and freshly baked bread were very delicious.

Since Olli didn't feel well we spontaneously decided to stay one day longer, which Olli also used to get a haircut. When we finally left Ruse, Clemens accompanied us out of town on his bike. Of course it was hot like hell again, but thanks to the recreative last few days we were able to accomplish 100 km that day ... yahoo!

The following days we were surrounded by a strage scent which came from hemp plants growing all along the road and in the middle of grainfields. Once we even camped beside a small hemp field. Maybe those fumes were the reason why we slept so well? Even the fireflies obviously enjoyed it.


When we passed a garbage dump, where they exhibited art made from plastic bottles, Sonja was very surprised when I suddenly cycled into the dump. The reason for that was that I had spotted a scale for trucks in the yard and since I just roughly knew the weight of our bikes I wanted to check that out more precisely, to the astonishment of the staff. Mine was 60 and Sonja's 40 kg, but without water.

When we finally reached the Black Sea coast in Balchik we were a little bit shocked at first by all the tourists there. We just realized how much we actually love our way of travelling. Just lying on the beach all day and swimming in the sea wouldn't be enough for us. Nevertheless, the small town with its white limestone coast has its charm and we soon set up our camp surrounded by lime cliffs ... awesome sunset and music from the beach disco free of charge!

Then we set sail to Varna, where we spent the rest of the day exploring city and coast. It took us over 2 hours to have a look around the port. The reason for this was not the size of the port, but rather the ship Aida, anchored in the harbor, full German passengers. Telling every curious one of them about our journey took us quite a while ;) Then we had a closer look at the famous Sea Garden, a huge park along the coast, and treated ourselves to a giant ice cream. We had agreed on not eating ice cream before we reach the Black Sea, which we finally had accomplished :)

As we then kept on cycling through the park Sonja's rim started to make problems again. I had actually thought that I've been able to fix that problem and couldn't quite believe it. So we unloaded everything and removed the tire in order to inspect the rim. What the hell!?! Sonja's rim cracked as well now! It didn't look quite so bad as mine but it was unthinkable to continue like that. We still had 2 hours left, before meeting with our Couchsurfing host Nikola, so we started to search for a bike shop. As we were about to ask a taxi driver for directions a nice Bulgarian, Ivo, passed us carrying one wheel of his bicycle and promptly accompanied us to a good bike shop (Ustrem, the best bike shop in Varna ... surreptitious advertising hehe). We were able to order a suitable new rim. Afterwards 2 of the mechanic's buddies cycled ahead to show us the way to our host Niko. Gradually getting used to that kind of problems I remained calm ;)



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