After a long and easy train journey to our ninth country, Bulgaria, we arrived in Sofia on Saturday evening. As I wrote earlier, Bulgaria is more a transit country for us and we will not see or visit much because we have to catch a flight, so we decided to visit the capital.
Sofia is a nice and clean city, but we both agreed that it wasn’t really worth the detour, it is not a city that impressed us. Just a reminder for those who do not follow our journey on the map, we were coming from Bucharest which is in Southeast Romania and Sofia is in the very West of Bulgaria. The train took 9.5 hours, which gave us some time to relax our tired muscles and bottoms (if you can call that relaxing in a rattling train, hours later we were feeling as if still in the train).
We visited the most important sites of the city such as the Orthodox Cathedral Aleksander Nevski, The Russian Saint Niklas Church, an antique market where they were selling a lot of weird items and of course icons, we strolled along the main shopping streets (we are still desperately trying to find a birthday present for Johan, he wants to have a new cycling shirt).
The following day, a Sunday, we took the bus to Sozopol which is 33km South of Burgas at the Black Sea. Another 7-hour journey. But again easy, except the bus driver, who wasn’t really pleased about our bikes and didn’t do a thing to help us getting them in or out of the bus.
It is very exciting to be at the Sea again, something we’ve missed a bit. Somehow we both always thought it is more like a very big lake, but it is the Sea, it is salty, it is really dark (hence the Black Sea) and it is huge. We are collecting beautiful shells at the beach and just enjoy walking along the shores. The weather could be better though, it is almost storming and we’ve had some rain as well. The temperature is still OK, a little less than 20 degrees Celsius.
Unfortunately the season is over here and many shops, restaurants and hotels already closed down and there are hardly any people in the village, which makes it a bit depressing. This is also a typical area where loyal communist party members went on holidays during summer. And here we suddenly see four cyclists at a small square – all on their way to Istanbul. A couple from the UK cycling from Norway to South Africa and the on to South America, and two French guys cycling to Asia – all the way. These are the tough guys, they mainly go wild camping and we hope to meet up with them again in Istanbul!
We are staying at a pension for 15EUR per night with Sea view. It is very basic, and we had to unpack our sleeping bags at night because the blankets were so thin that we thought we would freeze, but other than that it is clean, we have our own bathroom, get fresh towels every day and have a balcony where we can cook. And the lady of the house is washing, drying and even ironing our clothes. We’ll stay here another day before we continue the final part of our journey – we hope to be in Istanbul by Monday.