Ups and Downs
Trip Start Aug 18, 2006
149Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
By around 4pm it seemed that the top must surely be within reach, but the road kept undulating, with long uphills to false summits followed by short, morale-sapping downhills and another long climb. I knew there was a town that would have a hotel at the base of the mountain, and could resonably expect the descent to be quicker. All I had to do was reach the top, but each brutal disappointment made me question whether what goes up really must come down, while the twilight which was already limiting visibility could make the descent more dangerous than the climb was exhausting
7% slope, 2km.
This was a worry. 7% for 2km couldn't possibly get me back to sea level, and if there was another climb I was in big trouble. About 4mins later I had my answer (descending a 7% slope does not take long). Another sign, another truck frozen mid-plummet, another legend:
8% slope, 5km
Ah, so its like that is it. Getting to the bottom took about half an hour, with the windchill of freewheeling at 50km/hr combining with the cold of the evening to make me wish for the climb again, while not wanting to slow down for fear of losing the last of the light before arriving in town
I finally reached the town, 'Sunny Beach', cold, tired and hungry. There was a convenience store on the main road so I went in and asked for directions to a hotel.
-You want a hotel?
-What, the one next door?
-Ah. yes, that would do...
So I found myself at the Severina Apartments, where the receptionist told me that the room would be 20Euros.
-Do you have anything cheaper?
-No, this is the cheapest
-Do you know of any other, cheaper hotels nearby, only I don't need an apartment and this is really more than I'd planned on paying.
-No I don't.
-(tiredness, cold and hunger hijack brain at this point) OK, I guess I'll take it then
-A good decision. Please give me your passport for registration
Now, I"m a generous fellow, and always try to believe that incomplete or erroneous information is the result of an honest mistake. However, when I went into town the next morning to withdraw cash for the hotel room, I couldn't help but notice that Sunny Beach is in fact a TOURIST RESORT. Every single sodding building in that entire town was a hotel, currently sitting empty and waiting for the Germans to come back next summer. I was less than impressed, paid my bill somewhat sullenly and immediately deleted the hotel and the town (as soulless a place as you would imagine, with no visitors and only as many local inhabitants as empty hotels can afford to employ) from my memory. This, it turned out, was premature.
The following day followed much the same pattern, except the destination, Malko Tarnovo, was 120km away instead of the 90km from Varna to Sunny Beach, and was near the top of a mountain instead of at the bottom. Once again the day ended with a long, cold slog through beautiful woods on the side of rugged mountains, racing the setting sun.