Veliko Tărnovo, Bulgaria

Trip Start Jul 04, 2013
Trip End Aug 29, 2013

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Flag of Bulgaria  , Tarnovo Province,
Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yesterday we crossed the border from Romania into Bulgaria - and into a land of even less comprehension. Ah yes, the Cyrillic alphabet. Put THAT one in your Garmin and see what happens. Well the Garminator pulled it off and we safely and efficiently made it through the border check and to our very nice "resort hotel" along the Danube in Ruse. We had a delicious and plentiful traditional Bulgarian dinner on the large deck outside before retiring to a "great room" to view a documentary about the Tour D'Afrique, a 4 month bike journey from Cairo to Capetown. Cool experience but I'm not inspired.;-)

As a side note, Bucharest was cool - we explored Old Town and had a fun dinner in a large, beautiful, but rather kitschy restaurant called Caru cu Bere. Apparently a "must-stop" - along the lines of Mi Tierra but with a Disney twist. Really. I DID find a nice park and river path to get in a long run so I can hopefully keep up with my running buddy Tina when I get home.

And back to Bulgaria...
We had a nice long (~75 miles) ride today with lots of long steady climbs and descents on country roads with little traffic. It was one of those mindless, relaxing rides completely void of any worries or concerns whatsoever. All I had to do was keep pedaling and reach for my water bottle occasionally- another brilliant sunny day with a light tailwind. However, with 14k to go, we were met with possibly the hardest climb yet - a 6k unrelenting climb up 11-12% grades with no switchbacks. I could feel the burn all the way up but also felt strong and confidant. The reward was a 6k fast and smooth descent into a beautiful small tourist city - Veliko Tarnova. We had another ~1500 meter climb to our hotel which borders a colorful town square. It's a beautiful evening and we've just returned from a unique dinner of stuffed grilled whole squid - very yummy.
Tomorrow is a rest day. We have only 1 week left and only 6 riding days left. I have very mixed emotions and plan to take it one day at a time, fully enjoying the days to come.
So tomorrow we explore on foot.....
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