Sep 05, 2010
Aug 21, 2011
Where I stayed
. The day passed in a wet blur. Visabilty was terrible, about 10m, the rain was incessent and freezing. Did 30 miles lots of which was uphill before stopping in a tiny town shop where the woman microwaved what turned out (LATER!) to have been some very suspect pizza. Tasted good at the time and we set off to do what we thought would be an easy 18mile blast to Kostentes, where we had seen a hotel online. After stopping, our body temperatures dropped massively and soaking hands were agony. Cycling along swinging them around and banging them to try and stop the burning pain in our fingertips. After a couple of miles the road went from having a few potholes to being potholes interspersed with tiny sections of road to wind your way through. Doing 7mph made us even more cold. 5 miles our destination the road sorted itself out, and we began a massive descent illustrating to us how much we must have climbed in the mist. Defintitely missed out on amazing views all day. Mikey's brakes stopped working so we had to go amazingly slowly to be safe and then I was really ill in a vile village just before our destination (the pizza came back to haunt me). Seeing a sign for a spa hotel, Kostenets, we staggered the last 3 miles, felling like Giles after the wedding "nothing left to give". Not a good point to discover that the hotel was 10k (6miles) outside the town, at the top of a mountain. Nothing to be done, cycled round desperately in the rain asking people, but no other accomodation. Very steep climb, people looking at us like we were mad, only the fact that there were lots of signs for the hotel kept us going. At one point a bright red van zoomed past us waving and beeping with the hotel logo on the side - clearly didn't think to stop and pick us up. Even when we finally arrived at the sign for the hotel, the 100m descent off the road to the reception was so steep, that we had to unload Mikey's bike in the end and ferry his stuff down in many loads. Staggering into the reception, soaking and mud covered after a day of disasters realised we had somehow stumbled into exactly where we needed to be. Our room was gorgeous and I got straight in the thermal spa shower, before Mikey came running up from checking in to say we could have a thermal jacuzzi! Amazing. The restaurant was also lovely with a log fire. Had a big problem with the menu and the cyrillic alphabet again, so had to look up pictures of soup, bread, meat, chips and salad on wifi to show the waiter and order. Delicious and made it all worth while.
Did go to the cinema last night and saw 'The Other Guys' - very funny, not sure how the humour would have come across to Bulgarian viewers having to read sub titles though. That must be really annoying. Woke up to torrential rain and dark grey skies indicating it would be an all day downpour - oh dear. Very cold on the short walk to breakfast in Hostel Mostel from our room, but worth it - loads too eat and coffee. Spotted that the guy sitting next to us had the map of Bulgaria we had spent ages looking for and it turned out he and his girlfriend had also cycled here from England and were on their way round the world - unbelieveable. They had left on June 11th however, so going quite a bit slower than us. They seemed a bit more organised too, having bought all their maps in England and being very into checking the weather and adapting their route accordingly. Had lots to talk about and so we got a bit behind leaving. They thought we were bats setting off in the weather, apparently they don't do that. As we left the city and were cycling through troughs of water which covered our feet and Mikey's front panniers, I thought they probably had a good point