Bulgaria: Kavarna to Romania: Constanta – 24th April
Despite the clear skies the night before, I woke to a chilly damp morning as a layer of fog hung over my little campsite. A warm and slow breakfast was called for, so I dined on a delicious cappuccino drink given to me by Cathy in Veliko Tarnovo (thanks Cathy!) followed by a very thick noodle soup reinforced with extra pasta- not exactly a traditional breakfast but just what I needed. Taking my time, I finally got round to adjusting my saddle – which proved a great relief for my knees – and almost loosing my tools after knocking my kit off the bike seat and over the forest floor.
Once the fog had cleared away the day was bright and cheerful and I followed the main road through farmlands and little clusters of buildings that could almost have been villages towards the border. Bulgaria had been a great, but I was disappointed that many of my memories and experiences were tainted by the weather (so British!). With the sun on my back I approached Romania with new enthusiasm for the journey and what I would find across the border.
With over 100km to cover, I took the flat roads at a steady pace and enjoyed the changing scenery as Bulgaria morphed into Romania – changing Lev for Lei at the border and splashing out the last of my pennies on toasted honeyed sunflower seeds. Arriving in Constanta I quickly found an internet cafe, which was closed (apparently nobody wants to use the internet after 5pm on a Saturday) and spent the next 2 hours walking the Steed around the city, taking in the views and searching for another internet opportunity to check if any Couchsurfers had replied to my accommodation requests. Constanta had an air of tiredness after the winter, with tourist activity yet to bring the city to life, but I enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the waterfront with dozens of relaxed couples and families – taking in the industrial port to the south and sandy beaches to the north.
When no internet materialised, and I was told the only hostel in town was closed until June, I reluctantly forked out 145 lev (about 30 GBP) on a hotel room without breakfast, took a shower and went for a wander and fast food stop in town. Fortified with a cheese and ham omelette in a bun, washed down with a swiss roll devoured in a single sitting (you can’t beat swiss roll when burning off 2,800 calories cycling!) I was ready for a good, if slightly lonelier than planned, night’s sleep.