Varna/Sozopol, Bulgaria, 34 degrees Celsius
We cross the Donau at Silistra, expecting to be arriving in Bulgaria, our sixth country. But where is border control? After a few kilometers, we take a look at the map and a kind Romanian stops to help us out. Turns out we missed a right turn through a very inconspicuous white gate just a few 100 metres from the ferry. A very kind, blonde customs official welcomes us into Bulgaria, a country with signs in cyrillic…
Roads are much better than in Romania and we manage to ride quite some distance. We arrive in Varna at the Black sea coast at the end of the day, time to find a place to sleep. One campsite seems to be closed, the next campsite is turned into some Russian resort including a fancy spa hotel and we do not feel very welcome. In a nearby restaurant, a couple overhears our conversation with the waiter and steps in. Duncan, originally from Ireland, used to be a fanatic biker and is now living here with his Bulgarian wife. He invites us to stay at his place. We end up having a private room with hot shower, a lovely dinner and some taste of the locally made schnapps. Duncan entertains us with stories about all his great biking adventures as a member of the 59 club (http://www.the59club.org.uk/history.html) and by showing some of his great bar-tricks.
The next day we ride along the coast, where resorts start to pop up everywhere, spoiling the beautiful scenery. Apparently quite some of the resorts are in Russian hands and unfortunately the locals do not really profit. We prefer camping and end up at a crappy campsite near Sozopol, which does have a wonderful private beach. So that is another 19 Lev (5 euros) well spent! We unpack our bathing suits and enjoy a dive into he Black sea. Later we take a look at the historic town center of Sozopol and have a nice encounter with a Polish-American couple also traveling by motorbike.
Since we did not intend to spend much time in Bulgaria, we head for the Turkish border on our third day in the country. As usual the border area is not the best part of the country: The road is as worse as a paved road can get including tight, blind corners and we have a close encounter with an oncoming local driver. Luckily we have already become accustomed to Eastern European driving skills! One last petrol fill up before we head for the border. Next stop Istanbul!