There’s not much to say about Silistra. Mostly because I did very little, but also because I’ve left if so long before writing this post that I’ve forgotten the few things I did do.
I chose and booked a hotel via booking.com and opted for the posh ‘Hotel Danube’ because it was £30 a night with breakfast, swimming pool and luxury rooms. I don’t reall need any of these things, but I was feeling exhausted and £30 is hardly an extravagance.
The hotel is nice enough. They let me put the bike in their cellar and everything was well kept and well run, but the place feels a bit sad. It’s nice and modern, but while many bright and adventurous Bulgarians have left to ‘Europe’, I had the impression that Silistra is still waiting and hoping for Europe to arrive there. Clues as to what Bulgarians imagine ‘Europe’ is (or might be) are evident in the descriptions in the Hotel literature which describe how European their services are. It reminds me of Ukraine pre-Euro 2012 when a huge effort was made to reach out to ‘Europe’ and show how ‘European’ (not ex-communist) they are.
Anyway, that evening I enjoyed dinner in an empty restaurant with awful music. I ordered a Shopska salad and the one dish that Slavs do better than anyone – a pork shashlik (kebab). The woman wheeled out on trolley where my kebab was grandly presented, still on the skewer, on a massive wooden board. I sat awkwardly as the waitress yanked all the meat off the skewer with a fork and then presented it to me on a plate. All totally unnecessary and quite un-European.
On my day off I bought some essentials (bike oil, shaving foam, sunscreen and stuff like that) and three tight fitting vests that are sized XXXL and XXXXL.