I once asked Dylan, the Enhlish guy I met at the start of my trip, what it was like to go running after riding 5,000km around the UK. “Its weird” he said. You’re heart and lungs are ok but youe legs feel really strange. It kinda made sense and today I discovered that the same is true for walking. I decided to explore Zatoka by foot and had to give up because I was walking like a freak. I have actually forgotten how to walk like I used to walk or perhaps I’d developed muscles in cycling places and this was interfering but whatever the reason – it was weird. Dylan was correct.
Tag: cycling (Page 1 of 5)
With little to no chance of getting a breakfast at the hotel in Tartarbunary, I packed my stuff and was on the road early today. Yesterday had been slow and hard work in the afternoon heat, so I decided to get going early. My legs were stiff (I assume because of the previous 1,900km as much as the headwinds from yesterday) but with the end in sight I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
I threw the stuff on the bike and was drinking a cheap Nescafe in a cheap plastic cup on the edge of town 10 minutes later.
After leaving Hungary, the shops are all basically the same. The name and languages change but the format is consistent. They are small, dark rooms stuffed full of plastic-wrapped and brightly coloured products. There are always 2-3 fridges, one or two for beers and one for soft-drinks. There’s always bread, sometimes fruit and veg and usually a glass counter/fridge with salami, yogurt and dairy products.
Breakfast this morning was the most disappointing yet. Without providing a menu, a presumably-new waitress, who was being shadowed by a less-than-helpful guy asked what I wanted to eat and then shrugged when I asked what they had. So, I asked for an omelet (everywhere has omelettes) a coffee and an orange juice. Each arrived at different times and the omelet was stingy to say the least, perhaps two eggs and no filling.
From Gelati it’s just 10km to the Moldovan border. At times the road is quiet and flat, at other times it’s badly maintained and busy but I’m quite used to that now, so I gave the cars as much space as I could and made it to the border alive.
I skipped past a line of waiting cars, filmed a brightly coloured train moving some cargo and then rolled into Moldova with a new stamp in my passport and without much fuss.
The road through Moldova is easy and quite fun as it’s literally 1km of bad road next to Moldova’s only a port (and thus access to the open water of the Black Sea). The road passes straight across a pleasant peice of land with a nice view of the river and then delivers you to the border of Ukraine.
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.
Today was decision day. Do I continue to Constança and the Black Sea in Romania? or, do I leave the girls and head north to Moldova and into Ukraine to reach Odessa?
Odessa won. It’s an extra 500km and it means cycling alone for the next week in some of the most remote parts of Europe, but Ukraine is like home and although I’ve really enjoyed having company, I would like some time cycling alone. It’s too easy in a group to rely on other people and I feel like I should be pulling my weight a bit more.
Because we were well rested and because we had everything for breakfast in our apartment, we left early today and we were on the road by 7:30am. Finally the sun had returned and as we rolled through early morning Bulgaria we enjoyed a few hours of smooth tarmac, quiet villages. The countryside in Bulgaria is strangely like the UK with rolling hills and tree/Bush lined roads and fields.
Now a tad over half way and with 1,104km behind me, the ‘rest day’ today was much needed and as often happens when you stop exercising, the tiredness caught up with me. I was knackered.
Thankfully, Kozloduy, famous because of its nuclear power plant, is a small, quiet and relaxed town and I was able to wander around, buy a few essentials and get my brakes serviced. This routine task was a mini-adventure in itself as the owner of our hotel/apartment led me there on his own bike and then tried to explain what I wanted to the mechanic. This was all done in very broken (and inadequate) Russian, but somehow mechanic understood and told me to come back at three O’Clock.
We stayed in a nice and friendly hotel in Vidin and because we ate when we arrived we didn’t go out to see the city. It was raining and we were cold and tired. So, I can’t say much about the city, other than the fact that it was uninspiring. The weather hasn’t been good since we entered Bulgaria, but it’s not a place that’s won me over …not yet anyway.
After 13 days of almost constant cycling, today I rolled past 1,000km and across the halfway point for the trip.
Since arriving in Budapest at 7:00am on Monday the 11th August, I’ve pedaled across five countries and through hundreds of villages, towns and cities. I hurt, but I’m enjoying it and I’m looking forward to another 1,000 kilometers back into Romania all the way to the black sea and back home to Ukraine.
HOWEVER… I’m not doing this so I can avoid work, drink Lemonade and hangout with friendly Serbs. There’s a serious side to this challenge and if you click on the link below you can help me raise money for a Ukrainian charity that needs you help….