Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
76Trip End Aug 08, 2011
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Where I stayed
In a slightly dilapidated, but nice camping just outside the city
After getting my passport stamped, I headed for the centre with the intention of sussing out somewhere to stay. I was feeling reasonable, still not 100%, but probably able to manage a good half-day's riding.
I was quickly enamoured with Rousse, its wide boulevards, huge pedestrianised areas, al fresco cafes and restaurants... everything gave a sense of ease, and I found the people very welcoming also. I tried to exchange a few Serbian dinars I had hanging around, but with no success. Then I went to the tourist office and was advised by the very nice gentleman there, in perfect English, that any bank would change my dinars but it being Saturday I might have to wait until Monday for that
I went and got a coffee, and had a slight misunderstanding with the maitre d', because I had the habit of ordering at the bar but he wanted to take my order right there. He told me goodbye, and then we made up again and I ordered the coffee and some hot chips to eat outside. A guy who had witnessed the little bust-up came out and to my surprise introduced himself to me. He was an Irishman, and had been looking at a house not too far from Rousse but now wasn't the right time for him. I had been listening to Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything, a series of podcasts, and one of them talks about the extra dimensions to the book Ulysses by James Joyce, and I was thus in a very Irish state of mind, as it were. It all seemed a fine piece of synchronicity indeed, although Confirmation Bias is worth keeping in mind in such cases.
After a pleasant chat he went on his way, and I continued to look around the city, returning to the tourist office for some suggestions where to stay. I also asked for some help with basic Bulgarian, and he kindly furnished me with a page of useful phrases etc. He told me of a cheap camping place with cabins on the road to Sofia, so I headed out there, tracked down some wild nettles, which I washed and ate raw. Then I went to the little restaurant and enjoyed a nice meal and a sound sleep
The next day, I worked on repairs and sorting the stuff I would keep and what I would throw away or send back to NZ. I had decided to post stuff from Rousse, instead of waiting until Istanbul as I'd originally planned. I ended up with 2.5 kg of stuff to post back to NZ and another kilo or so of crap that I was just carrying for no good reason. I also repaired all my tubes, trued my wheels, tuned my brakes and other such jobs.
The next day I would ride back into Rousse and then set sail for Varna on the Black Sea coast.