Day 21, Kavarna, BG to Constanta, RO

The Hotel Paris

After two good nights at the Hotel Paris, which is definitely the best value hotel for this tour and, I'd say, the best hotel, regardless of price, on this tour, I headed for Romania. First I rode north through Kavarna, climbing steeply for 15 minutes to get up on the ridge, hundreds of feet above Hotel Paris, and then through a less touristy section of Kavarna. There was some road construction up there that rerouted me onto a small road, but eventually I found myself on E87 headed for Durankulak. It was about 40 miles to Durankulak, and it took me almost 4 hours of riding to cover those 40 miles because of bad roads and headwinds.

One of bout 90 large wind machines in a wind farm along E87

There are two things that slow me down while touring: bad pavement and headwinds. Today, getting to Romainia, I had both bad wind and bad pavement for about half the time and ether bad wind or bad pavement about 25% of the time. On the bits where I had neither, I was cruising at 13.5 to 14 mph. On the bits where I had both, I was lucky to do over 10 mph. There was some compensation for the bad wind because I got to ride by a big wind farm. The sign said 90 2-MW machines, but it looked to me like a mix of big machines and smaller machines. It is small compared to windfarms I've ridden by in the US and northern Europe, but it was still neat to see a windfarm in eastern Europe.

The really good part of the road in Bulgaria, which lasted for about ten miles

Lake Durankulak and the Black Sea
This is the view from next to a birding lodge

There was one restaurant/motel about half way to the border, but that was too soon for me to have lunch so I didn't stop. I had snacks - two bananas - and water - 1.5 l - for the ride to the border, but I really wanted to get a meal and refill my water bottles before 1 PM when I reached the border.

There is a neat birding lodge just before Durankulak. It is near Durankulak Lake which is right next to the Black Sea. I guess that creates conditions pretty ideal for birding. Unfortunately, although they functioned as a B+B for birders, they didn't do meals for bicycle tourists. I rode on into Durankulak and stopped a small market. There, for the equivalent of about $2.50, I had a large beer and some pre-packaged 'pizza' and something with cheese and layered pastry and filled my water bottles and my 1.5 l reserve bottle. While I ate, I watched part of a really bad Goldie Hawn movie in English with Bulgarian subtitles. I enjoyed it ;-}

Five km after Durankulak, I reached the border. It was a much simpler border crossing than the first time I crossed into Romainia four years and the Romainia I crossed into felt like a far different country. A lot has changed here in four years and now this part of Romainia feels much more western than Bulgaria.

The road ran quite near the beach and it was obvious that the beaches, even those with houses built along them, were public. There was nothing like Albena here, but, as I rode farther, I realized that there were a lot of resort hotels and not much in the way of ordinary hotels. I stopped at a three star hotel in Elone Nord and asked about a room. The clerk said I could have a room, at about $100 a night, but not for a day. Their minimum rental was for a week. She told me that the big, four star, hotel might rent me a room for the night. I decided that wasn't a viable option and rode on to Constanta

Look at the distances and the nice road
I'm really headed for Slobozia

A neat bridge shortly after Elone Nord

By the time I got into Constanta, I had decided I would try to find something to eat and get supplies for camping in case I couldn't find a place to stay. While being on the Black sea in Romainia was fun, I now realized that a beautiful weekend day was not time for me to be there, so when I saw an exit for Bucuresti, I took it. I figured I'd have better odds of finding someplace to stay if I headed inland.

After riding through an industrial area - with really lousy pavement - I found myself riding between soviet style apartment building. There weren't any restaurants, but there were small markets in each building, so I stopped at one and got the supplies I needed. Then I rode on, prepared to camp.

The road I was on crossed a bigger, some what diagonal, road. There were no signs, but it felt like I should have turned there. There was a service station in the next block, so I stopped and asked. I used my map to ask, but it turned out that the clerk I asked knew English. she said go back and turn left. A lot more folks here know English than know it in Bulgaria, or knew it in Romania four years ago.

I turned left, climbed over a bridge over railroad tracks and turned left again. That was tricky with multiple lanes, multiple trolley tracks, and an impatient jerk in a BMW who cut me off. Shortly after that, still in Constanta and still in a very mixed area, I spotted a hotel and stopped to ask about a room. The motel owners English was very good, and then I saw the, Cobb County, Georgia license plate on his car. His family now lives in Georgia and he spends 6 month each year here and the other - winter I assume - 6 moths there.

My room here costs about the same as my room last night and, while it is airconditioned, isn't nearly as nice. On the other hand, It does have a US style shower and, it came with a wash rag ;-}. Breakfast starts at 7 AM, and I made my, minimal, supper from the supplies I got in case I had to camp. Now its time for me to get to sleep. My room is on the third floor - that would be fourth floor in the US - at the back of the hotel, and is fairly quiet.

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