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Published: October 7th 2013
Well we made it!! 780 Km of cycling came to an end today when we landed in central Sofia... It was not without a struggle.... Leaving Sandanski, the skies were still sketchy.. it had stormed all night, the streets were wet, and it was still cloudy. We actually waited to see if the skies would break up... We finally pulled out around 8:30 and hoped for the best... while the sun wasn’t shining, it was a vast improvement from the previous day. It wasn't raining. We took a back road in lieu of the single lane highway for the first 25Km.. the road was quiet and scenic, but not in the best shape. We got lost in two towns, and in some of the towns, the roads were mud... so we got pretty dirty, which pissed me off royally. We're wet from the roads, now muddy to boot... I even had mud in my hair and we still had to go another 75K. Due to our late start and slow trek up the secondary road... it was pretty late when we finally reached Kresnea... It was there that there is only one road through the gorge so we had to make
a call on whether or not we would cycle through it given the no-shoulder scenario, or take a bus. We opted to go for it and we were glad we did. It was a beautiful, scenic ride following the river. We also had a tail wind! We made it to Blagoevgrad in record time. We didn't even notice that we had climbed 300m.. We could have stopped in Blagoevgrad, but then we would have had 100Km to cycle the next day. we opted instead to cycle the extra 30Km into Dupnitsa. Glad we did, but I’ll tell you about that later..
Dupnista, is a small town, about 18000 people, it's nestled in the mountains at about 500m pretty little town... apparently though, there in only one hotel in town and ZERO restaurants... about 1000 cafes, but no restaurants! There was one pizza place in town, menu all in Bulgarian, but man did it hit the spot! 2 beers, large water and a xlarge pizza all for $8 Cdn... can't beat that!
Anyway - at least the hotel was decent... It luckily had been upgraded recently... looks as though it was once a state-run hotel back from the communist
days... not as nice as Sandanski, but is was OK for one night.
We woke up this morning to -3 temperature... No way were cycling in that cold... especially because were climbing some more. Remember when I said I was happy we did those extra 30Km the day before? No I'm REALLY glad! We didn't get out of the gates this morning until about 10:00, until it warmed up sufficiently to get on the bikes. We only had 66km, but boy were those the longest 66km ever. We had to climb 3 mountains and it got even colder with the higher altitude... we pulled into a little restaurant after about 20Km, warmed up with some soup and carried on when it was warmer. It was here, for the third time this trip that I had to use a squatter toilet. Now I’ve used squatters before, they are very common across Asia, I think it is just my burning quads from climbing a thousand mountains on my bike that prevents me from squatting low enough?? I don't know, but I peed a little on my shoes all three times... Yuck! I hate squatters.
After more climbing, and
variable road conditions... we finally made our decent into Sofia... if it wasn’t for the abhorrent condition of the road, it would have been fantastic! It was all downhill, but we had to keep it slow to avoid potholes... then the road turned to cobblestone, but then the kick-ass paved bike trails started and they took us right downtown! I sat in the park while Barry found us a NICE hotel.. we made it so now we get to pamper ourselves again!
Tot: 0.046s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 10; qc: 57; dbt: 0.0119s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb