Ruse is quite a large city so we felt there was a good chance to purchase a decent quality cycle tyre. A trip to the bike shop that we had been recommended provided us with a new tyre, but not as strong as would have liked. It seems it’s not possible to get the Schwalbe Marathon tyres we started out with in this part of the world.
So we have been in touch again with JD Tandems and have been sorting out new tyres to be sent to Burgas, a town on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. We hope to have the timing right, but if we have to wait …. then being by the sea could be worse!
A visit to the tourist information alerted us to some sand sculptures by the river. So we pedaled down to have a look.
We had planned to go to a monastery built in a rocky outcrop about 8 miles away. It dates from the 14th or 15th centuries during the first Bulgarian Empire.
But it rained very heavily, with thunder and lightning so we decided to wait. Once it had stopped, we set out down the rather potholey country road to get there. We were not disappointed by the place. The monks no longer live in the rocks, but there are a series of small chapels carved out of the rock where people leave their prayers.
Every small crevice in the rock has slips of paper pushed into them, with coins. Also pictures left of loved ones.
We set out back towards Ruse with gathering rain clouds and darkening skies. Negotiating the roads was tricky – difficult to tell if the puddle ahead was disguising a pot hole; we found a few were!
We were almost back in Ruse with some rain when the heavens opened, so we sheltered and just watched the rain as the thunder and lightning flashed and crashed around us.
Back at the guest house we found our tent still dry inside and were directed to a restaurant a short walk away.
It was an Italian restaurant, so there was not much in the way of traditional Bulgarian cuisine but it was well prepared and delicious nevertheless. However, pancakes seems to be a popular item for desert, so that was what Diana had.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we head south and leave the Dunav behind as it turns north to its delta and the Black Sea. It has been our companion for almost 7 weeks, almost 1,100 kilometers and 8 countries.