(written by Nancy)
Well, we woke up to the depressing sound of dripping this morning – dang. We packed up a bit, ate some breakfast but still the rain came down. So, we decided to hang about until checkout time of 10:30 and set our sights on the next town about 40k or so away. We would have stayed at the guesthouse if we could but they were fully booked so we didn’t really have a choice. It seemed to rain even harder as 10:30 got closer but perhaps that was just my imagination…
We finally bit the bullet and rolled the bikes out into the rain close to 11. We walked our bikes down the hill over the big rocks in the road – it wasn’t fun when it was dry and wet rocks didn’t make it better but at least we had a quicker way down. Once we got riding it wasn’t actually too bad as the rain wasn’t falling too hard for the first part of the ride. We made our way to Hwy 8, which we ended up being on the whole way today.
The road probably wouldn’t have been bad if it had been dry but with all the rain overnight there were lots and lots of big puddles along the side. This meant we were either wading most of the ride or out in the middle of the road trying to avoid the cars while avoiding the puddles. Thankfully it was Sunday so the traffic wasn’t very heavy. Overall not a very enjoyable ride, but at least we made some progress.
We came into the center of Pazardzhik to look for a hotel and happened upon a bunch of cars and vans full of bicycles parked just across the street from one of the hotels we were going to look at. Turns out there was some kind of junior’s race nearby that had just finished up. Dave tried without luck to convince the mechanics to clean our bikes – based on the bikes we saw they already had a big job ahead of them.
We found a decent hotel and after working through a few translation issues with the cleaning lady (who was the only one here) we are now ensconced in a nice room with the bikes on the balcony out of the rain. We went for a little walk-about to find a grocery store in the rain, managing to get yet another pair of socks wet. We got a little bit lost on the way back (I think the rain must be screwing up with Dave’s navigational skills) but made it back to the hotel finally and got a couple of pizzas from the restaurant downstairs for dinner.
We’ll see how the weather looks in the morning before deciding whether we head out. It is about 40k to get to Velingrad from here over what we think is a pretty significant climb so we’d like to have some decent weather to get over it. We are pretty sure we can stay here another day if we need to, though that could have been lost in the translation as well.
And last but not least, Happy Birthday Pam!