Today was always planned as a long day. I could not see any accommodation between Bechet and Calafat, so we had 98 km to manage. We set off early after he standard Romanian breakfast which no matter how hard Elaine tries includes 2 fried eggs, feta cheese and a handful of olives. At least today she got toast and jam butter did not seem to be available.
At first the countryside was wooded and uncultivated but we soon entered an area with lots of small farm plots. I could not resist this picture, it is spring and we saw lots of mothers guarding their chicks.
As planned we managed 30 km before coffee and a further 30 before lunch. Buying lunch was easy, there were plenty of the small stores. Finding somewhere to eat it was harder. Either the local kids or the store/cafe owner wanted to share the table with us. We eventually found a bar that was about to close for siesta and drank our coffee while Elaine made our sandwiches. Despite our good start the next 40 km felt like an awful long way. But we eventually arrived in Now we come to the tragic bit. Whilst rearranging our hotel bookings, I had spotted a hotel in Calafat that looked better than our original choice. Booking.com said it was a couple of km from the centre. It was, but it was across the Danube in Bulgaria. I had assumed that there was a bridge from the centre of true of Calafat to the centre of Vidin.
No there was not. We asked a couple of people who appeared not to know, then a nice man on a bike led us to the motorway that lead to the border post then over the bridge to Bulgaria
The first bad news was that I had neglected to set up Lola to cover Bulgaria. The second bad news was that my phone said we had another 10km to get into town. You might imagine that I was not very popular. We followed the directions on my phone, but had to stop to check at every junction. By the time we got to the hotel we had covered 117 km. the hotel was great but not as good as it looked. We never did work out how to get the water out of the hand basin. However we enjoyed a good dinner. I think I heard Elaine say “this is the best I have ever eaten”. The third bit of bad news was that the route for the next day had us covering the 17km back to Calafat before starting the days ration of 100 km.
we did not cycle through much of Bulgaria but what we did see looked incredibly poor and far behind Romania in switching to a western economy.
Not going to happen. Time for a rethink. We set the helpful receptionist two challenges. He was unable to suggest how to get the water out of the basin but he did find a ‘taxi’ driver who for only 150 Euro would take us to a point on the Danube about half way to our destination.
So we went to sleep, exhausted, worried what tomorrow may bring but triumphant that we had got this far