Burlusi (ROU)- Ruse (BUL)- Varna (BUL)
July 28, 2014
Decamp and leave at 9am. Our goal is to get to Bulgaria. We stop at a local truck stop and pick up some breakfast. Graham got some pear and nectar that taste 10 times better than in the US. Kenneth got some delicious roadside grilled chicken and Romanian Mici sausages from a very sweet lady. The drive is smooth except a bit hiccup around Bucharest. The truckers are still driving crazy.
We finally gets to the Bulgarian border and we encountered our first corrupted officers. Every passenger car has to pay 13 Levs bridge toll to cross to Bulgaria. It is supposed to be a drive through operations. We gave them our car registration and 13 Levs and they said we have to pay a fine of 250 Euros because we didn’t got the “ticket” when we entered Romania. We know it is all bullshit we are in EU our car is taxed properly. We learned from fellow veteran Mongol Ralliers that a good way to deterred them is to stand firm, start asking tons of questions in English and be patient. We wait around 15-20 mins while other cars simply passing through and they finally say: “Give him some chocolate and you guys can go!”. We gave them two random cheap small little chestnuts paste we got from France and two BooneCamp shots from Germany and we got our car registrations back. Lessen learned: never hand your real documents to anybody unless it is completely necessary. Make copies of everything and when corrupted cops stop you, hand them the copies. Don’t smile, stand firm.
We decided to stop at the border town “Little Vienna” Ruse for lunch and get cash from ATM. We parked the car across the street from our open air cafe so we can keep our eyes on the car. Right after we sat down and got our first sip of Bulgarian wines, Kenneth spots that a truck is trying to tow our car. Kenneth and Young ran towards the car and the Police says we aren’t supposed to park there. We explained to him that when we parked there were at least 6 different cars in front and behind us and we didn’t see any no parking sign. He says we are lucky if 10 mins later our car will be at the pound. He says simply give the tow truckers 20 Levs and we will be fine. There is nothing we can do, so we pay the “fine”. Young suspects that somebody is watching us and called the cops to make a quick buck. But in the same time there were no cars so maybe we really did violate the parking laws. Anyhow, we reparked the car and enjoy our lunch.
We met a very sweey young lady waitstaff called Zhastina and she speaks excellent English. She told us her German is even better her other job is the tour guide for German tourist. We are embarrassed we can’t even get the Bulgarian Thank You “Добре, благодаря. (doh-BREH, blah-goh-dah-RYUH)” pronunced correctly. With her great help we ordered the following traditional Bulgarian dishes: Bulgarian salad, chicken stew, grilled bread, fried potato with soft cheeses and grilled duckhearts. All are superbly delicious.
She also give us lots of recommendations in what to see in Bulgaria. We originally plans to drive to Shumen and down to Edirne. Solely because of her we decided to see Varna and Nesebar. Zhastina you will excelled at being the tourism ambasaddar for Bulgaria! Because of you we felt so welcomed and we are gonna detour to Varna.
Here are some pics around where we ate in Ruse, Bulgaria:
We arrived at Varna around 6pm but have no idea where to stay. Ends up we stumble upon a resort area of St Constitne and Helena. We were shocked by how many Russians are here for vacation. it’s like a Russian Hawaii! We checked in the Koral hotel (around 87 USD splited 3 ways) a super clean big room. We took a dip in the Black Sea water, surprising not that salty at all.
It was a long day, after a seafood dinner we all felt to sleep quickly.