Today we are going to make it to Bulgaria. There are no two ways about it. Last night we worked out how to do it, and this morning after a very nice breakfast (the best hotel breakfast we have had in Romania) we went to the station and got our tickets.
On the bus we ended up going back down the coast past Vama Vechi. Passing through town at the same time as we were waiting for the bus yesterday. This lead us to the conclusion that it was the bus with Cyrillic writing that did not stop for us before! The driver must have assumed that we were wanting to go north and just on the wrong side of the street! A long stop at the border courtesy of yours truly (being the only non EU passport on the bus) where we got to look at all the shops just over the border. There used to be a no mans land here, but now both countries are operating out of the same building. Your one stop passport shop. Then back on the bus to wind our way down the coast. The biggest difference we saw was that Bulgarians don’t want a view, as most of the road was screened off from seeing anything due to planted trees that have gone wild and blocked off any views you may get.
In this way we made it to Balchik. The town itself is built below some cliffs, and still on a steep hill. The bus wound down towards the beach, before going back up another hill and dropping us off. We were in a very touristy spot, and easily found a hotel. We would have preferred a cazare, but the only one we had seen on the bus was a fair way back the way we had come (Down a very steep hill, which means we would have to lug the bags back up again when we left).
My stomach was playing up by now, as a parting gift from Romania so we called it a day.
The next day we checked out the palace and gardens. Apparently this area was controlled by Romania for a while, and was the summer palace for the Queen. Palace is not the right word, as it is a collection of buildings scattered around the extensive gardens. Most of these are now being used as expensive holiday apartments, and the rest selling touristy things or restaurants.
We walked all around the gardens. These are sculptured around the hill leading down to the beach. As such it was a lot of going up and down and around. There is a small stream in the centre, and this makes for a beautiful waterfall with some stone bridges down the bottom. The place is packed with people, again it is the weekend, and everyone is out and about to see the area. There were tour groups that took up entire boulevards and refused to move to let you past. The guides would almost physically push you out of the way if you were standing where they did their spiels. A wedding party was having their reception in the old baths, and it is quite an attractive place for a memorable party. Then there are the new green houses with a cactus collection that has many varieties of cactus from around the world. A lot of these are not that interesting, but there are others that are very small and delicate, with thin strands woven tightly together, or sticking out in all directions.
As I still wasn’t the best, we called it a day after that, and will explore town a bit tomorrow.