On Friday (20th April) I flew into Varna, as this was the main airport in the area with flights from Berlin. I had a mental image of what it might be like and it lived up to it. Unfinished buildings, cheap tasty food, and stray dogs (which are much cuter than I’d expected).
I had all of Saturday to get my first supplies and do some tourism. What I wasn’t aware of is that this weekend is Orthodox Easter. Fortunately most things were still open, but not the archeological museum, which was the main thing I had hoped to see (others at the hostel had also sung its praises). No matter, it was still nice to wander around the large park on the waterfront.
Jumping the gun – Day 1
21km (of the trail, plus a 9km hike to get to the start).
I originally thought I’d get to the start of the trail sometime in the late afternoon on Sunday 24th and then start hiking on the 25th first thing. However with the bus times it worked out that I was at the approach hike at 11:15 and Cape Emine at 1:30, so I figured that I may as well start.
It was a good first day of hiking. I saw two tortoises, the first I’ve seen in the wild I think. It was very warm (verging on a bit too hot for me) and Cape Emine was busy with families. I got talking to a couple in front of the lighthouse and they took my picture. A couple of kilometres up the road I was invited to join a group at the local pub (it was the owners and friends) who were having Easter lunch together. They kindly gave me a beer and a painted hard-boiled egg and asked the usual questions about my trip. They even offered to show me inside the lighthouse (it’s a restricted military area), but with the heat of the day I knew the walking would feel slow and wanted to get on with it.
The rest of the day was uneventful. The trail rolled through deciduous forest and besides fields. It was often muddy, and the mud liked to form large clumps on the soles of my shoes.
So here I am. First night on the trail. The dogs are howling in the woods around me. Hopefully they leave me be.