Once again I attempt to get my fill of the free breakfast. I pinch a couple of cheese sandwiches for a mid-morn snack. Katharina is worried I'll be much quicker so decides to leave early while I'm packing my gear. Sadly the paranoia of “how fast do you ride?” “how often do you stop?” etc can serve to get in the way of enjoying cycling with company. Much like the concerns I had when Mihailo and I first met.
As I ride out of Varna I manage to draft a passing truck and my speed is dragged upto 45kph, that is until I reach a hill. I cross the bridge and what do my eyes fall upon? Why, another green sign for the highway of course! I don't know why I bother trying to avoid it. It appears to be my destiny. England to India – on as much highway as possible! Yet again no tooting from the cars. As I top a four kilometre climb I notice a car in my mirror, it overtakes and pulls up on the hard shoulder infront of me. Atlast someone!! I pull along side as the window decends, fully expecting a torrent of abuse for being where I shouldn't. “Hi, can you tell me the way to Golden Sands?” ha! I should have known....
I make good pace excited to be riding with someone and also that I might find the hippie community I read about some months ago while still in England. I see Katharina taking a drink break and I stop for one also. From then on we ride together towards Irakli. In uber touristic Obzor we see many new, and rather ugly, apartment blocks. One that stood out to me was called “Fort Knox” it really didn't seem like a nice place to holiday. But each to their own...I guess most people look at me and think the same.
We see the signpost for the beach and hang a left down a dirt track. Once at the beach we park the bikes up and take a walk along the sand. The beach is beautiful, and vast. The advantage of being here so late in the seanon is that the place is very quiet. When we return to the car park we meet Delian. He is working for Bulgarian radio and asks to do a short interview with me. I accept – quite excited by the idea. He tells me they sometimes air on BBC World Service, that would be cool!! I realise I'm not cut out for live broadcasting, as soon as were done I think of many more things I had to say.
(As I type this from the future here's a link to the interview)
Delian is a great guy and offers to take us down the beach to the areas where people live. We're Once we arrive we say our thanks/goodbyes and go to explore the settlements. Irakli has attracted hippie's for over 30 years. The beach is now under threat from illegal building activities. People come hear for the warmer summer months and live on the beach until the temperature drops. Settlements are dotted along a stretch of the beach and woodland. Some of the camp spots are quite well established, it's evident that people return year after year. There are long drop toilets, fire pits, benches and flat sleeping spots cut into the hillside that extends up from the beach. I'm disappointed by the amount of litter here, while some people are careful to preserve the natural beauty of the area, it appears many aren't. We select our camping area and immediately put the dining table to good use to eat our lunch. With full bellies we go to say hello to our neighbours. It's the end of the season and so most have already moved on but there are perhaps fifteen people left. Everyone is really friendly and we are welcomed into each and every settlement. Katharina is happy to meet some fellow Austrians so that she can speak her mother tongue once again. We chat away the night and listen to music. I'm very glad I found the place and would like to return at “high season”. I think spending the summer with such a crowd of like minded folk would be great. I bid goodnight to our new friends and retire for a reasonably early night.