So this would appear to be the year of half tours for me. First, Arusha to Cape Town and now, Budapest to Istanbul. There are many challenges in joining a tour at the halfway point. My biggest struggle is trying to learn everyone’s name. This is the largest group ever for the Orient Express. In just less than week we will cross the finish line in Istanbul with nearly fifty cyclists and staff.
Right now we are enjoying a day of rest in Varna, Bulgaria. This place is a hidden gem. Since we entered this country our route has led us through the rolling hills of agriculture and primary industry. Picturesque fields of sunflowers, where many of the locals still travel by horse and buggy. But Varna is a beach resort town on the Black Sea. Our hotel is right in the middle of pedestrian mall so the all the action is right out the front door. Its only a two minute walk to the water. The boardwalk is lined with restaurants and bars and the nightlife lasts until the sun rises. There is always music on the streets from the eccentric collection of street entertainers. The beaches are endless, the water is warm and apparently the clothing is optional. We should have two rest days here.
Two days from now we will cross into Turkey our final country of the tour. Last year we had temperatures of nearly 50 degrees. But the forecast is much more favourable for us. Although the end draws near, cycle touring is all about the journey not the destination. I must admit I’m envious of those who will keep cycling all the way to Beijing.