Kotel to Sredets

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Phew! 159 km is too far. We decided to ride to Sredets from Kotel – too far but there was nowhere to stay between Yambul and Sredets. Contrary to expectations and advice obtained in Yambul there was no accommodation in Sredets either (or so we were told there) and we had to ride on 6 km, and climb 200 metres, to the only hotel in the area – a holiday complex called Bogura. It is Homer-esque. We must be close to Greece. We regretted the beer we confidently drank in Sredets *before* asking about accommodation – hubris! We are definitely close to Greece.

The descent from Kotel was quite cold but we didn’t resort to gloves and thought about the warming climb to come. We saw a number of horse-drawn gypsy carts with red pompommed horses and children wrapped in blankets. We stopped in Gradets to check out the tail-end of an informal gypsy market and received a warm and enthusiastic welcome.

Gypsy in Gradets

The villages we passed through today seem quite poor with little commerce. Most feature communist-era statuary and have an adjacent Roma community in more humble buildings.

We’ve had a nice cool sunny day to ride through beautiful Bulgaria. In the morning mountains (not too severe) and in the afternoon fairly flat farmland. In between fairly uninspiring Yambul although it did have an extensive car-free and shady area in the centre. We encountered our first child beggars in the steet today 😦

For most of the day we have been riding on well paved but quiet roads.

Our first donkey cart

Cycle route:
Kotel – Sredets
Sredets – (not so) nearby hotel

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