Ruth: We entered Bulgaria on the 1st of August at Ruse. While we were crossing the bridge over the Danube the weather seemed to change as the forecast had promised it would. Right after crossing the border we bumped into Martin, an Austrian cyclist that we had met the day before and planned to meet in Ruse for dinner. We spent a lovely evening with him, sharing stories and enjoying some excellent fish and seafood. The following day we enjoyed a much needed rest day in Ruse where we actually rested.
Our first cycling day in Bulgaria took us past some lovely sights and friendly people. The Rousenski Lom valley is a meandering river valley with limestone canyon walls studded with rockhewn churches and monasteries dating back to the 12th century. Our first stop was at the Basarbovo Monastery, one of the few rockcut churches in the region that is still an active monastery.
Then we took another side trip into the canyon to visit the UNESCO designated rock churches of Ivanovo.
Our final spur road took us down to the remains of the medieval fortress of Cherven. Today I was complaining of the heat rather than the rain. Before we climbed up to visit the site we shared a beer with a number of British and Dutch expats who live in the village.
We started talking to the archeologists working on an excavation, who encouraged us to have a look at the 13th century church they have excavated. They have found 37 graves under the floor and revealed some fragments of frescoes. When we returned from the site of the dig, the archaeologists pulled up chairs and offered us some beer. So far the people we have met in Bulgaria have been very friendly.