Saturday, October 07, 2006

Шумен (Shumen).

Today I wanted to go to Madara, only 17 kms away, to see the rock paintings of the Rider, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because it is supposedly a very fine example of Medieval art.

I was therefore prepared to say goodbye to Jesper yesterday, for given his time constraints he was planning on cycling on through Bulgaria without stopping, pretty much, except that upon arriving to the hotel at Shumen last night, he realized that he had left his passport at Russe. This was a rather interesting development because, while I arranged for my room quietly at the hotel for the night, he was left dealing with the very inexperienced receptionist, who spoke little English, and upon finding out that this strange bearded European had no passport, she promptly called the police.

Anyway, eventually (and I mean after a loong time of discussing/negotiating/arguing/getting nowhere/getting somewhere/then nowhere again/and general wheeling and dealing) things settled down a bit, for Jesper had both a copy of the passport and a driver's license, and not only that, the police was very nonchalant, told the receptionist to call the hostel at Russe where Jesper had left the passport, and upon confirmation that it was there and it was indeed the number written on the copy, he was allowed to stay the night at the hotel, police's orders, so the receptionist had no choice but to oblige, even though from the embarassment and the veritable big mess of things she had made, she really didn't want to.

But today, of course, Jesper had to go back to Russe to fetch it, which meant, that I would have one more day of cycling company tomorrow, which pleased me.

Anyway, back to Madara. I decided last night to instead go to visit the more interesting Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which was not all that much farther away, because if you think about it, this one rock painting of a horseman is probably not all that less faded than the paintings at Ivanovo, and seeing tombs of long dead people is a lot more fun, right?

When I got to the bus/train station, though (it was 10 a.m.), it turned out that the train or bus to the nearest village to the tomb, Isperih (Sveshtari is too small to be served by public transport), left at 5:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m., too late for me to then trek the 5 kms to Svestari and make it back to Shumen before nightfall, which kind of sucked, because by then I had also already missed the bus to Madara, as well.

So I stayed in Shumen, strolled about town and basically just rested, though next time, it wouldn't do too bad to visit Bulgaria by car.


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