I woke up this morning with extremely sore abs, it hurt to sit up in bed, so I rolled over and ate the left over chocolate on the bedside table. Leo heard the wrapper crackle, pointed at me and said “chocolate fiend” then went back to sleep. Breakfast was essentially the same, although the waitress said it was a Rhodopian specialty, so I was just immersing myself in the culture.
The owner of the hotel was super generous and let us borrow his car for the day so that we could explore Smolyan. Our first stop was the Marvelous Bridge, a massive rock formation an hour away.
We continued to Pamporovo, a ski resort town and sat on a brick wall while we admired the view and absorbed some fresh mountain air.
The rest of the day was fairly laid back, as we knew tomorrow’s ride would probably be a morale crusher. We assumed it would be a day of climbing based on: the squiggliness of the road (according to Google Maps), our route is close to the Rhodope Mountains and our destination in Dospat has the highest elevation dam in Bulgaria. Nonetheless, we went to bed early and hoped for the best.