Black Sea
28 July 2016

Black Sea

After about 2000 km, both Chiara and I suffer from a coup.
The onset is with no symptoms, right before going to sleep, through a friend's message.
We are two days from the Turkish border, a few kilometers from the bridge connecting Europe and Asia and which is now blocked, under the weight of tanks.
In a mix of half-sleep and megalomania I see the picture of a man stopping a column of tanks holding a bag in each hand and find myself fantasizing over the idea of two Italians on a bike, messengers of peace, defying the armored vehicles and crossing the bridge.
But I also see two timorous bikes approaching the bridge and then going back, tail between their legs, bent over by a “Where the fuck do you think you're going with those?”
The following day, when we wake up, the coup has failed and, with it, our chance to make history.
The border is close and, worried by the possible short-term effects of the recent facts, we decide to change our plans.
The Black Sea, in front of us, imposes a choice: we decide to turn left, northbound.
We now have three options to embark and “skip” Turkey and hot areas in Ukraine:
Bulgaria (where we are now)
Romania
Ukraine
The sigh of relief for having avoided a turbulent Turkey is not long: for some reason we decide to get to Odessa, Ukraine, 1000 km north.
Ukraine is in war.
It is as if adrenaline called for more adrenaline and, all of a sudden, embarking from Bulgaria was too easy.
We therefore start our long ride along the coast of the Black Sea.
In all honesty, we approach this sea with no expectations.
I've always been fascinated by topography and I remember when, in primary school I looked at this blue spot on the world map (a gift from the local bank), upset by the fact that it was not defined as “lake”. That small corridor of water didn't seem enough for it to be defined “sea”.
Now, 25 years later, I made up my mind.
Sand, waves. hotels, sun, big and small umbrellas, ice-creams, campings, tourists: sea.
The seaside ride is light as usual, the immense blue and its salty breeze turn a monotonous landscape into a long moment of pleasure.
Even when it hides behind a hill or a turn in the road, we know it's there, and we'll find it at the end of the day to soothe our physical and spiritual fatigue.
Rhythms become more natural, as if Singapore were suddenly too far to think about it: it's because of the sea and its dimension that, in many occasions in my life, gave me the impression of having arrived. 
In Bulgaria, we share the road with big old cars (and utility cars who think they're big) that, to the cry of “I roar, therefore I am”, roar with their pre-Euro engines, as if they were continuously trying to take off on the seafronts full of girls they try to impress.
A competition loaded with testosterone, with our bikes in between, together with my swearing, entering the competition with full rights in terms of decibels.
Seaside tourism, in Bulgaria, is overall a phenomenon of acceptable proportions, even in the high season.
In various spots along the coast, we curiously observe bathers covered in black mud drying up in the sun.
Interesting images that make me think of environmental tragedies due to oil spills, with their black and paralyzed fauna.
The best spots, with clear water and wild nature, are usually colonized by naturists who, in a flower power climate and further stereotypes, enjoy the Summer on every centimeter of their skin.
In Irakli, a famous naturist beach, we witness a surreal scene.
Lifeguards are getting their turrets ready, a big tractor is cleaning the sand of the only resort of the area and a middle-aged couple is having sex on the beach, a few meters from the tractor.
The intercourse, or alleged intercourse, does not last long; after it, a swim. The woman, probably too drunk to walk, lets her partner drag her in the water by pulling her from her ankles.
They come out of the water a few minutes later: with no hydrostatic force, the lady, completely naked, is still unable to walk and keeps falling on the sand, becoming a sort of big breaded cutlet.
The mood is cheerful, nobody seems to notice, and we keep suffer this unusual show while having breakfast with our usual bread and Nutella.
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