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Rivertown Vidin – Bulgaria’s Link To Romania

Baba Vida Fortress, Vidin, Bulgaria, Europe

Baba Vida Fortress, Vidin, Bulgaria, Europe

Locals immediately assume that foreigners who come here, do so for business only. To everybody’s surprise, we insisted we were here for pleasure. We simply loved this quiet river town with its long tree-lined promenade along the Danube, where “tout Vidin” strolls, rolls and chats in the evening. Lots of restaurants – some even float on the very river – offer the catch of the day. Continue Reading →

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Bulgaria’s Frontier – The Northwest

 

Horse cart, a typical means of transport in rural Bulgaria

Horse cart, a typical means of transport in rural Bulgaria

The term “roads less travelled” was coined to describe areas not often visited by tourists. In the northwest of Bulgaria, it takes on a literal meaning. We drove over bits of roads where the weed crept through the cracks in the tarmac. Here Bulgaria gets as rural as it can get. Continue Reading →

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Touristy Tryavna

National Revival Architecture , Tryavna, Bulgaria, Europe

National Revival Architecture , Tryavna, Bulgaria, Europe

This small town in the hills near Veliko Tarnovo has a very romantic and well restored historic center. Its renovated buildings all line cobble-stoned Angel Kanchev Street. So it took us not more than an hour to cover all of it. Tryavna’s most famous sight is its old church with its thatched roof that almost touches the ground. Inside lots of wood carved icons are on display, a craft Tryavna is famous for. Continue Reading →

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Mood Swings In Kazanlak

Monument to the Glory of Communism, near Shipka, Bulgaria, Eurooe

Monument to the Glory of Communism, near Shipka, Bulgaria, Eurooe

Our tour de force to the Black Sea and back, all within a day, ended in Kazanlak. We kept going by munching peaches which we bought from vendors along the road. Exhausted and miserable we started hotel hunting. A nice, quiet place we wanted. Oh boy, the rooms in the huge Grand Hotel Kazanlak were horrid and noisy, we even feel sorry for the young lady who showed us around. Next was Hotel Palas for no less than 65 Euros, lots of suffocating extravagant velvet interior design. Continue Reading →

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Veliko Tarnovo & The Tsarevets Fortress

 

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, Europe

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, Europe

Our lazy days in Abanssi were only interrupted by short trips to Veliko Tarnovo. This city’s great assets are its location and Tsarevets Fortress. One of our favorite activities was strolling along the small lanes up on the hill, with its small houses clinging to the slope. Each has a tiny garden and the obligatory few grapevines that provide shade for the small patio. The elderly people sit outside their houses and watch time or cats passing by, because not much else happens up there. Continue Reading →

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Crashing In Arbanassi

Hotel Wine Palace became our all time favorite in Bulgaria

Hotel Wine Palace became our all time favorite in Bulgaria

Quiet and lovely Abanassi is only four kilometers from Veliko Tarnovo, but a different world. This village is basically a small conglomerate of hotels and opulent holiday homes of rich Bulgarians. Such a peaceful setting in the midst of wine yards and rolling hills was exactly what we wanted. Continue Reading →

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Plovdiv – The City On Seven Hills

Roman Amphitheatre, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Europe

Roman Amphitheatre, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Europe

Do as the Romans do, build a city on seven hills, although we counted only four. But long before the Romans arrived, the Thracians settled here 5.000 BC. The ancient Thracian fortress Eumolpias was built on one of the hills, now basically a heap of rubble. Its now goes by its Turkish name Nebet Tepe. Nevertheless we felt enthralled standing on such historic grounds that even attracted the father of Alexander the Great. From high up there, the view over the city of Plovdiv is unbeatable. Continue Reading →

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Rila Monastery – “Bulgaria’s Jerusalem”

 

Rila Monestary, also called "Bulgaria’s Jerusalem”, Bulgaria, Europe

Rila Monestary, also called “Bulgaria’s Jerusalem”, Bulgaria, Europe

The gigantic monastery, Bulgaria’s largest, emerges out of nowhere after a 30 minutes drive from Rila Village. The road follows a narrow gorge with high wooded mountains towering each side: at some points they seem to touch the sky. This monastery originally dates back to the 10th century. The current structure was built in the mid 19th century though. People from all over Bulgaria gather here to worship and marvel at the church’s colorful frescoes and gold-laden icon paintings. The museum with lots of ecclesial treasures was one of the few in Bulgaria we encountered that provided good English translations of the displays. Continue Reading →

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