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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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Rozhen Monastery – A Hidden Gem

Rozhen Monastery, Melnik, wine growing area, south of Bulgaria, Europe

Rozhen Monastery, Melnik, wine growing area, south of Bulgaria, Europe

Nearby Rozhen Monastery was our personal highlight in this area, so different from any monastery we have ever set foot in. Like all other Bulgarian monasteries it had been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the last 800 years. But most unique are the scenic vine-covered inner courtyard and the wooden walkways that line the walls of the L-shaped refectory. The ancient wooden planks creak with every step and the wooden stairways indeed looked centuries-old. The church contains beautiful 200 year old murals and stained-glass windows. Continue Reading →

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Melnik – Cliffhanger

Sand-coloured cliffs around Melnik, wine growing area, south of Bulgaria, Europe

Sand-coloured cliffs around Melnik, wine growing area, south of Bulgaria, Europe

Within a comfortable 3.5 hours commute from Sophia, tiny Melnik is the ideal destination for weekenders from the capital, but also some German and French tourists can be heard. Centuries ago a commercial center, now this small village lives of the tourists that flock into the picturesque village. Continue Reading →

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