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.
Vidin is also one of the three river crossings into Romania. Here this is only possible by ferry, although a bridge is well under construction. Funnily, only the part on the Bulgarian side has gone up, and people in town have their doubts that the Romanians will be doing their bit anytime soon. This impressive project has brought an unusual influx of foreign engineers into town.
Vidin’s only tourist sight is Baba Vida Roman fortress right on the river. Impressive, but ridiculously over-restored with zero, none, whatsoever information provided. A déjà vu of Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko!
The surrounding countryside is very rural, nothing spectacular, but there is a kind of soothing pastoral, peaceful setting to it. In villages old people sit on benches in front of their home and watch out for things to happen – every passing car gets a good stare. Their houses have patios overgrown with grapevine and small plots of vegetable garden.
For a while the road runs parallel to the Serbian border, so we ended up in Bregovo, Bulgaria’s northernmost border crossing with Serbia. In this un-descriptive village, we were lured to the main plaza by blasting music. But there was nothing, just a few loud speakers hidden in the trees and some men hanging around, probably wondering what on earth brings tourists to this remote place. So we tried to justify our being here by carefully studying the crumbling memorial of a gun-totting Soviet soldier.
In Vidin we finally checked out a manicure & pedicure parlor. This seemed a Bulgarian obsession, most women have their nails fixed, painted, decorated, so we followed suit – an ever so relaxing afternoon.
Our “best pick”: Anna Kristina Hotel with great, quiet rooms right on the river and next to the park. The pool is also used by those local families who can afford to pay the entrance fee. This rather noisy affair was a bit disappointing, together with the fact that the pool closes at 06:00 pm, just when the worst heat wore off and it got pleasant to sit outside.