Page 2 of RENanDREW Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Bulgaria » Sofia City » Sofia June 25th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling north from Gorno Draglishte to Sofia (via Rila Monastery). We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast, where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi (fried dough), local jam and peppermint tea. After bidding farewell to our incredibly affable hosts, we left the homestay and headed northwards with Boris the bus driver at the wheel. We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery. The monastery is located in a forested valley deep within the Rila mountain range, and when we arrived mid-morning, the air was brisk and mist shrouded the surrounding hills. While the building and surrounding structures were ... read more
rila monastery
rila monastery
rila monastery


HE SAID... Today we were travelling north from Bansko to Gorno Draglishte. Having spent the morning trekking in the mist-covered Pirin Mountains, we returned to our hotel in Bansko, checked out in the mid-afternoon and travelled a short distance by minibus to our homestay in the tiny village of Gorno Draglishte. When we pulled up outside our guesthouse, the dining room and courtyard area was full of people. This was our host family’s home, and people had gathered for a christening. We grabbed our room key, found our room (after navigating a maze of stairs, hallways and doors), dropped our packs and headed out for a brief orientation walk through the village. The place was tiny, and we were the only tourists, so everyone knew who we were. The village only had a couple of streets, ... read more
mountian views
streets of draglishte
farming plots

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Bansko June 23rd 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling southwest from Plovdiv to Bansko. With a long trip to Bansko ahead, and a detour into a bear sanctuary on the way, we opted for an early breakfast in the tiny hotel dining area. I had muesli, yoghurt, prunes, toast, ham, cheese, fresh strawberry jam and tea. We checked out of our very comfortable hotel, threw our packs into the back of a minibus and made our way out of Plovdiv. It wasn’t long before we were driving along a bumpy potholed road that I think was a fairly major highway, with flat agricultural fields stretching to the Rhodope Mountains to the south. About 20 kilometres before Bansko we detoured up a steep and winding dirt track to the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary, otherwise known as the Dancing Bears Park. This ... read more
serda, belitsa bear sanctuary
charlie, belitsa bear sanctuary
bobby, belitsa bear sanctuary

Europe » Bulgaria » Plovdiv Province » Plovdiv June 21st 2018

HE SAID... Today were travelling southwest from Veliko Tarnovo to Plovdiv. We woke to the sound of the church bell close to our hotel. We were leaving by train for Plovdiv, and it was an early start, so there were no cafes open for breakfast. We’d picked up some bananas and water the night before, but we would have killed for a cup of tea or coffee. We jumped into a taxi outside our hotel and headed to the Veliko Tarnovo railway station on the outskirts of town. We ate our bananas while we waited for the train to arrive, then walked across the tracks and jumped onto the nearest carriage when it finally rolled in about half an hour behind schedule. Unluckily, every eight-seat cabin was full, and those that weren’t full were not very ... read more
dabovo train station
fields of sunflowers
chicken kavarma


HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Bucharest in Romania to Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. We headed down to breakfast in the hotel dining room, where I gathered a small feast of muesli, cranberries, dates, yoghurt, warm bread, jam, pastries and fruit tea. We also made some bread rolls with cheese and salami and smuggled them into our bags for the train trip to Veliko Tarnovo. Feeling refreshed, we gathered our packs and headed out onto the street, where we jumped onto a tram and headed to Bucharest’s railway station. We picked up some bracelets and a pendant with our remaining Romanian currency at a small stall, then jumped onto the train and found a spare six-berth cabin which we shared with four others. Before we knew it we were chugging out of the station ... read more
bucharest train station, romania
friendship bridge b/w romania and bulgaria
ruse train station, bulgaria

Europe » Romania » Muntenia » Bucharest June 17th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Brasov to Bucharest. We were catching an early train to Bucharest, so we had a quick breakfast of muesli, yoghurt, toast, cheese, salami, scrambled eggs and tea. We grabbed our packs, jumped into a taxi and headed to the Brasov railway station. We wandered through the virtually deserted station, found our train and settled in for the two hour trip to Bucharest. The train was not overly comfortable – it was very hot with a strong smell of rotten eggs which we think was fuel-based and coming through the air-conditioning vents. However, once it chugged out of Brasov, the air conditioning kicked in (lightly) and the smell disappeared. We climbed through the Carpathian Mountains, with mist shrouding the tree tops, then sped along lush green agricultural plains which ... read more
palace of parliament
palace of parliament
palace of parliament

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Brasov » Brasov June 16th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling southeast from Viscri to Brasov (via Bran Castle). We woke early and headed to the main homestay house for breakfast. We’d dined in an outdoor alcove the night before, but this morning we were under the house in the cellar. It was a very atmospheric setting. We grazed on sourdough bread, cheese, zacusca (eggplant and red pepper spread), scrambled eggs, honey and tea, and it was an amazing start to the day. We headed back to our homestay, organised our packs and waited on the roadside for our minibus to pick us up. We retraced the incredibly rough track out of the village, turned onto the highway and travelled towards Brasov with bygone castles overlooking us from the hills above. It almost felt like they were granting us safe passage ... read more
bran castle
bran castle
bran castle

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Viscri June 15th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling southeast from Sighisoara to Viscri. Our journey took us through the heart of Saxon Land, which many believe to be the real Transylvania. After driving for a short time on the reasonably smooth highway out of Sighisoara, we turned into a barely traversable road, and bumped and rocked our way into Viscri – a small fortified Saxon village surrounded by lush green fields. We dropped our bags in our very basic but comfortable homestay and headed out for a walk around the village. This was a very rural place, and the smell of cow manure hung heavily in the air. We made our way up to the whitewashed and tile-roofed fortified church, which had originally been a Catholic church until Lutheran reformists seized it for their own purposes. In a ... read more
streets of viscri
streets of viscri
viscri fortified church

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Mures » Sighisoara June 14th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Vadu Izei to Sighisoara (via Bistrita). After a wild night of lightning, thunder and heavy rain, a thick impregnable mist shrouded the township of Vadu Izei when we woke at 6am. We dragged our packs downstairs, loaded them into our host’s car and headed to the main homestay house on the other side of town, where breakfast was laid out on a large table. Bread, salami, cheese, frittata, zacusca (eggplant and red pepper spread), tomatoes, tea, coffee and jam (plum, quince and strawberry). It was a feast, and a great start to the day. After saying goodbye to the host and Mara (the cat), we began our journey south into Transylvania. We slowly wound our way up the mountains that separated Maramures and Transylvania, stopped for a coffee ... read more
bistrita evangelical church
bistrita
piata cetatii

Europe » Romania » Maramures » Maramures June 12th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling east from Debrecen in Hungary to Maramures in Romania. We arrived at the Hungarian / Romanian border mid-afternoon, where an austere young policeman came onto the minibus and took our passports. We then waited for an hour, not allowed to get out, until the passports were returned. At one stage we saw the young policeman come outside and have a cigarette, laughing and joking with his fellow police officers only a few metres from where we were trapped inside the minibus. Luckily, our bus driver left the air conditioning on, so we didn’t overheat. Our passports were finally handed over, and we continued our journey east towards Vadu Izei, a village in Maramures. While the landscape didn’t change much in terms of rolling flat agricultural fields stretching to the horizon, ... read more
vadu izei
vadu izei
creamy green bean soup




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