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May 10th 2007
Published: May 10th 2007
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Hi everyone!!

It's been a few days, but I've reached the end of the first leg of my trip. I had limited access in Bulgaria, but I've kept a personal journal of all the sights that we've seen, and here is a summary. I don't have the exact dates of everything that we've seen, but all of these are in chronological order:

MIKRE - A small rural village where Alex's grandfather lives. We met him and ate lunch at his house, and saw his goats - it was pretty funny, they were playing a game, trying to jump onto an old oil drum.

ETERA - A preserved 19th century village mechanically powered by water. There is a very similar town like this in Ontario, I don't remember what it is called, but this place was amazing, and very beautiful, situated at the bottom of a valley in the mountains.

VELIKO TURNOVO - A beautiful town in the mountains, we only drove through it but was really nice.

TZAREVETZ - A castle "town" situated within Veliko Turnovo - from here there was a stunning view of the entire city and the surrounding landscape. We met a group of French Canadians who where visiting Bulgaria and Romania on a History trip.

ARBANASSI - A small town in the mountains above Veliko Turnovo where we stayed for the night. The hotel was quaint and very nice, with an open courtyard in the middle. Nearby was the residence of the former communist dictator, Todor Jifkof. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip - the residence is now open to the public. We entered the residence, and sipped scotch on the balcony overlooking the city at night. There was a thunderstorm in the distance and the lightning in the clouds illuminated the entire vista against the distant mountains - simply stunning!

SHUMEN - We did not visit this town, but we stopped on the roadside to see Madara - a horse carved into a mountain side. Look it up, it's interesting.

PRESLAV - Uncovered ruins of an old city. These ruins were more real than many you will see elsewhere. The site has not been fully developed into a tourist attraction yet, thus it is possible to walk amongst the structures and see everything from up close.

VARNA - We only stopped here briefly, but it is a modern and fun town on the coast, with a similar feel to Santa Monica, CA. HOT WOMEN here!!

NESSEBAR - A small touristy village on a peninsula with great restaurants, good food, nice people, and great atmosphere. We ate at 2 fabulous restaurants here. Alex, Marcel, and I sat at the VIP table overlooking the harbour and were serenaded by 2 musicians, while we ate great seafood. We were amazed that they had been across Canada (to more places than any of us had been...?? even Gander?)

SLUNCHER BRIAG (= Sunny Beach) - exacly as the name says. Great beach town, similar in feel to anything in the Tampa Bay area. Very touristy, fun, and inexpensive. We stayed here for 3 nights. I can't tell you many details becuase there were copious amounts of alcohol consumed over the duration of this part of the trip... but it was fun 😉

BORGAS - The last stop before Turkey. We only passed though to catch a bus and were here for 2 hrs, but it was nice while it lasted. We got a little lost trying to find our bus, and ended up walking through a beautiful seaside city park. We met a very friendly elderly couple who were so nice, that they decided to walk us all the way to where we needed to go.

That's it - next stop, Istanbul. Stay tuned!

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