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Published: July 27th 2018
As usual, we got up early and ate breakfast. Around 9 we got on the bus. Luckily the bus was not full so Susan and I both got to sit by a window. The bus drove thru Russe, Bulgaria where we were docked. Russe is the biggest port in Romania even though it is not on the Black Sea. We saw a few sites in Russe from the bus and then we left for the long drive to Velido Tarnovo during which, I read some on my kindle. We drove thru the country side for about 1.5 hours to get to the town. Velido Tarnovo used to be the capital of Romania several hundred years ago. It is a pretty town with a large castle and buildings that are on the side of the mountain. There was also a brewery there. We stopped by a hotel for a local snack and drink and afterwards we took some pictures of the monument and houses along the hillside. We then boarded the bus and headed to Arbanasi. This is a small town just outside of Velido Tarnovo. During the time when the Ottoman Empire had control of this area, Arbanasi was an enclave
Pedestrian Street in Russe
where the Christians didn’t have to pay the 90% tax. The city was a kind of like a Blowing Rock but in Bulgaria. The houses are very large, nice and well maintained. We toured one house from the 1600s. The house held about 22 people and they all slept on this one ginormous bed. The toilets were the Turkish style toilets (a hole in the ground). We then walked thru the town, stopped at the local shop and bought a piece of pottery and then headed to the old church. This church was definitely unique. The Christian churches of that time are low as the Ottomans only allowed them to be as tall as a man on a horse extending his sword into the sky. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. The ceiling was curved, and every inch of the room was painted with scenes - Walls, ceilings, doors, … There were 3 rooms in the church and 2 of the rooms had these chairs around 3 sides of the room. Each chair had very high arm rests. Susan and I speculated that the high arm rests were there because we heard that a lot of the time in
an Orthodox church the people must stand. After visiting the church, we walked to a restaurant where we were served local food and local dancers and musicians performed.
After lunch we headed back to Velido Tarnovo to drive thru the town, view the castle and then head to the local craft street. There were silver makers, copper makers, artists and others selling their wares. We walked the entire street and bought a few items.
We then had the long return drive back to the ship. Along the way we saw more stork nests. We arrived at the ship and saw these unique white blobs on the land by the ship. We walked over to them. It looked like there might have been some type of sand castle competition there a few days ago. Some of the sculptures looked as though they had been partially destroyed by a rain. After getting on board the ship, we got ready for dinner. Around 6pm the ship departed for Giurgu Romania. This didn’t take long - maybe 15 minutes, basically we sailed across the river and docked. Next was the Captain’s cocktail party followed by dinner. We met this great couple from
some of the old collective farms from the communist timeframe
Kentucky and we really enjoyed their company. We wish we had met them earlier in the trip. We’ve already connected via email and Facebook.
After dinner we packed since see we would leave the ship in the morning.
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