Burgas - our final stop in Bulgaria

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July 18th 2012
Published: July 18th 2012
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Another beautiful building.

Tuesday 17th July 2012

After a quick breakfast we made our way down to the bus station just down the road and caught the 0900 bus to Burgas. The bus was almost empty when we left but as we travelled along Sunny Beach we picked up many passengers including some young tourists from Britain. They had just spent a fortnight there, staying at one of the parent's holiday apartments. Just a quick flight for them, be like us going to Bali. About an hour later we stopped in Burgas and using our trusty iPad map we easily found the Fors Hotel, our home for the next couple of nights. Nice enough room, nothing flash but it was large and clean. Here we left our luggage and went off exploring. The hotel is near the city mall and here we found the Information office where we were able to get a few ideas of what was to be seen as well as a decent map.

First stop was the bus ticket office, Nisikli, where we booked our seats to Istanbul making the decision to stay an extra night on the walk there. We worked out that we could have

In the reptile exhibition
2 nights here and 2 in Istanbul, before we fly out. We aren't sure why we thought that as out travel diary had 1 night here and two in Istanbul - must have been a seniors moment!

Our next stop was the sea gardens which started at the bus terminal where we came in, and ended about 3kms up the coast. These were the best we have seen in Bulgaria, neat lawns, colourful flowerbeds and no sign of any rubbish. The beach here looked much nicer than anything else we have seen so far, with whitish sand and clear blue water.

We saw the brochure advertising an owl and raptor display, this set in the park. This display had the birds tethered and sitting on branches rather than being locked in cages. People were encouraged to take photos which of course we did. It was hard to get Judy away, what with being able to get within touching distance to the birds and being able to focus in closely.

Attached to this display was a display of snakes from all over the world, most of these being in glass fronted cages depending on how venomous they were.
Sea GardenSea GardenSea Garden

Beautifully presented gardens
Rattlesnakes, cobras, vipers, krait, mamba pythons, as well as the Australian taipan were represented. Photos were difficult to take through the glass but we managed to get a few.

From here we continued in the park following the coast as near the end we hoped to see an exhibition of sand sculptures. Before reaching them we stopped for lunch at a beachside cafe which seemed very popular. When we saw there was no English menu, Judy sent Rags in telling him she wanted a lemon beer and 'anything goes'. He came out with the lemon beers plus two bowls of fish soup and a bread bun. Wonderful what you can do just by pointing at a soup with 2 fingers showing (and the guy asks in good English “do you want bread with that?)

Near the end of the road there was still no sign of the sand sculptures but Judy pointed to a narrow track disappearing into the bush (and a suspicious looking guy entering it) so off we set. Kept an eye on the guy as we passed, came into a building site and a lot of bush. Looked to one side and there in the distance saw what looked like an enclosure with people walking around. We had found the sculptures, more luck than skill! Below is a description:

“Sculptures of Aladdin and Harlequin are to open the sand festival in the Bulgarian Black Sea coastal city of Bourgas.

Aladdin, Tinkerbelle, Tin Soldier, Harlequin, Little Red Riding Hood and many other fairy tale and cartoon characters will be in residence at the sand city in Ezero park in the city of Bourgas as of July 2. They are part of a large show that will open the fifth Festival of Sand Sculptures.

This year 18 sculptors from nine countries have made 18 sculptures out of 3500 tons of sand.

The original sand figures will be on display at least until September 15 and weather permitting, until October.”

They were most impressive, and we were pleased to see that Australia was represented by a sculptor who partnered with a Turkish sculptor to make a castle with exquisite detail.

When we arrived back at our hotel we extended our hotel reservation with no problem.

The hotel advertises a 3 course Bulgarian meal for 12 LEV, (~A$8) but we decided to go out to out favourite Happys. We had a good meal there and then joined the throng walking up and down the shopping malls. Judy did manage to find a very nice top to wear, about time in Rags' opinion considering all the shops we visited.

Whilst Judy got stuck into her work, Rags searched for 2 nights accommodation in Istanbul. This was not easy as prices vary from the ridiculously high to the suspiciously low. We finally settled on one and just as he was about to commit to it Rags felt something was wrong. Sure enough, we fly out of Istanbul on Friday, not Saturday! Altered our booking and all was done.

Wednesday 18th July 2012

Breakfast this morning was disgusting. The only cereal available was Cornflakes (definitely not Kelloggs!), but there weren't any plates so you couldn't have them even if you wanted them. There were scrambled eggs (cold), white bread (but no toaster) the usual cheeses, cold meat, tomatoes and cucumber, plus a bowl of fruit well past its use by date. You had to ask for a tea or coffee and when our tea finally came it had been made with
Sand sculptureSand sculptureSand sculpture

Australian entry
luke warm water. Needless to say we won't be coming here for the evening meal advertised and tomorrow we'll go out for breakfast so that we may remember Bulgaria fondly.

Another walk up the mall followed, Judy having seen a pair of sandals she thought Rags would like. We did discuss why we had decided to stay here rather than the extra night in Istanbul, but agreed we had to wear it. The sandals were to Rags' satisfaction, comfortable and a bargain compared to at home. Cheered up we continued, Judy finding a nice long dress for casual wear, after which we sat in the cool with a coffee and watched the world go by.

This of course didn't last, we were off, this time to check out where we had to catch the bus tomorrow and then to visit a museum in the sea garden where there was an exhibition “The Biggest Treasures of the Thracians”. The Thracians were the original kings of part of what became Bulgaria. Two displays made the treasures, the first the Valchitran Golden Treasure made up of 13 vessels totalling over 12kgs gold. These were found by farmers expanding their vineyard. When they uncovered them they threw them aside thinking they were made of brass, continuing digging looking for money. They took one vessel home to use as a container to feed their pig, but after it licked it clean they realised what they had found and recovered the rest!The other exhibits were the Rogozen Treasure, a silver hoard of 165 vessels totalling 20kgs, found by Rogozen digging for pipes in 1985. Interestingly, this was all guarded by a couple of young, bored, unarmed men.

On the boardwalk outside the museum we watched a couple of parasailors fly up and down the beach in front of us, behind us, and than almost on top of us! They were very skilful and handled their chutes with precision. We also took the opportunity to take more photos of the beach below, Rags using his telephoto lens to the maximum settings and sighting several white pointers in the waters below.

The final hours of the afternoon were spent in the airconditioning although today was not as hot as many we have had.

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Golden urnGolden urn
Golden urn

Used to hold pig food.

These guys swooped us a couple of times.
Borgas Free UniversityBorgas Free University
Borgas Free University

At the very end of the mall.

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