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Published: August 28th 2010
Day 6-Ruse, Bulgaria to the Black Sea
Today, another perfect weather day, was a road trip. We were bussed about 120 miles southeast to Varna, a seaside village on the Black Sea, a trip of 2.5 hours.
We discovered that Bulgaria is a very agricultural country. The communist leader here was not as ruthless as Ceausescu was in Romania. As a result, he was not executed when communism was ended here. But there still remains many examples of the difficulties of their lives under communist rule. And the rule afterwards, which was led by many of the former communist leaders. There was also growing problems with the mafia.
Examples include the shoddy housing built on the Soviet model of apartments. People still live in them although they appear to be collapsing. The average size for one-bedroom apartment was 500 sq. ft. and two-bedroom about 700 sq. ft! The walls are thin and you can hear conversation and other activities in other units nearby.
Another example are the communist monuments located all around. We spotted one near a gas station where we stopped for a bathroom stop. It was v-shaped representing victory over capitalism. The carvings on
the monuments represent the strong men pointing the way to victory and weak women and children under their leadership and protection.
On the positive side we saw mile after mile of cultivated farm land. The soil is rich and productive. This area is considered the breadbasket of Bulgaria. The main crows we saw were primarily sunflower and corn. They produce oil from the sunflower seeds. There were thousands of acres of fields. We also saw many sheep being tended by sheppards There would be a sheppard with every flock of 20-30 sheep. It appeared to be the most boring job in the world.
We arrived in Varna and the group was broken up into four groups. One large group boarded a large sailboat and the others on smaller boats. We choose a smaller boat and were joined by 12 others. We set sail for the Black Sea but high winds prevented us from leaving the protected area of the harbor. We sailed about five miles into the broad harbor front with great views of the city. We had a Bulgarian lunch on board.
After the sail we had an hour on a pretty beach in Varna and
then headed back to the ship. It was a long day but rewarding. After we returned, we had the formal “Captain’s Dinner.” It was nice but we both declared that we are eating way too much. Maybe tomorrow we will be more disciplined.
The ship set sail just as we started the dinner. It was great to discover how smooth the ship sails up the Danube. You can hardly tell that you moving but the scenery is streaming by. After dinner, we went up to the top deck area for drinks. There was a near full moon. The night was bright with moonlight and with the reflection off the water it was spectacular.
Tot: 2.849s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 10; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0413s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb