Blogs from Bulgaria, Europe - page 3

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The original plan today was to go on a narrow gauge railway, but upon further investigation I realised it was a 10 hour round trip and much of it goes through scenery we have already driven through. Plan B was a half hour drive to Sapareva Banyans, where a bunch of women were blocking the road rollerskiing and making it look like hard work. From there we drove up to the Rila Mountains towards Seven Lakes, which are glacial lakes situated between 2,100 and 2,500 metres above sea level. Glyn had though that as we were hiking to lakes, that it would be flat, ha ha, he was wrong! On the way up, Glyn stopped so we could do a Pokémon raid in a woodland walk where naff fairytale character paintings were nailed to trees. They ... read more
roadside well.
Turkish woman in the forest, apparently .
the chair lift up to the hike start point

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Belitsa June 21st 2018

Bulgaria day 6: A whistlestop tour with bears Neve let it be said that we are not adaptable....or we change our minds....you decide... Last night we left it too late to go to bed early for the 4am start we had planned so this morning we, wait for it, had a lie in! No alarms at all! Well we did climb a mountain yesterday so come on, give us a bit of leeway. The plan for today had been to go to a bear park and take a trip on the narrow gauge railway. Both could be close (depending on what station we board at) to each other but both are over a two hour drive. We looked at other things to do that didn’t include climbing another mountain and they are all hours away so ... read more
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Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Belitsa June 21st 2018

The cruel practice of forcing bears to dance for entertainment was banned in Bulgaria in 1998 and now the rescued bears need somewhere to live. Thus the badly named 'Dancing Bear Park' started in Belitsa. The bears no longer have to dance, but instead have huge enclosures in thick forest where they can please themselves. They can't go back in the wild because they don't know how to look after themselves and would not get on with the 450-600 wild bears still living in the national parks. Because of the mountains, everywhere is a long drive away, so we decided to make it more of a 'photographic, leisurely drive', like a Sunday afternoon drive only on a Thursday morning. The majority of the journey was thick forests of fir trees or snowy mountains in the distance. ... read more
tank at Raduil
Rescue bear park at Belitsa.
Rescued bear at Belitsa.

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


Mountains generally have a variety of routes up that are labelled for the competency of the climbers. In the Rila Mountains, Glyn and I needed the incompetent route but ended up on the complete and utter numpty path. There's no mountain rescue in the Rila Mountains that I could see. Not even a map or sign telling you how far it is to the top (yes I know we could google it but where's the fun in that?) The weather forecast for today in Borovets was sunny, so Glyn and I decided to take the gondola up to Yastrebets and then take a hike to Mount Musala. Nothing like the gondolas in Venice, these cable cars are for carting skiers and snowboarders up to ski slopes. At 12 lev each return (£6), it wasn't much to ... read more
Cable cars up to Yastrebets
the journey begins to Mount Musala.
Redundant ski lifts on the way to Mount Musala

Europe » Bulgaria » Sofia Province » Borovets June 20th 2018

Bulgaria day 5: Climb every mountain but don’t make hay too Yes, after walking 13 miles round Sofia yesterday we deserved a rest so we lay in until 7am! Crazy I know but, as the first cable car didn’t go until 8:30, we thought we’d go nuts. So after breakfast we headed to the gondola station. Having made some booboos on previous climbs this time we were determined to be prepared. So we had shorts and long trousers, coats, sun cream, hats and umbrellas. We even had water as well as two packs of Refreshers and a packet of Cherry Drops. We were ready for anything.....although I have to admit to being a tad envious of those that had made sandwiches.... The cable car was £6 each return, took 25 minutes and took us up just ... read more
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Europe » Bulgaria » Sofia City » Sofia June 19th 2018

My hubby could have been a Palace Guard in Bulgaria once upon a time. Out of a whole group of tourists from UK, Canada, USA, Chile, South Korea, Russia, Australia and Spain, he was the only one who fitted the criteria to get this once well paid and illustrious job. All he had to do was catch an eagle and pluck a tail feather to wear in his hat and the job would have been his. What is this illusive criteria you ask? You just have to be blonde, blue-eyed and over 185 cms in height. However these days those rules are relaxed as there's not many blue-eyed blonde tall Bulgarians to choose from. Plus there's an eagle at the local zoo that supplies the feathers and the job is less prestigious with less pay. We ... read more
Street art on concrete flats, Sophia
Rotunda of Sveti Georgi surrounded by communist buildings
Ex Royal Palace with yellow brick not fit for purpose riad

Europe » Bulgaria » Sofia City » Sofia June 19th 2018

Bulgaria day 4: Sofia, graffiti, a cemetery and a lost car park Today I got shouted at. I have no idea what they said. Maybe they were angy at England’s victory in the World Cup last night... But more of that anon. It keeps you reading and gives you something to look forward to. We had originally planned to visit Plovdiv and just do half a day in Sofia before we fly but, again, some idiot has stuck a mountain between us and Plovdiv so we went for the closer option. Plovdiv had also sounded more appealing but Claire found some things ‘off the beaten track’ in Sofia that sounded interesting so we headed there. We found somewhere to park by a Metro station where it was Park and Ride....and then we walked. It’s only 34 ... read more
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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


Bulgaria Day 3: Thunder in the mountains, pyramids and monks The weather forecast said there would be nothing but thunderstorms from 10am right through the night. Quite a lot like being at home then and very like the weather we encounter on our holidays. Ce’st la vie and all that. We were going out in the car and had a bit of a drive so maybe the weather would be better.... Rila Monastery is not too far away as the crow flies but I’m not a crow and some numpty has stuck a mountain between us and our desination. I don’t know how long it took driving the long way round but it felt like forever. The roads aren’t too bad here but can be very bendy so it takes longer than you’d think to get ... read more
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