Warning: what follows may come across as a bit whiny. Sorry. If that bothers you, stop here. The fact is, it hasn’t been the best week, so most of it’s just recounting all the various problems we had.
We’ve spent the past week or so being very frustrated. It started in API Call ErrorVeliko Tarnovo, which was a beautiful city, where the hostel we were staying in claimed to offer day tour to the surrounding area, but couldn’t take us because they “needed the car for pickups (from the bus station),” something they do most days, and we didn’t actually see the car move all day anyway. Then we went to Varna, which isn’t the most interesting town, but we’d wanted to see a bit of the Black Sea coast. (Which we didn’t actually do in the end – the beaches were waaaay too crowded). Again, day trips were advertised, this time offered by a third party, but the trouble was that only one person did them, and had a repertoire of probably 20 or so tours. He was booked until Thursday, and we’d only booked accommodation until Tuesday. Even if we’d wanted to wait, we couldn’t stay longer because everything was booked up in advance. Also, because the Black Sea coast is a very popular destination for Europeans looking to party it up on their 2 week vacations, the crowds were really not our type, indeed some of the other hostelers were quite rude. So even though we stayed in a fairly nice hostel, with a bar and community atmosphere, there wasn’t much socializing for us.
We’ve been a little lax on the blogging lately – apologies. We’ve just been enjoying our surroudings – a lot.
So we did the day trip to the API Call ErrorRila Monastery from Sofia. It was a long day. The monastery is certainly beautiful, but we weren’t able to go and see ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak. Not at all like the sort of living museum set up of the monasteries at Meteora in Greece. So we saw the API Call Errorbeautiful church, and one of the museums that was all in Bulgarian, and contained mostly crosses, and a few robes, a few books, a little of this and that. Not quite what we were expecting. The setting was absolutely gorgeous, though. I can see why hiking is such a popular activity in Bulgaria – there’s hardly any scrap of land that isn’t scenic and breathtaking. Well, cities aside. It is possible to stay at this monastery, but we didn’t look into it. Dunno why, we just didn’t.
We’ve been travelling around Bulgaria for a few days now. After Plovdiv, we headed for the smallish city of API Call ErrorSamokov, which is very close to the Rila mountains. Our goal in heading there was to spend a bit of time outside and rest up a bit. We were very impressed with the city, which wasn’t very touristy at all, but still had english menus in the restaurants. Unfortunately there was limited hotel space and we could only stay 2 nights, before some outdoor group came that had everything booked up. So we spent our one full day there visiting the nearby ski resort of Borovetz, where we did some hiking. It was amazing the difference in price between Samokov and Borovetz, which are only about a 10 minute drive apart, as our lunch in Borovetz, which wasn’t very good, cost more than breakfast and API Call Errordinner combined in Samokov. Samokov itself isn’t overly remarkable, except for the historical tidbit that it was the site of Bulgaria’s first commune, founded in 1909.
We’ve now arrived in Bulgaria, where we’re currently staying in the second large city, at a pleasant 300,000 people, Plovdiv. There’s a fantastic API Call Errorold city here, though not super old, as most of it was built up in the 19th century, during what’s referred to as the Bulgarian National Revival Period, which seems to come up quite often in the list of things to see here. There’s a API Call Errordistinct style of building from this period, where the second floor juts out past the first floor, and is supported by curved beams underneath, and then the outside is painted with what look like classical architecture features (columns and the like) except that they’re just painted on.