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Entries about coast

The German Baltic: Warnemünde

Warnemünde


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After class today my colleagues and I took the train to the port and seaside resort of Warnemünde, technically part of Rostock though over 10 km away. I heard that it contains one of Germany's best beaches, so I was particularly keen to look round.

Walking from the station to the beach;

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It was sunny but crisp and cold, so unsurprisingly we didn't see any swimmers! I did have a quick paddle, though; the water was very clear, but bone-chillingly cold; I'd never before been in a sea that felt like I'd had to break a hole in some ice first! The beach was lovely, though - mostly white sand, and very wide.

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It had a metal slide and rope climbing frame which some of us (including yours truly) had a go on.

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I loved the sand dunes, too.

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The town itself was interesting as well. There was a lighthouse and loads of seafood restaurants, colourful houses and traditional wooden boats. One or two Danish signs, reflecting the close proximity across the Baltic to the southernmost tip of Denmark.

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We had some food at an Italian - the fish was a bit too pricey for me, so I compromised with a salmon pizza - which turned out to be one of the best pizzas I've ever had; incredibly juicy and tasty, with massive chunks of fresh salmon, lashings of creme fraiche, spinach and the normal tomato sauce.

Posted by 3Traveller 12:44 Archived in Germany Tagged beaches coast germany rostock Comments (0)

Long wait in Varna

Burgas, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo


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As soon as we'd had breakfast at the hotel in Burgas, we took a taxi to the west bus station.

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We arrived at 10.30 and noticed that the next bus directly to Veliko Tarnovo wasn't until 13.30, so we decided just to get the next bus to Varna instead. I knew that about 20 buses a day go from Varna to VT, so hopefully we could just hop on one of them soon after and then arrive back in VT early.

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That wasn't to be, unfortunately - our bus arrived in Varna OK, between 13.00 and 14.00, but the next ETAP bus wasn't until 17.30! We were too knackered to go into the city centre to kill time, so we just looked round the Grand Mall Varna instead, which is right next to the bus station. We looked round, had some food and played a lot of 10-card rummy. It was very similar to shopping malls everywhere, though suspended from the ceiling were some beautiful decorations made from multicoloured paper.

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We didn't get back to Veliko Tarnovo until 9 pm last night, so before we went to bed and conked out we didn't do anything apart from have a hot drink with 'F' and 'R'.

Posted by 3Traveller 12:46 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged coast buses dave bulgaria burgas varna veliko_tarnovo black_sea Comments (0)

Burgas: Ethnographical museum and Happy Bar & Grill

Burgas


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On our return to Burgas we made a beeline for the wonderful-looking ice cream shop I mentioned in a previous blog entry, but unfortunately it was closed. It was only about 3pm, but it had started raining, so maybe that was why it wasn't open.

The archaeological museum was also closed, due to painting work, so we set off to the ethnographical museum instead. This was set inside a small historic house; on the ground floor the living room was decorated and furnished like it would have been when it was built in the 19th century.

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There were also some examples of very intricately worked and engraved metal jewellery - my favourite was the large pendant with a face in it - coloured cloth from a village near Burgas and a facsimile of an old photo of female traditional folk-singers from the local region.

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Upstairs there was traditional female and male dress from various local villages; this included working clothes from Bulgarian immigrants to Asia Minor, wedding clothes and special clothes for Easter, St Lazar's Day (the day before Palm Sunday, this has various traditions attached to it), Midsummer's Day and other specific days. I liked the costume for male Christmas carol singers as well.

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We left when the museum closed at five o'clock. We relaxed at the hostel until it was time for dinner, which we had at a Bulgarian chain restaurant called 'Happy Bar & Grill'. This chain hasn't appeared in Veliko Tarnovo yet. It had a very modern interior, with one large TV screen showing a match from the Madrid Masters tennis tournament and two smaller ones showing 'TV's Funniest Videos'.

They had several menus, including the main menu, a sushi menu and a strawberry menu! From the latter we ordered a strawberry & banana smoothie to share. Dave was ecstatic when he saw edamame beans with salt in the main menu, so we had some of that to share as an appetiser, along with a piece of salmon sashimi each from the sushi menu. For our mains, we shared a stuffed grilled courgette and green salad, and had something separate each as well. I had steak and potato wedges and Dave had salmon and trout with grilled vegetables. We had just enough room for dessert, so I had some créme brulée and Dave had a blueberry waffle. A veritable feast, and the whole lot for the equivalent of £25!

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When we stepped outside we saw that it had stopped raining, so we walked to the seafront again. There's a park by the seafront and we were very taken with the giant model of a tropical fish which stood by the entrance. On our bus journeys out of town today and yesterday we had noticed more of these fish - I think they were connected to a National Geographic convention going on somewhere in Burgas around this time.

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Posted by 3Traveller 10:38 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged coast museum dave bulgaria burgas black_sea traditional_customs Comments (0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Old Nessebar

Nessebar


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Our day trip today was to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Nessebar, which lies half an hour away by bus from Burgas on a tiny peninsula joined to the mainland by a narrow man-made isthmus. It is stuffed full of historic ruins and buildings, including Ancient Greek ruins, early Christian and medieval churches and fine wooden houses built in the coastal version of the Bulgarian National Revival style.

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We wandered around for a long time, enjoying the sunshine, architecture, cobbled streets and the white and light blue fishing boats in the harbour. Swallows flitted from building to building; a cockerel crowed down to us from someone's bedroom window.

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We came across lots and lots of old churches; some in ruins, some not ruined but locked and some neither ruined nor locked. Most of them had a distinctive green ceramic pattern running in a line across the archways above the doors and windows. The big ruined church of Sveta Sofia was impressive, as was the smaller church of Christ Pantocrator, which is now a small art gallery. I went in and looked round an interesting exhibition of facsimiles of historic maps of Bulgaria, the Balkans and the Black Sea coast (focussing on Nessebar).

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The church of Sveti Stefan, which was last up, had a spectacular interior. For once I was allowed to take photos (though still without flash), so I took full advantage. The frescoes were amazing.

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By the time I came out of Sveti Stefan, the sunshine had disappeared. We walked back to the old town walls, looked at the bus times and realised we didn't have time to go into the Archaeology Museum - a shame. As we looked out over the bay, we saw clouds and rain envelop Sunny Beach and then sweep towards us... The downpour hit us suddenly, with thunder, lightning and an absolute deluge of rain. I managed to get a good photo of a lightning strike, before running for the cover of the bus shelter.

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Before too long the bus came to take us back to Burgas.

Posted by 3Traveller 07:42 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged art birds coast beach old dave bulgaria black_sea orthodox_church nessebar unesco_world_heritage_site extreme_weather Comments (0)

Fine dining in Burgas

Burgas


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Edit from January 2019: Restaurant Rose is still going strong!

After we arrived back from our lovely outing to Sozopol, we topped the day off with a fine dining experience. This was definitely a notch above where we usually eat when we go out for dinner, but with even fine dining in Bulgaria costing the same as an inexpensive restaurant in the UK, we thought why not?

Our destination was a place round the corner called Restaurant Rose. Usually in Bulgaria (and Ecuador), dishes just come out when they're ready; apart from desserts, courses aren't adhered to. This has never been a problem for me at all, but it did mean that when our starters here came before the main courses, it felt like a novelty! We both had soup - Dave had chicken, I had cream of spinach with crumbled goat's cheese. Both were extremely tasty.

Our mains were just as delicious. My pappardelle pasta with mushrooms and cheese sauce was amazing - the mushrooms in particular were absolutely divine, so incredibly flavoursome and juicy my mouth still waters when I think about them! Dave had a chicken fillet with hazelnut quinoa, cucumber and a white sauce that he raved about.

For pudding we had intended to have a chocolate ice cream from the ice cream shop opposite, but while we were still inside the restaurant we saw it close its shutters. This was a shame, because it had pictures of a Mr Whippy- type of soft ice cream made up of normal and chocolate ice cream swirled in together. I was particularly keen to try it. I suppose it was for the best that it had closed, though, seeing as we were a bit too full for it really after our mains. To help our digestions a bit, we walked to the seafront and back after leaving the restaurant.

Dave saved the day for us back at the guesthouse. We were lying in bed with both the main light and a lamp on, but the lamp was out of our viewpoint. Suddenly Dave said he could smell burning! It turned out that the lamp, which had no lampshade round the bulb, had tipped over and started burning the front cover of my paperback. If left longer, the book may well have started smouldering, or even gone up in flames! Well done Dave!

Photo taken from our balcony earlier;

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Posted by 3Traveller 05:59 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged coast hotel dave bulgaria burgas black_sea Comments (0)

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