A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about gurko street

Fireflies, fireworks & 'Detski Romski' festival

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Not long ago I got back from a lovely walk round town. My first destination was a park not far from Mother Bulgaria Square, but on the way I stopped at the wooden-shuttered bakery on the craftsmen's street for a kashkavalka for lunch.

The reason why I wanted to go to this park was because I knew the 'Detski Romski' festival was going on. 'Detski Romski' means 'Roma Children'. Yesterday lunchtime, before work, I'd nipped out to the deli to get some lunch, heard music playing from the park and gone to investigate; I saw there were carnival stalls and lots of groups of children in traditional dress spread around. The fountains were in full flow, the flowerbeds were in bloom and the sun was shining. The last time I'd been in this park was in February or March, when the flowerbeds were being dug up and the fountains weren't in use yet.There was a small stage set up with people standing in a ring around it; the groups of children took turns in doing dances. Every now and then, one boy and one girl sang a song together over loudspeaker. I kicked myself for not having my camera with me, but then noticed the banner which said the festival was between 5 -7th June, so I decided to come back today.

Unfortunately when I arrived there today, at one o'clock, the dancing had just stopped and everyone was packing up. Such a shame! I kicked myself for not arriving earlier. I still took some photos of the park, though, because it was so lovely.

IMG_8447.JPG3e07d080-2248-11e9-b274-870b5fba2e6c.JPGIMG_8465.JPGIMG_8458.JPGIMG_8453.JPGIMG_8463.JPG3e32d820-2248-11e9-92d9-399bb69b0c4d.JPG3cfa5820-2248-11e9-9d45-dbe045ef18c5.JPG

From the park I moved on to the fruit & veg market. To my surprise, although they still had loads and loads of cherries, the amount of strawberries on sale had halved since two weeks ago. Maybe this is just one type of strawberry, and other types will come into season later in the month. I asked one woman for 100g of strawberries, but she refused to sell me them (maybe because people were just starting to pack up and she wanted to sell them in kgs or 500g only). She was needlessly abrupt about it, though, so I went to a different stall and bought 500g from the woman there (I figured that nobody would probably sell me 100g). There was a noticeable increase in tomatoes and I also saw a very small amount of raspberries - maybe these are just beginning to come into season.

Yesterday evening I went out for dinner with R, Belgian S and a friend of hers. I took them to Taverna, the first restaurant I ate at in Bulgaria, because although it's only round the corner from us, for some reason R hadn't made it there yet. They do lovely chicken kavarma here, plus some of the best tarator in town, so I had both, plus some potato wedges. After we'd finished eating R had to dash, but the rest of us walked along Gurko Street. We saw some fireflies - I've seen these around this part of Gurko Street for a few weeks now. They are so captivating to watch.

On Friday evening, R and I were sitting in F's living room having a hot drink and a chat with her when suddenly we heard the unmistakeable sound of firework bangs. We looked out of the windows behind us but only saw flickers of light. They were clearly going off by the sword monument, on the other side of the hill. Just then the loudest fireworks bang I'd ever heard happened and we all rushed downstairs to have a look! F went onto the terrace, but R and I ran down the steps onto the street and sprinted along it, looking for a good viewing point. We saw a few absolutely fantastic ones, but by the time we reached the first proper terrace, they'd stopped. As far as we were aware there was no special occasion that day, but later that evening we found out a beer festival had been the cause!

On Thursday morning I went to Sarafkina House, the Gurko Street house museum.

IMG_8390.JPGIMG_8443.JPGIMG_8388.JPG

I was very much looking forward to seeing it, especially the displays of all the types of traditional bread, dyed eggs and Martenitsas I'd heard about, and I wasn't disappointed. So interesting!

IMG_8398.JPGIMG_8401.JPGIMG_8393.JPGIMG_8400.JPG

I loved the old photos of musicians, traditional trades and general life of VT, too, plus the historic building itself, though I only got to see two of the five floors - the one level with Gurko Street and the one above. I loved the view from the windows as well.

IMG_8425.JPGIMG_8416.JPGIMG_8420.JPGIMG_8412.JPGIMG_8410.JPGIMG_8409.JPGIMG_8422.JPGaf1bcdb0-224a-11e9-a177-7dfc2dfcbeca.JPGb43865b0-224a-11e9-a177-7dfc2dfcbeca.JPGIMG_8426.JPGb3ac7960-224a-11e9-a177-7dfc2dfcbeca.JPGIMG_8427.JPGIMG_8418.JPGIMG_8407.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 07:01 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged market museum bulgaria veliko_tarnovo house_museum bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street traditional_customs Comments (0)

Lunch with a view

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I was teaching in the morning and I thought Mum was going back to the fruit & vegetable market while I was gone, but when I arrived back I found her just finishing off deep cleaning my bathroom! She hadn't gone to the market after all.

After a while we headed out to lunch at a place I had not taken any visitors to before. It's a little restaurant/ café down a set of steps off the main road; we ate on the wooden balcony with a fantastic view of the sword monument hill and around. This time Mum had pepper burek and salad, while I had mishmash and chips. Mishmash is a mixture of scrambled egg, crumbled up white cheese and chopped up and cooked peppers and tomatoes. It was fantastic; I could tell the ingredients were ultra fresh.

IMG_8194.JPGIMG_8193.JPGIMG_8196.JPGIMG_8200.JPGIMG_8201.JPG

It was still sunny at this point, but after walking across the bridge to the sword monument, it started raining. Typical! Neither of us had brought our umbrellas. Oh well, it was still nice to look round and get the views of the houses on the hillside opposite. We spotted the balcony where we'd just had lunch. No snakes to be seen this time, though some small lizards skittered about.

IMG_8203.JPG

From there we moved on to the supermarket. When we came out of there the rain was hammering down, so we went back inside for a bit until it had subsided a little. We started walking back, but then decided to get a taxi to save us getting completely soaked.

After an hour or two of rest, we went out again, this time to the craftsmen's street but via historic Gurko Street. The sun had come out again by now. I left Mum in the craftsmen's street as I had to go back to work.

When I got back from work at about 9.50pm, Mum had dinner ready! Flattened meatballs with a vegetable sauce and some of the seafood-shaped pasta Kate had given me for my birthday. For pudding we had an 'Eton mess' but made with tinned mandarins instead of strawberries.

Posted by 3Traveller 23:55 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged lizards bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street assen_monument extreme_weather Comments (0)

Lovely way to finish our holiday

Veliko Tarnovo and Sofia


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Our bus to Sofia didn't leave until 15.00, so this morning and early afternoon was spent packing, editing photos, walking along Gurko Street in the sunshine to the ETAP bus station to buy our bus tickets in advance, eating ice cream from a stall in the main street and having lunch and browsing the shops on the craftsmen's street.

IMG_5236.JPG9776f150-1efb-11e9-a594-1793dc4cf323.JPG

We had lunch on the balcony at Stratilat Café (an old favourite of mine), so we could look at the view while we were eating.

IMG_5212.JPGIMG_5206.JPG9804d970-1efb-11e9-a08a-5f33eae56280.JPGIMG_5229.JPGIMG_5222.JPG97ece4a0-1efb-11e9-a594-1793dc4cf323.JPG

On our way back from the station we passed a gathering by one of the monuments off the main street. There were lots of bikes around, along with a giant inflatable Nescafé mug and someone talking over a loudspeaker. I found out the next day that there was a mountain biking festival going on; cyclists were biking through the hills next to VT, down the hill of Varusha (the old town), emerging at this monument junction and then continuing through the town. We didn't get to see any of the actual cycling though.

980db310-1efb-11e9-a291-ef752f2723a8.JPG

Dave's flight was at 21.55, so on arrival at the central bus station in Sofia we took a taxi straight to the airport from there. I say 'straight' but we actually had a bit of time to kill, so we had some dinner at the main café first. Pizza and Bulgarian rice pudding went down a treat.

Once I'd seen Dave off, I took a taxi to 'Ploshtad Makedonia', where Hostel Mostel is. I was in the same dorm where I'd been last week.

Tomorrow morning I will have just enough time for breakfast before I get the 9 o'clock bus back to Veliko Tarnovo.

It's Dad's birthday today, so I've had him in mind all day. I'm so glad that Dave was with me for most of the day.

Posted by 3Traveller 15:45 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged airport dad dave sofia bulgaria veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street Comments (0)

More visitors arrive!

Dragizhevo and Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A very, very hot day today in Dragizhevo, a village not far from Veliko Tarnovo which holds a car boot sale once a month between April and September/ October. A few of us went; I bought several things - half a dozen duck eggs, a book and one or two things I hadn't seen since I was last in the UK - garlic naan breads, a can of Dr Pepper and a tin of condensed milk. I also had a sausage & egg roll from the café. I would have liked to have stuck around for longer in order to look round the village, but I had visitors arriving in a couple of hours and I still needed to finish my preparations...

No sooner does one sister depart from Bulgaria, than the other one arrives :-) An hour or two after I got back from Dragizheno, Kate and Andrew arrived in VT from Varna, where they had been for a couple of days after a day or two in Plovdiv.

Almost as soon as they walked through the door we had a lovely Google Video chat conversation with Mum. After that we went up on the terrace, where my colleague 'R' was hosting a late birthday tea. We had a great time, with great company, food and weather. There was quite a group of us there. The food included homemade bean dip, fresh corn bread, potato salad and feta-like white Bulgarian cheese, then two birthday cakes for pudding - one of them a carrot cake. During the tea party we had an added point of interest in that a wedding party went past on the road behind the terrace - at first we didn't know what was going on because all we could hear was lots of car horns blaring, but then someone said that it might be a wedding party, so we dashed to the side of the terrace to have a look. We just managed to catch sight of a car driving along with balloons attached to the back, with a couple of other cars following along behind. (Credit to Kate for most of the following photos)

SAM_5981.JPGSAM_5998.JPG

Around 5ish I took Kate and Andrew on a wander through the main part of VT, including the craftmen's street and an amazing look-out point from the side of one of VT's hills.

cb62c280-1da4-11e9-b025-85a516691882.JPGSAM_5987.JPGSAM_5994.JPG

Our main destination was Assen's Monument, the massive sword-shaped monument on a raised area at a loop of the river Yantra, which flows through the small valleys between the hills. The bridge was interesting - I don't think I've mentioned this in previous entries, but there are yellow painted outlines of human figures in funny positions on the ground. On our way back Andrew couldn't resist the temptation of having his photo taken while lying in one!

cc5f23e0-1da4-11e9-b025-85a516691882.JPGcc139bf0-1da4-11e9-b025-85a516691882.JPGSAM_6012.JPGSAM_6014.JPGSAM_6024.JPGSAM_6028.JPG

Our walk round the monument was enjoyable, with wonderful views plus an added bonus for me and Kate because we saw a wild snake on some rocks above the river!

SAM_6007.JPG

We returned to my flat via Gurko Street. As with much of VT, it was picturesque, particularly as some of the trees are in blossom.

734514e0-1da4-11e9-8ff3-eda901a2b1b7.JPGca56a9b0-1da4-11e9-b025-85a516691882.JPG

After relaxing for a while we went out for a late dinner at Shtastlivetsa - we all had tarator and mains; Andrew had kebapche (flattened meatballs), I had some special scrambled eggs and Kate had what claimed to be 'oriental salad' but didn't actually seem different to a normal one. She said it was tasty, though. We had garlicky sauteed potatoes and grilled vegetables on the side.

SAM_6035.JPGSAM_6037.JPG

We were so stuffed by the end we had to ask for a doggy bag to take away most of the potatoes and some of the scrambled egg.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:41 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bridges sisters snakes bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street assen_monument Comments (0)

Veliko Tarnovo Day celebrations

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Veliko Tarnovo Day - the birthday of the city, when religious figures, a military band and schoolchildren parade through the town with pennants, icons, flags, black-and-white photos of the city's benefactors, a long green garland, music and colourful balloons.

IMG_5857.JPGIMG_5859.JPGIMG_5863.JPGIMG_5869.JPGIMG_5871.JPGIMG_5856.JPGIMG_5860.JPGIMG_5861.JPGIMG_5862.JPGIMG_5864.JPGIMG_5868.JPG

The mayor gives a speech and presents newly appointed honorary citizens. There's a carnival atmosphere in the air, with free concerts in front of the Municipal Hall and street stalls nearby.

IMG_5874.JPGIMG_5882.JPGIMG_5875.JPG

After dark a party truck sweeps down the main street and along to the plaza in front of Tsarevets Fortress with a crowd in tow, partying to the music blasting from the loudspeakers.

IMG_5892.JPGIMG_5897.JPGIMG_5902.JPGIMG_5909.JPG

Later that night, fireworks light up the sky...

b86b3c20-1d77-11e9-9bb2-55744de16095.JPGIMG_5938.JPGIMG_5929.JPGIMG_5944.JPGIMG_5935.JPG

...and an amazing laser and 3D-imaging show is displayed on the hill of the Assen Monument.

IMG_5950.JPGIMG_5954.JPGIMG_5955.JPG

I enjoyed all of the above very much. The weather was perfect and everything was impressive. For the laser and 3D-imaging show, Gurko Street was so packed with people I didn't even attempt to get near the front; I went back up to the main street instead, where I viewed the show from one of the plazas that looks out over the river and the Assen Monument.

The almond trees are blossoming - very picturesque.

IMG_5889.JPG

On the main street at the moment there are some wonderful photos of Veliko Tarnovo displayed. I took these photos of them as I returned home after the parade.

IMG_5885.JPGIMG_5886.JPGIMG_5887.JPG

Last night I went to a short, free concert by the Veliko Tarnovo Brass Band, part of the Veliko Tarnovo Day weekend celebrations. It was OK, but there was no heating on in the building for some reason, so we all got distracted by the cold! The band had a guest jazz soloist called Theodosii Spassov, who is apparently very well known in Bulgaria. I simply could not work out what instrument he was playing - it looked very like a clarinet from the distance, but it sounded like a cross between a clarinet, flute and recorder. It sounded quite breathy. I only found out later that what he was playing was actually a kaval - a type of end-blown flute traditional to the Balkans and Anatolia. Sometimes he combined playing that with a type of singing, humming and other strange vocal noises. The pieces they played were a little bit samey to be honest, but I'm still glad I went, because it was an interesting experience.

IMG_5853.JPGIMG_5855.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 04:47 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged art parties bulgaria procession veliko_tarnovo fortifications tsarevets_fortress gurko_street assen_monument Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 11) Page [1] 2 3 » Next