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Entries about mum

Strawberry and cherry season is upon us!

Veliko Tarnovo


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So late afternoon yesterday we arrived in Veliko Tarnovo after an uneventful bus journey. We had dinner at the Lucky Man and straight after that we were lucky enough to get a great view of the Sound and Light Show with the accompanying soundtrack.

In the morning today I was at work, but while I was away Mum walked down to the river on my recommendation. The sun was very hot. She had a lovely poke about by the river, watched the fish from the bridge and picked some elderflowers. She didn't manage to get into any of the churches down there because they were closed - probably because it was a Monday.

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I finished work at one, so I came straight home (via a shop for some bread, tomatoes, milk and Coke Zero) and we had lunch at my flat. Along with the bread, we had herby soft cheese, Edam, smoked salmon, roasted peppers from a jar and some pesto, plus Mum had black olives and the tomatoes as well.

After lunch Mum showed me the pictures she'd taken on her walk earlier. Then we walked to the fruit & vegetable market via the craftsmen's street - we did some window-shopping but didn't go into any shops. We knew we would have plenty of time to return before Thursday, after all.

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Before we got to the market we stopped for some ice cream first; then we nipped into the supermarket to get some things for our meal tonight and for Wednesday night - eggs and chicken breasts, plus Mum said she'd make some coconut & jam slices for us, so we got butter too.

At the market we saw that strawberries and cherries are most definitely in season now! There were stalls almost filled up only with trays and trays of both; who were we to resist? We bought a kilo of strawberries and half a kilo of cherries, plus a punnet of peaches and a bag of broad beans which also looked very fresh. The whole lot came to just over 12 leva - £4.40!

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After that it was just gone 4 pm, so I had to go back to work. I didn't get back until ten to ten; Mum had already had her dinner, but cooked mine for me; a lovely mushroom omelette with broad beans. She hadn't had pudding yet though, so we had that together. She'd made a syrup using Kate's rosehip jelly and we had it poured over some of the strawberries. Delicious!

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Posted by 3Traveller 16:09 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged market bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo Comments (0)

Balabanov House, the Roman stadium and more

Plovdiv


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At lunchtime we were due to catch the bus to Veliko Tarnovo, but we managed to fit quite a lot into the morning.

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The first place we went was another gorgeous National Revival house (the Old Town is full of them).

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In the courtyard we admired the roses - right now we are in the middle of the rose season in Bulgaria.

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From there we walked down the road to the Roman stadium remains, popping into one or two antique shops on the way (one of these shops had lots of amazing old painted wooden chests - we both coveted them, but potential transportation difficulties put us off buying any).

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The stadium lies in front of Dzhumaya Mosque, in the middle of the main shopping street. The seating in the stadium is made of the same gleaming white marble as those in the Roman amphitheatre.

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Our next destination was the intriguingly-named 'Singing Fountains' within Tsar Simeon's Gardens. I visited this park back in March, but it was still a bit wintry-looking then, plus I didn't go as far as the fountains. This time all the trees were fully in leaf and the flowers had bloomed. The fountains turned out to look quite impressive, set within a massive pool which I was desperate to swim in. The sun was very hot and the water looked so inviting! No evidence of singing though...

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After staying there a while we suddenly realised what the time was. Quick march back to Guesthouse Old Plovdiv! On the way back we saw part of a procession celebrating the Day of Culture & Literacy. This public holiday celebrates the Cyrillic alphabet in particular.

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We took a taxi to the North bus station, where I bought our tickets to Veliko Tarnovo. We had a bit of time to kill then, so we took turns to go next door to Lidl while the other person stayed to look after the bags.

Posted by 3Traveller 09:47 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged art mosque museum hostel roses bulgaria mum procession plovdiv roman_remains house_museum Comments (0)

Return to Plovdiv - this time with Mum!

Plovdiv


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Half term has just started in the UK, so Mum has come to Bulgaria for a week! She's flown into Plovdiv this time, rather than Sofia. I've come to Plovdiv to meet up with her; tomorrow I return with her to Veliko Tarnovo, where we'll stay until next Thursday. She flies back from Plovdiv too, so on Thursday I've arranged for us to go back there via the Shipka Pass, Kazanlak and the Valley of the Roses.

Mum arrived in Plovdiv yesterday, while I was still in Veliko Tarnovo. I had work yesterday and this morning, so I wasn't able to come until this afternoon. In my absence she had a nice walk around, taking note of all the architectural details on the colourful buildings, before joining an excellent free city walking tour. Apparently, two days ago Plovdiv found out that it had won the competition to be European Capital of Culture for 2019, so the whole city is still celebrating. Before the tour started she saw people in traditional dress going down the street, and once the tour had started and had reached Nebet Tepe (the hill with ruins on it), they saw hundreds of helium balloons released in the distance. Credit to Mum for the following two sets of pictures;

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After the tour finished, she went back for a proper look round the Roman amphitheatre and some antiques and handicrafts shops, including one where she could see weavers at work in the back and another which had the most amazing painted wooden chests.

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Meanwhile, I was on the bus from VT; great weather, wonderful scenery... lots of poppies in bloom now, by the roadside and in fields. I arrived at a different bus station to the one I was expecting, but I'd cunningly brought the free city map I'd saved from March, so I found my way to the hostel easily enough. I arrived only five minutes after my ETA of 18.30. We're staying at the same place I stayed at in March - a hostel/hotel in a wonderful wooden National Revival building right in the middle of the Old Town.

We had dinner at a restaurant in a historic building which used to be the Muslim equivalent of a monastery for the mystical sect of Islam (Sufism) that had whirling dervishes in Ottoman times; in fact in the main dining area dervishes used to whirl. The building had two floors and a garden - there were extensive wall remains built into the main dining area. We ate in the garden; bread, tarator and a mixed grill of kebapche (flattened meatballs), kyufte (similar to kebapche but enlongated), a pork chop, two curly sausages on a skewer and some chips. We also shared a salad of roasted red peppers, raw onion, parsley, olives, tomato, cucumber, a mixed vegetable dip-like mixture and some large white beans in a garlic sauce. The beans had a taste and texture very similar to potato.

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After that we walked to Nebet Tepe and wandered around the ruins while looking at the sunset over the city spread out before us. The air was balmy and there were lots of locals sitting in groups on the fortress walls. Mum said it reminded her a bit of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, with groups of local youth congregating in the fresh air in the evening. The atmosphere was very pleasant.

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On the way back from Nebet Tepe we looked in some art and jewellery shops which were still open.

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Posted by 3Traveller 08:39 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged night hostel buses bulgaria mum plovdiv fortifications roman_remains bulgarian_cuisine Comments (0)

More visitors arrive!

Dragizhevo and Veliko Tarnovo


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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)

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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)

Happy birthday!

Veliko Tarnovo


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After a lie-in and breakfast, we had a really lovely video chat with Mum. During the chat we opened our presents to each other and from Mum - amongst other things, I got some fascinating-looking books which I can't wait to read; Alexander von Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Region of the New Continent', a Folio Society copy of Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán's 'The Happy Captive', a Hakluyt Society's copy of 'Pieter van den Broeke's Journal of Voyages to Cape Verde, Guinea and Angola, 1605 - 1612', Oliver Rackham's 'The History of the Countryside', Richard Cohen's 'By the Sword' and last but certainly not least, 'Wild Planet', a book of amazing photographs celebrating Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

After that we went out for a walk. The sun was out, but it was due to cloud over later. To make the most of the sun, I took Emma and Kate onto the terrace...

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...and then down Gurko Street;

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Then we popped into my workplace so they could have a look inside it (and print off their boarding cards for their return flight) and walked down the main street, Stefan Stambolov.

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We were all quite hungry by now, so I took them to a café on the craftsmen's street for some lunch. For pudding I had rice pudding and Emma and Kate shared a Diet Frumenty; they'd wanted to try this ever since I'd had it at Christmas.

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Then we did some shopping. My main present to them was something each from the craftsmen's street, within a certain budget. Emma chose an icon of St George and the Dragon and Kate chose some colourful, beautifully painted and glazed cups. I bought myself a sugar pot with two handles, which was also vividly coloured and beautifully painted and glazed. We also stopped at a tiny secondhand bookshop, where Emma bought some books but Kate and I didn't. Nearby the bookshop we found a slightly random giant chair!

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Once we got back to the flat, 'F' came round with a surprise chocolate birthday cake she'd made for us! How lovely of her. We cut it there and then, each having a slice of it with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

At 5 o'clock I had a Google Video chat with Dave. While I was speaking to him I opened the parcel he'd sent; a box filled with a mixture of books, fancy shampoo, my universal plug adaptor that he'd fixed and an IOU for a hot air balloon trip with him! (This was also from his parents - thank you so much!) To go on a hot air balloon trip is a dream I've had ever since I can first remember.

After a little rest, Emma, Kate and I went out for dinner at Han Hadji Nikoli. We all ended up ordering the same things; tarator to start and then chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in prosciutto, with vegetables and a baked potato with garlic butter and rosemary. We were all too full for dessert!

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From Melodie Bar we all went on to Lino Bar, which has pool tables and electronic darts; the pool tables were all booked up until late, so some of us played darts while others sat down and had more drinks. The last bar we went to was Sammy's, next door. Here I just had a hot chocolate. When we left here the heavens had opened; it was pouring with rain. Instead of getting a taxi, however, we walked/ ran from roof shelter to roof shelter, avoiding the streams of water coming off the roofs or out of pipes, until we reached the flat.

Posted by 3Traveller 22:57 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged parties sisters dave cocktails bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo han_hadji_nikoli gurko_street extreme_weather birthday_celebration Comments (2)

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