A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about veliko tarnovo

Christmas Day

Veliko Tarnovo


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

I wasn't quite sure how today would go, considering that it was Christmas morning last year when Dad lapsed into unconsciousness and never woke up. I thought of Dad even more than usual today, but having Dave with me helped massively whenever thoughts turned back to the horrible events on that fateful day a year ago.

The weather was very sunny and relatively warm, so in the morning we went on a long walk round Tsarevets Fortress, Gurko Street and the main street, taking photos with Dave's camera as we went.

On the way to the fortress;

DSC_0024.JPGDSC_0025.JPGDSC_0028.JPGDSC_0032.JPGDSC_0045.JPGDSC_0046.JPG

Tsarevets Fortress:

DSC_0075.JPGDSC_0072.JPGDSC_0053.JPGDSC_0087.JPG8dd805d0-1b27-11e9-99d0-35ad7cd88a9f.JPGDSC_0088.JPGDSC_0096.JPGDSC_0109.JPG9142f630-1b27-11e9-af5f-39b8c474335b.JPGDSC_0133.JPGDSC_0134.JPGDSC_0138.JPG9261fac0-1b27-11e9-8bb0-b756569a662a.JPGDSC_0144.JPGDSC_0174.JPGDSC_0188.JPGDSC_0110.JPGDSC_0190.JPGDSC_0197.JPG

Gurko Street;

DSC_0214.JPGDSC_0226.JPGDSC_0204.JPGDSC_0203.JPGDSC_0208.JPGDSC_0219.JPG

The rest of our walk;

DSC_0256.JPGDSC_0258.JPGDSC_0264.JPGDSC_0263.JPGDSC_0266.JPG

We also walked past my workplace, where I discovered a Christmas card to myself from Dave's parents in the postbox by the door. :-)

Unfortunately Dave dropped his camera's lens cap at the fortress, losing it for ever just after he'd taken some pictures of me standing on the Execution Rock. This rock overhangs the side of the hill; centuries ago traitors were thrown off it to their deaths. He dropped the lens cap to the side of the rock, but although I thought it may have landed on a ledge of earth a couple of metres below, I decided not to try and find a way down there in case I slipped to my death. Although it was very sunny, there was still mud around. At least it wasn't his camera that was lost!

We ate our Christmas dinner very late, because we didn't get back from our walk until between 1 and 2pm, which is when we started cooking. We had homemade tarator to start; for the main we had herb-sprinkled chicken breasts cooked in foil, roast potatoes, stuffing, carrots, leeks fried with mozzarella cheese (an experiment I shall definitely repeat) and lots and lots of lovely handmade bread sauce.

5e0764b0-1b2a-11e9-af5f-39b8c474335b.JPGIMG_4232.JPG5dd928c0-1b2a-11e9-a555-6d54e87cdbe8.JPG

We were so full after this we had to have a lie down for a couple of hours; it wasn't until we got up that we realised the thought of pudding had not even crossed our minds! We were still too full to eat anything - we didn't have anything else until about 10pm - so until then we opened presents and relaxed. I had some presents for Dave waiting in the UK, plus the plan was for him to choose his main present from me tomorrow in Veliko Tarnovo before we left for Sofia, so the only thing I had for him to open was a box of Bulgarian baklava and kadaif. Amongst other things, from him I got a really interesting-looking book called 'This Way Southward' by A. F. Tschiffely, published in 1940. It's an account of a journey through Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. He also got me a lovely calendar using photos we took in Ecuador last June.

Speaking of books, Emma and Kate each got me a really good book as well. Emma got me 'What Caesar Did for My Salad: The Secret Meanings of our Favourite Dishes' by Albert Jack and Kate got me 'King Harald's Saga'. I will keep all of these with me in Bulgaria to read after Christmas, rather than take them back to the UK on Saturday!

Before we had tea we played a game of Mapominoes, a game Mum gave us. As the name indicates, it's very similar to dominoes, but each card is a European country and you can only put one country next to others if it shares a border with them. You also get Transit cards which you can say is a particular country or sea. A very good idea for a game!

Tea was quite brief because we still weren't as hungry as we could have been. We didn't have the Christmas pudding at all in the end, because we knew it would be filling.

All day I kept a Christmas candle burning for Dad. Mum had given it to Dave to take with him to Bulgaria.

5d951ae0-1b2a-11e9-a555-6d54e87cdbe8.JPGDSC_0269.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 08:13 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged christmas sisters dad dave bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo fortifications tsarevets_fortress bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street Comments (0)

Christmas Eve

Veliko Tarnovo


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

On Christmas Eve morning Dave and I walked to the fruit & vegetable market and the supermarket below it. The stalls had a heavy emphasis on what is in season - they were filled with squashes, swedes, beets, onions, potatoes, cabbages, nuts and apples - but they also had some presumably imported oranges, mandarins and other fruits. I looked for brussel sprouts without any luck. There were also some stalls filled with loose dried fruits, such as apricots and figs, as well as more nuts, jars of preserved peppers and tomatoes, bagged dried herbs, dried peppers, jars of honey and last of all, slabs of raw, white animal fat. Near the entrance to the market some women were selling bare branches of a certain type of tree, that I think I mentioned I saw sold in Sofia, along with branches of fir.

b5098370-1b1a-11e9-a0fc-21bd74718c61.JPGb5b0e700-1b1a-11e9-8190-4f557fb6aac3.JPGIMG_4160.JPGb3f41bd0-1b1a-11e9-b292-4ff14b0de11d.JPG

After stocking up on Christmas food, we dumped the stuff at the flat and had a rest before going out again for lunch and some shopping in the old town. I had my old favourite, tarator (a cold soup made from yoghurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, vegetable oil and chopped nuts) as a starter. I've forgotten what else we had apart from the pudding, which I will always remember due to its unusualness. The dish I had was 'Frumenty'! I'd only ever heard about that as a dish people used to have at Christmas in the UK in Medieval times, so I was intrigued to see it here. I'd always assumed it was served hot, but here it was cold; it was a lot like rice pudding but with giant grains of (presumably boiled) wheat or some other kind of corn, instead of rice. It also had a fruit which looked and tasted a lot like tiny, sweet green gooseberries.

b4fcd940-1b1a-11e9-9072-a90d63a0454d.JPG

Strictly speaking, on the menu it was called 'Diet Frumenty'. It was listed on the same dessert page as 'Diet Cake', which I thought was quite funny. Maybe Diet Cake is made with sweetener instead of sugar, or something like that...

We had a look in a couple of craftsman's and tourist souvenir shops after that, but didn't buy anything. We knew we'd be back either the next day or on Boxing Day. It was a lovely sunny day, like yesterday, so it was very pleasant just walking around. As the sun got lower and lower, the light looked more and more golden.

DSC_0013.JPGDSC_0006.JPGDSC_0007.JPGDSC_0014.JPG

We didn't do much in the evening apart from have pizza for dinner (with added mozzarella), play cards and have some clementines before getting an early night.

Posted by 3Traveller 07:35 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged market christmas dave bulgaria veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine Comments (0)

Arrival in Veliko Tarnovo for Christmas

Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo


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

Breakfast at Hostel Mostel was excellent, one of the best hostel breakfasts I've ever had; Bulgarian yoghurt, Bulgarian feta cheese ('cirene'), boiled eggs, olives, salad items, scrambled eggs, sliced apple, sliced kiwi fruit, waffles, jam, chocolate spread, cereal, milk, juice, tea and coffee. After filling ourselves up we had a game of pool on the free pool table, packed up our stuff and asked reception staff to order a taxi to the main bus station for us.

IMG_4065.JPGIMG_4068.JPGd38e1cc0-1b15-11e9-b6c3-bf79ea450c5d.JPGd374c860-1b15-11e9-a0fc-21bd74718c61.JPGd435ce70-1b15-11e9-80c6-85db7f9f5943.JPG

The time was now about 9.45 am. As soon as we arrived I bought tickets to Veliko Tarnovo, though not as easily as I'd expected. The company I wanted to use, ETAP, had no spaces left on any bus until 2pm, so I checked another company option instead, seeing from their timetable that their next bus to VT was at 11.30 am. They professed to have no tickets whatsoever for any bus to VT, however, so I had to go back to the ETAP desk and buy the 2pm tickets after all.

2b4abea0-1b16-11e9-b6c3-bf79ea450c5d.JPG

So a long wait was ahead of us. Oh well, we'd been in similar situations before on our various travels and knew there was absolutely no point getting stressed out or annoyed about it; a laid-back approach is by far the best to take. So we took ourselves, Dave's big case and my rucksack upstairs to the seating area, made ourselves as comfortable as we could and played a mammoth 10-round game of 10-card rummy, a process which took up nearly an hour. (Dave won.)

2b846c40-1b16-11e9-b6c3-bf79ea450c5d.JPG

At 12.30 we wandered over to a food counter and had a very leisurely lunch of pizza and (in my case) créme caramel. Then we went down to wait by the bus until the doors opened and we could get on.

The journey was uneventful, though we did see a beautiful sunset. It was completely dark when we arrived in VT. We stopped for a few photos on the way to my flat so we didn't get in until just past 6pm.

8ad36110-1b16-11e9-80c6-85db7f9f5943.JPG

Dave started unpacking and sampled one of the bottles of Bulgarian beer I'd bought for him a few days ago. We also went next door to buy some 1kg tubs of honey from my landlady.

8ace7f10-1b16-11e9-b6c3-bf79ea450c5d.JPGIMG_4107.JPG

After about an hour we went out for dinner at Han Hadji Nikoli. We shared an antipasti plate, Dave had a Bulgarian pork grill and I had stuffed chicken breasts, with buttered broccoli as a side. Great quality, as always.

IMG_4129.JPGIMG_4128.JPGIMG_4132.JPGIMG_4110.JPG

It had been a long day, so we went straight back to the flat after dinner, finished unpacking and headed for bed.

Posted by 3Traveller 06:18 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged night christmas hostel buses dave sofia bulgaria veliko_tarnovo han_hadji_nikoli bulgarian_cuisine Comments (0)

Beautiful walk this morning

Veliko Tarnovo


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

It's beautifully sunny today and my Saturday class - my last class before the Christmas holidays - was cancelled, so I decided to go on a nice walk down to the river.

IMG_5161.JPG

I explored cobbled streets, walking past picturesque houses and churches, a man roped to the top of a tree sawing off branches, piles of chopped firewood, the occasional cat and the clear, shallow and swift-running Yantra itself.

IMG_5188.JPGIMG_5186.JPGIMG_5184.JPGIMG_5192.JPGIMG_5171.JPGIMG_5177.JPG

Mist-laden Tsarevets Fortress looked over me on one side; other hills did so on the others. Basking in the sun, I felt very peaceful and happy.

IMG_5168.JPGIMG_5176.JPG

I came across the Churches of St Dimitar, St George and Sts Peter & Paul, all of which are historic and sound really interesting, but for some reason the gates to all three were locked. Oh well, I will definitely return another day, maybe on a Sunday when they'll be more likely to be open.

IMG_5172.JPGIMG_5197.JPGIMG_5199.JPGIMG_5200.JPG

The mist still remained as I walked back up the hill and home.

IMG_5201.JPG

Before I got back to my flat I stopped at a general shop to buy some kashkavalki and snejanka (the 'j' is pronounced like the 's' in 'treasure') for lunch. Snejanka is like a more solid version of tarator; made from yoghurt and cucumber, you can stick a spoon in it upright. As I asked the shop assistant for it (it was in a chilled cabinet, reached from behind the counter) she told me out of the blue, in English, that 'Snejanka' is also the name for the woman who accompanies Santa. Very interesting! None of the other Bulgarians I've talked about Christmas with has mentioned her.

Posted by 3Traveller 04:17 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bridges bulgaria veliko_tarnovo fortifications orthodox_church tsarevets_fortress bulgarian_cuisine river_yantra Comments (0)

Monument to the Assen Dynasty

Veliko Tarnovo


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

Today I went on a walk to a place I see every day on my way to and from work; the Monument to the Assen Dynasty, which is on a hill surrounded on three sides by the River Yantra.

IMG_5109.JPGIMG_5100.JPG

On the walk over the bridge to get there I noticed something one of my students had told me about the week before; padlocks locked to the bridge railings. On each padlock was engraved or scratched two people's initials. Apparently, couples come here with an engraved/ scratched padlock, lock it to the railings and then throw the key into the river below. This symbolises the strength and longevity of their relationship. I got the impression from my student that this is quite a new tradition, and I don't know how seriously it's done, but I still think it's interesting.

IMG_5103.JPGIMG_5096.JPG

Once I reached the monument I admired it for a bit, took in the amazing views of Veliko Tarnovo on this side of the hill and took some photos. I couldn't see my flat because that looks over another part of the river from the other side of the hill. The Assen Monument consists of an upright sword, flanked by four Bulgarian Tsars on horseback. From 1185 to 1241, these Tsars helped the Bulgarian State reach its political, cultural and economic height, with Tarnevgrad (as VT was formerly known) as its capital.

IMG_5107.JPGIMG_5113.JPGIMG_5115.JPGIMG_5117.JPG

Behind the monument there was an art gallery, but to my surprise (considering it was a Saturday and a nice sunny day to boot, so quite a few people were around), it was dark inside and locked up. A notice said to ring the bell for entry, and that it was open today, but I chickened out of doing so. I thought it would feel really awkward having someone open up the whole thing just for me, even if maybe other visitors would come in after me. I will definitely go inside the place before I leave Bulgaria, however.

IMG_5125.JPG

So instead of going inside the gallery, I continued walking, taking more photos as I went.

IMG_5131.JPGIMG_5129.JPG

Soon I came across a fork in the road, with an extremely long set of steps up a hill in the middle. I climbed all the steps to the top of the hill, which is part of Sveta Gora Park. I climbed higher and higher until I could see all of VT and the hills surrounding it; I couldn't get many photos, however, because from the viewing point there were lots of trees and shrubbery in the way on each side (which were too steep and slippery to attempt scrambling down). It was great to get that sense of height though!

IMG_5139.JPGIMG_5132.JPG

After I had climbed back down all the steps and walked back past the art gallery and monument and across the bridge, I went on to the little Christmas market round the corner from Mother Bulgaria Square. To be honest, it didn't seem to sell anything that you wouldn't see in a Christmas market in the UK, and I didn't buy anything. Then I went back to the flat to rest and have some late lunch. I wanted to preserve my energy for the school Christmas party that evening!

Posted by 3Traveller 03:17 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bridges art market bulgaria veliko_tarnovo river_yantra mother_bulgaria_square assen_monument sveta_gora_park Comments (0)

(Entries 41 - 45 of 57) Previous « Page .. 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 » Next