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 mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures

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mike&tanya
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PostSubject: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

I intend to work my way through our various trips by year, and i will put places that you might find interesting in capitals, all of which can be looked up on internet to get much more detail.
2004
When i first met tanya in London, I like most people did not know much about Bulgaria. My first visit was in October (2 months after we got married) to visit her Tanya,s parents, who live in a village called Kliment which is close to the towns of Sopot - Karlova. We flew into Sofia Airport and were met by 2 of her close friends, the plan was to stop over night and go the the embassy the next morning before traveling on to the village. Unfortunatly no one told us that we had to get there before 10.00am otherwise they will not deal with you, and yes you guessed it we got there 10.20am. This meant another day in Sofia, I thought thats ok we will do a bit of sight-seeing (silly me), I was with 3 good looking fashion concsious woman so I got dragged up and down the up-market clothing shops for most of the day. We stayed another night in a very nice hotel in the foothills just outside of the city, and managed to get the paperwork sorted the next morning and get on our way to the village.
I got a very nice surprise on arrival in the village, the surrounding scenery was quite outstanding, being surrounded by lowwooded hills on one side that seem to go on forever, and acroos the valley much higher more rugged hills above Karlova, I never get tired of looking at this. I got a very warm welcome from Tanya,s parents and some of the neighbors, and enjoyed looking around the there property, which consisted of a traditionally built mud block bungalow, with a massive barn and a big plot of land full of all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees. There was also 13 sheep, a donkey, cats and a dog, it seems that during the communist times Tanya,s dad was a well respected shepherd until he retired
We spent a few days in and around the village and SOPOT - KARLOVA (they are almost joined together and I think of them as twin towns),and then went onto what was to become the first of many sight-seeing trips over the years. We went to SHIPKA-MONESTERY (very nice), which has a beautiful gold coloured domed roof and like all monestery,s full of brightly coloured icons and murals. From there we went onto an open air museum called ETAR (well worth a visit) which is full of original buildings dating back through the centuries and also demonstrations of Bulgarian culture and crafts. We then went onto a town called GABROVA which has a museum of humour (it was ok).
At the end of our holiday we were taken to Sofia Airport by a friend from the village, and on the way called into a very well preserved town called KOPRIVSTITSA, which although our time was limited , what i saw was very nice and I intend to go back and have a better look one day.

That it I hope you enjoy this installment and I will add more soon.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:24 pm

Love the stories here and the pictures look for to reading more about your travels

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:05 pm

ok here goes with the third installment

2006

I had 2 trips that year ,1 3 week holiday and a separate week (for the wedding, mentioned later)
Pomorie
we flew into Sofia where we where picked up by Tina (Tanya,s best friend (i call them the terrible twins as they are so close) and with a couple of hours stop over at the village made our way to the apartment. We did not get to do a great deal of sightseeing that year due to the fact that Tanya,s son Niki was coming over with his girlfriend to get married in Pomorie. That took up a lot of our time either working on the apartment to improve it and making preperations for the wedding. Apart from that one of the highlights of that visit was getting Tanya,s parents to the coast, as they are both in there late seventies and neither of them had ever seen the sea before, even though Kliment is only a 3 hour trip from the village by car.They had been on many coach trips to monasteries but never to the sea. Tanya,s nephew drove them there, and was was quite something to see their reaction, standing on the beach and watching the sea for the first time. her dad sat on the rocky jetty watching the small waves come and go, for what seemed like a very long time , and also watching Ivan (nephew) and i swimming, her mum was watching from the beach with her hands on her hips, saying where are they i cannot see them, it was a sight I will always remember.

Kliment

We caught the train from Burgas to Karlova (as we still did not have a car yet) which was an adventure in its self, I cannot remember the price but it was very cheap, and for a few extra pounds we went first class and had a compartment all to ourselves. The views from the train were well worth the journey. Again we spent the week in and out of Sopot/Karlova, and also helping around the village, by now I was becoming an adopted villager, I was helping cutting hay and transporting it on the trusty donkey cart, cutting firewood and all the things that are normal in a village, much to the amusement of all the neighbors.

The wedding

Up until then I had always flown into Sofia by BA, but as everyone was busy at the apartment , I thought I would try Burgas airport. I flew with a company called Balkan Holidays (never again).When I got to Gatwick (which I hate traveling from) i saw the airoplane, and noticed that it had 3 jet engines, and thought to myself surely they scrapped tristars years ago.It turned out to be some obscure Russian plane (nothing like the nice shiny new airbus in the advert) that on the return flight they could not get started which caused me a 8 hour delay locked into Burgas airport due to the terrorist threats that year.
Anyway back to the wedding, it all went off very well and we had the reception in a friends restuarant by the sea (if anyone knows Pomorie its the one by the jetty near the harbour) I have just written more details of the wedding on the thread about Bulgarian weddings.
We had an apartment full of guests for a couple of days which was fun. Niki &
Sabina went off to Burgas for a few days and when the guests had gone, came back and stayed at the apartment. I flew home at the end of the week as i had to get back to work, and the others stayed on for another 2 weeks.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:09 pm

just read t through and meant to say compartment on the train not apartment , must proof read it better in future.

I've corrected it for you Mike g

Ashley

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:19 pm

Thank you Mike &
Tanya, I should think that you Mike are more like a Bulgarian from reading all this :Clap:it seems that you get stuck in and have a go well done to you, as for the Russian plane :shocked1:rather you than me, great post keep it coming and give my best to your lovely wife and to you ...... H
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:28 am

What another lovely chapter of your life and to include your wedding which I found really interesting and enlightening I didn't really realise that the Bulgarian weddings were like this, its almost the same as some other places in europe thank you both for the share s
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:17 pm

I love to read these little stories and what I like about them most of all is the total honesty which is something you never really get in a book, I know that some of us will leave little bits out here and there but when it comes to real life stories I just love them it shows the reality of life as seem from the writer perspective and not through rose colored specs. thank you both and here's to a happy future
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:14 pm

Great update and you sound so romantic :Hearts:I think you are both very lucky to have each other and to be able to share as you do great post lets have more please
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:13 pm

What lovely stories you 2 write I would love to be able to travel about as you have and to have met some of the people you have encountered along the way, can you tell me do you think you would have taken the same journey had you not met your wife? and if so what would that have been like ?

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:35 pm

Lets have the next one as soon as you can I like the way you write straight from the heart
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:48 am

Hi Sarah, to try to answer your question, throughout my life I have always been very interested in travel and different cultures and traditions, and because of this have always tried hard to see different places be it at home in GB or in other countries. I have over the years visited many different countries, but in fairness before meeting Tanya in London, i knew very little if anything about Bulgaria so I cannot say that i had a burning desire to visit but, as I have mentioned before it came as a very pleasant surprise to me on my first visit to Bulgaria, to discover that it had such diverse scenery all in one country. I enjoy various outdoor hobbies, including skiing, scuba diving, canoeing, motorbikes , mountain bikes and so on, and Bulgaria has the correct terrain for all and more of these things.
I have thought for a long while that I would like to get away from England ( although there are some amazing places I still have not seen here , I am very upset with the way the country is heading). My aim is to retire to our properties in Bulgaria, and spend my hard earned cash and time enjoying the country, and when i have run out of places to see in Bulgaria, it is very well placed to visit many neighboring countries to sample the scenery and culture in them too. At least that is the future plans, we shall see if this actually happens.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:56 pm

Keep it coming Mike and good luck with the retirement g
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:18 pm

Looking forward to reading more of your memoirs
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:14 am

Episode 4
2007
As mentioned before this was the year when we really got to see a lot more of Bulgaria. I will try to find the time to add some pictures from this year to the gallery.

This year i decided to take a 4 week holiday, we were met by Tina &
her husband Spiro at Sofia Airport in there car, as we had a 3 day trip planned before going on the the apartment. They drove us on a very long trip to a town called ZLATOGRAD, which is near the Greek boarders. Tina had been there before with her dance group and as I wanted to have a look at POMPOROVA ( due to in the past having been a very keen skier and part time instructor) she planned the trip for us. We stayed overnight in Zlatograd in a very nice small hotel where we had the traditional food of the area, i was very tired by this stage as it had been a very long day, in the morning feeling much revived we looked around the town. there is a very nice section of preserved buildings used as art and craft demonstrations, we spent most of the morning looking around and then drove on to SMOLYAN, along a road that had some incredable scenery, in Smolyan there is a very interesting museum, with loads of traditional costumes and the history of the area. I was also interested in the plans to extend the siing area of Pomporova into smolyan to make a much bigger area to perhaps rival Bansko and Borovits. We then drove onto Pomporova but to be honest there was not much to see in the summer, of course it would look so much more different in the winter covered in snow. After looking around for a while we drove on to SHOROKA LOKA, where we stayed for the night, In the morning after breakfast we looked around the area at the amazing heavy stone roofs on most of the buildings and some lovely views along the river. We could not stay for too long as we were booked into a 5 star Spa hotel in DEVIN for the night (as a treat) and wanted to make the most of it.We arrived just after lunch and spent a couple of hours around the pool with amazing views of the surrounding area, then sampled some of the procedures on offer ie spa steam etc;
. We had a very nice meal in a resturaunt outside of the hotel, and left about 1 am after having a turkish steam bath and message left feeling very refreshed, we stopped at a truot farm along the way to try 4 different trout dishes, and got on the way as we had a very long drive ahead of us, we did manage to stop for a short time at the BACHKOVA MONESTERY for a look around and the usual photo,s (snimki,s), it was a very tiring trip but we had seen some incredable places and the pampering helped no end.

POMORIE

Up until now we had to rely on other people driving us around , so we decided to buy a car, after looking at a number of them (I have to say that they do not present there cars very well in the car lots , at least not where we went) we settled on a Citroen Picasso 2 ltr deisel, that had just arrived from Italy. We chose this as we wanted a car capable of carrying 5 people and luggage for our trips around the country and to and from the Airport, and this not only does this very well but as a bonus is very good on fuel. We had to register it which involved wasting 1 whole day in a slow moving cue, but as we registered it in Tanya,s name it was not a great problem. Our first trip in the car was to LOZONETS ,I had been reading about thios on the internet, so decided to have a look, its very nice with a lovely small cove in which there is a bar loooking like a Bedouin tent on the edge of the beach. We had a nice time there and o the way back stopped off at KITTEN, which was fairly crowded but again we found a nice bar there set in a tiny inlet with seating areas set on small ledges and also in the water, I think it would probably get very busy in the evening , but was fairly quite when we where there.
Aother trip we did was up to BALCHIK to the summer palace of the Romanian Queen Marie, it was very nice and the gardens were weel worth seeing , but the temperature was up in the 40,s and it became very hard work walking up and down the many steps. The rest of the time was spenteither working on the apartment or on the nearby beach, which is refered to as the Black Beach which gets its name from the lake at the back where most people take the mud and cover themselves (I have done this many times) as its supposed to cure many problems (dating back to the roman times), i am not sure if it does but you never know and its fun anyway. I also bought a mountain bike to get some more exercise but it gets a bit hot in 4o degrees.

KLIMENT

Now we have the car , the trip becomes much easierand we can get around more without relying on other people. We took Tanya,s parents to TROYAN MONESTERY, the road was fun and the veiwsa were very nice, also as with all of the other monesteries I had seen it was beautiful. We spent 1 day cutting fire wood which was hard work in the heat, and another day swimming at HISARAYA in the mineral water swimming pools, Another day we caught the 2 chairlifts above SOPOT up into the mountains with her father ( who knew it well from his shepherding days. There is a very nice ex communist hotel at the top where you can stay for £2 a night but can only get there at weekends on the lift or on an off-road motorbike or an off road jeep, and all around there are scattered rest housesalong the many paths. . When I got back to England I bought a Suzuki SJ 413 jeep (fitted out for off road use) which I intend to get over to the village to enjoy the mountains , I have also since then got 1 of my off roed motorbike to the village for future fun.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:06 pm

Been to Bulgaria so may times and missed so much it just goes to show that if we Brits ventured off the roads there are such lovely places to visit, I admire your courage and adventure in doing these things and I feel a lot of Brits would learn quite a lot from reading your travel journal, I wonder would you have been so keen to wonder around like you did if you weren't married to a Bulgarian lady ? but having read through this I do feel that you are one of those people who was born to explore and I take off my hat to you for that :Thanks1:looking forward to more sorry to be greedy
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:01 pm

sorry for all of the bad spelling and grammer, i wrote it this morning just before going off to work and had to rush it a bit at the end, just got in from work and re-read it and realised I should have left it until I had more time but hay-ho its down in black and white now.

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