17 days in Bulgaria - Our Experience

Oct 25th, 2013, 12:03 AM
  #1  
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17 days in Bulgaria - Our Experience

In August 2010, we spent 17 days in Bulgaria. Our main destinations were: Melnik & Rozhen, Rila Monastery, Plovdiv & Bachkovo Monestary, Veliko Tarnovo, Kazanlak & Tryavna, Belogradchik & Vidin, and last but not least Sofia.
Our most sensible advice: if you can, visit Bulgaria in spring or fall. The temperatures in August were just too much. We NEVER had a day with less than 34 degrees Celsius, and it was no comfort that locals told us that these were unusually high temperatures. In Plovdiv, the mercury scale even reached 41 degrees (106 degrees Fahrenheit).
Two weeks is plenty of time to explore pretty much the entire country. We even had time to crash a few times in one place for a few days, especially when a hotel featured an inviting swimming pool.
More information: http://www.oneyearoff.net/countries-...garia-summary/

Those impressions will always stay in our mind when thinking of Bulgaria:
* The huge difference between major cities, which are extremely modern and affluent, whereas the country side often feels like a time warp.
* “National Revival Architecture”... Many city centers were beautifully restored in the last years with colorful houses.
* Monasteries… You could spend a month only visiting monasteries.
* Very slim people, especially younger ones.
* No explanation in English but also often no explanation whatsoever in many of the tourist centers… And of course, it is impossible to find an English speaking guide! In so many countries, you cannot get rid of potential guides that speak almost all languages on this planet, but in Bulgaria, even if you are willing to get rid of some money, you won’t find one.
* The hotel and restaurant infrastructure is excellent, prices unbeatable, probably the cheapest within the European Union. Although all of Bulgaria seems to be travelling during the summer, it was never a problem to find a nice hotel. It seems that the supply widely exceeds the demand.
* Excellent, very healthy food, especially vegetables and fruits taste like homegrown, and yes, the wine.
* Portions in restaurants are gigantic, we never got used to it. We kept ordering appetizer AND main course, but most of the time the appetizers filled us up.
* A really friendly greeting and a warm smile is something you do no get too often in Bulgaria’s service industry. The younger the people the easier it comes, at least that is how we felt. The best service we got was from people who lived abroad. This was also probably linked to their language skills.
* “Art work” sold in the various tourist places is the same all over the country. We were actually quite disappointed to find so little choice.

The highlights of these two weeks in Bulgaria were:
* Belogradchik and especially the tour through the Rock formations with Angel, the owner of the Guesthouse Drakite
* Rozhen Monastery
* Rila Monastery at 09:00 pm, when almost all tourists are gone
* Strolling on the long tree-lined promenade along the Danube in Vidin on a warm summer evening
* Plovdiv, both the old city and the modern pedestrian zone
* Crashing at the pool at Hotel Rozhen & at the Wine Palace in Arbanassi
Bulgarian tasty and healthy food together with a nice bottle of Bulgarian wine.

A few things we did not like?
* The heat!
* The Black Sea Coast north of Varna: too many people, too many resorts (the bit south of Varna, we don’t know)
* The lack of explanations at major touristic sites
* Did with mention the heat?
OneYearOff is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 12:43 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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I like it. Simple and to the point.
sparkchaser is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 01:27 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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I recently had a long conversation with a waitress in a restaurant in the USA who is Bulgarian. We often speak when we are at the establishment where she works. This last time she was showing us photos of her recent wedding in Bulgaria and because of this I opened your post and I I enjoyed your observations. Very succinct and to the point.

I did not realize the country had such good modern facilities. Too bad your trip was less enjoyable due to the high temperatures. For me any travel in summer months can be influenced by crowds and temperatures making it my last choice of time to go abroad.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 01:49 AM
  #4  
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Hi,

you are right, summer months are the worst to travel: crowded, expensive, sometimes hot.
But as my wife is a teacher, I have no other choices.
Yes, it would be much better to travel in Mai or in october...

Infrastructure in Bulgaria is really good, except maybe some roads in remote rural areas.

Cheers
Gilles
OneYearOff is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 03:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 78
Bulgaria is a nice place to travel with so much to see and do. I was there last and it was my unforgettable journey. I hope you have also enjoyed your trip.
MellisaTurner is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 04:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I visited Bulgaria in the second half of September, and the weather was indeed much kinder. (Click on my name for the TR.) I, too, enjoyed my visit, but would recommend skipping the Black Sea coast.

Does your wife not get a spring (Easter) break?
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 07:55 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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YearOff...thought you might like to see some old pics of 1980's Bulgaria and more recent 2005...found the country to be muuch like your report. Probably underrated. We had fun both times and particularly enjoyed being a rare tourist in the 80's! No traffic, good signage (if you can read Cyrillic). Last wife was a folk dancer and she was in her glory, especially leading dances at the wedding we "crashed"....in Veliko Turnovo (see pix)

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...a1980SAnd2005#
tower is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
embarrassing..meant to write "late" wife above
tower is offline  

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