Left with a large (7 of us) contingent from Varna Red Flag Hostel - Eric, from Boston, the three of us, and 3 girls from Kiwiville, Kim,Zesty(Zoe),&Lana - walked in the beautiful spring sunshine(after 2 days of cold,rain) the 3 km to the bus station...on at 2 pm, arr. at 5 where the hostel fellows here were waiting to pick us up and drive us up, up, up to their hostel, Hiker's Hostel, owned by 2 Bulgarians but really run by Phil, an Aussie...great breakfasts, nice dorm, only a year old. A bit more $$(20 Lev = $15 US) but with free internet too it's worth it, especially with the great view as well!
The town is quite touristy due to visitors to the "fully restored"(I would say, completely rebuilt) citadel/fort from +/-1200 AD. This is where the second Bulgaian Kingdom's capital was situated. It stands on a rock outcrop overlooking the bend in the river, impressive now with rebuilt walls all around...we were able to see a complete light show due to the holiday weekend, usually they only do it when the take at the gate exceeds 3000 leva($2000-US)! Kind of wierd, but ok since we could view it all from the balcony of the hostel. Touring the "fort" seemed strange in that we kept see AD on ruins so relatively new - even the remains were new actually having been reconstructed or underreconstruction(lots of rebar sticking up).
After 2 nites we all left going in different directions, 3 of us onward to Plovdiv.