Rob and Joy's winter escape travel blog

A sculpture from the archeolgy museum in Ruse

Outside the Church of Peter and Paul

A Frescoe from inside the Church of Peter and Paul

The city of Ruse used to be the site of Tomis an...

The old casino of Constanta

Rob in the Black Sea

Joy in the Black Sea

All my wine tasting samples from Murfatlar Wine Cellar

Joy having a drink

Rob and all the glasses on the table at the winery

Rob entering the boat

On the Danube just after we started looking towards our first bridge

The scenic pearl - our boat

The statue is representing a Bulgarian soldier

Celebrating my birthday onboard the scenic pearl with some help

Ruse was the first port on our trip as we woke on the first day on the boat. The crew went through the customs procedure formalities whilst we dined in the breakfast restaurant.

Today (17th June) we have another visit to Bulgaria, and also a city that we visited before - Ruse.

Bulgaria has only 7.3 million people and a negative population growth due to a minus birth, immigration, and students studying abroad and never coming home.

It is bordered by 5 countries and mostly along the Danube. They have been members of the European Union (EU) since 2007. They are still struggling with poverty which we witnessed when we travelled on land as the pot-holes out numbered the smooth part of the road.

They ceased being influenced by communism in 1989 which is the same as Romania, so our tour guide had lots of tales to tell that were funny as well as sad in relation to growing up under communistic rule.

Have I mentioned the weather that we are having? The last few days have been sunshine and clear skies and 28-30 degrees. We have actually only had rain once in Europe and only when we had a few hours travelling in the bus.

Back to Ruse - this citys importance is from the Danubes point of view - as it is the intersection of many trade routes between Istanbul and central Europe.

There is one bridge called the 'bridge of friendship' which was built in 1952-54, that is the only bridge along the 290 mile long Danube border between Bulgaria and Romania.

After our visit to Ruse we then visited the village of Arbanasi, which has been kept authentic and preserved displaying its character of which it was originally designed - from the 16th century.

In particular, we were able to visit the 17th century 'Church of the Nativity', which had many beautiful frescoes depicting the typical Greek Orthodox faith. Again like other places we were unable to take photos inside, but were just able to absord the atmosphere and listen to the singers who performed for us.

Our lunch was in the town of Veliko Tarnovo at a large hotel. Whilst we were there we visited market stalls for shopping of hand made crafts. When we were eating our lunch we were able to soak up the scenery and look across at the 12th century fortress on Tsarevets Hill which contains the former Royal Palace, Patriachs Palace and Patriachs Church

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