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Posts Tagged ‘veliko tarnovo’

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Veliko Tarnovo was everything I had hoped Nessebar and Varna would be. True, there were a number of tourist shops, but they were mostly confined to one street, and plenty of interesting buildings were scattered round the rest of the town. Our hotel, too, was more the kind of place I expected on a Rick Steves’ tour – small and cute and family run. My roommate and I even lucked into a suite, with two bathrooms and a balcony!

One couple staying at the hotel were fans of Rick Steves’ guidebooks, although they hadn’t realized he was now running a tour of Bulgaria. I was interested to learn that they, too, had stayed at the Art Home B&B in Belgrade, and had not been registered. I had just sent tripadvisor an email, asking why my review of the Art Home had not been posted – it had been a full week since I submitted it.

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Veliky Tarnovo is built on hills, and its castle looms over the town from the highest of them. The group was scheduled to visit the castle, but instead of starting the morning walk there, when the day was cooler and the light better, Lyuba started down on the souvenir street, with a pottery demo. Now, as with the winery tour, and several other demos that often show up tours, I put pottery demos firmly on the “don’t need to see that again” list. Eventually I got tired of hanging around, and checking out the other shops, and took off on my own.

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I wandered in the general direction of the castle, stopping off in a church with an impressive chandelier on the way. Then I settled in with a cup of coffee to enjoy the excellent views from the foot of the path to the castle, expecting that the group would show up soon. When 11:15 came and went with no group, and I had finished my coffee, I looked at the sun, I looked at the steep path up to the castle, I reread Lonely Planet’s not very inspiring description of the renovated remnants up the hill, and I decided the view from below was good enough. (I later learned that the group didn’t get there until much later, having taken in several other demos, aka shopping previews, first.)

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The bus back to town showed up just as I was about to leave, and deposited me almost opposite the restaurant where I ate lunch. I spent part of the afternoon checking out the newer part of town, and part on the net. Dinner had to be early, as we left the hotel at 7:00 for a folk dance performance. As these things go, it was pretty good, although I would have preferred more dancing and less singing, especially as the singing was, naturally, not in English.

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We had already had one birthday in the group, today there was another, and a beautifully decorated cake was wheeled out on the stage after the performance – and after most of the group had been persuaded to go up and dance (assuming step-step-kick counts as dancing). Back at the hotel Lyuba demonstrated how to fix a noodle and syrup dish using noodles from one of the morning demonstrations, and we got to share the cake which was almost too pretty to eat.

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