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Rila and Plovdiv

Rila and Plovdiv

Day 5 was to be a real treat; a visit to Rila Monastery, another world heritage site. On the way we were congratulated for coming back so late the previous evening. And we thought we had gotten away with it. The Monastery has the most important and impressive Bulgarian Orthodox church. It is like a […]

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Sofia

Sofia

Day 4 began with a visit to a rose oil factory. Bulgaria is world renown for rose oil and it is on sale everywhere. We were shown how it is produced and then taken to the shop. At €10 for a couple of Mls we did not buy as much as we had planned. Outside […]

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Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo

In the morning we were taken walking around Veliko Tarnovo. This town is the former capital of the second Bulgarian state. Our first stop was at the Tsarevets hill which has the ruins of an impressive fortress on top. It also has an impressive climb to get to the top. We only managed half way. […]

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Pliska, Madara and Shumen

Pliska, Madara and Shumen

We were collected in the morning and moved on to a mini-bus that I named Dennis. Not quite as comfortable as a full sized coach but adequate. We left Varna and headed to Pliska, the capital of the first Bulgarian state, dating from the 9th or 10th century. Here we visited the ruins of the […]

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Varna

Varna

We travelled to Bulgaria by aeroplane from Krakow and then by bus to our hotel, Briz 2. We were shocked at the apartment blocks. They were terrible; reminiscent of Bishkek. Some looked ready to collapse. The hotel was very pleasant with lovely ground, a pool and other features we did not explore. Our Pilot, Piotr, […]

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Athens

Athens

We arrived in Athens around 7am and were immediately taken on a bus tour of the major local sites prior to being dropped off at our hotel. The big one was seeing the site of the original modern Olympic games in 1896. The stadium was not quite Homebush. As we continued on past the House […]

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Crete

Crete

Our trip to Greece began on Crete. We arrived at Heraklion airport from Warsaw and were nearly killed before we even got our bags. We rode an escalator but when we got to the top the floor was full. People kept coming up the escalator. I could see a huge disaster about to happen and […]

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Lodz

Lodz

I have had a fascination about Lodz since I watched an Andrzej Wajda movie. I also have a school friend whose parent came from Lodz. So when the opportunity came to visit I could not let it pass. Lodz was a successful textile city from the 19th century. Wealthy mill owners built opulent palaces but […]

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Torun

Torun

Torun, the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus, is a gem. The old town is contained within well preserved red brick city walls. Thankfully World War II mostly passed by and left the mediaeval quarter almost unaffected. We were fortunate to book a hotel within the old town about 2 minutes from the Rynek. We planned to […]

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Gdansk

Gdansk

After we left Sofra we headed by train to Gdansk. Our hotel was an ex-commo jobbie adjacent to Solidarity Square where Lech Walesa famously climbed the shipyard fence. The hotel was more or less set in an industrial site and looked pretty unpromising from outside. It was called Gryf which, with a little license in […]