Boat Trip, Day Eleven

Bulgaria

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[We landed in Vidin and immediately began a one hour bus trip to Belogradchik.  Yes, we’re in Bulgaria now, where the Cyrillic alphabet was invented.  Remember that for your next trivia contest.  My Latin name is spelled “Tom Obert,” my Cyrillic name is spelled “Tom Obept.” See, it’s not so hard! Then our last day is in Bucharest, where Romania is the only country on our trip with a Romance, rather than Slavic, language.  Bulgaria and Romania both joined the European Union in 2007, so we didn’t have to do the passport thing but the Euro is not yet in effect as the currency in either country,]

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[And there’s our ultimate morning destination – the Belogradchik Fortress.]

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[No, not a ship porthole.  We are in a Belogradchik 5-star hotel where we stopped for tea and crumpets and other things.]

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[Out on the hotel’s back porch, I thought we were back in Zion?]

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[Remember me?  I want to go to the Baltic next, or the Galapagos, or . . . ]

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[Yup, Zion-like.]

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[It was a 5-star hotel . . . I counted them!]

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[Some terrific vistas with snow-capped mountains.]

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[How could I not?]

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[Bill takes a one-handed parting shot.]

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[Leaving downtown Belogradchik and the hotel . . . ]

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[We advance on the Fortress . . . ]

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[Necessary information . . . ]

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[Still outside the walls . . . ]

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[The door is open . . . ]

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[The ultimate destination . . . ]

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[And we’re in!  An ancient fortress in the Balkan Mountains dating back to the Roman Empire.]

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[We’re going up there . . . to some degree.  The Super (and Karen and Bill) did all 200 steps to the top of the rocks – I went halfway and decided it was too hot to go further. The two rocks on the left are Adam and Eve with the First Kiss. ]

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[The view of the town from the base of the Fortress.]

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[The pre-ascent mingling, deciding how far do we want to go?]

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[Bill, on the left, appears to be checking wind direction before the climb.  Some are on the way up.]

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[We have begun!]

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[At the halfway point, 100 steps up, Karen stops for a photo op.]

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[A bit of a rest and recovery area before the next assault . . . ]

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[Nice views from right here, says I.]

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[Bill and the Super move on to the summit!]

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[The Supervisor took these photos from the top.  All hail the Supervisor!]

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[What was that?  Something about “all hail the Supervisor?”]

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[Time to head back down . . . ]

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[It’s this way!]

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[Anne and Bert, being of saner minds, explored the other side of the Fortress while we were playing mountain goat.]

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[Oh, now I understand.]

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[Leaving the Fortress.]

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[This may be Belogradchik . . . it may be Vidin.  I don’t remember anymore but we were on the bus on the way back to the boat.]

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[Definitely Vidin . . . ]

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[And definitely the boat for lunch.  You may have noticed Kathy and Reetz weren’t with us at the Fortress.  They opted for a home hosted cooking demonstration.  The above is what they made and brought back to the boat for all to share.  Yummy!]

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[After lunch, we did a walking tour of our port, Vidin (pop. 80,000), an ancient city that is allegedly the poorest in the EU.  This was in a lovely Danube riverside park, but it does not receive any maintenance (by our Western standards). The further we go into the old Iron Curtain countries, the more we see the struggles to develop economically. Lots of abandoned buildings or buildings, such as the synagogue (five photos below) , where there is no money for restoration. The unemployment rate in Bulgaria is 25 per cent.]

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[Well, now you know Cyrillic!]

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[Mother of Bulgaria monument]

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[Soviet-era worker statues?]

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[Park and synagogue in bad states of disrepair.]

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[A lovely statue that was falling apart in the back.]

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[Bada Vida Fortress.  Neat name, and love ‘working’ days and ‘resting’ days.]

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[And then I almost got stuck in a tiny, spiral stairway getting to the top.]

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[I think you can guess what this room was used for?]

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[Back to the boat for happy hour and folk dancing!]

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[Again, bon apetit!]

Only one more day on the boat, an evening in Bucharest, and home (our Eastern contingent will spend 4 more days in Transylvania after this . . . Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, et al).

Old age is not a battle.  Old age is a massacre.  ~  Philip Roth

Up next:  Gopher coaches?

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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