After 4 days on my couch watching “Community” and eating my bodyweight in chocolate i got so fed up that i went to the train station and after 4 hours in one of these:
i ended up in the third largest city in Bulgaria named Varna. I had quite a few hours to kill so i joined the Free Varna Tour after having taken part in the Plovdiv and Sofia versions. The tour was free and informative and it was fun to meet 2 Canadian birdwatchers who were also in my group. However, besides the sea garden (which is pretty much a nice 50km park by the sea stretching from Burgas to Varna) i was not so impressed. It is a huge tourist hub and even in April there were lots of tourists and i guess i prefer untouched nature. The highlight in Varna was the train station:
Oh well, i might have found something else to do there as well…
After Varna i took a 1.5h busride up to the small coastal town of Shabla. There i spent 2-3 days by the sea near deserted fishing villages, reading a book, not having internet access and enjoying the quiet and beautiful nature. Oh and the locals staring at me was kinda fun, i guess they do not get many foreigners outwith the summer season. Shabla is famous for the lighthouse but also features a pier that has certainly seen better days.
I also ended up spending a day in Balchik which sits between Varna and Shabla. I heard the town housed the former summer residence of the Romanian queen and i was intrigued. In reality it is this huge complex right by the sea featuring a magnificent botanical garden and about 8 or so buildings. Entrance was 5 leva and i think it was worth it.
Overall it was a really cool few days spent walking by the sea and driving through the land of windmills. I got to practice my Bulgarian, wait for buses and trains, eat old bread from corner shops while waiting for buses that should have come an hour ago, but hey, it is all part of the Bulgarian experience. Feel free to get in touch with more specific travel questions 🙂