Day 17 & 18: Mountains Beyond Mountains… Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

After our awesome trip to the surrounding areas of Veliko Tarnovo, Mike got itchy feet and insisted that we take a walk up the countless hills to visit the sights actually IN the town. My legs were killing me and I’ve worn a hole into my shoes already but I couldn’t miss the chance to see the fortress… or the views.

Sunday 15th June 2014
Tsarevets Fortress is a bunch of ruins on top of a hill in Veliko Tarnovo. Ruins aren’t really the most interesting of things (for me) but we couldn’t come to VT and not visit. At just 6 BGN each, it didn’t cost much and I actually found myself enjoying it, despite how sweaty my face got.

The entrance to Tsarevets Fortress

As you walk along the main path there are spectacular views of Veliko Tarnovo. There are also people with model horses and thrones asking if you would like a picture as a King or Queen for 4 BGN. Mike was very much tempted to dress up as a knight but I wasn’t in the mood for such folly.

Views from the fortress
More houses in the hills of Veliko Tarnovo

We took the left track, which later ended up being the “adventurers” track. As it somehow incorporated an overgrown, bug ridden walkway (that I don’t think we were supposed to take), a steep climb up a rocky, mud track and then a dodgy looking ladder on to the platform by the cathedral.

From the left hand track you can see the river meandering through the valley, with buildings dotted all over the hills. You come across a big tower which looks to be held together by scaffolding. I wasn’t sure you were supposed to climb it but we did anyway. I cursed our ancestors for their tiny feet as I struggled up the staircase sideways in my beasty size sixes (yeh, beasty).

Once we made it to the top of the hill we chose to bypass the 2 BGN lift to the top of the tower and went inside the main doors at that level instead. The cathedral was very pretty, with lots of paintings and murals all over the walls and ceiling. I laid down on the floor to take a photo of the ceiling and I could have fallen asleep there. The nice cool stone on my back my glorious.

The ceiling and main light source in the cathedral

We spent the rest of the day enjoying a late lunch at a small tavern, down an alleyway (you can see what we ate here) and gorging ourselves on pasta made for us by the lovely lady at reception in our hostel.

Monday 16th June 2014
On Monday we had to send the postcards we’ve been hanging on to since Sighisoara. Annoyingly, when we found the post office (just in time by the way, they shut at 1PM) the stamps she was trying to give us covered most of my messages to my grandparents. Just as I selected two new postcards and started to write out the addresses again she gave me two smaller stamps which would have easily snuggled around my writing on the originals. She then kicked us out of the post office and locked the door.

Instead of returning home and wasting the day in the hostel, we went back to Sammy’s Garden for a drink. I had it stuck in my head that I wanted a milkshake but the surly waitress had denied a fellow Hostel Mostel guest a milkshake the other night because “the bar man would be angry.”

I tried my luck anyway.

She gave me a horrible look and Mike ordered a frappe of some sort. She clomped off in her high heels and we went back to enjoying our view. The milkshake was amazing by the way.

Strawberry milkshake at Sammy’s Garden

 On our walk home we found chicken soup for as cheap as 1.40 BGN. We didn’t have any, but we knew where we were going if dinner was a little too on the light side.

And that’s it really! We’ve spent a lot of time just relaxing in the hostel and on the patio here. The people we have met and spent considerable time with have been lovely and there are a few that we plan on meeting up with later in our travels.

The next day, we wanted to try a popular restaurant that we had been walking past all week. Check back for our review of Bulgarian food and our travels for the next few days, as we are on the move again.
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