|Madara Horseman near Shumen|
Our drive down and up the Black Sea coast was relatively uneventful given the past few days. South towards the Turkish border are some remnants of old soviet industrial institutions that lie abandoned now on the seashore.
North the road gets much better though still two lane almost to Burgas. There are a smattering of seaside resorts some leftover soviet construction ones, others recent additions. There is no road construction going on though in the country and it seriously needs it.
|One of many 9th century churches in Nessabar|
What struck us here is the architectural difference of the town. Stone walls for the main floor and wood clad walls for the upper floors. Also, the churches, built between the 4th century AD and 11 century AD all had a very similar design. And in the Orthodox religion apparently each ‘class’ had its own church, so that was why there were so many in such a small old town centre.
Along this stretch of coast we ran into 3 different vehicle accidents within a very short distance. All on narrow 2 lane road. Since there are very few other roads everybody just stops and gets out if traffic is blocked in both directions. With the motorcycle we wound our way thru the stopped traffic and made our way around the accidents and continued on. We definitely wouldn’t have got to our destination for the day had we stayed in line.
|Sandra with Phillip and Yoanna|
|Plaman and Diana at Plitska|
|Statues are part of the Soviet legacy|
|1300 Steps Up 1 per year|
|Like Star Wars figures of 9 th century Kings|
In addition the Madara Horseman, which adorns their coinage, the lev (BGN) was found carved into an ancient cliffside just a few kms away. And the surrounding area to the horseman was an ancient cave dwelling area. The place is beautiful to see.
Again Bulgaria has been fought over ‘forever’ it seems and was annexed by Russia after WWII.
|Water source piped in|
We definitely benefited from Yoanna’s dad’s knowledge of the sites, he has such a passion for the area. And we really enjoyed the company of her family, who were celebrating the arrival of their first born grandchild/great grandchild. We are just so appreciative for being able to be guests of theirs. There is no way the sights would have meant as much to us without Yoanna’s dads explanations which Yoanna and Diana translated to English for us over a 2 day period. What an enriched experience! and great food. Thanks Diana and Yanka.
We also learned that the common man in Bulgaria doesn’t believe that belonging to the EU has made Bulgaria a stronger country. It has facilitated an exodus of people to other EU and north American countries but those that remain are witnessing a very difficult time. In contrast Romania is doing well after its revolution against its communist state. Roads are excellent, the economy is cooking.
Buildings that the soviet era had begun, now sit unfinished or unused in Bulgaria. The routine and order to the peoples lives the soviets brought has now been replaced by uncertainty about their economic future. There is the perception that the EU controls quotas for products in such a manner that it restricts economic development of a region like Bulgaria that has lower wages and many raw resources. They have only joined the EU since 2006 some 16 years after the fall of communism. It doesn’t seem they accomplished much before the EU. We hope for this and future generations of proud Bulgarians that the EU does benefit them.
We did discuss the difficulty we encountered with the current Bulgarian government in getting tourist information like we did for other countries. Yoanna’s dad shared that same experience when his masters dissertation in Economics based on a viable tourism industry in Bulgaria was accepted but without discussion suggesting they had no interest in the content. It is yet another area of great economic potential. The Balkan states during the soviet era used to be the summer playground for soviets due to its great weather and beaches, now the former soviet countries travel elsewhere and that economic void has not been filled with other visitors.
economic void has not been filled with other visitors.
But the best part was seeing Bulgaria through the eyes of a proud Bulgarian family.
|Four Generations at Yanka's house|
|everyone at Breakfast, they don't do |
breakfast in Bulgaria this was just
for us, so we'd leave LOL
|Yanka's house in Pleslav|
|Old Bulgarian Border now a toll fee collection|
|7 Nuclear reactors in total|
Bulgaria exports power
So we have said goodbye to Bulgaria by way of a GPS programming error (mine). I went off on the wrong road from Shumen and after beating ourselves up on a bad road wasn’t going to go back so we have now crossed over into Romania. The Cyrillic alphabet is my excuse.