Veliko Turnovo

23 09 2010

Veliko Turnovo (aka Veliko Tarnovo). First real (new) stop on our returning home trip. Starting off in Istanbul we caught the overnight train up into Bulgaria and onwards to Veliko Turnovo, at one point the Bulgarian Capital.

The trip was eventful. Fun and games with the train conductor trying to assign us a shared birth cabin rather than the private 2 berth we paid for. Still, with the train mostly empty all worked out. Having eaten before embarking, we anticipated some sleep before arriving into Bulgaria. What wasn’t anticipated was the 1am wake up call to get off the train and visit immigration and customs. From the Turkish. Pyjamas and all we clambered out into the snow (lots of snow and still snowing), down onto the tracks, back up onto the next platform and into a queue of, well, us. A quick stamp and all done.

The conductor had other ideas. Feeling like he had done us a favour by giving us a private cabin, I found 30 Euro’s thrust into my hand and a request for duty free cigarettes. 4 cartons it was. Turns out that as an conductor he’s not allowed to buy duty free at the border, so he gets passengers to do it for him. My new best friend 🙂

The Bulgarian customs and immigration was much more civilised. They came onto the train allowing us to stay warm. They had computers and seemed surprised to find and Australian on board. Didn’t quite know what to do with the passport. 5 mins and all done.

Unfortunately we were cold. Very cold. As in middle of winter with no train heating cold. They stuffed something up while changing engines, and we ended up wearing all the clothes we could find.

Arriving into Veliko was magical. Rustic, clean fresh snow everywhere. And out ride nowhere to be found. Staying with the absolutely fantastic Hostel Mostel (very very highly recommended to all), they provide a lift from the station. Unfortunatly being low season there was only one girl working so she advised us to take a taxi. Easier said than done. A local “archeologist” took pity on us and in return for us paying his way got us into a taxi and moving. Still, we arrived and were made to feel more than welcome.

Veliko is a town built on a river. Not just any river but an amazing bend on the Yantra River.

Veliko Tarnovo

Its an old communist city used as a resort of sorts. Check out the hotel (middle of picture) for a great example of amazing communist archetecture. Its a massive image so load it up and look around.

Veliko Turnovo Panorama

One of the highlights of any visit to Veliko is the old fortress of Tsarevets.

Tsarevets Panorama

To enter you need to cross a bridge guarded by 3 gates and the famous Lion of Tsarevets.

Welcome to Tsarevets
Lion of Tsarevets

The church on top was somewhat of a surprise. Rebuilt by the communists in 1986 (from memory) it was decorated in a modern abstract communist method. Quite a shock. Due to the snow we were the only ones there (except for the lady working there) so had the place to our selves. Lots of interesting pics.

Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church

Other really cool stuff in Veliko includes the Monument of the Assens, a memorial to Bulgarian kings made of a giant sword and 4 horsemen.

Monument of the Assens

A bridge crosses from the hotel to the monument, Stambolov’s Bridge.

Stambolov’s Bridge

Crossing the River

The Dark River

Other fun sights we found, an old woman shovelling snow next to the war memorial using a shovel made from an old sign.

Sign of the Times

And some cool graffiti down near the hostel.

Red Head Graffiti

Overall an amazing place. Highly recommended to visit. Amazing food, friendly people and cheap cheap cheap.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: