The smell of the Black Sea

Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Yo Ho Hostel Varna
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Bulgaria  , Varna,
Friday, September 2, 2011

Varna, Bulgaria - Barry collected the ball on the outside of Bulgaria's penalty area. He sneaks in a cross to Gary Cahill, who chests the ball down and while losing his balance, hits a shot that deflects off the Bulgarian keeper into the far bottom corner. Gingerman stands up and applauds, England are 1-0 up. I am in the centre of Varna city centre, watching Bulgaria v England via a grandstand for a 5 a side tournament that was being held over the weekend. The city put on two big screens to follow their team. While I was still applauding, there were no other England fans in my viewpoint, a few angry Bulgarians turned to look at me and I quickly sat down and stopped clapping. I picked up my 30p beer (delicious) and pretended like nothing happened.

The locals were in really good voice before the first, second then third goal went in. Most gave up and that point and ventured off.

I find myself in Varna, on the Eastern point of Bulgaria next to the Black Sea. I had arrived late in the evening. The train ride from Plovdiv was pretty uneventful, but more pleasant that riding then trains back home. The cars have cabins, in each cabin are 8 seats and loads of storage space above these seats. The train also has windows that can be opened, so one can sneakily stick their head out, to feel the fresh breeze on their face.

Sadly, I wasn't too impressed with Varna. The beach had a funny smell. The problems associated with high tourism no doubt, a very unpleasant sewage smell around the majority of the beaches. The streets were filled with people hassling me to change money or grab a taxi and overall, there was very little to see or experience. I was planning on spending a couple of days relaxing on the beach, enjoying a swim or two but not here. Not when I've dipped my toe in the waters of Rio, Costa Rica and Belize.

I did enjoy finding a small pier. There were many olds guys fishing and there was excellent opportunity for some snaps. Of course, during my stay in Varna, I enjoyed 30p cups of beer, pizza slices for 40p and a couple of ice creams. I took the time in Varna to chill, read some books and enjoy my time in Eastern Europe rather than travelling around like a mad man.

The second morning in Varna, I was planning to check out, hang around the hostel and wait for an evening train to Bucharest. But, during my lazy Saturday, I failed to pick up an international ticket from the international train ticket office that does not open on a Sunday. It was 945am Sunday when it dawned on me. Oh man!

I picked up my stuff, jogged on down to the train station and after a few attempts, grabbed a ticket to Ruse (north Bulgaria, across from Romanian border) via Gorna Oryahovitsa.I had already missed the direct train to Ruse. I should have been annoyed with myself, but then I was going to put my feet up all day at the hostel till 10pm, so if I was moving to my next destination it didn't really make much difference. There was no way of getting to Bucharest, so I would have to sort something out in Ruse.

When I finally got to Ruse, I found a train to Moscow, that was passing through Bucharest. I walked over to it, said where I wanted to go, some conductor got me on the train and only when we were moving did he then realise I had no ticket. He sat me in the naughty cabin. There was an old guy in his 80s and I, sitting in the naughty cabin. After 30 minutes we came to an agreement, paid for a ticket and a great result. I'll be in Bucharest by 8pm!

So, it's been over a week of travelling and how am I doing? Well, to be honest, for the first time in a very long time, I felt home sick. I'm not sure whether it was home sick, or re-runs on Sky sick, or my brother feeding me good sick? Maybe a combination of the three. Maybe it was more the food withdrawal? Cold turkey? Mmmm turkey! I certainly am taking a more relaxed approach to the travelling, compared to my first few weeks in South America. But, overall, I feel good, my trousers fit better, my allergies have stopped and everyday I am witnessing something new and incredible.

Next stop, Bucharest, Romania.
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mum and andy on

could be the pilchard pie you are missing ant. Glad you survived the football match,england should qualify after the wales win.

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