bus from Varna to Nessebar
The weird poky little bus station that we had arrive at was apparently the main bus station. Now that we want to go further south along the Black Sea coast, we had to go back there to catch another bus.
As we could not find out accurate bus times (The bane of Bulgaria) we ended up sitting at the station for a long time waiting. It seems as if we have spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in bus stations, but we managed to get one.
The trip was pretty interesting when the trees beside the road were thin enough to see through. We followed the coast for a bit before going up into the mountains then back along the coast again. As we approached Nessebar we started going through a built up area. It is similar to Surfers Parasite in Queensland. All skyscraper towns or resorts. Built right up to the beach. Each with their own section of sand put aside for their umbrellas. This is not my idea of an ideal beach get away, but apparently it is very popular. There were a few wild sections of beach to the north, but without a car it would be very tricky getting to them.
Nessebar is a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. There is the old UNESCO listed town on the island, with the new city growing up around the mainland beaches. We had expected to be dropped in new town, and were very happy to find that the bus went all the way to the island. This was good for us as we did not particularly want to walk. Being deposited at the entrance to the old fortress and walking through the centuries old walls, now in ruins led us back in time.
To a place where everything is a tourist souvenir shop or restaurant.
We are right in the middle of peak tourist season and everyone is out in force to fleece you for all you are worth. People throng the streets,with cameras slung around their necks, and little kids in tow. Hawkers are displaying their wares on the narrow cobble stone streets, and the old buildings rising up on every side. Interspaced with open areas of old ruins. This place has been Roman, Byzantine, Turkish and Bulgarian. Being on the coast it has been fought over quite a lot and is one of the main trade routes for early ships.
We expected it to be easy to find accommodation, yet there were not an abundance of signs hanging out over doors. This is another big contrast with Romania. Everyone in Romania that has a spare bedroom has a sign out letting you know you can stay there. They do exist here, but without the signs. This makes it difficult if not impossible to find them. We asked for directions, and were sent to a fairly decent place, a bit out of the way of the central road, so it was pretty quiet. Just the way we like it.
The rest of the day and the next was spent exploring this quaint little town. The small alleyways, the ruins of over 80 churches in the tiny island (If they had all been operating at once, there would have been no room for people to live) and the walls around. The 18 or so churches left range from bare foundations all the way to perfect buildings converted into small museums. Only one of them is still being used, and it seems to be the only operating church on the island. The stone and brick work in them are also of an excellent quality,and one in particular stands out. Even though it is only the structural walls that still exist, you can clearly see the work that has gone into it. Another is reminisce of Neamt with round tiles plastered along the upper walls. Different styles for different ages. All on display for us.
Walking around the walls you can find little swimming spots along the coast line and explore ruined towers. Drinking bad Bulgarian wine. We have gotten used to the very cheep, very good Romanian wines, and the sour, almost vinegar white wine of Bulgaria is shocking. So we are switching back to beer, and when we make a mistake, Rakia.