21 August 2013

A Bulgarian train

Well, we checked out of our crappy accommodation, and headed up to the railway station.
Going to Montana or Belogradchik, whichever we could get a train to.  Tourist info had told us we could not get to Belogradchik by train, and would have to go to Montana and catch a bus.  At the station it turned out that we could get a train to Oreshest by train, and this is only about 12km from Belo..whatever…
TBposttrain2Finding the train was a little frustrating as they have platforms 1-6 and tracks 1-12.  Cant make it easy for us.  We had no idea, but when the train was close and people started walking we followed them.  The ticket office and information were both useless.  Once again the ticket office did not want to sell us a ticket at first, and info did not speak any English, French or German!  Very helpful for the main international train station and the first point of call for many tourists to the country.  More than confusing for us,and we had been here six weeks or so already. Ok, so the only other train we had tried to catch didn’t go so well, and we made it onto this one before it left.  The conductor came around and punched our tickets, asking him where we got off, he gave us an approximate time of arrival.  That was nice, and even unexpected.

TBposttrainThe first section of the trip is supposed to be pretty.  It is to an extent.  The train goes through valleys,tunnels and small towns.  It is very pretty, but nothing unique.  To be honest, Anna slept through sections and I through others.  Still, it was nice scenery, and I did get to see the first land fill in Bulgaria.  It seemed to be pushed over the side of the hill, but in other places the hills had high bluffs and a large river.  The mountains seemed to flake away in places leaving stationary stones and cliffs.

Further on the land went flat and we passed more of the ubiquitous sunflower plantations.  These need to be harvested by now, and most were just fields of brown.  Passing Montana, we continued on.  Wondering why we had bothered to take the train.  It was loud, slow and seemed to stop for half an hour at every town and crossroads.  After a huge amount of time, considering that there was no toilet on the train, we arrived at Oreshest.  There was nothing here.  A few buildings and a quarry.  There was a bus, but it was not going to town, so we had to grab a taxi.  This turned out to be a shared taxi that took us all the way to the bus station.  There was a guest house here, but it was full, so we checked into the hotel and went for a look around town.

Our ideal escape for a few days

Our ideal escape for a few days

Finding tourist information easily, we were a little disappointed that it was closed, although we are not impressed with the quality of information provided, we are still willing to give them a chance tomorrow.  Then more of a walk around town.

It is a standard town in the hills, although there is not the greatest difference in hight.  Pretty in its own way, but wandering out a little bit, you can see the rock formations in all their glory.  These are stunning, and knowing that there is a fortress built on the top whets our appetite for tomorrow.

The local legend is that the formations are people frozen in time.  There was a Nun that had a young lover.  When she fell pregnant and gave birth, she tried to escape with her man.  The other Nuns were set against this and tried to stop her.  The Monks tried to help the couple and God in his wrath froze everyone in stone!

The local legend is that the formations are people frozen in time. There was a Nun that had a young lover. When she fell pregnant and gave birth, she tried to escape with her man. The other Nuns were set against this and tried to stop her. The Monks tried to help the couple and God in his wrath froze everyone in stone!

Finding a nice place to drink some wine and watch the sunset was perfect.  It makes us appreciate the fact that we are here, and can see this.  Then topped off with a very nice dinner was perfect.  The only issue we have is that the hotel is booked out tomorrow and we will need to find different accommodation, still, it is a perfect end to a very long and mostly boring train ride.TB13postpano1TB14postpano2TB15postpano3

Happy to be here, and looking forward to what the region has to offer!

AA

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