Thursday, October 2
Finally I feel like I am on vacation! The town of Veliko Tarnova, said to be one of Eastern Europe's most beautiful cities, has proved to be just that. The hillsides are crammed and stacked with villas, the sun drenched sidewalks crammed with stacked coeds. The leaves are turning on the beech and willow trees that line the meandering river far below a clear October sky. The ancient citadel watches over me as I wander the avenues and drink beer from cheap and excellent cafes. After weeks of cheese and bread, here in Bulgaria I can finally afford to eat out!
Getting here has required some work however. The train ride from Sarajevo to Sofia, though long ago, is not easily forgotten. Twenty four solid hours of ambling the countryside, confined to a smoke filled car, punctuated by several late night passport checks. Each time they would look me over pretty good and call in my name. Was it my face (crazed) my name (Russian?) my age (war vet) or my nationality (friend or foe), I will never know.
I had spent this time in the company of Susan from Seattle. We whiled the hours getting to know each other quite well, as only travelers will, and shared some walks and meals in Sofia. The time for our paths to diverge was fast approaching, so imagine my surprise when my early morning announcement that I would not accompany her to the train station that day (small head cold coming on) was met with a frosty "thanks for nothing" and a slammed door behind her. I will never understand women. I gotta laugh it off.
Even more so when I discovered, after a 3 hour train ride, that the delightful Bulgarian town of Plovdiv, my destination for the day, was hosting an international tech fair. Not a room to be had, so what could I do but chuckle and hustle my butt back to the train station and back to the room I had just come from!
So that is the story of how I came to be here, blissfully buzzed, ready to discover the tale, yet untold, of where I am going.