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Visiting Arbanassi

sunny 26 °C

I've been staying at a great hostel in Veliko Tarnovo, Hostel Mostel. It's in a lovely old building and despite the heat, I've had a great sleep both nights.

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Hostel Mostel

Since they had no planned tours today, I decided to walk a 4km path over the hills to a village called Arbanassi. A kiwi woman I met on the tour yesterday wanted to do the walk too, so we set out together. I'm really impressed by this woman, her children have grown, so she's sold her house, quit her job, and set off around the world for a year. What an amazing thing to do.

We both had visions of it being a lovely winding path, but as soon as we got off the road, we were in for a rude awakening. It was mostly uphill, though long grass, prickly twigs, trees with thorns, and just generally scratchy things. The wild flowers were lovely though, and the views pretty good. We could see 65 km across the valley to the abandoned building we visited yesterday.

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The walk to Arbanassi with a pile of rocks marking the "track"

After about an hour, the path disappeared and we carried on blindly, aiming for the houses high on the hill above us. We only saw one dead snake. Eventually, we climbed up over what I am pretty sure was a hotel's compost heap and onto the village road.

Arbanassi was a favourite village of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, before they destroyed it. Today, it is a collection of old houses, churches, monasteries, and holiday homes of the wealthy from Sofia. Our first stop was a restaurant recommended by our hostel for lunch. The salads are fantastic here, but I always get carried away and order another dish as well.

After lunch, we wandered around the streets, with not another tourist in sight, admiring the old buildings, stone walls, and cobblestone streets. We stopped to chat to a few local artists, but both felt guilty that we're not buying anything for fear of adding extra weight to our backpacks.

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Most of the historic buildings have been converted into hotels with mehana (taverns). As with everywhere I've been so far in Romania and Bulgaria, they have flowers everywhere and lovely outdoor dining areas. I liked this little wagon filled with flowers.

flowers_in_arbanasi.jpg

By early evening, we decided it was time to head back to Veliko Tarnovo. The only problem was, we couldn't find the track. We ended up asking a front-end loader driver who thought we were completely nuts walking over the hills. He couldn't speak a word of English but was having a fit and making hand gestures that roughly translated to "you're going to get eaten by something" much to his friend's amusement. Once we did find the trail, we were off and racing. It turned out the guy could have been right, as when we got back down to the road, a rather large wolf looking dog was blocking our path. We scrambled around in the stinging nettle arming ourselves with big sticks in case he threatened us, but fortunately a few cars passed and he moved off the road.

Back at the hostel, we had a dinner of Bulgarian Bean Stew and Beer waiting for us. After our adventure, the beans were pretty good, and the beer was bloody great.

Posted by Gotmybindle 11:06 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bulgaria veliko_tarnovo arbanassi

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Comments

You will be a beer virtuoso by the time you return! Sounds as if you are having a blast.

by Jodi

Hey, no ideas about quitting your job ok! :)

by Melissa

.....considering how much my health has improved since I've been traveling, I think both your ideas sound perfect!

by Gotmybindle

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