A Travellerspoint blog

This is the chicken

One thing I neglected to mention in my previous entry about Bulgaria, is about the language. In case you didn't know, Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet (like Russian), with all their crazy characters. Backwards R's and N's, pi's (with tail or without), and a whole bunch of other crazy ones. In addition to that, many of the Roman letters that they use make a completely different sound than their English counterparts. Confusing, eh?

What's even crazier is that in about a week, I've actually gotten used to it. I can pretty much read it now with no problems (although very slowly). Of course I still don't have any clue of what it means, but it's very handy for things such as street signs or signs on busses telling you where they are going.

Another cunfusing thing about Bulgaria has to do with how they say yes and no. Unlike most of the world, Bulgarians nod their head to say no, and shake their head to say yes. It hasn't been much of a problem, and most of the time we don't even notice. I assume they are well aware of their backwardness, and don't expect tourists to do the same. But I first noticed it at a restaurant when a man at another table called for the waitress. She was in the middle of something, so she just looked at him, and (to my perception) gave him an very mean look and shook her head to say no. Of course, with it all being reversed, she was actualy saying "Yes, I'll be there in a second".

Other than that, today we went to Rila Monastery. It was amazing. It's set in beautiful mountains, and it's painted with stripes all over it, giving it a great look. It was also huge compared to the monasteries that we saw in Romania. The funniest thing happened as we were exploring around and we were heading into a random room. Other tourists were coming out, and one of them, said in broken english to us "this is the chicken!". She was all proud that she could say that, but it just left Jocelyn and I really confused. My first thought was that maybe this was where they used to keep the chickens (weird). But after a second it all became clear when her husband corrected her. He kind of laughed, and then said "this is where they made soup... the kitchen". We started cracking up at this slight (and I guess quite easily made) mistake. She noticed too, and laughed at it too with her group. Good times.

Posted by moutallica 10:57 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

Beaches, Ruins and Yogurt

Travels in Bulgaria

It's been a while since my last update, but we have now left Romania, and are in Bulgaria, the land of yogurt. It's everywhere.... and delicious. The rest of Romania was nothing too special. Some advice for anybody thinking of going there: stay away from touristy Transylvania, and stick with the amazing north (Maramures and Southern Bucovina). Bucharest was nothing special either, just another big city.

Bulgaria has been pretty cool, although maybe a bit touristy (but that's probably just because we've picked the touristy places to go to). The Black Sea coast was nice. We stayed in a nice little guesthouse right in the old town of Sozopol (we could even hear the waves from the window). The beach was really nice, but don't be fooled. The water is not black at all, it's quite clear.

We've decided to skip the capital, Sofia, because it sounds like just another big city. So we've come to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second city, instead. It's cool because we're now starting to see ancient Roman ruins lying around. This city was called Phillipopolis way back then, and there's a really cool amphitheatre (still in use) and part of a huge stadium (that continues under the pedestrian mall), where no doubt countless gladiators fought each other to the death!!!

Posted by moutallica 00:30 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

Bad Luck in Brasov

Well... I can't say I've had the best few days. I was pickpocketed and lost my wallet (with all my cards and about $100) and camera. We had just arrived in Brasov, and were at the train station. We had to take a bus to the hostel, and as soon as the bus arrived, there was all these people pushing and shoving to get on. We're quite used to this now, people can be very rude while scrambling to get on a bus (don't even think about lining up), that we didn't think to much about it. Even on the bus (before it started moving), there were plenty of people pushing and shoving. However, because this seems to be quite common here, we paid little attention.

The problem was that after a little while, the bus was suddenly not very full. This seemed a little strange, and then just a few seconds later, I felt my pocket, and noticed that my wallet was gone. It all fell into place and made perfect sense at that exact second. All those people had been working together, pushing and shoving so that we wouldn't notice. I didn't know what to do, but we quickly got off the bus (it still hadn't left), and sort of looked around. Of course, they'd gone by then and there was nothing to do. We found a police officer, but there's nothing that he could do anyways. Apparently, these people 'work' the train station, and they are very good at what they do. That officer gets reports of this every couple hours, and countless others don't realise until they are in town. Of course, it didn't help that I've gotten very comfortable around here. At the start of the trip, I would always keep my hands in my pockets in those situations. I was also stupid to havemy camera in my cargo pocket, which is something I never used to do, but it's convenient. I won't be doing that again, though.

While the situation does suck, there's really nothing I can do about it. I'm glad that Jocelyn is with me (and that she didn't have anything taken), so I'll be OK money-wise until I can get my cards replaced. I'm also happy that pretty much every other Romanian we've met has been extremely friendly and nice, although this would probably also contribute to why I didn't suspect anything.

Posted by moutallica 10:07 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Travels in Transylvania

We're still in Romania, and I'm loving it. It's such a great country. After spending a lot longer than we thought in Sighet (and visiting a whole bunch of little villages around there too), we headed to an area called Southern Bucovina, which happens to be in the north east corner of the country. The train ride there was amazing, as the whole country side is just rolling green hills, with little villages along the way.

We decided to stay in a little village called Vama, and use that as our base to explore all the monasteries around the area. This town was great, as it wasn't touristy at all. Just a few guesthouses around. The next day it was off to see the monasteries. The thing is, that the busses here suck. The good thing is that it's very easy to hitch hike, so people just do that instead. We always manage to get rides quite quickly, and you're just expected to pay the bus fare (although sometimes they won't accept that). Anyways, we got to the monasteries, and they were awesome. The insides and outsides are completely covered in frescoes. Cartoon Jesuses and other important biblical people are great to see. It's really strange because the insides always seem to have one room that's completely covered in gruesome images. Saints heads are being chopped off (and the halo remains around the head) and blood is gushing everywhere.

After that, it was off to Transylvania, the home of Dracula. We wanted to break our long journey up by spending a night in a city called Cluj-Napoca. We thought that this would be a smart idea, but man, were we wrong. We had the intention of camping, and since that was a bit away from the city, we had dinner first. We then followed the direction from our Lonely Planet, and that's when things went wrong. It told us to take a bus to the end of the line, from where it would be an easy (and marked) 2km walk. nope. It turns out the end of the line is way past where we wanted to get off, and the 2km turned out to be a lot more. There were no signs either, so we relied on friendly locals. We arrived after almost 2 hours, at about 11:00.

The next day wasn't so great either. Our plan was to take an early bus to Sibiu, so that we would have the whole day to explore that city. However, the only bus that we could find (it turns out the bus station has been moved, so it was not in our book) was at 4pm. We then arrived to Sibiu in the late evening, and went to the hotel that our guide recommends. However, this was full, as were any other hotels that we managed to find around town. We started joking about sleeping in the park, but once 10 o'clock came around, it started to sound like a good idea. Our saviour was when we decided to check the internet, and found that a hostel had recently been opened, and it turned out they had room for us. Yippee!

We're are now in Sighisoara, birthplace of Vlad Tepes. You may know him better as Dracula. We saw the house where he was born, which has now been turned into a tourist trap restaurant, where the waiters dress up in capes and everything. But at least the town is really nice, even if it is a bit too touristy.

Posted by moutallica 10:15 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Picture Time!

Yay!!!! What you've all been waiting for.... more pictures. These include Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. Enjoy.

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Posted by moutallica 07:57 Tagged photography Comments (0)

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