Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Sunny Plovdiv

30 October 2010 | Bulgaria
Inside the Plovdiv church,St Constantine and Elena

30th October 2010

Plovdiv, the second city of Bulgaria.

The old town of Plovdiv is a charming part of the city. The view from one of the 6 hills of Plovdiv, shows two parts of the city. To the west the view is of churches, orange roofs of old houses across to the statue of a Russian soldier on the Hill of the Liberators and on to the mountains. Looking the other way we see the river and the huge bleak looking apartment towers of the communist era. The cobble stone lanes of the old town wind past old houses/ museums, beautiful churches and Roman ruins. The tourist season has finished so today we enjoyed the sunny lanes with just a sprinkling of Bulgarian holiday makers.

This weekend is a 3 day holiday weekend, the train from Sofia on Friday was busy with early holiday makers. The Sofia train station was a bit confusing but with the help of Maria a very helpful English speaking student, we found the right platform. Platform 8, there were only signs for platforms 1 to 6 and every other sign is in unreadable, to us, Bulgarian. We have learnt to ask young people for directions, the Russian influence ceased about 1989, so everyone over about 30 has very limited English but for the 20 somethings it seems to be the second language of choice. Maria shared our carriage on the nearly 3 hour trip to Plovdiv then she and her boyfriend gave us a lift to the old town where Maria walked us to our hotel. Her boyfriend has relatives in Auckland and has a miniature All Black rugby ball car key ring to prove it. New Zealand connections everywhere, even in Bulgaria!

The weather is beautiful, sunny blue skies has everyone strolling the main paved area of Plovdiv, drinking coffee and beer in outdoor cafes, little kids driving miniature cars in circles , everyone enjoying the sun. Today was a no hat, no gloves day. Outside our hotel in the old town wedding parties competed for the best photo backdrops, ancient walls, church frescos and cobbled lanes with overhanging houses.

The interiors of all the churches we have seen so far have been amazing, but the murals in the church of St Constantine and Elena are the best so far. I am sure you could visit every day for a year and see something different. Every wall, ceiling, door and column is
painted with religious icons or bible scenes. Bulgaria is certainly the place for those interested in Church architecture.

Tonight we had dinner in a restaurant housed in one of the oldest existing houses in Plovdiv. It was like dining in great -great grandma's parlour. Lace curtains, leafy pot plants and a piano in the corner. Wood paneled ceiling with flowery carpet and delicious traditional Bulgarian food. I am enjoying the soup here, it's a meal all by itself. Alan enjoyed his tripe soup in Sofia but decided to forgo the tripe tonight for a traditional Bulgarian chicken dish recommended by our Guesthouse receptionist..

Tomorrow back to Sofia.

Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ