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
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19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
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24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
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13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
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08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Rila Monastery

03 November 2010 | Skopje Macedonia
Sunny and warm
3rd November 2010

Last night we arrived in Skopje the capital city of Macedonia. The trip was mostly in the dark as we had got our bus times and directions a little stuffed up, so have yet to really see what the place is like. We are now putting a little more effort into deciphering the Cyrillic alphabet so we can recognize place names, especially on buses.

Last Sunday afternoon we wandered around Sofia in glorious sunshine our last look before heading to Macedonia via the Rila Monastery. We revisited the antique flea market and joined the other Sunday strollers looking over a range of things from WWII German Luftwaffe compasses, old Russian cameras, postcards, 50's and 60'svinyl records, silver spoons, war medals and army uniforms. The glinty eyes of a fox fur draped over a chair seemed to stare accusingly at passers by.

On Monday morning we caught the bus to Rila Monastery about 120kms south of Sofia. The drive down through villages and into the mountains was very pretty. The autumn leaves are still on the trees turning the hills in to a mass of reds, yellows and orange. Rila monastery was established by a man called Rila in about 927 AD after he had spent about seven years as hermit in a cave, took him that long to decide living in a house would be more comfortable!!! The monastery is a huge 3 story four sided compound with a beautiful church in the middle. There is accommodation, cells, for 300 monks. Rila has had its problems, fires etc but now is fully restored with the help of Unesco. But as far as I could see it is still a working monastery as well as one of Bulgaria's top tourist destinations.

After our monastery visit the plan was to catch a bus to Blagoevgrad then on to Macedonia. But, as I have already said, when we got there we stuffed up, by the time we had buses sorted the once a day, 5.30pm, bus had just left so we stayed the night before returning to Sofia so we could move on to Macedonia. Still if we hadn't chosen Blagoevgrad as a destination we wouldn't have had the enjoyable bus ride through the Bulgarian countryside. The bus took us through little villages, lanes lined with houses surrounded in autumn coloured grape vines. We glimpsed ropes of corn and chillies drying on sunny walls and black bows on doors of bereaved families. The bus squeezed past a couple of horse drawn carts before we turned back onto the main road and the 21st century.

Today a new country , a new city to explore.

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