A Designer in Europe - Veliko Tarnovo

Wow! Veliko Tarnovo is a city in the north center of Bulgaria  built onto the hills surrounding a meandering river. We had 4 days to soak it all in.

First we wait at a spot with free wifi while we try to get in touch with our host.

The waiting was worth it. We have stayed in some amazing places, but the view from this balcony is pretty special.

A view of the old fortress and the road that leads to it.

In the center of the river bend is a large monument dedicated to the reign of the Bulgarian Kings and a great patriotic symbol of Bulgarian independence. There is also an art museum there, but we rang the bell twice and nobody was home.

Some of the buildings had these graphic iconic facades, it helped give the city some mystical feel.

We knew the weather would be great one day, so we planned a full day outside exploring the old fortress and then hiking up to the monastary town of Arbanasi. The morning fog and lingering wood smoke helped with the medieval ambiance.

I could totally see myself as an archer posted up in my turret waiting for barbarian hordes to attack.

The view of the city from the fortress.

The church at the top of Tsarevets Fortress had one of the most modern, abstract and most hip vibes I have ever seen. We were not expecting this style here.

We would see examples of this again in Istanbul. Don't let good, blasphemous rocks go to waste!

Now that is a draw bridge. I'm glad I didn't notice that as we walked across it earlier.

Time to hike up to Arbanasi. A look back at the fotress we walked from. We are approaching our warmest tempuratures of the trip as we route-find in the hills surrounding Veliko Tarnovo armed with an outdated map in cyrillic.

After a gorgeous hike up what turned out to be quite a mountain, we arrive in Arbanasi. A pizza place with a terrace awaits our arrival. It turns out that the only thing open in the entire town is this pizza place. Good thing we took advantage of it when we did. What a view. The layers are like a perfectly cooked burek.

While the monestaries with their frescos remained hidden to us, the quiet streets and unique architecture was pleasant to walk through. 

Examples of traditional Martenitsas placed on trees. Read more about them here.

We hiked back to the city with a new stray dog companion. We are missing our dog Blue, so hiking with this dog was bittersweet. We decided it was best not to give it a name. It followed the entire way back to the city.

After the hike, the day wasn't finished with us yet. Here is a spectacular sunset to remember the day, it said.

I just want to draw stacks of buildings now.

A visit to the monument.

It is larger than it appears from the city, and it has a modern style about it too.

Freedom chillin' out in the sun.

We visited a private museum and art gallery. Getting prepared to dive into roman and greek history soon.

By the end of our trip we will have an album full of stray dogs and cats (and one curious turtle).

This woman is making kataifi in the traditional way. Kataifi is used to make pastries and baklava.