Well, the journey from Bucharest was an interesting one. First off we were cutting it pretty fine getting to the train station but then when we arrived we found that our train was 50 minutes late. Thats not too bad to be fair when you consider that there was a train going to Belgrade that was 800 minute late. Fun fun. Life got a little interesting when we were on the train because it happened that we gt lumbered in the really skanky carriages. That I could have handled, what was a bit of a culture shock to me was the smuggling. It looked as if around a dozen greecy Greek guys had bought out a compartment on the carriage and except for using that to sit in they then proceeded to fill it up to the rafters with rugs, trainers and table clothes. So much for the people who had seats there. What really was cheeky was when they came to show their ticket, unlike we very polite do good British one of the chaps just passed a 100k lei note to the she-man conductor [about a third of the price we had paid] and she put it in her top pocket. I’d witnessed bribery first hand.
The next joke in our journey was the immigration geezas, it took ages. They were radioing in all our passport details to a satellite office before they’d let us off the train. And another thing, I almost pissed myself when customs came round. A well spoken Bulgarian geeza asking if we had anything to declare when we all new there was about 50 cubic feet of bootleg merchandise in the carriage next door. Despite setting off late from Bucharest we got to Ruse the border town in time to catch the next train to Varna. This took around 3 hrs or so and it was nice to pass through the Bulgarian country side where there seemed to be train stops for places that wouldn’t even qualify for a bus stop in the UK. A big difference between Romania and Bulgaria. Romania looks more forested and a richer green than Bulgaria, it is just as you’d expect Transylvania to be like. Bulgaria on the other hand just looks like the south of england. Lots of rolling countryside with hedge rows, if maybe a little dryer and a hint of orange in there.
The transport fun and games didn’t stop when we hit Varna. Despite the advice given to us by a wonderfully attractive bronzed peroxide red local Bulgarian lassy, we decided to get the bus and not the taxi to the hostel. What we didn’t take into consideration was that we had no idea what stop to get off at, but just that it was 3 km along the route and just up the road from a maccy d’s. Upon realising that our TNC spotting wasn’t up to standard it then occurred to us we had no idea how long 3 kms was on a bus. However a very friendly Bulgarian girl asked where we were going and when we told her where smiled and told us to get off at the next spot and catch the bus back into town. After hearing that we just though ‘sod it’ and we caught a taxi. Although this wasn’t as easy as it sounds since the internationally accepted method of shouting whistling and general flapping about to hail a cab doesn’t seem to be recognised here. Even when in the cab we drove straight past the hostel since its less of a hostel and more of an Ozzy expat sharing his apartment.
Nevertheless Varna is all good and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. Its been nice to forget about the world and not have to worry about where we have to catch the next bus or train. Whats more the food and drink here is ridiculously cheap. Its 50 p a beer even in the clubs and meals will cost you no more than a couple of quid. Breakfast tends to be juice, an omelette and a coffee for 1.50, and dinner time is a feast of great food and fresh salad washed down with a couple of bevvies for no more than three quid. Varna is party town. There are open air clubs that line the beach and even a 24 hour bar which pumps music onto the sands all day and all night, great when you want to chill in the sun with a beer and some funky house.
We’ve been out a couple of nights so far. Claudio pulled out the first after feeling too tired, even after indulging in some cocktails at 1 pound a pop. Good job he did really since the club we went to was tech house and neither of our cups of tea. Yesterday was spent chilling on the beach finally catching some rays whilst waiting for our very very smelling laundry to be done next door to the hostel. Last night saw us attend a much classier establishment – this means the music is better, the drinks are a little more expensive, its on the beach as opposed to just off it, and the women are much more attractive [I’m sure the blokes are too, but I just don’t look for that sort of thing – you know what I mean]. Today has seen a late lie in and another day on the beach.
Life couldn’t be better, we’ve decided this is our week of party and our week of chill. We can stop in one spot to just take it easy and do nothing, like you’d do at any beach side resort for a week away.
Some other news. My watch is buggered. And I’m on to tooth brush number three, as I left my new one which I bought in Brasov, in Bucharest. Fool of a took. Feet are getting better. Salt does em good. I hear the weather is good in the UK, thats nice, I’m glad its good here otherwise I might have had a few more things to say about that. Coming up me and claudio want to go to a DnB festival which is cracking off on a beach up the road somewhere, its this Friday and saturday. Not sure what the deal is but it all sounds good and rather cheap.
Nevertheless, true to irony, i seem to be spending more in places that our cheaper. Possibly a consequence of being lulled into a false sense of security. I bought some swimming short boardies from town the other day as well. They were desperately needed, since my old shorts were deemed about 5 sizes too big at the baths. That wasn’t a fashion statement, just that they had a a habit of coming off in th whirl pool. Only problem is, is that they seem to be very fashion conscious here in Varna. Lots of boutiques selling clothes which are far too expensive. I saw one pair of boardies for 30 quid! I also find these shops very intimidating, which is why i was probably bullied into buying the hideous pair of shorts I am currently the new owner of.
Claudio pulled some Russian lass last night. Well, he got talking to her and they’ve met up this avo. Thats one sign of the differences between me and him. AS I was walking to back from the beach with a football under my arm like a nine year old at blackpool, he was off to the hostel to tart himself up for his date. I’m not gay.
Anyways, I’ve pretty much run out of things to say about Varna so now I’ll leave you some pictures to do the talking. This place has a memory card reader so I’ve managed to select one piccy from each place to give you an idea of where I’ve been. So here they are…
The back alleys of Bratislava’s old town
Our day trip to vienna, eventually the weather perked up.
Me and the budapest parliament in the background, taken from the citadel in Buda overlooking the Danube and Pest
The Baths in Budapest, open until the late night.
The university town of Pecs in the early morning dawn light. Gorgeous.
Chilling with an icecream, enjoying the sunshine in the square of one of Hunagrys other uni towns, Szeged.
The murial adorning a communist style block of high rised flats. One of my first impressions of romania.
An old beggar lady in Brasov’s old town square. A sign that poverty is still very much rife in this part of the world
The boys on a night out in Brasov. Chaoe.
A view from the mountain tracks looking down onto brasov
Ceacescu’s ‘People’s Palace’ the communist dictator demolished one 6th of the city to build the second largest building in the world [next to the pentagon]
Varna. The black sea, sun and sand. And of course wonderful scenery
Hope thats all cool, ta ra.