We have just finished our third day in Bulgaria. It is a gorgeous country and took most of us by surprise it seems. The people are very friendly and a fair amount of people speak English, or at least we are able to get by with motions and such. On the first day I took an SAS tour called Highlights of Varna. We visited the Archeology Museum, a church (the second largest in Bulgaria) and the Roman Baths. The tour left much to be desired, but it gave us a nice taste of the city and helped us to get our bearings. We tendered from the sea into port on the first day and that was quite an adventure. As my tender boat was going back to the ship the seas became very rough. At one point our boat was literally on its side and then back onto the other side from the motion of the waves. There was another boat in front of us that was trying to get onto the ship. Only 3 people got off the boat before they aborted and send the boat away from the ship because it was too dangerous to let people off. The gangway was on a platform and the seas were too rough for it to be safe for the crew or the students. We had to wait in the water for an hour while they switched the gangway to the port side in hopes that it was calmer on that side. The seas kept getting worse and a lot of people on both tender boats were sea sick. A few more minutes and I probably would have been as well. Finally we were able to get off the tender and they made an announcement on the loud speaker on the ship welcoming us back. A lot of people, including the captain, were watching us get tossed by the seas- even the crew seemed nervous. We decided that should we need to abandon ship we would rather take our lifejackets into the water than be in those boats again lol. That evening I went out with my crew and we found a strip of restaurant, bars and clubs. It was a lot of fun and everything is on the beach and pretty close to the ship.
On the second day I took an SAS trip to Nessebar, about 2 hours south of our port city of Varna. Nessebar is an old medieval town located on a peninsula. It was a very quaint fishing town with a lot of old family churches. There were a lot of tourist shopping and back streets that we walked around. We had about 3 hours of free time so I got lunch with Cory and Emma at a cute restaurant on a cliff that overlooked the water. Emma and I shared a local wine and we got pasta. We walked around and got gelato as well. We had a lot of extra time at the end of the day so we found a bench overlooking the water and I took a snooze for a little while and we all enjoyed the sunshine and a nice breeze. A local merchant told us that the temperature was 40 Celsius which is 104 Fahrenheit.
Today I walked around with Dan and Julie. We started off looking for a post office but we got distracted. There was a beach volleyball tournament a few blocks from the port so we stopped to watch. We saw Germany and Bulgaria play and then we watched Latvia and Brazil. It was a lot of fun and I’ve always wanted to watch Brazil play volleyball because they are one of the best teams in the world. We continued to walk around town later and we got lunch at a local restaurant. I think Julie and I have become obsessed with iced coffee, they are so good here. We found a strip of shops and I got a few shirts for Egypt and because I’m sick of the clothes that I brought- you can only wear things so many times lol.