Back in Varna for a couple of weeks after leaving to do a couple of side trips. Had fun seeing Sozopol where I had never been and Nessebar where I had been before and liked. Now back in Varna which I really really like. Heading to Bucharest for 10 days to hang out and catch a cheap flight to my favorite spot Cadiz. Cadiz was my first and final stop in Europe this year. I love the place. The first 5 photos are of Bucharest and second 5 from Varna. I have taken many photos of these two places. So if your interested in seeing more click on the links at the bottom or type in their names in the search bar at the start of the blog page. There are many! Life Is Good Dave!!!
I am in Brasov now it is in the Transylvanian mountains of Romania. It is another one of the many nice spots in the world.
The ride on the bus from Varna to Bucharest was uneventful and on time. Much better than the last two border crossings. The last one going to Bulgaria from Romania where the taxi driver said there was a bus station at the border and there wasn’t and I ended up having to hitchhike the rest of the way to Varna. BUMMER DUDE!
Plus the one going from Serbia to Romania where I had 2 cartons of cigarettes and was only supposed to have 2 packs. Which I didn’t know.
Didn’t realize till later when I looked it up that Serbia is not an EU country. Thought it was but just not in the Schengen zone. Wrong! The pisser is it held up the shuttle bus for a what seemed like a long time. While I was getting processed through three different people before they let me go. Said they could fine me 100 Euro but didn’t. They kept the smokes though. BUMMER DUDE!
Spent the night in Bucharest at a cheap hotel and in the morning headed to Brasov. I was amazed when I got there and saw that the train was on time. I figured I was early and that a little before it was scheduled to leave the schedule board would say it would be late.
Well damn if it didn’t come in on time. Everyone got aboard and the engine goes to start and leave and it breaks down. HAHA! After trying to fix it they decided to swap engines. Anyways it took them an hour but they got it done and off we went. The good thing about was I could watch them do it because I was in the couch next to the engine. So that helped the time pass.
Romanian trains and from what I hear Bulgarian ones too are all left over from what I think is world war two or at least looks like it. Just the way it is here and you have to go with the flow. Bottom line is if you need to be on time don’t take a train.
I hated to leave Varna but August there is super hot and I can’t take that kind of heat anymore. So I’m glad I found Brasov to come to when I was here this spring. The weather is perfect not to hot not to cool kind of thing.
It is totally different then Varna. Where as Varna is non stop things going on. It is a really quiet peaceful place to just lay back and relax. Kind of nice for a change.
It is a beautiful and very clean little city with most of its original architecture still here and in good shape. Real nice to see it so well preserved. Nice plazas and parks full of roses everywhere and plenty of benches to sit on and while away the day. Probably get bored after a while but right now I am loving it.
I have a beautiful penthouse apartment all brand new with a huge deck to sit on an stare off at the mountains and town below. I get a great sunset over the mountains every night. The other great thing about it is I get to cook what I want to eat. That is a big plus to me I love to cook and it helps to occupy some of my time.
It is also wedding season and you can hear the honking of the horns going down the streets on the weekends and see the many ceremonies in the park with all the roses. It must be a tradition here to have the ceremony in the park or at least photos after.
I have been here almost two weeks now so time is going by fast. Just laying back and enjoying what time I have left!!!
For more Photos of Brasov click link below
Left for the airport in Timisoara this morning at 6AM. It was lightning and pouring like a cow pissing on a flat rock. Decided good day to take a cab DUH!!!!! I went the short distance to where they all were yesterday and there was not a one there. Shit!!!
Oh well good thing I had a rain parker! It was 20 minutes or more to the bus stop but part way there the rain let up. I thought for sure everything in my suitcase and backpack would be wet. Checked at the airport but it wasn’t. Great!
Short flight to Bucharest then met a shuttle I had ordered to go to Brasov. The guy was waiting when I arrived and was very friendly and spoke good english. $20 for a 3 hour trip to Brasov in a Mercedes van with WIFI not bad. The driver was super nice and the time passed quick.
Met the wife of the guy that rented the apartment to me. She was waiting when we got there. When I walked in my eyes lit up. I was like WOW this place is beautiful. Everything was new and really really tastefully done all first rate stuff. From rain shower to mood lights in the bathroom. Beautiful kitchen, Huge balcony on the 6th floor overlooking the mountains and city. Doesn’t get any better! I think it is the nicest place I have ever rented. Amazing!
Brasov is beautiful! A good size old town. Lots of parks full of roses, fountains, evergreens and benches to sit and while away the day. Only came for 3 days to see it so I could find somewhere to get out of the heat in August. This fit the bill perfectly.
The owner had saved the month for me till I came to look at it. Boy am I glad he did. Gave me a super deal on it! So it worked out perfect made all the extra time and money to get there just to look for a place early worth every penny! Wow it is nice! Both the owners the guy and his wife are really really nice. Very mellow and down to earth kind of folks. He’s a software designer and travels all over the world for work. The morning I was leaving He came by and gave me a ride to the train station. Saved me a 20+ minute walk.
Bottom line is I have a really amazing place for August instead of the heat and fumes of Bucharest where I stayed last year. August is not a good time of year to be in Bucharest it is super hot there then.
So I got a couple of good days to look around! I am very pleased and happy I am going to have such a great place for the month of August!!! WOW did I say it was a great place!!!!!!!!! Life Is Good!!!!!!!!!!!
For more photos of Brasov click link below
I am now in my apartment in Timisoara. It is right on the main old town square. The square is huge and surrounded with beautiful giant old buildings a Cathedral and fountains. It is very very beautiful. My balcony overlooks it all. I could ask for nothing more. Beautiful first night here. From the balcony I can hear a live concert filling the square with music from several singers all Great!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
Went for a long walk around what I could find of the old town center today. The first impression from my balcony was the best of it. The rest that I saw was really nice but not near as spectacular as the square I am staying on. As it turned out I have the best view in town just sitting on my balcony. Which is fine with me I was tired from the trip yesterday.
So now I can just sit and relax today. Other than walking to and checking out where to get the bus to the airport. Plus checking out a few more areas just to make sure I didn’t miss anything close by. I won’t have to do much else.
Mind you I didn’t do a major search here. I was only here two days so I am sure there are many things I probably missed. I am not really sure. It’s a nice city but from what little I saw it was very similar to Belgrade. It was a little dirty meaning trash from people that can’t make it to a garbage can and need to leave everything where they are sitting kind of thing. They do not seem to have the money here to pay people to cleanup which is very necessary in a place they want tourism.
The main reason I came was to catch a plane to Bucharest because the difference in the cost of a flight from Belgrade versus here was $100+. I got the flight from here for $23 so figured it would be worth seeing this city as I had thought about it last year. Now I know and have seen it. It was worth coming to for the flight alone. Seeing the city was an added bonus!
So finally I have a plan after a month and hours and hours trying to find new places to go. I just threw in the towel trying to find a place. Mainly because of a lack of accommodations and prices everywhere. It is prime time here now and everyone is on vacation.
I will stay here in Bucharest and although very hot it is cheap right now and nice. I will be here till the 31st then fly to Madrid on the 31st and fly back home from there on the 5th.
That was a couple of weeks ago now and turned out to be too easy something had to go wrong! HAHA!!! Jason quit his job and is no longer going to be in NH on the 5th. That was the reason I was coming back so early to see the two of them and Alden!!! Now they don’t know what they are doing yet just that they won’t be in NH. They are going back to Hawaii to figure it out. They just don’t know at this point.
So I blew off the flights back home on the 5th!!!!! I am now thinking about going to Varna in September, Cadiz in October and Chania in November. The trouble with that is trying to put all the flights, buses and trains together to do it. I have one pad almost full and just started to transfer stuff over to the other one. It is a real nightmare and I have had about enough for today.
The thing of it is you spend a hour or two working on one way and come to a dead end after spending all that time. All because the last piece to the puzzle doesn’t fit!!!!! YIKES I’m not having FUN!!! I have literally sat here for days trying to figure it out. I have tried a million different ways of doing it and am still sitting here going which way do I go George which way do I go!
When you try to do something like this there are just so many things to consider. There aren’t that many flights to these small places but I have tried every airport close to where I want to go.
Then every bus and train to get to my final destination and then how to get back to the next spot from there. Trying to fit them all together makes me see double. Plus the info on the web is sometimes or most of the times outdated and you have to spend hours just trying to find out where to get the info. OH MY GOD!!!!!! IYYIYIYIY!!!!!
So the final pre plan plan goes something like this August 31st Bucharest to Varna. Sept 20th Varna to Sofia spend the night couldn’t help it. Then Sept 21st Sofia to Madrid, Madrid to Jerez (Cadiz). Oct 25th Jerez to England, England to Chania. Nov 18th Chania to Athens, Athens to Barcelona, Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale. Plus some trains and buses! Yikes!!
I had to take the days that you see because they were the cheapest. I looked a week on either side of them so I know they are the least money. Makes a huge difference. It would have cost me twice what it is to just pick certain days out of the blue and not look for the cheap ones.
Every airline has their cheap and then expensive days that is what makes it so time consuming to figure out. Not only that but you have to make sure you can get good connecting flights. So you don’t end up having to spend the night waiting to fly out again in the morning. That would make the cost jump way up! Room, Taxis or buses back and forth just to spend the night. It really is crazy trying to put them all together!
Other then wanting to see family and friends and having to do stuff like taxes and Doctor visits etc. I have no desire to be in the states anymore. The only other time I would want to leave here is to spend somewhere warm for a couple of months in the winter!
Now that I know how to work out the 90 day visa thing by leaving the Schengen zone and going to a Non Schengen country for 90. I can stay as long as I want just have to move around a little.
This year I have found what I have been looking for for so long! Now I don’t have to spend anywhere near the amount of time bouncing around. I have found 3 really really great places to stay for months at a time!!! YAY!!!! It’s a good thing because I have lost a lot of my get up and go this year. The new place every 3 or 4 days is a thing of the past!
I thought when I came here to this area it would just be a way to get out of the Schengen Zone. Then go running back but what I have found is so amazing. Here I get 90 days in each country and I love them.
If you think all the mish mash of writing above is confusing to read. You are absolutely right but is just where my mind is at the moment!!!!!!
So bottom line is. I will be leaving Bucharest at the end of August and then going to Varna Bulgaria again till the end of September. It is the place I have liked the most. After that it will be getting cold here and time to leave.
The good part is then I get to go to Cadiz for October which I loved. Where I met the young couple that rented me the place I was staying and I enjoyed being with so much. Then Chania on Crete at the end of October to the middle of November to see the family there that I rented from last year. They took me in and made me feel like I had known them all my life. After that it will be time to go home for Thanksgiving.
Hopefully everyone is settled by then so I can get to see Alden! The photo is of Garbis the man I met to let me into the room the first time when I came here a few months ago. He, his sister, her grandson and the lady’s father I rent from invited me over because they wanted me to enjoy a traditional Romanian meal. It was really really great and I was honored to be there!! A real nice memory to remember!
It’s hard to believe when I leave next week I will have been here a month. Time goes by really really fast now a days!!! Even with all the confusion!!! I am totally Happy for the first time in my life and have never looked back since the day I left!!!!! I wish the same for all of you!!!! LIFE IS GOOD Dave
First day back in Bucharest. I just got back and into my room. Got up at 5AM to catch the bus in Sofia. Long long 8 hour trip in a bus. Met a girl on it though her name was Loretta. We hit it off right away so the time passed fairly fast.
When we went to a different bus station here then we thought we were going. She called her dad and had him pick her up. She then offered me a ride to the closest Metro.
When I met her dad right away he tried to give me money for the Metro. But Loretta had already given me a ticket she had with rides left on it for me to use. I offered to pay her but she said no way it is a gift for you. Told me what to do and how many stops it would be to get to where I was going perfect. Pretty amazing in my book!
Garbis the old guy I met last time I was here met me here again. I had mentioned to the women that rents the place last time I was here that the pillows sucked. When Garbis came to meet me he brought two brand new pillows. Pretty cool she remembered and did that for me. Amazing!
Then after getting moved in Garbis wanted to buy me a drink so we went to the old town and had a drink and came back. When we got back I was going to make us a cup of coffee but the kettle didn’t work so he decided he was going to go get a new one.
I told him it could wait another day but no he was off to get it. He came back about 10:00 PM at night on a bus dropped it off and grabbed the last bus back to wherever he lives outside the city. Pretty cool stuff! I am exhausted!!!!
You know there is no channel on the tube you can turn too. That can get you what I see here and from my balcony every day and night!!! It is so amazing! I have not turned on the TV since the day I left!
The little old lady in the nightgown with her dogs that I saw the last time I was here still comes every night. I think she has four of them and brings two at a time. Two at around 9PM and again around 11PM with the other two. She lets them run in the fenced in area for them across the street from me. It is a small park just for dogs!
She is all hunched over and waits outside the fence and sometimes walks along it watching them waiting for them to do their thing. It always made me smile when I saw her and still does. Here in the dead center of the city and her in her nightgown walking her dogs. Simple but perfect!
Gotta Love it!!! Good start to the day and what a nice way to be greeted on arriving back in Bucharest! For more photos of Bucharest go to links below. LIFE IS GOOD
Well wish I could say Constanta was a big hit too but it isn’t. I have a really super nice room and balcony and the breakfast here is great. Along with the owners. So really wish it was!
The breakfast reminds me of the ones I used to get in Greece. The town on the other hand leaves a whole lot to be desired. What little old town is left is pretty devastated and in really poor shape. There is a lot of work going on to improve things but it has a long long way to go before it ever amounts to much. I don’t think I will ever see it in my lifetime.
The beach is nice but you have to walk a long ways down a stepped walkway to get to it. Plus the town in general isn’t kept to clean and there is a lot of trash around. I think it’s a case of lack of money.
There is another section called Mamaia a little North of here that is supposed to be nice but is all modern semi high-rises along another long stretch of beach. So I guess the bottom line is if you are coming for the beach and the beach alone then you’re in business. If not I would look elsewhere! Sorry Constanta just my opinion! Next stop Varna, Bulgaria in the morning.
Well the architecture is big and bold here lots of massive buildings but other little ones spread throughout. All the huge ornately decorated sheet metal domes and roofs. Something I haven’t seen much of anywhere else. They all stem from many different cultures. It’s has touches from Romania, Turkey, Greece and Russia. Pretty impressive!
So it’s like 10:30 and I was just sitting on my balcony and this little old lady was across the road walking her dogs. She was dressed in her pink silk pajamas of shirt and pants with her two dogs in tow. There is this little fenced in park across the street for dogs to do their thing and be able to run around. There is a little gate for her to open and let them run free.
Watched her leave after and she apparently lives on the other side of the main highway. A six lane road through town at the end of this road which isn’t far. I watched her go across the highway till she was out of sight but figure she lives in the apartment building across the way.
It just seemed so out of place. Not something I was expecting to see in the heart of a big city! I mean there is a good size bus stop here too with quite a few people. Made me look twice guess if you live here it is no different than anywhere else. HAHA it made me laugh inside!! She’s like what the hell do I care!
It’s time for the homeless etc to come out so that was quite a change up on that! It is a very safe neighborhood the Old Palace is just down the street a couple buildings from here. Doesn’t take much to entertain me anymore!!! Gotta Love It!!
The last 3 days have been rain so haven’t done much. Met this scientist a old guy that met me to let me into the new place I am staying. We talked for a long while that day and I really liked meeting him. He had a lot of good things to say. He is a friend of the owner and she was out of town so he came by to do it for her.
His name is Garbiz and he came by the other day again to bring some supplies and spent about 3 hours more talking with me. He is a super nice old guy really jovial and happy. Very well dressed with shirt, tie, sweater, wool coat, wool hat and umbrella should have got a picture. Looked liked the perfect gentleman straight out of London. It was quite a contrast from me in my jeans and tee shirt etc.
It was fun talking to him he knows so much about so many things. His specialty is plants and animals that coexist together and survive off one another. One hand feeding the other. Plus how their shapes evolved to be able to blend into their surroundings. Like so many moths and butterflies that only survive because of specific plants and visa versa and can hide just by sitting still and blending in.
He is pretty sharp and knows I don’t know how many languages English, Russian, Greek, Latin, Chinese and a lot of others. Pretty cool! Told him we will have to get together again after the rains which should be over tomorrow.
Bucharest has been a very pleasant surprise from what I was expecting! Every time I go for a walk I go in a different direction and there are parks all along the way. Still can’t believe how many huge treed parks there are here. They are everywhere.
Another really nice thing is people actually stop for you in the crosswalks. Interesting concept HUH!! Unlike the totally out of control mess in Italy. Very glad I came and may have to add it to my lists of places to return. Although it will always just be a stop over. I’m just not into big cities. It does get very hot here in the summer.
Right now I am looking for a place that I could come for the 3 summer months out of the Schengen Zone and not have it be sweltering. So we will see have many more stops to make. Know I probably won’t be able to be by the sea then it will be just too crowded, hot and expensive. I need something inland thinking something a fair bit smaller than this. To many emissions here even with all the green it makes my throat burn this is a big city.
The hardest part here has been getting used to the money difference. The dollar here is worth 25 cents so I am always thinking the price is high but in fact it is so much cheaper. It is half or less of what it would cost in Italy or even Spain. I still have to stop and think about it. I see 12 Rom for something and I’m thinking 12 Euro but it is 3.
Just like for the longest time I was looking at these real nice pastries and thinking I wish they weren’t 3 Euro I’d buy one right away but 3 is just too high. Then I realized you dummy they are 75 cents. The pasties in Italy were 2-3 Euro so it just stuck in my mind. The only problem now is walking by and not buying one!!!
It’s pretty nice they have many little places that put out trays of different foods and you pick what you want. They put it in a container to microwave later and for $3.50- $5.00 you have a nice meal for dinner!!! I don’t like to go out to eat because I always feel alone when I do. Sitting there at a table all by yourself never has appealed to me for that reason. It’s like sticking it in your face that you are alone.
The meals tend to be a little better eating out but what I have been getting take out has been great. It is all home cooked.
Looking forward to checking out the Black Sea area. Will start in Constanta here and then head South into Bulgaria it is even cheaper there and looks like the places on the coast may be nicer from the photos. Not expecting much from Constanta after looking at the photos but it is the starting point and may be I will be surprised.
I am now in the very heart of Bucharest. Super good vibe!!!! I came here on the 19th spent all day traveling to get here from Italy. Train Polignano Mare to Bari. Bus to airport. Plane to Bucharest. Bus to center. It took most of day.
The next day I spent all day trying to find another place to rent because the place I was staying did not have more nights. The next day I moved to where I am now.
Yesterday I spent 4 hours trying to put money in the ladies account at the bank so I can stay another 12 days. Plus the 3 days I rented through Airbnb. I made a good deal with her to stay longer without Airbnb. But it took 4 hours trying to get the money in her account because she wanted it in Euro.
She sent me to a branch office near here to put the money in. I went there and they sent me to the other side of town to the main office because they don’t have any cash at this branch. So I went there. They told me I couldn’t get Euro without an account.
So I then tried many different ATMs nearby to get Euro but none give Euros unless you have an account. So I had to use an ATM get Rom then take the Rom and change to Euro. Then take the Euro and put in her account. So it would clear before my 3 days I booked with her were up. Anyways it was crazy.
It is my fault because I wait to the last minute to decide what I want to do. So today is the first day I really get to see Bucharest other than running around trying to get things done. I walked around for 4 hours looking at the sights and it is a beautiful city. So many huge parks with lakes, fountains, trees and flowers everywhere.
They are just now starting to put the summer annual flowers in but there are many spring ones blooming. There is also a wide canal type river the Dambovita that runs through the center of town. There are plenty of huge old buildings mixed with new ones with interesting designs. It’s not all Wine and Roses there are also many communist era buildings that are not so nice.
The main boulevard going through the center has wide esplanades on both sides of the street next to the sidewalks going along the buildings. They are lined with trees for shade on both sides of each esplanade not just one side.
So it is like a tunnel where the limbs from one side meet the other. There are also many benches to sit at along the way. The center dividing the traffic is one long strip of fountains with the water spraying and dancing up and down all the time and they are lined with roses and other flowers.
It is pretty amazing nothing like I expected in a poor country. There is just so much green. Full grown old trees line every street most of the time on both sides.
It is kind of like finding Guadalajara by mistake only a lot bigger. A hidden gem. Plus all these parks are suppose to be perfectly safe to walk through at night. There is just enough security people to make it feel safe and not overwhelming.
There are Porta Potties or WC’s all over so that covers me. It has more to offer so far in just the short walk I did then most big cities I have been. The people are very friendly and are really really nice to you. Plus most speak English. Other than the room problems it has been a very enjoyable time here.
I now have until the 5th of June and am thinking maybe I will stay a couple more weeks longer. I want to walk and look for a couple more days before I decide. The food is great it is really diverse and so many different things to offer. Best of all they have real Greek yogurt here and that really thick Turkish one I like. I was hoping they would have and they do!
The women are beautiful and there are many universities in the center here. So lots to look at!!! I am really glad to say goodbye to Italy they can have it all to themselves. Which is the feeling I got in most of the places I went not all but most.
To be fair I was only in 8 places and there are so many many more that may be much better. Plus the people I did meet that were nice were real nice. So may have been bad choices of the places I went on my part.
At any rate I’m not interested in wasting any more time looking for now! I am really liking this place so far. The weather is the perfect temp for walking and living! Another good thing is it is about the same cost of living as it is in Mexico.
The first photo is the Parliament Palace it is the 2nd largest administrative building in the world next to the Pentagon!