So turned into a long trip to Varna but in the end it worked out great. Because I got to meet a family and a guy that did me a really really great favor.
I left Bucharest this morning for Varna. To start the train in Bucharest was an hour late leaving for Constanta a city on the Black sea in Romania. That started the trip off not so good because when I got to Constanta the last shuttle bus of the day had left for Varna a half hour before I got there.
So I’m standing in Constanta going which way do I go George which way do I go. Decided I had two choices take the train or a bus to Mangalia a small town about an hour from here on the way to the border. To try and catch another bus from there. The trains don’t go any further. I decided to take the bus because there was one leaving for there when I went to go back to the train station. It got me to Mangalia and dropped me off in the middle of town next to the train station there.
I then tried to find a bus to Varna all there was was a sign saying to call a number and request one. So first of all I can’t call without WIFI so that was out and sounded like it would be a long wait.
So decided to ask these taxi drivers were to get the bus. Well one of them says he would take me to the border where there is this bus station with many buses to Varna. So I pay the $20 bucks thinking what the hell just sounded easier then doing the call and request a bus thing. Plus figured I would be better off if there were more buses leaving from there to Varna.
I didn’t remember seeing one and went across twice before. I took the shuttle bus before so it never crossed my mind or was something I would have paid attention to. So that’s what I did! Got to the border and payed the cab and go to pass through the border.
The guard at the border says to me where you going and I say Varna, Bulgaria. He looks at me smiles and says how you going to get there walk. Because at that point I was walking across the border. I say no I’m going to get a bus at the bus station. He looks at me and smiles again and says there is no bus station here. He was a young guy and very nice but he is laughing at me because I was stupid enough to believe the cab driver.
I hate cab drivers they are such crooks and I know it but this guy sounded sincere. So I believed him and at that point needed to do something. Bang I got taken again. Did I say I hate cab drivers.
Anyways the guard says I don’t know what to tell you. You can change some money at this place 400 meters down the road and ask in there if anyone can help you. Or stick out your thumb and go for it smiling all the time. He was nice spoke good english just couldn’t help but laugh don’t blame him I was to. Him and the girl guard both were laughing and shaking their heads. I’m going shit! Here we go new adventure coming up!!
So I go down the road to the change place which is just a booth outside a duty free shop of some kind. I’m thinking how much I should change because I figure I’m going to get ripped off here. A guy with his daughter comes up and goes to make change. I ask him if it is a good place to change money and he says yes or his daughter says it for him can’t remember.
Anyways he asks me where I am from while I’m changing my money. His daughter is interpreting when he can’t figure out what I am saying. He was pretty good at english though. Good thing for me!!! They were both real friendly and we started talking about my predicament and did he know any buses. They said in the end that why don’t you come with us we are going down the road to a place we like to eat seafood about 50 km from here.
Said if you would like to we will drop you off in a spot you should be able to catch a bus from. I say I’d love to and thank you very much for the offer. I get in the car and there is his girlfriend and grandmother there too. Piled all my stuff in the trunk and off we went. Took about an hour to get to where they left me off and we laughed and chatted like crazy the whole time.
His Daughter was 13 and spoke pretty much perfect english. She said she went to school for it and had traveled and went to school around Europe. But that she had learned more from watching movies and youtube etc then she learned in school. You could tell she was very smart never would have guessed she was 13.
Her grandmother was laughing and telling her she didn’t have any idea she new english so well. So she got a big kick out of it herself. They were great great people and I guess had some money because the daughter was well educated and said she had two houses one for school and one for the summer. The dad traveled all over for different vacations of a month or two at a time. So he was really into what I was doing. We were like old friends when they left me off.
I stood at the spot they picked to drop me off and waited and waited for a bus none came. It was a very busy spot so I expected one any minuet. Got out my phone and looked at the mapsme app I have and saw that it should be the perfect spot. So after and hour or at least it felt like it I’m thinking what do I do now.
The choice was walk into the town which was about an hour on foot or stick out my thumb and hope for a ride. I decided it’s been a long long time since I have hitchhicked so out went the thumb. After another hour or more for sure this time I was starting to rethink that plan and just about ready to give up. Because hundreds of cars and even a few buses had passed with no luck. I was bending down to pick up my stuff and one more car was coming put out my thumb and Bingo he stopped. YAY!!!!
Nice LandRover so had plenty of room for my stuff and just the one guy driving. He was great lived in Varna and was going home from his cottage near where he picked me up. He spoke great english so we had another great time talking the hour or so getting into Varna. Gave me several ideas about some new places to see. He is an electrical engineer. So was well off by Bulgarian standards as were the others.
Surprisingly both the group of people and him said they like to give back to help people because they feel lucky to have what they have. Amazing how things happen to workout when you least expect them to. He dropped me off about as close as you can get to my Hotel and headed home. The adventure made me smile ear to ear!!!
Turned out to be a perfect day and I was glad to have put up with the hassles of getting here. The reward was so much better!!!!! I would be glad to do it again if that were to happen all over. Great Day After All!!! Did take10 hours though! 70 years old and hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere in Bulgaria running out of options not even knowing what my next move would be. Who’da thunk! Not even me!
It feels so so so good to be back here it is my sanctuary away from home. It reminds me of the tiny little park in Guadalajara where I used to stop by many times in the day to just stop and feel the really really good vibe it offered me!!! AH what an incredibly beautiful Vibe it has.
I am steps from the Black sea and I can see it from my balcony. I watch hundreds of families and children pass by doing all kinds of things on scooters etc of all sizes laughing and having a great time. I listen to excellent low key live music every night from a place across from my room.
The beautiful park is also steps away that I can walk 3km or 2 miles one way along the cliffs looking over the sea. Or down to the sea and to the beach bars where you can have a beer with your feet in the sand. From there to the harbor to watch the fishermen fishing off the wharf and ships coming in.
The park is full of statues and fountains and things for children and adults to do. It is great and I love it. There are many paths weaving through it all with many benches to sit at. You can enjoy either the view of the huge flower beds planted everywhere or the sea and watching the ships pass by. It is incredible!!!
There are many many Bulgarian families here with their children sitting in the park on blankets for a picnic. Stopping at the petting zoo or the bigger zoo. The many many different things like tennis courts, soccer courts, three huge swimming pools. One for pool sports, one for water ballet and diving, and one that I think is an olympic size with lanes for swimming meets. There are several different sized amusement areas for different aged children.
Saw two outdoor ping pong tables set up today just along the side of one of the wide paths through the park. They had nice paddles and balls for people to use and just left there. No one steals them. They respect the fact that they are there for all to use. No slot to put money in! What an incredible concept! Last place you would ever expect to see a couple of ping pong tables.
It is a very very very peaceful and special place. For people young and old no one is judged all are left to live there own way. It is very different then Cadiz as it has just a little old town area. The people are very modern in dress and style. Orange, Bright Red, Green, Blue hair it is all about live and let live. It is also about Rest, Relaxation and Laughter!!!! Perfect!! AH So Good to be Back!!!!! HAHAHA! Life Is Good! Dave
For more photos of Varna see links below photos