From Bucharest to Sofia, Bulgaria
This was an early start and our first stop was the Romanian border. There was a long hold-up at Customs and we weren’t sure what the issues were and we had to just sit in the coach and wait. Our tour director was very glum throughout the whole process and didn’t say too much about what the negotiations were all about .. one can only hazard a guess.
Our local guide joined us at Ruse as we departed the Romanian border. She herself is from Ruse and gave us a little historical run-down on her home town. Ruse is located on the high right bank of the Danube River and is the largest Bulgarian city on the Danube. Its history dates back to prehistoric settlement.
During the Roman domination, the city was called the Port of the Sixty Ships, or Sexaginta Prista, which gives an impression of how big the place was. It then became an important Ottoman harbour and fortress city during the Byzantine Empire. Its name Rousschouk was later changed to Ruse. Today, it is an important economic and cultural centre. About 200 buildings in Ruse are listed in Bulgaria’s architectural and historical heritage.
Our lunch stop was at Veliko Turnovo, one-time capital of Bulgaria. We were walked to the market square and set loose to roam and those who wanted lunch were to meet up at the drop-off point in half an hour’s time where lunch was at a hotel restaurant. We stopped at a gift shop to look at the postcards and the shop assistant gave us some ideas of what to look out for in town.
At 2:15 p.m., the group met up again for our journey to Sofia, where we stayed at the Hilton for two nights.