Part 03: Varna, Bulgaria | Europe, 2015

Ah, Varna. We had a great time staying here, visiting with family friends. We ate and drank (and drank) a lot, as per usual: it’s offensive if you don’t, for reals! We walked around the city a bit, too, and visited the yacht club, where my husband grew up sailing in the summers. It had some awesome graffiti! I kind of wish we got to see a bit more of the city while there, because I really liked the vibe of it, and we did have a few nights out: we tried to catch a concert in a park nearby (there’s a thing I like to call ‘Bulgarian time’, which means we made it to see the end of the last song), but you can walk around and have some beer in the parks downtown, where everybody does, and if you sneak around the beach side of the fancy bars on the seaside, you can just skip cover, walk up to the bar, and lounge in chairs in the sand: the best! It reminded me of where I grew up a bit, and actually felt pretty trendy and a bit industrial and Brooklyn, until you see that the bathrooms are an awkward hole in the ground disguised as a stall (my one complaint about Bulgaria would be this, and the general lack of toilet paper everywhere! lol. But really, always bring your own).

So we had some nights out there, and continued to test our livers. There’s a famous mussel farm that we stopped at on the way back to the city from our visit to Kaliakra, so we stopped there for lunch. And then pretty much every restaurant we went to had a gorgeous view, or was on the sand. Just lovely, everywhere! For example, this is the view from the balcony of the cafe where we stopped for espresso on the way back to the city:

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The yacht club | Varna, Bulgaria

The yacht club | Varna, Bulgaria

The beach by the yacht club | Varna, Bulgaria

The beach by the yacht club | Varna, Bulgaria

Another really cool place we visited just outside of the city was the Aladzha Monastery, which was really unique because it’s a series of chambers carved into the side of a cliff: basically a medieval Orthodox cave dwelling big enough for multiple monks to live in. They have it preserved so you can walk up a bunch of stairs and in through the two levels of chambers—including a teeny chapel at the very top—that the monks lived, slept, cooked, worshipped, and were buried in. It’s really, really high up there: I have no idea how they carved it out in the first place! And how did they even get up there? I love that they did, though: I was really intrigued, having just read about the goodness of solitude and those who retreat to find it in the mountains Sadly, I ran out of film after this shot of it, though:

Aladzha Monastery | Varna, Bulgaria

Aladzha Monastery | Varna, Bulgaria