Part 04: Nessebar, Bulgaria | Europe, 2015

After a great few days in Varna, we set off to see some other ancient cities along the seaside. Next stop, Nessebar! We actually just stopped here really early one morning on the way to a few days’ stay in Sozopol (did I mention that driving in Bulgaria is pretty frightening? We left early with our borrowed van to avoid the intimidatingly fast drivers who know where they’re going). For a quick stop, it ended up being one of my favorite towns! We never buy souvenirs anywhere, but I fell in love with the charming streets here, so we got two tiny oil paintings here and carried them safely in our backpacks for the rest of the trip: they now hang in our living room to remind us of this lovely town. 

The drive out of the city towards the South is stunning because you can see the little clusters of cities appear along the seaside as you get further South: apparently, this used to be free of tons of hotels and all the cities are getting really built up with resorts and condos, now—but compared to North America, or what we’re used to seeing, it still looks pretty quaint, and full of lush green countryside (especially Nessebar, which has no room in the ancient town for any of that stuff and is, in fact, getting smaller and smaller every year due to wear from the sea):

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I have to say, these pictures don’t quite do it justice: the ancient town was the most beautiful place. We went early in the morning, so nobody was around (which is always nice as tourists, getting to see a place before you have to see it alongside bus loads of people), and as soon as you get into the old town, which is described as a ‘romantic rocky peninsula’ that is so small you can actually walk around the whole thing thoroughly in a few hours, you see the many remains of fortress walls, so many churches from so many different eras, from Byzantine to Roman to the Middle Ages, surrounded by houses dating from the 18th Century on. We wandered the streets, ooh’d and aah’d, grabbed a coffee and some pastries, walked along the beach and the outside of the peninsula—it was just so beautiful, definitely another one of the highlights of the trip, for me. After this, I was pretty excited to stay in old Sozopol next!