BIRMINGHAM TO BEIJING (& BACK) - ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Birmingham to Bulgaria
We are in the Beautiful old town of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. We’ve been on the road for nearly two weeks, its a bit rainy outside and we’ve got this fantastic apartment so we thought we’d write our ‘blog’ and catch up with every body. Hope you are all well :) We’re both having a great time !!!
We left Birmingham on Monday 27th March, from New Street, celebrating with champagne and chocolates. We stopped the night at Fiona (Rich’s cousin), Jake and baby Ellie’s house in London. Ellie is so cute. We left London on the 12.00 Eurostar to Paris Gare D’Est. The EuroStar is fantastic, had lovely 3 course meal, champagne, wine... and its cheap and easy.
We walked to Paris Gare D’ Nord stopping off for Baguettes and caught the night train to Vienna. We headed for the tourist office to check out the things to see and wasn’t surprised to see that Birmingham still tops all other European destinations, but never mind we had left now...
We loved Vienna, we stayed at a great Pension, Pension Miklos, near the Votiv Kirche.
Went to the Vienna Secession, great gallery and building. Saw Gustav Klimts ‘Beethoven Frieze’ and had fun playing with Michael Clegg and Martin Guttmans Installation. We walked around Nachsmarkt, lovely market where we had the traditional Vienna Thai Green Curry.
Went to the Kunst Haus Wien, designed by Hundertwasser. he believed cities should be ‘more harmonious with their natural surroundings’. He redesigned this Incinerator at Spittelau, Vienna.
Kaz loved the wines in the Heurigen’s (wine taverns), Rich stayed on the water,
... we had a train to catch to Budapest!
In Budapest we headed for the thermal baths, and walked into street celebrations, along the long wide street leading to Heroes Square, for the Socialist party MSZP, something to do with the current elections.
Spent a very sunny afternoon chilling in the outdoor thermal pools and spas. After going for an Indian we headed for the the night train to Brasov
We woke to an amazing sunrise over the mountains in Transylvania, Romania. It was a stunning train journey, through beautiful country side, very rural, people working the land by hand and with horses.
There was plenty of ugly industrial plants for balance. We went for breakfast in the restaurant carriage.
We stayed at the Kismet Dao Hostel (Elvis) in Brasov. Really friendly place, with free beer! We made some good friends, and cooked up some nice meals.
I’d been there before in February, with students, it was great to be back in spring. The Square and Old Town was full of life.
The view from our balcony was perfect for chilling...
We took a hike up Tamba mountain towards the hollywood esque sign. Had drink at the top. The chef/ owner was great and, after checking my shoes were clean, took us to see the views from the restaurant, looking over Brasov.
Neither of us spoke each others language, but he done that trick (that usually english people do) of just shouting louder, it seemed to work, as he gave us a guide to Brassov. He reminded us of the chef from the Muppets.
We went out to Bran Castle with Rachael (from Holland) and Pete (from Devon), the bus journey was cool and we saw a Chuddy (aka James Mitchell) look a likely.
We got the morning train from Brasov to Bucharest, where we had lunch at Mc Louf’s and chilled out in the park near Bucharest Gare De Nord. It was lovely hot and sunny. We then jumped on the train for Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. On the train we met Don (Montana, USA) and Jason (Georgia, USA), who were working in Bulgaria for the Peace Core. Don persuaded us to get off the train and he’d show us Rousse which is a port City on the Danube, just over the border. We crossed what is said to be the largest steel bridge in Europe, into Bulgaria.
Glad we did get off in Rouse. Don was very funny and a great host, took us for a tour of the town, with its Austro Hungarian Architecture and nice walks along the Danube river.
We met Andy, from London, who is now living out here and is involved with property. Had great night, drinking outside in bars, enjoying sunset. Went for lovely meal at a MEXAHA (traditional bulgarian restaurant with very loud live music) then onto more bars and clubs...
We caught the train, late the next afternoon to Veliko Tarnovo. We hope to see Don and Andy again, there.
Veliko Tarnovo is gorgeous old town on a beautiful curving river . We’ve been out to some lively MEXAHA’s here and walking around the old town and streets such as Gurko Street.
We’ve got a great apartment here, with own garden, but have spent probably a little too long in it, writing this! (Jamie your right, they take ages to write!). We’re off out now to see the castle and may catch their famous light and sound show. Hope your well, speak to you soon.
Rich and Kaz