On Day 8 we took a private car tour to Bulgaria that we had found through the tourist office we had stopped at our first day. We were originally going to spend the night in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, but with the hotel mix-up we decided to skip that and do a day trip instead. I think it really worked out well, because not only could we see Veliko Tarnovo in the tour, but also were taken to a rural mountain monastery, as well as a nearby town too. So we got to see more, and by car with a guide, who was great!

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At the mountain monastery after crossing over into Bulgaria by car in the morning

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Pretty purple flowers were everywhere

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Nice views from the caves

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Pictures weren’t allowed in the church in the rocks, but there were some wonderful old murals inside

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And we enjoyed just getting out of the big city and walking the paths around

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There were lots of bracelets tied to trees all over Bulgaria… apparently it is a folk tradition that girls wear the handmade bracelet for a month before spring, then tie it to a branch for good luck! So neat!

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Then it was on to Veliko Tarnovo to grab lunch

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Our guide Andrei

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Lunch was really yummy!

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Then we walked to Tsarvartes Fortress

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It is a really old fortress that used to protect the town and area

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And of course it commands some great views of the countryside!

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Inside the redone church was creepy though…

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We were glad Andrei took some pictures for us!

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Finally we went up to a small town just a few minutes away from the fortress, which is popular with tourists in summer

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It really reminded me of Japan’s Taketomi island with its walls and sand roads

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More bracelets and flowers

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The rain was rolling in, so we wrapped up and headed back to Bucharest!

I wish we’d had more time in Bulgaria, it seems like a really great place! Maybe we can see Sofia next time!