Monday 24 August: Ancient capital and fortress town of Veliko Tarnovo, complete wıth hilltop church and execution rock where traitors took the plunge down to the meandering loops of the Yantra River gorge below. Picked up from station by Toshe from Hiker's Hostel in his gas-powered Peugeot Partner car (19th mode of transport).
Fun evening watching the castle sound and light show from the hostel balcony with two beer-swilling Hungarian bikers, the cheery one with the unforgettable name of Attila, Maria, the day receptionist and Dyanna, the night one. Like an episode from Men Behaving Badly - we drank the place dry, almost. Snippets of conversation follow. Dyanna on the subject of names: "My name is Deeanna, not like Lady Dianna, it's a man's name". Me on the subject of girls "I love the sexy way Bulgarian girls say yes" (a lazy sheepish-like swaying shake of the head from left to right) to the agreement of all the guys. Maria: "They also say no!" (demonstrating wıth a sharp backward nod of the head), laughter all round. Atilla on the subject of Guinness "If I wanted a drink that tasted like coffee, I'd drink coffee". Maria: "I will be back tomorrow morning to make coffee for your hangovers". Dyanna on the subject of bribe-taking traffic police: "Beggars in uniform". Maria next day looking in the fridge, disgusted but laughing: "Aagh - you have left only milk!".
Next day short 9 mile hike from hostel along the escarpment to Preobrazhenski Monastery where falling boulders 'miraculously' split apart to avoid hitting the monastery or the bee-keeping monks.
Pictures of Veliko Tarnavo. East agaın by prıvate bus to Varna and the sea.