Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Fall/Winter Travel Plans


I simply cannot go a day without dreaming of my next travel adventure. It’s in my blood, I tell you!

Thankfully, After months of planning, Vince and my travel plans for this fall & winter are finally starting to come together. As if living and exploring in Bulgaria isn’t enough, we have to throw some international jaunts into the mix to keep things interesting. It’s one of the many joys of living in Europe.

First up is our long-awaited honeymoon…

Mediterranean Cruise

Less than 3 weeks from now, Ventsi and I will be bound for Rome. We are flying in a few days before our departure on the Crown Princess. We’ve been to Rome before as part of our last cruise, but we only had a day in port and we were definitely rushed. This time around we plan on savoring the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Eternal City. So far the only thing we have firmly planned is the Vatican’s tour of St. Peter’s Tomb–called the Scavi tour. On this amazing tour we will be led 3 stories directly beneath St. Peter’s Basilica to the reported resting place of St. Peter. We’ll be able to see and touch (and smell!) the actual foundations for the first church built on that spot. WOW! We were insanely luck to score tickets as they limit visitors to about 150 per day. Most people book months in advance, but I emailed the Vatican for S & Gs and they had 2 openings! I’m a history geek, so this rocks my socks. We didn’t get to see the Sistine Chapel last time, so we are definitely hitting up the Vatican Museums as well. We may try to find The Mouth of Truth–Roman Holiday fans will know why I want to go there!

We’ve been to many of the ports on our cruise (only Santorini, Olympia, Corfu, and Dubrovnik are new), so we mostly plan on hoofing it around the cities taking photos and generally enjoying the everyday scenery rather than booking full blown tours. We are, however, splurging for an excursion out of Naples. We didn’t particularly care for Naples the last time we visited; it’s not the safest place in the world. So rather than stay on the ship and lose out on seeing more of amazing Italy, we sucked it up and booked an excursion through Princess. Our 10-hour tour takes us to Pompeii for a guided tour; Sorrento for lunch and free time; and finally, to the isle of Capri via hydrofoil for a few hours of sun, sand, and sea.

We are pretty darn excited to finally be celebrating not only our honeymoon but our 1st anniversary as well. 2 weeks in the Med? Perfection!

Next up, a holiday getaway…

Christmas in Vienna

How this one came to be planned is actually a funny story. I was sitting at work in Alaska one day this summer and it suddenly occurred to me that I would be away from my family for Christmas for the first time. Ever. We have some pretty solid Christmas traditions, so the thought of missing it all bummed me out. To cheer myself up, I instantly began Googling pictures of Vienna Christmas markets. I never thought Vince would go for it (he’s a bit of a tightwad) but after I found round trip flights for only $130 each, he was sold. It actually took no convincing at all. We’ll be spending three nights in the city and plan on doing nothing more than walking around drinking mulled wine, eating Sacher Torte, and buying lots of Christmas goodies. We fly back to Bulgaria on Christmas eve, but it will still feel like we spent Christmas in Vienna!

I told my mom about the trip and a few days later she called me and said to book her a flight. So she flies into Sofia on Friday the 21st and we fly to Vienna that same night. She’s going to have a loooong few days of travel! After Vienna, we’re going to show her around Bulgaria and introduce her to Vince’s parents. Needless to say, everyone involved is pretty darn excited! I can’t wait to show her around my new home and I think she can’t wait to eat my MIL’s delicious food!

Finally, a visit to Istanbul with friends…


Soon after ringing in the new year with Vince and the fam, my friend (and boss in Alaska), K., will be arriving to stay with us. Shortly after she lands in Sofia we’ll be hopping onto a bus bound for Istanbul. Vince has to work, so it’s just the two of us! We are meeting another friend there. I love Istanbul and am looking forward to seeing more of the city. We may even try to catch a whirling dervish show!

After January, we don’t have any big trips planned, which is fine with me. I love exploring Bulgaria, so we hope to spend a few weekends taking day trips to nearby cities and villages. I am trying to convince the hubs to take a weekend getaway to Macedonia, but he isn’t too keen on the idea. Boo.

Of course, we’ll be spending a lot of time making the 4-hour drive down to Smolyan to visit Vince’s parents. I think he’ll be eager to get down there so he can actually get a delicious home cooked meal. I like cooking, but I am definitely nothing close to his mother.

So… there you have it! Our upcoming fall & winter travel plans.

I’d love to hear about any exiting adventures you have coming up! Please share!


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Photo credits: Vienna, Santorini, Istanbul

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10 thoughts on “Fall/Winter Travel Plans

  1. Pingback: A Saturday Afternoon « Girl Meets Bulgaria

  2. Pingback: Girl Meets Bulgaria

  3. WOW!!! I am so jealous. I agree with you, Naples is nothing to see, but Pompeii on the other hand is magnificent! And Vienna at Christmas. How gorgeous! My upcoming travel plans are quite boring. I’m going down to LA for a week later this month for my birthday, and then nothing. A girl can dream though (and live vicariously through you!)

  4. So jealous to read all the above.But me and my husband are not less excited than you are,because we’re hitting( these words sound awful the past few days), because of Sandy (sigh), the East coast of America.It is a long waited trip, with my husband’s brother and wife and we can’t wait….

    • I’m happy you finally get to go! Sandy was really devastating for a lot of areas (some people still don’t have power or water–it’s awful), but I think tourism is one of the best ways to help a location damaged in a natural disaster get back to normal–just look at New Orleans. I hope your really enjoy your trip!

      • 🙂 Oh,New Orleans is very far away from our modest plan :). We basically will be going that way: Boston-New York-Atlantic city-Washington-Philadelphia-Boston.A short adventure during Christmas time.We’ll see how it will work for us.Thank you,for always replying to comments and sharing plans and ideas!

    • My husband and I were in Washington last year a few weeks prior to Christmas and it was stunning! I loved walking around with all of the festive lights and seeing the decorations, it warmed my heart!

      • Nice! I have never traveled anywhere for Christmas, so I am really excited for this. Germans and Austrians really know how to celebrate Christmas too! I can’t wait to take an obscene amount of photos.

  5. Vienna at cCristmas time is gorgeous and magical. You will love it!

  6. This sounds amazing! I am uber jealous but know it’ll be an amazing time (and can’t wait to see the pictures on here of course!) When I was living in Europe I regret not spending more time out wandering Vienna it is such an old and historic city with such beauty! Have a blast!

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