Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Home Sweet Home

Waiting for Vatican Scavi tour

Vince and I are back from a fabulous 2 weeks in the Mediterranean.

Sun (mostly). Sea. Incredible destinations. Cuddle time watching movies…It was magical.

While I needed (and enjoyed) an extended break from technology and the goings-on in the world, I am happy to have internet access back.

I have SO much to share with you all.

Final photo count between our 3 cameras is about 4000. Thank heavens for digital. **AmIright?!**

I have them all uploaded onto my hard drive but can’t even contemplate how long it will take to upload the best to Flickr and Facebook.

Colorful Santorini

BUT IT WILL GET DONE…Eventually. Never fear!

We arrived back in Sofia around 3pm this afternoon and after taking a taxi home to drop off our suitcases we headed back out to get groceries.

70 Leva later and our kitchen is stocked. I even found pistachio ice cream (more on my recent addiction to pistachio gelato to come).

Suitcases are unpacked. Laundry is done/drying.

Aw. It’s good to be home.

Crashing waves in Dubrovnik

Lots of posts to come!

(Hope you liked the photo sneak-peek!)

W.

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Update from the Mediterranean

Greetings from Kusadasi, Turkey!

I had hoped to check in a few times by now, but we’ve just been having way too much fun to bother finding a wifi connection.

We are having the best time on the ship just eating, relaxing, and waking up everyday in a new location.

Cruising certainly has its perks!

A quick recap through today:

-Our 2 days in Rome were great. We saw almost everything we wanted to see and our Scavi tour at the Vatican was incredible.

-At our first port of Naples we took an excursion through the ship to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri. It was a long 10-hour day but the tour was well worth it. Capri is breathtaking.

-After leaving Naples we had 2 days at sea en route to Santorini. We spent the days lounging by the pool reading (me) and swimming (the hubs). The weather has been great–mid to low 60’s and sunny skies nearly the entire time.

-Yesterday the ship dropped anchor in the bay near Santorini. We took a cable car up to the town of Fira. From there we took a bus ride to the town of Oia. When you picture quintessential postcard Greece with the whitewashed houses and blue-dome churches, that is Oia. It was truly one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. My camera card is nearly full now after an afternoon spent on Santorini.

-Now we are in Kusadasi, Turkey. The main attraction nearby are the ruins at Ephesus. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan very well and we probably won’t be able to get out to the ruins. We should have booked an excursion through the ship…oh well! It’s about a 14-hour drive from Sofia, so Vince promised we would take a road trip one of these days down to Turkey and make a stop in Ephesus.

We’re off to Mykonos tomorrow.

Hope all my American family/friends/readers had a great Thanksgiving!

Talk to you all soon!

W.


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Mediterranean Bound

As you read this, Vince and I are flying 30,000 feet in the air on our way to Rome, Italy.

YAY!

We’ll be spending two nights in the city before heading to the port in Civitavecchia to board the Crown Princess for a 12 night “Greek Isles”cruise.

So far, the only thing we have firmly planned in Rome is the Vatican’s Scavi tour to the tomb of St. Peter. While we are at the Vatican, we will also check out the museums and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. We toured St. Peter’s Basilica on our last visit, but didn’t have time to see the Michelangelo’s masterpiece. There’s no way we’re missing it this time around!

We may book tickets on the 110 open bus. This hop-on, hop-off bus seems like a really convenient way to see most of the major sites in a short amount of time. Two days is definitely no where enough time to do Rome justice, but it’s all we have!

Our first stop on the cruise is Naples. We’ve been there already, so we booked a tour to Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri. It’ll be one busy day!

Our Greek stops include beautiful white-washed Santorini (a new destination for us), lively Mykonos (we loved this island last time we visited), bustling Athens (we’ve been, so we may hang out on the ship this day), and historic Corfu (another new stop).

Throw in Kusadasi (we’ll be touring nearby Ephesus as we’ve already been to this iconic Turkish port), Dubrovnik (probably the stop I am most excited for as I’ve never been to Croatia), and Venice (our last visit here was a disaster, time to make it up!) and we’ve got one full 2 weeks ahead of us.

It’s been a really long time since I was able to take a long and relaxing vacation.

This one will definitely fit the bill.

I’ll likely gain 5 lbs. from all the food but I think it will be cancelled out by all the walking were bound to do.

I’ll be posting updates as wi-fi is available, so stay tuned!

Catch you all in 2 weeks!

W.

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A Saturday Afternoon

people watching on a Saturday afternoon

Today I am balancing the urgent need to prepare for our trip with the desire to be completely lazy.

So far, both sides are pretty neck and neck.

(it helps having an ambitious man around to get tasks done!)

I dragged myself out of bed and away from the great book I’ve been reading (A Light Between Oceans) in order to write up a few blog posts. I am setting them to auto-post while we’re away. I hate to have things go completelyquiet around here for 2 weeks. And I’m sitting on some great stuff that I have been dying to share.

But, oh! How very excited I am to be leaving for 2 WHOLE WEEKS! Fourteen days! A fortnight! Etc., etc., etc.

It’s about damn time my husband and I took our honeymoon!

Because it is utterly unromantic, my laptop (and all the time-sucks it contains) is staying at home. But I will be taking my Kindle and iPod. So there may a few short updates and blurbs from me here and there whenever I can snag a few minutes alone with some wi-fi (images of a quaint piazza-side café, espresso/gelato/beer in hand, children laughing and playing–a girl can dream, right?!).

Please keep your lovely comments and emails coming. I won’t be able to approve comments (yep, I still moderate–have had some creeps lately) or reply to everything right away, but I promise I will as soon as I can.

Well, I better get back to editing photos and writing blog posts (not to mention packing). I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday Saturday (cripes, I don’t even know what day it is!) afternoon.

Really. NO sarcasm intended!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

W.

P.S. If you’d like to see what I’m reading, connect with me on Goodreads. I’m always on the hunt for my next read, so I will definitely follow you back.

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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…

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Vince’s Vacation

Last week my husband, Vince, went on a Scandinavian cruise with his parents.

The trip was in celebration of my FIL’s 70th birthday (yep, 70! My husband was a late-in-life baby).

I picked the cruise out; dreams of viking history, pristine fjords, fresh foods, and open-minded attitudes running through my mind.

Then life happened and I came back to Alaska this summer for work.

To say that I was bummed out for not getting to go would be a massive understatement.

Add lots of jealousy to the mix, too, as the hubs and I have this {mostly} friendly competition going to see who can visit the most countries. Up until last week we were both even at 12. Seeing as most couples travel together, I figured we’d be neck-in-neck for the rest of our lives. Well, that went out the window when he visited 4 countries I haven’t yet been to: Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Here’s their route:

My in-laws, although fairly well-traveled throughout Eastern Europe and Turkey, had never been to Northern Europe.

In fact, they had never been on a plane or a ship the size of the Grand Princess.

I was a bit worried about this but it turned out to be unfounded. They had a total blast.

I am so happy that they all got to go and that they had a good time.

I have been traveling vicariously through their photos all day.

I think my in-laws are just the cutest! Oh, and my hubs, of course! 🙂

LOVE that he is getting into taking “feet’ pics

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