After a night stopover back in Istanbul, we caught an over-night bus to Bulgaria. We chose Varna as our destination there because our Lonely Planet book rated it and it was on the coast of the Black Sea which meant we didn't quite have to give up the beach and warmth just yet. Other than being really, really uncomfortable, the bus ride was fairly uneventful. The border crossing was at about 1am though, and in the middle of nowhere. If the bus people didn't tell us to get out there, you would've thought this place was abandoned too!
The bus got into Varna at about 530am. A reasonably inconvenient time, but lucky our hotel had a 24hr reception. It was a Saturday morning and at this time there were drunks walking round and also what we found out later to be a pimp and his bitches. So we were keen to stay inside and even pay a half rate to have the room early and get a sleep. The reception lady informed us that our room was not ready till after 12 and didn't really understand that we would pay for another room. She eventually organised us another room once we were still hanging round reception for another 15min contemplating what to do.
After a sleep, we headed out for some food and to check out the beach. The beach was kinda weird with rundown buildings along the sand and some with bars/restaurants. After coming from predominantly Islamic countries, Bulgarians were quite the opposite when it came to their modesty! People of all ages, shapes, sizes and genders were cruising around with not a lot on. We went out for a few drinks after dinner along the beach-side bars but were pretty wrecked after not a lot of sleep on the bus.
Next morning we jumped on the free walking tour as we so often do. It was a small group of us which was good. We found out that Varna was not the capital but had played a pivotal role in the countries history due to its location. Bulgaria is another country emerging from communism and there is a lot of rundown areas but also a lot of nice new areas.
The last day there, we spent a heap of time trying to organised our next moves. They make it hard to leave the bloody country! Buses to Romania were too hard as direct ones were only once per week, so after a lot back and forth we opted with not going to Romania and instead catching a train to Sofia (the Capital) which is a long way inland so we could catch a flight to Poland instead of going to Romania.
Once again we were on a fairly shitty old Eastern European train which was hot and didn't have any food or drink options for the 8hr trip. Lucky we bought a few snacks! Sofia was not too bad too but we were literally only there for a few hours as we got the at night and left early the next morning. It was pretty cold though too - noooo! Only a few weeks of cold though then back to Oz for another summer :-)
Here's the PHOTOS