The picturesque little city of Vratsa (Враца) sits at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains in Northwest Bulgaria. On a recent road trip I was amazed when I saw the city sitting under the craggy cliffs of the “old mountain” (Стара Планина / Stara Planina in Bulgarian). What with the water and all it’s kind of like a poor man’s Cape Town!
I’ve never actually been to Vratsa, but after reading Wikipedia for a few hours I am fascinated by the history of the region.
Last night my trolley ride home from downtown Sofia was interrupted by a police roadblock and some rather unusual traffic on Aleksandar Dondukov Boulevard.
Welcome to Bulgaria, where military tanks roll down the streets of the country’s capital in preparation for the annual Armed Forces Day parade. I’ve seen a dozen or so airshows, but this takes the cake! Nevertheless, this was pretty surreal to see.
When I first started visiting Bulgaria I was in awe of the beautiful buildings in Sofia. Here you can see the typical vintage of Europe mixed with a bit of the color and flair of the Orient, a combination rarely seen in Western Europe. For the first few months after I moved to Sofia I maintained the position that it was cliché to say that the Alexander Nevsky cathedral was your favorite building in the city — after all, it is undoubtedly the most famous landmark. But, ladies and gentlemen, this cathedral is absolutely marvelous to behold.