Varna. Day 4

Добро утро, Варна! Good morning, seagulls behind our window! It’s a beautiful new day but it looks a bit cloudy again. Another breakfast across the road and a group clearly consisting of two English people at the next table! That should be interesting to hear! There had already been a bit of Englishness in our stay in Varna as during our first two mornings here there was an English man trying to gap the linguistic bridges by trying to explain that he didn’t like the breakfast they served (by saying and gesturing“Breakfast – no!”) but cared for an English breakfast instead. The first morning he had to be content with nothing more than a beer and a cigarette but during our walk around this area the next day I spotted his face in the crowd (how did I?) and what really caught my eye is his smile as he was eating what looked like an omelette! He’d found his piece of home here in Varna after all, bless him! One of these English people was busy making an impression of the Cockney accent (typical of the South London). Ah dear, how I love my job! I don’t think they had any idea I would be doing a bit of eavesdropping there! A few moments later I saw another English man listening to this linguistic performance and this younger guy was quite charming and even smiled back at me when he saw me smiling at him faintly! Such a small but beautiful thing to happen to me during breakfast! Why can’t breakfasts in Russia be like this… Bulgaria did seem more international to me that morning!

Well, it looked like we had to proceed with more walking that morning as it was pretty cloudy. Yes, even at the sea you can’t swim as much as you please! Another visit to the Rose of Bulgaria shop and then all the way to the Varna Cathedral which we thought we would take this chance to tour this time. As I previously said, there is nothing imposing or breathtaking about Bulgaria’s second largest cathedral opened in 1886. We walked down the underground passing to find ourselves right at the entrance. It looked like quite an old building as if constantly washed over by the sea. There were some flowers around. Of course we got inside what was the first Orthodox cathedral we’d ever seen outside our country. What I find genuinely hypocritical about cathedrals is that the moment you step inside, they beg you to donate here or there. I got an icon for Mum and that was my donation. Now we could get inside. Compared to a few Catholic churches and cathedrals I’d seen so far, there was nothing in particular about the interior of the Varna Cathedral, nor was it oppressing or dull as I would expect with it being Orthodox. I love taking in all the large and small details of cathedrals, I see the spirituality in the human grasp of architecture and its capacity to evoke something beyond what we feel inside us in our daily lives. We stayed here for a while just listening to a sermon and looking around to rest a gaze upon the eyes of the saints on the walls and admire the human painting prowess. Of course there was Cyril and Methodius who invented the Cyrillic alphabet to be originally used here in Bulgaria. Thank you for granting me this part of the linguistic me that I am proud of! I wish I had known I would be that when I was a kid struggling through this alphabet!

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After a few more reflections on our Slavic heritage, we left the cathedral and walked around this area some more. There wasn’t so much to see around here and we crossed the road back to Boris I Boulevard. We checked out a fruit market on our way. It was small and reminded me of one we used to have in my hometown in the 90s. Everything here looked so tasty! We got some blueberries and peaches to take with us to the beach later that day. Another casual stroll through the main shopping street in my Bulgarian shoes that I think got me a few looks from strangers walking by or was that my white dress (I hope there was nothing wrong with me anyway). Seeing and being seen is an essential part of travelling. Who knows – someone might have remembered a girl in a white dress and red shoes carrying a bag of fruit on that particular day… Now it was time for lunch at that same place with home-made Bulgarian food with more tasty chicken in cream and some soft drinks and a few Russians sitting at the table next to us. They were lucky a lot of people speak Russian here.

On our way back to “our” street, we got some Bulgarian corn (царевица – almost like a queen). You can get it in a variety of sources in a glass. Back at the hotel, we took advantage of the fertile Bulgarian agriculture and helped ourselves to the corn and fruit! After a little break, we went back to Slivnitsa Street and decided to grab some coffee at a Costa coffee shop just around the corner. It was another taste of Britain for the day as it is a British coffeehouse. While looking for a seat to get a nice view of the street, I noticed some men giving me a few looks (well, is there something really wrong with the dress or the shoes or am I just too Russian to simply enjoy it?). Anyway, it was a beautiful view and that whole experience seemed a bit Parisian I guess. Watching people go out and about from up this little terrace sipping on an immense cup of coffee and eating my amazing chocolate muffin… Nice! And seeing and be seen of course… There is a bit of everything that Varna can offer you.

We spent the evening at the beach and I did take a little dip but the water was getting a bit cold at that time. Of course we had the fruit there with us and the Bulgarian beer Каменица, which I am afraid was the worse beer I’d ever tried. Камень means “a stone” and I could feel this stone lingering in my stomach a few hours after drinking this. But everything apart from a little digestion problem was nice. You just have to love the sea! I felt we were becoming a unit now… That night after getting lost a little the night before we decided to stay here a bit after dark and found a lounge at one of the bars at the coast. More coffee now to counteract the beer and… just enjoy! Is this that simple to recreate a movie-like moment? A lounge, some serene music and the sea… There was a guy who sounded Irish who wouldn’t stop talking. I felt sorry for him because the girl he was sitting with didn’t care much to respond. Who in the right mind would refuse some English practice? Ah dear, I love my job! And I love to love it here by the sea!

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This time we did find a safe way out of the Sea Garden and could properly enjoy all that people-watching… Seeing and being seen. More people-watching on the bench across the road from the hotel and seeing the waiter from the Sea Terrace Restaurant going back from work after midnight, they don’t rush, they just live somehow… It is time for a day trip the next day. Лека нощ!

Author: Olga

An English teacher and translator, a keen traveller

2 thoughts on “Varna. Day 4”

    1. Thank you very much for reading and for your lovely compliment! I think it is important to look nice on a holiday and I think the feeling of exploring and discovering makes one look fabulous as it is.

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