Posts Tagged ‘train station’

2 Wonderful days in Belgrad Serbia / Belgrad a city you should see! – A trip to KaleMegdan, ZooPark War museum and Kaona monastery

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Flag_of_Serbia-days-in-Serbia-Beograd-must-see-place-zoopark-and-military-museum.svg

Me and my wife Svetlana, spend our weekend in Beograd (or BeoGreat! as it is also famous among English speaking). I was sceptical about Serbian, always thinking Serbians are living poorer and that we Bulgarians have better living standard. What I saw in Beograd convinced me Serbs lives at least half or 1 time better than us Bulgarians. Starting from Road Infrastructure and coming to the prices and ending with buildings, people live and mood and everything is just amazing!
serbian-tram-beograd-city-nice-infrastructure

serbian-tram-beograd-city-nice-infrastructure

Serbs as people have deeply impressed me, they are one of the best people, I've seen really. Serbs have respect for their Church, know how to enjoy their life much more than us. Also the culture in Serbs as they are more western oriented than us. The language is not so easy to understand as a I though, generally you can understand with a serbian as its slavonic similar language. The whole 2 way sleeping car train ticket from Bulgaria ( Sofia ) to Serbia ( Beograd ), costed us about 55 euro per person – which is a bit expensive because the real distance between Sofia and Serbia is only 400
km
, but as it is international ride it is a bit overcosted.

bdz_slipenwagen-sleeping-old-car-of-bulgarian-national-railways
bdz_slipenwagen-sleeping-old-car-of-bulgarian-national-railways

The sleeping car were inscribed with the words (Liegen Wagen – in German Sleeping Car) and were an old wagons left from communism – produced in Bulgaria.
Though the wagons were old the were clean and warm, the sleeping sheets were clean and generally it was confortable as we were only 2 people in compartment (this was so because not too many people travel from Beograd to Sofia and vice versa). Also the service in the train is on a high level, the woman who was accomodating us in the train was very affable. In train we were checked twice once by and once by Serbian border control and by Bulgarian border police and customs. On our way to Serbia the train come late with a delay about 2 hours we started from Sofia at 20:30 on 5th of July, Friday and we were supposed to be in Beograd in 05:00 Serbian time (which is 06:00 BG Time).
However the train arrived in Beograd just about 07:00 (Serbian time).
Belgrade_railway_station
Belgrade_railway_station

We had the great blessing to have a very warm and dry days which was quite nice (especially after the heavy floods that hit Serbia and Bulgaria less than a month ago. The central train station in Beograd is much smaller than Sofia's central station but it looks much beatiful as it is an old-fashioned building probably 100 years old. What striked me right after our arrival is the public transport trams, were very new and clean. Also the cars Serbs drive seem to be newer than Bulgarians, Serbians drive second hand bought cars from West Europe approximately produced in 2006, while the avarage cars we drive here in BG is from 2001 or 2000. There are few buildings in the city center which seemed abondoned and seemed like they need renovation but besides that everything looked quite well looking for a city that was bombed in 1998 – 1999. Later I learned from Galin bombing conducted by Americans was done only on few government and military buildings – and were done in a very "human" way – everything was clear earlier what will be bombed etc. etc.
serbia-belgrade-bomb-damage-building-in-beograde
Serbia-Belgrade-bomb-damage-building

Can you believe, there might be a "human way of bombing?", well according to Americans and UN, there could be! On our arrival merrital god-father Galint took us from train station and brought us to their living apartment located on str. Maršala Birjuzova, Beograd. Andrea (Galin's wife) and our merriage god-mother received us warm harted as always. We met also Andrea's mother Milenka (Serbian equivalent of Bulgarian name Milena) … Andrea's mother Milenka Perolo is owning a small an English to Serbian and Serbian to English translation angecy called "Perolo". Andrea and her mother are by linkage Croation, it is very interesting that genetically Croatiaons are very close to Bulgarians just like we Bulgarians are genetically close to Italians and even according to some researches Italian nation originated from Bulgarian. There is probably something true in that because it seems we can very easily interact with Croations … 23 days old cute baby girl Boryana
23 days old cute baby girl Boryana (which got baptized – becoming a young Orthodox Christian 🙂 )

Galin and Andrea are having only 23 days born baby called Boryana, its their 3rd child after Georgi and Konstantin. After having a good braekfast from fast food like Bulgarian famous Banica (from Pekara – a place where they sell fast food equivalents to Banica) and we bought Yogurt which is something like the Bulgarian Soar Milk (Kiselo Mlijako) with this difference that Serbian Yogurt is not so good for health as Bulgarian Yoghurt (Kiselo Mlijako). After the morning meal Galin brought us to the city center where we enjoyed a lot the Serbian language writtings in shops and buildings. The words are similar to Bulgarian. However cyrillic writting in Serbia is not so common as they tend to write a lot of their words in Latin letters being highly influenced by western culture. After the main city center street full of majestic buildings of significance to Serbian history, the national bank, the national museum, theatres etc. We came to KaleMegdan a very beautiful green park full of statues of Serbian revolutionaries, Kings and national heroes, very much in the spirit of Sofia's Borisova garden (gradina) – Sofia's central park. What striked me is the fortress situated in the middle of the park. KaleMegdan fortress is probably one of the best preserved and biggest early age (12/13th century) fortress and medieval times renewed fortress in Europe. It is the biggest I've seen in my wife so far, in the middle of the fortress there is a tennis court! a basketball field, volleyball field etc. etc. In very middle of KaleMegdan fortress there is a an exposition of tanks and warfare items and heavy anti-tank weapons left from I-st and II world war. There are also a boats and even submarine missles and underwater mines exposed, along with war boats. I was never seriously interested in warfare technology but seeing all this complete took up my attention. Continuing further the fortress one ends to a fortress walls and park continuation from where you see the two rivers Savva (Sava) river and Dunabe mixing beatifully together their blue and green waters, along with a sideview to whole Beograd 
city! Again amazingly beuatiful!

Sava_river_in_Belgrade,_view_from_Kalemegdan_fortress
Sava_river_in_Belgrade,_view_from_Kalemegdan_fortress

The air of course is very wet and there is humidity everywhere as there is a big river nearby. And in summer in Beograd you feel like being on the beach except there are no beaches. There is an improvised beach on the river, but as I heard from Beograd locals, beaching ont he river is much less enjoyable as going to a real sea beach. In the fortress there are two Churches as well one used to be a military church and interestingly its lusters are all made of war bullets. The otherChurch Saint Petka is historically very famous as it was temporary holding the holy relics of Saint Petka and even today in the Church there is small part of holy relics from Saint Petka. On Dunabe river there is a view of many boats and river resturants beautifully ordered on the river shore so it is perfect for people to relax from heavy stressful daily life. On the city park there is also a large children playground, where children could have a great fun and very near the fortress is situated Beograd 
National – City ZooPark!

  Beograd-city-center-national-zoo-white-lion

Beograd-city-center-national-zoo-white-lion

The Zoo is fantastic and has even more animals though situated on less space than Sofia Zoo. We went to Famous Beograd Zoo on Sunday 06.07.2014, after being for a holy liturgy in the main cathedral Church of Beograd – St. Archangel Michael (the Church building is situated opposite to Serbian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, and very nearby to a iconographic academy and the patrierchal residency.

  Saborna-Crkva-Beograd-city-center

Saborna-Crkva-Beograd-city-center

The Church service was quiet understandable as big parts of the service is in Church Slavonic and as I'm adjusted to understanding big part of the Church slavonic and understand a bit of serbian speech, I was feeling in Serbian church almost like in a service here in Bulgaria. Serving Holy Liturgy in Church in Church slavnic is a big blessing for us slavonic people as we can understand the service in Serbia, Bulgaria, Monte Negro, Croatia, Bulgaria 🙂 After the Church service we went for a coffee in a Serbian coffee nearby the iconographic academy in Beograd. One thing to note here is always in all ex-Yugoslavia, if you order coffee you get a cup of free fresh water with the coffee – a great coffee drinking habit of Serbs. In the street I've seen a car under the brand Yugo which is pretty much like the small old Fiat cars, but it used to be produced in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After the coffee we went back home have a another coffee with a small dinner and a cake with Serbian Coca-Cola which has a little bit of a different taste than the coca-cola in BG and other countries I've been (note I usually hate Cola and I don't drink it but here I dеcided to give it a try with experimental aim 🙂 What impressed me on the Coca Cola plastic bottle was written "This Cola doesn't contain conservants or any chemical substances" – I LOL-ed (Laughted Out Loud ) to this non-sense. We all know cola is one of worst conservant of modern man so such a writtings is a big non-sense.

Pljeskavica - Serbian Traditional most popular food meal
Pljeskavica – Serbian Traditional most popular food meal

For a lunch I ate the most famous Serbian (food) meal called "Pleskavica" a very, very big meat ball – talking about food Serbian are crazy about meat. They probably are the nation with biggest meat consumption in Europe! – I heard for Serbs and Croations, a kilo and a half of meat eaten a day is something very usual!
Monastery-kaonana-putusaba-serbia-monastery-near-Beograd-70-km-monastery-from-Beograd

Monastery-kaonana-putusaba-serbia-monastery-near-Beograd-70-km-monastery-from-Beograd

Kaona Monastery Serbia Monks living cells
Kaona Monastery Serbia Monks living cells

After lunch time on Saturday, around 14:00 serbian time, we jumped in our god-fathers Opel car and travelled to Kaona Monastery where was arranged to happen baptism of 23 days new-born baby Boryana. The archimandrite Philimon (which is very young 30 years old) received a us hospitably in Kaona Monastery – a monastery nearby the Serbian village Kaona. The monastery is a true heavenly garden. It has a small monastic property – sheeps, ducks, chickens 🙂  
Crkva kaona Monastir
Crkva Kaona Monastir

There is a miraculous water spring like in most monasteries, a baptisterium, two beautiful Churches (a Church school) and lake with a boats where you can have rest sailing with a small rowing boat. My wife Svetlana became the spiritual mother of the 23 days baby Boryana, making our bond with our marriage god-parents family even stronger. We had a safe travel from Beograd to Kaona and vice versa by God's grace. By an old tradition after batism there was small gathering and we ate same biscuits, baklava and drink a little of Rakia, coffee tea etc. After that by Abbot's blessing Philimon we went to the small monastic lake and sailed on the small rawing boat, where I had the chance to oar the boat for a second life in my life (btw rowing is quite pleasurable and healthy thing to do).

Kaona monastery paradise lake
Kaona monastery tiny monastic lake

The Abbot Philemon very much in the monastic spirit of good willness and love invited us to have a dinner together with a few of the other people who was on a pilgrimage journey to the monastery.

Kaona Monastery sheeps
Kaona Monastery sheeps

Eating in a monastery is a true blessing as always. Before eating a prayer is said by the abbot and the food is blessed during the dinner. There was a person reading the sayings of the Holy Church fathers, letting the monks remember even when they eat that the spiritual food is more important and should not be forgot even when physical food is eaten.
Church for funeral services nearby Kaona monastery
Church for funeral services nearby Kaona monastery  

Kaona Monastery entrance Church side door
Kaona Monastery entrance Church side door

Paraklis (Small Baptismal Chapel Kaona Monastery)
Parakles (Small Baptismal Chapel)

Going back from the monastery on late Saturday we had the plan to go outside with Galin and enjoy a bit the night life of Beograd but, we were very tired so we went sleeping almost immediately. On the next day after the Church service, we went to the Zoo and we had 2 hours and a half of great time, and I have the opportunity to see a lot of animals I saw for a first time in my life by God's grace 🙂 Here are some pictures from the zoo-park.

Beograd-National-Zoo-Lamma
Beograd-National-Zoo-Lamma

hip0-and-a-Lion-in-Beograd-Zoo
hip0-and-a-Lion-in-Beograd-Zoo

My-wife-and-a-Camelopard-in-Beograd-Zoo
My-wife-and-a-Camelopard-in-Beograd-Zoo

hipos in Beograd Zoo
hipos in Beograd ZooPark 🙂

Grandmother Camel in Beograd Zoo
Grandmother Camel in Beograd Zoo
In the afternoon after the zoo I went to the Military museum. It is the first war museum visitation in my wife so again quite an interesting experience.

Military-museum-belgrad-voenen-muzei-Belgrad
Military-museum-belgrad-voenen-muzei-Belgrad

Among the machine-guns there was even Bulgarian. It is interesting too see that a big part of history of Serbs is in their war history, there war weapons from all ages starting from pre-medieval times, going through the mediaval, the renessance the Serbian liberation war, the Ist and II-nd world war and ending in the just recent war
in Kosovo and conflicts in Monte Negro (Cerna / Crna Gora)

.
Military Museum within fortress wall Belgrad

To end up the great time, few hours before we had to go Galin and Andrea brought and left the two kids for a birthday party and brought us for a drink of few beers in boat-restaurant anchored on the river shore of Savva river.

Rabbit drink / Zaicharsko Serbian beer
Zaicharsko Serbian beer / Rabbit drink 🙂

An interesting fact is Savva river is named after Saint Savva (who was the first Serbian Archibishop, the creator of Serbian Church and partially the creator of Serbian state), St. Savva is considered the greatest serbian saint of all times and protector saint of all Serbian.  
Saint-Archibishop-Sava-creator-of-Serbian-Orthodox-Church
Saint-Archibishop-Sava-creator-of-Serbian-Orthodox-Church

A curious fact is saint Savva's dormition happened in nowdays Tarnovo Bulgaria.
As a closure I would say I enjoyed Serbian land a lot and I recommend it to anyone who want to have a great rest time. I think it is a big blessing for Serbians to not be in the European union, and one can feel the difference even spiritually when he is out of EU. In being not yet officially part of European Union though they have put their candidature Serbia reminds me somehow to Belarus.

Serbia just like Bulgarian is a land very rich in saints and martyrs throughout the long history, they're our brothers and we have one faith. One of the ways for a growth and well being for us as Bulgarians is to keep tight connections with our Serbian brothers and sisters. Just as an interesting fact for those who like monastic tourism near Beograd there is a mountain with 17 monasteries! Serbia is also among the countries still having relatively big number of monks, as of my knowledge Serbia has about 2000 monks

Trip to Geographical Center of Europe Polotsk Belarus

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

I spend 3 days from last week with my beloved girlfriend Svetlana in Polotsk Belarus. Since I'm here in Belarus for only 21 days, I'm trying to see as much as possible from what is remarkable from this beautiful green country. Polotsk is famous with;
 

  • Polotsk (Полоцк) is old Orthodox Christian Spiritual center and oldest city of Belarus (founded y. 862)
     
  • It is famous for being home city of Saint Efrosinia Polotskaya
     
  •  Polotsk  is Geographical Center of Europe
     
  • Saint Ephrosinia Church (12th century) – where Cross of st. Efrosinia is kept
     
  • Museum of Book-printing – one of the best in Europe
     
  • "The Stone of Boris" – monument of old Slavonic culture

    stone of Boris monument Polatsk Belarus
     

  • Spaso Efrosinievsky Nuns Monastery (Convent) – (established y. 1582) – monastery islocated 15 minutes from Central Train Station

It is interesting that probably the greatest Belarusian enlightener enlightener Frantsysk Skorina was born in Polatsk, Skorina is among most important people of Belarus of all time. It was in Polotsk also when first Belarusian "printer" was used.

I went to Polotsk with absoultely no idea what to expect. To reach there we travelled on a Belarusian train in a sleeping coupe. Mentioning train I should say train station in Minsk is very well organized and looks very European, the only inconvenient thing from other Western countries trains is you have to call Train Station and reserve ticket in advance. If you don't do so there is a high risk there are no free tickets.

Вокзал Vokzal Central Train Station Minsk Belarus

Central Railway Station Minsk, Belarus

Minsk Central Train Station Vokzal Minsk / Вокзал Минск

Minsk inside Central Train station (Copyright Wikipedia)

The train we were in was old probably 25 or 30 years old, but inside all was clean and well maintained, the train windows had curtains and in between coupe corridors there was even carpet. The train toilet seemed a bit ancient and was a bit dirty, but I guess this is normal as even in developed countries like Holland train toilets are bit dirty. Smoking inside the train just like in Bulgaria nowadays was prohibited. Overall train travel was from 11:53 to 08:20 The train is quite slow if compared to Western European but, was confortable and most importantly warm. Going down from train in Polotsk, I noticed even though the train station was little it was generally well organized. We left our laggage in a Luggage Keeping Room (very cheap for 1 day it costs about 1 euro or less!).

Polotsk is a famous tourist destinations for people from Russia and Ukraine, so finding and booking a Hotel in advance was a bit of a struggle. Thanksfully Svetlana managed to book in advance a Hotel Parus. Hotel cost was cheap too about 12 EURO per night for person. Parus hotel was destinated quite good, with rooms having a sightview to Dvina River
After leaving our luggage in Train Station, we went for an eat and find out prices in cafeterias are very low too. We eat quickly in tiny cafeteria – Mini Cafe and for Coffee Tea and a small snacks we pay only about 1.5 euro!
As Polotsk is small with inhabitants of only 80 000 ppl and is a famous spiritual center for centuries – the city "feels" very calm and relaxed. It is very easy to orientate too, the central part of the city is located in less than 10 minutes walk from Central Train Station. Next to train station is the Central Bus Station. The central part has few old monuments and just 3 minutes after crossing the central part (on the right)you reach the part with 3 of city landmarks;

– Historical Museum of Book Printing
– Saint Sophia Cathedral
– Bogoyavlensky sybor (Epiphany Cathedral Church)

saint Sophia Cathedral Polatsk Belarus

Saint Sophia Cathedral Polatsk

Polock River Dvina view

River view to Saint Sophia Cathedral Polatsk

polotsk-bogoyavlenski-sobor-Epiphany-cathedral-Polotsk

Cathedral of Epiphany Polotsk, Belarus

Svetlana planned, we stay 1 day in Polotsk and then travel to one of the other old cities of Belarus Grodno and then to Vitebsk, however we were so tired and Polotsk was so beautiful that we decided stay in Polotsk for one more day. On first day in Polotsk near the hotel there was a small Inn (Damyan) offering menu with traditional Belarusian kitchen food. We ate two nights there and in general  the prices there were normal for a tourist city – a dinner for 2 costs 15 / 20 euro. The inn decoration was with traditional tools and objects used in old times Belarusian living style. Unsurprisingly many of the tools were very similar to ones in Bulgaria so I felt pretty much like in our traditional  Bulgarian taverns ( Mehana ).

On Second day we catch bus number 4 (IRC) to reach to Spaso Efrosinievsky Monastery – named so in honor of st. Efrosinia of Polotsk. It is my first I visit Belarusian / (Russian) Monastery and honestly I was amazed how well all in monastery is organized.

Spaso Efrosinievski manastir Polotsk Belarus main Church building

Starting from Buildings Church buildings and even Nuns and Priests I met I can say Belarusian Spiritual Life is on supreme level. The Monastery had 3 Church buildings, where on the picture you see two of the Church buildings. The architecture of main Church was very much in Byzantine Eastern Style and the Church architecture differs from the usual Russian styled Churches, I've seen in Minsk and Polotsk. The Church architecture very much reminded me of our homeland Churches in Bulgaria.
The main Church building keeps thousand of Christian saints and st. Martyrs Holy Relics. Just to name a few – relics of St. martyr Georgi, st. Seraphim Sarovski, st. Longin (the keeper of the Lord's tomb), st. mrtr Panteleimon, st Nicolas, st Spiridon …
On the left near the alter walls are kept the Holy incorruptable body of saint Efrosinia Polatskaya, The holy incorruptible body of the saint is 10 centuries old!

saint Efrosinia Polatskaya Orthodox Christian icon

In Church photography was prohibited so unfortunately I couldn't take picture of st. Efrosinia's Holy Body. On the left and right corner of the Church near the outer doors there are a number of saints Holy relics to venerate. On the right near the Church Alter, there was a shrine containing a holy relics piece of approximately 100 of the greatest Christian saints!!!
The blessing one gets by visiting the monastery is great, being in the Church and near the Holy relics makes one feel the Pure Joy of Grace of the Holy Spirit flowing.
I and Svetlana stay for half of the evening service and then took to our hotel in Polotsk receiving the blessing of multtude of saints. On the next day, took our baggage and on our way to Train Station, we saw an old house used currently as Kids Museum. I've been in a kids museum already and I know though it is made for Children the joy to be there is not different even for adults as in each of us lives a kid. Below are few pictures from the Kids Museum 🙂

Kids-Museum-Polotsk-Belarusian-architect-Church-in-building

Inside Kids museum (Church inside building 🙂 )

old-Belarusian-things-traditional-Belarusian-instrument

Old Belarusian Musical Instrument (top in Yellow)

kids-museum-Polotsk-Georgi-and-Svetlana

Weighting tools Kids museum (Me and Svetlana)

On 3rd day of our stay in Polotsk, we catch a bus back to Minsk. The bus was a small mini-bus very similar to ones we have in Bulgaria. Just like with almost everything in Belarus it was necessary to reserve and buy our bus tickets in advance (on previous day).
In General we had great time in Polotsk. It is cheap there are things to see and it is small and everything is nearby you. If you happen be in Belarus visit Polotsk for a day or 2 its worthy.

Trip to Eindhoven airport and city center – few city impressions on city Cathedrals and centre

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

at_Eindhoven

Today, for its my 3rd time I go to Eindhoven. My first time was when I flied from Sofia, Bulgaria to Eindhoven (Holland) Airport in September, second time I was there was December 22-nd as I had to go there to take my girlfriend Svetlana from the airport; today it was the first time as unfortunately her Belarusian visa was expiring and she had to travel back to Belarus.

We travelled with Svetla from Arnhem to Eindhoven, the whole trip takes about approximate 1 hour. There is no direct train from Anrnhem to Eindhoven; thus we had to change train in 's-Hertogenbsoch. The trip thanks God went smoothly and the train was late with only few minutes (something very unusual for trains here in Holland). About 12 o'clock we were in the Train station. The bus station allowing a number of bus lines travelling to different destinations of the city is located right infront of train station, just like in Arnhem, Nijmegen (and probably a lot of other Dutch cities). Dutch architects did obviously a very good job by designing such a good road architecture in Holland, along with the ability to travel through absolutely all country on bike, the train and bus architecture is designed very well too. The bus to Airport is arriving and departing every 7 minutes, so there was no need we wait for long time for the next bus to arrive. I had to pick-up a bus tickets from a special bus tickets sell-office. The bus per person costs 3.50 EURO as of time of writing this post – something to mention is I have memorybus ticket in 22 december 2012 from train-station to Airport was 3 EUR – 50 cents less. Actually a curious fact to mention from 22 dec 2012 is I went to take the bus very early in the morning and bus-tickets office (located on the right of the entrance of Train Station entrance), were closed. I went to buy a bus ticket from the driver (a kind lady) and she told me their ticketing system is not working so "everybody is for free :)". This was quite a fun, since here in Holland they're so advanced and high-tech and they put most of their "lives" in the hands of technology and suddenly something as important as a bus-ticketing system is off and everyone in bus travels for free – absolutely ridiculous story …

My whole impression from Eindhoven is not very different from other cities I've seen in holland. The architecture of most of the streets and houses is no different. The brown beautiful houses build of little blocks with plenty of beautiful outside house decorations, green grass etc. There is however an evident difference from Arnhem and Nijmegen as many of the company buildings  near the city center and on the way while in the bus to Airport were built in a very modernistic style. Something noticable was buildings belonging to the so famous Philips company as well as the Philips stadium. Few of the buildings were quite tall looking a bit like New York's sky-scrapers. On the way to train-station, the most noticable thing I've seen was the Evuliona modernistic building build in the shape of scifi movies UFO 🙂

Evoluion Eindhoven UFO like building one of the most notable buildings in Eindhoven - Symbol of Human knowledge evolution

The eindhoven's attraction Unidentified Flying Object futuristic building

The rest was just a lot of company buildings and industrial equipment or markets, the whole city as long as I saw it is very technological and industrial. I derive this conclusion as  I've seen buildings of many of the most famous world IT companies, as well as a lot of industrial vehicles on the way to train station. After I had to leave my dear Svetlanka on airport. I've took the bus back to the train station. BTW, the bus number as of time of writting which goes from Train Station to Airport and Airport to Train-Station is bus number 401. The bus looks a bit more modern than the usual bus-es I've seen in Arnhem and Nijmegen. One thing which is different also from the regular bus-es in many other cities and towns in Holland is the driver in the bus going to and from Airport to tr. station, refuses to sell you tickets, but instead one has to buy the ticket from a ticket selling machine, which is accepting debit and credit cards, as well as probably the Dutch OV Chipcard as well as supports buying by coins. The ticket selling machine is made to work complicated, as there are few ticket types one can choose using a touch-screen computer interface; I tried inserting 3.50 euro to buy ticket for myself but the machine is just spitting the money. It is good a lady I asked on how she bought helped me showing me I first have to select the ticket type from the touch-screen as the touch screen is very much on the left side of the ticket-selling machine and I was in a hurry I didn't even noticed it. I've seen other people having the same problem with the machine, wondering why it happens – so it might be a good idea the high-tech guys who constructed it to make ticket buying using a 3 or 5 simple buttons, through which one can select the ticket type. It will save people time as well as not confuse probably multitude of foreigners like me who came to holland and get a first impression that Holland's sophisticated IT structure is not working 🙂

After Svetka check-in her laggage in around 12:40 and we had to say each other good buy in 13:10, she went inside the usual Airport Security check – metal detector scanner and I took the bus back to Eindhoven train-station. As the train station is located 3 minutes walk from the city center. I decided to take a quick look in the city center to see if there is something nice to see on centre – I was more interested to take a look at some Churches and my main idea was to see if I can find the Orthodox Church Parish of Saint Nectarios of Aegina as well as take a look at the Gothic style built Roman Catholic or Protestant Church buildings. About 10-15 minutes walk from train-station I've noticed two huge cathedrals. Both of them was heavily decorated with towers with the usual 3 enormous windows repeating pattern and the many other architectural patterns containing 3 elements (probably symbolizing) the Holy Trinity. What was new for me on both of the Cathedrals is the of Virgin Mary and Jesus or Saints? statues located on top of the Gothic Cathedrals. I checked the time schedule and it seemed both of cathedrals were functional, but only the second one I went to (St. Catherine) was opened.

Catharina kerk Roman Catholic city center church Cathedral Eindhoven

I've red the short history of the Cathedral and walked around it to check the wall paintings, statues, roman catholic crucifixes, the mosaics on the Church windows and generally the Church decoration. Many of the things in the Church seemed very unusual to me. The thing I most disliked was the ugly modern art reproductions mosaics of Jesus and various evangelica scenes. Though I'm happy I could have entered a Christian Church, I couldn't have not say how grotesque the crucifix means. There was a separate room in where it seemed people from the Church was doing something it looked a bit like an office. Though this was a still Church, for me it was somehow missing the light and feeling of spiritual deepness. There was an icon of Virgin Mary holding the most pure body of our Saviour Jesus Christ. One can clearly distinguish it is a Slavonic icon by the "МР ОУ" – abbreviation for Marry Mother of God.
I've red the Church story and it seems the earliest Church there is from the 12th century – meaning that it is possible an Orthodox Holy Liturgy was never served there.
A very short story of the Church is very similar to many of the Roman Catholic Cathedrals in Holland;

In short, Church building was taken from Roman Catholics and used by protestant in 16th / 17th century, just like with many other of the Roman Catholic Churches during the 16th – 18th century protestant reformation. In 19th century Catholics used it again, but then in 20th century it was almost completely destroyed during World War II, later rebuild and now again owned by Roman Catholics.

One thing to mention is though, I've only been in few Roman Catholic Cathedrals so far, it seems almost every one was keeping an Orthodox icon (usually Russian one), or an icon at least looking like Orthodox. Usually I would not be interested into entering a Roman Catholic Church, as we are prohibited to pray with them and I know about their errs in faith, however I know many of the Churches contain Holy Relics of saints / martyrs and bishops who preached and lived an extremely holy life, before the great schism thus I walk in Roman Catholic Churches with the hope and desire that the Church might contain Holy Relics of saint in their alter or somewhere kept and through that I might a blessing of the respective saint ….

After, walking out, I've walked through the city center, and most I saw was modernistic buildings shops and just few houses with more interesting oldish architecture. Some interesting building on city center is an Iglu shaped like called "Iglus".

Eindhoven Holland Iglus Massive Shopping Center Winkel in form of Escimos (Eskimo) Iglu

I didn't saw all of the city center but from what I've seen it seemed to me the city center of Eindhoven is less interesting to see than Arnhem and Nijmegen's. Eindhoven's city center looks modern and maybe this was main thing why I was not impressed.

Steentjeskerk church Eindhoven Holland architecture like Orthodox Church

I've seen one Church building, while traveling with the bus from Eindhoven Airport to Train-Station, and this building looked very much like Orthodox, also from the far the cross of it and the overall architecture looked very much Orthodox. I very much hoped it is an Orthodox so from Train Station walked about 20 minutes to the Church to check if it is not the Nectarios of Aegina Orthodox Church I mentioned earlier. The Steentjeskerk  Church was closed and on the main entrance doors. I've later found out the Church is not used for Roman Catholic Holy Liturgy since 1971.

It was quite striking to see shops selling souvenirs or something on the exact place where the Church entrance door used to be;  just 15 meters from the Church was a Coffee-Shop (i.e. a place here in Holland, where people go to Smoke Ganja, Mushrooms, alcohol and other light drugs ….

After checking on the Internet for the Steentjeskerk building is relatively new and had nothing to do ever with Orthodoxy. What however made me happy is it used to be dedicated to st. Anthony the Great – the saint who is considered as a father of Christian monks life.
The scenery right in front of my eyes was striking, I made a walk through the Church to see well its Architecture and in hope I can understand if it used to be Protestant or Roman Catholic. According to the Virgin Mary statue on top of Church I derived conclusion the Church used to be Roman Catholic. i've seen some text written somewhere on the back of the Church speaking the Church is used for some kind of exhibition. Even though the Church was not Orthodox, I felt sad for the poor Church being abandoned and being almost pranked with by allowing a place which was used for regular prayer to shop / exhibition …..

On the back of the Majestic Church, My amazement doubled when I saw a big mosque with a high Minaret (space ship rocket – as a friend likes to joke). The working Muslim Mosque built according to architecture norms of Muslims on the backstage of the unworking poort closed Roman Catholic Church turned to shop / exhibition was one of the saddest things I've seen. This whole scenery also explained, why Muslim faith is blooming and Europe it also explains, why Muslims are currently "taking over" Europe – just until recently the largest Christian continent.

Trip To Amsterdam (TTA)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Saint Nicolas Roman Catholic Church near Amsterdam trainstation pictureOn Tuesday Zlati (A friend of mine introduced to me by Father Veliko), came to Arnhem. The plan was that he came on Tuesday here and afterwards in Wednesday morning the Trip to Amsterdam was going to happen. First we had settled that he will be in Arnhem in 12:00 o’clock. So Around 10:50 I walked down the way to the trainstation. I was on my way when Zlati ringed and told that he still, haven’t catched the train and he is not going to make it for 12:00, though he will be on Arnhem Central Station in 04:35 in the afternoon. I came back to home and on my way bought some apples as well as a oily sweet thing from the Turkish shop “Sultan” 🙂

Around 3 I took my way to the city center again, on my way I had toleave Sali’s laptop in his home. I had taken his laptop to re-install Windows and setup his Windows in Bulgarian as well as configure it to be able to watch Bulgarian TV channels online.
In order to achieve that I used a proxy donated to me by Amridikon. Thanks Amri!

To make Windows Vista Home Premium to Bulgarian I had to use a small proggie “Vista Change Language 1.0”. I had to burn the program to a CD and boot into it and then use the downloaded language pack to change the vista text language to Bulgarian. I did so all went well, unfortunately after an upgrade the text in the menus did screw up. So I have to boot again in the Vista Change Language 1.0 boot CD and revert it back to Bulgarian.
Then I had to disable Windows Vista updates in order to prevent the same language mess up to occur again. This was a little out of the topic, but I decided it’s nice to have it on paper.

So back to where I was with my TTA .. I took Zlati from the train station,we went to Sali and he treated us with some kind of traditional turkish soup meal. The soup was quite nice btw. He was extremely happy that he could watch Bulgarian TV’s online through the bg.gledai.tv website. I was glad to that God helped me and blessed me in succeeding in all the things I mentioned above. Afterwards we went with Zlati and Koko to Albertheijn picked up a beer and a couple of other things. Then I and Zlati went to my place where we used my notebook to research about places of Interest, we would like to attend in Amsterdam. We went to bed around 2 o’clock at night.

At the morning we went to the train station. I suggested that we go a little earlier because I thought, well it might be better to be earlier in the city for to have more time to walk and take a look at its significant things in it. We were on the train station 8:10 and had the intention to take the first train at 8:29, however God had other plans for that.It seemed that we have to wait and buy a ticket for after 9:00, otherwise Zlati couldn’t use his train card for my discount.He was quite irritated by the fact that I suggested that we went to the train station so early since he was quite sleepy in the morning because we went to bed so late.

Anyways I got a coffee from the trainstation waiting-room coffee machine.And, eh the coffee there is expensive, be careful if you travel in the Netherlands by train.

The coffee costed 1.50 per cappuchino, huh … We catched a train in 9:29 and we were in the capital of Amsterdam in 10:40.
I was so excited! Yes the trip worthed the price of 16.30 EUR (with the 40% discount). Amsterdam is a really nice city, especially considering it’s architecture. And I saw such a big shops and so many things to choose from … The whole city is full of canals and boats are traveling through it.
We went to music store, wow there was so much music in it.
We entered a lot of Catholic Churches in one of the Catholic Churches there was an orthodox icon of St. Nickolas! So I made the sign of the cross and prayed the Saint to pray God for me the sinner.
With our arrival right after we went out of the central station I saw a bookstore,so I proposed Zlati to enter. It seemed that was a protestant Christian bookstore. Even though a protestant one the people there at least were believing in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I had a small chat with one of the guys asking if they have Orthodox Bible, It seemed they haven’t so I started telling him about the advantages of being Orthodox Christian. I explained him how I became orthodox after God gave me the faith and transformed my life.
The bookstore had a free/coffee and tea.So each me and Zlati took a cappuchino. It was so nice God gave me a hot drink in the Early morning in Amsterdam.
A lot of people are insane in that place, I saw a lot of pod smokers on the street.

On a lot of places the air had that typical pod stell. We saw a lot of Museums, we tried to use a citymap although in a lot of cases  un-succesful. We saw so many Churches, Madam Tusad’s museum,as well as Anne Frank museum, the tulip museum.
There was also sex, museums we saw on our way and even this freaks had gay museum. We saw some road building in progress where a couple of people were building a road on top of pillars, right above the water! 🙂 The city is full of old buildings most of which originating from 16th century. The Architecture is really amazing. The parks and everything and the terraces had that typical European style which I’ve seen in movies showing people from the 18thor 19th century drinking coffees on the balconies. We took a lot of pictures. Unfortunately I still haven’t taken the pictures from Zlati. We entered into a shop which was selling buddhist, hindu and indian statues and souvenirs to warm a bit as the weather outside was coldy.
There we had a nice chat with the storekeeper, about religion and about my Orthodox faith in Our Lord Jesus! He mentioned that near around there is an Syrian Orthodox Church. So went to seek for it. After some rambling we found it but unfortunately it was already closed the time was quite late over 18:00, so it was quite normal to be closed.The style of the Church didn’t really much differentiated from the rest of the Catholic Churches.

Earlier we went into a Church, whether they had that modern exposition, again we went their to warm ourselves (it was such a cold day).

The Church inside was nice but the pictures,they was selling on the expo was really terrible, a lot of sado-mazo and perverted motives in the pictures …

I was saddened to see that they have de-sacrated a holy place like that. Well it’s true that the Roman catholics stepped aside from the orthodox faith some time ago but still they are believing Christians and therefore there temples are holy to some degree too … therefore such an abomination really shouldn’t happen.

The good thing was that in the Church they even had made toilets inside the church we could use 🙂
The Church wall paintings were displaying the way our Lord Jesus has walked on it’s way to final execution by the jews, carrying his cross on the way to Golgotha.

Around 18:30 we went to the street where the so famous prostites and drug addicts street was the “RED LIGHTS” – so famous all around the world ….

I couldn’t believed my eyes, prostites staying behind windows half naked waiting for a customer to hire them for sex …I have heard about that place but I really couldn’t imagine it could legally exist in the center of a metropolitan city like Amsterdam.

We walked in that “wicked” part of the city for around hour.
There were all kind of junkies people who looked really criminal, the prostitutes on the windows. Sex shops, sex video rooms, you name it .. all the disgusting stuff you could imagine. After this walk we went to the train station around 8:00 and took the train back to Arnhem. The whole day went quite flawless,God has heard our prayer to keep us from evil and give us safe journey.The whole trip was really relaxing for me! Praise the Lord for his great mercy towards me the sinner for giving my eyes to see all this things!

Thanks to God I’m in Arnhem the Netherlands! :)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

I had 3 days trip with bus with my girl classmate (Ina). We traveled using the union-ivkoni bus lines. As a wholebeing on the road with bus for 3 days in order to reach some destination is pretty killing. We started the historicaltravel from Kavarna to Sofia and then at 2 o’clock we catched the bus Sofia -> Utrecht. There was big delays in the Serbianand the Hungarian borders. On all the other boarders we and our luggage weren’t checked. We had a bunch of stops on a oil stations.And I have to note everything in the oil stations in europe is pretty expensive. For example one sanwdich costs somwehere aroundalmost 4EU!. I and Ina came at Utrecht at around 6 o’clock and went to the Utrecht’s train station where we took two tickets to Arnhem.At 7 we were at Arnhem and went to the bus station. Originally we expected that there are gonna be welcoming students there and HAN university buses traveling from there to Vivare and the other accommodation places, unfortunately this was not the case. We were absolutely alone at an unknown country again I prayed to God in Jesus name to help me find a way to fix this mess. I went to search for Mobile SIM card, at the end after 20 minutes of walk I asked a police officer near the train station and he told me about a bookstore where I can find mobile SIM cards. I took two of them one for Ina and one for me. I took the T-Mobile mobile. I heard that the prices of conversations between the Bulgarian GSM operator Globul and T-Mobile are cheaper so I decided to give it a try. We called Koko (A College Colleague, who is gonna study HRQM just like me and is going to continue as a 3rd year student in Arnhem Business School, he came instantly in 20 minutes or so with another Bulgarian guy who already studied a year in Arnhem (Drago). Drago didn’t helped much with the traveling bags. But Kaloyan helped a lot. Today I feel the grace of God so real. I pray that he keep me and guide me in the same way in the future too. Another thing to note is that the living room that Vivare selected for me or should I say God make it be for me is just perfect. It has a toilet (!big plus!, a terrace, аsink, a nice bed, A Buro, a lamp and a chair. The room number is with ID K. 111. I think 111 stays for the Holy Trinity (The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit) to Whom is and be the Glory the worship and power now and Forever and Ever, Amen!) I forgot to mention that I blocked my mobile telephone while trying to make the T-mobile SIM card work with my Motorola C115, luckily God has thought for this too. It seems Koko has one Mobile apartus he didn’t need right now so he gave it on a good will to me. Again what I can say Our Lord is an awesome God. Now I’m pretty tired and I’m going to bed. I have to mention Arnhem is excitingly charmful city and I really like it, also I’m impressed by the Dutch guys with which I had any work until now.Well for final I can only say: ” I screamed to the Lord and he heard my prayer and delivered me from evil”! Glory to you Lord of Hosts! Amen !END—–