Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Trip from Sofia Bulgaria to Minsk Belarus through Warsaw and how to issue VISA for Belarus

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

I had to travel from Sofia to Minsk to be a guest to my beloved girlfriend Svetlana, thus I needed as cheap ticket as possible to reach there. Sofia Minsk is not very common destination especially in Winter, Spring and Summer, because Summer Tourist season is not still opened. I checked for all possibilities to reach the capital of Belarus. Since Bulgaria is in European Union and Belarus is in alliance with Russia and Ukraine. Bulgarian and rest of EU citizens need to issue VISA for Belarus, just like Belarusian citizens needs to have VISA for their summer holidays in Bulgaria.

In order to reach Belarus, I first needed Приглашение / Priglashenie (Invitation) from Belarusian citizen. My beloved girlfriend Svetlana issued one for me and sent it via Belarusian Post Services. In order for VISA to come over post it took about 12 working days. Once I had the Invitation in my hands I had to go to Belarusian Embassy, bring invitation, fill up some documents and pay VISA taxes which as of time of writing this post costs 60 EUR for issuing one person private VISA.

Application of Priglashenie I received over post looks like in picture below:

To have the VISA issued I had to bring my "Red" International (Foreign) Passport to Belarusian Embassy together with Recent Photos of mine. In Russian Embassy in Bulgaria photo is made and paid directly in Embassy with Belarusian Embassy this is not so, so I had to manually take new photo and bring those photo to embassy, I learned that first time I was in Embassy.

Photos had to be in special format (size) a bit different from the standard for accepted for most International VISA photos – at least this is what I was told in Studio where I went to make Photos. A note to make here is Belarus has only one embassy in Bulgaria located in Sofia and as far as I researched though Russia and Belarus are in union it is not possible to issue Belarusian VISA in Russian Embassy in city of Varna or Plovdiv.

Once photos were ready I bring them together with my Passport and had to leave them in Embassy. My visa was issued to be maximum of 90 days but unfortunately I could make it only for 45 days, because my International Passport is expiring in August and there is a rule that you cannot have the VISA issued for date longer than 3 months until Foreign Passport Expires. You can find website of Belarusian Embassy in Bulgaria here. Application form to print and fill in and hand in Belarusian Embassy for request of VISA is here.

Contact information of Belarusian Embassy in Bulgaria is:
 

Postal Address of the Embassy:

1505, Sofia, area «Reduta», «Nikola Karadjov» str. Building 3

Phone: (+359 2) 971 95 28, 971 71 31

Phone/Fax: (+359 2) 973 31 00

e-mail: bulgaria@mfa.gov.by

To issue me VISA I had to leave my Foreign Passport in Embassy and took it back after about 1 week and half (10 days or so). Issued VISA is not on a separate Application like VISAs for Dubai for Example but is directly sticked inside Passport;

Issued Belarusian Visa for Bulgarian citizen specimen I had my VISA issued for 45 days starting from 1 of April (as filled in app. form), ending in 15 of May.

Once having the VISA, the next question come what will be best way to travel from Bulgaria to Belarus. I did quite a research on this topic until decide with what to travel. There are 3 variants (bus, train or airplane). Distance between Belarus capital Minsk and my hometown Dobrich is only 1508 KM. Sofia is a bit far so distance Between two capitals is 1870 KM.
I call to check for bus price as I saw on the Internet some offers to travel with bus and though it seemed to be most cheap about 250 euro (two way ticket) after calling the agency contact found on the net, they told me this bus line is closed (probably working only in Summer because of the bigger number of Belarusian tourists travelling to BG). Option with train was also impossible for the reason Train line
Black Sea Coast -> Minsk operates only in Summer for months . (June – August).
Hence the only way to ravel left was by plain. I checked on Plain tickets and some recommendations on cheap ways to travel to from European Union to Belarus.
My first idea was to fly from Sofia to Lithuania Capital Vilnius and from there to take bus to Minsk as bus goes to Minsk for 3 hours or so. I checked low cost flights from Wizzair as I always try to fly with them for their cheap prices but unfortunately they don't have destination Sofia -> Vilnius. I checked other companies for same destination and found only tickets from LuftHansa, the ticket however was too expensive and I had to change two airplanes something I very much wanted to avoid, cause I hate so much the airport Laggage checks / Scanning moment. Two way ticket to Vilnius costed about 400 EUR with taxes and included a flight trhrough Vienna airport or through Germany and included few hours waiting on airports which doesn't sound well at all. I checked then the variant to fly to Kiev but again it was very expensive plus Ukraine is not in EU and thus I didn't wanted to risk. Though officially as I've red Bulgarians are permitted to travel and stay in Ukraine without VISA for 90 days period I didn't wanted to try my luck. Other option was to fly from Sofia to Minsk using 1 airplane change in Vienna or Moscow. I contacted airport in Moscow to ask whether I can fly Sofia -> Moscow -> Minsk with my Belarusian Visa but unfortunately to fly through Moscow Scheremetyevo I need a transit VISA which costs some money and moreover Scheremetyevo is enormous airport and I guessed it will be hard for me to orientate there and will bring me too much stress. Third variant which I liked best was to Fly from Sofia -> Warsaw and from there travel by bus to Bus Station Dworec Zahodnyi (West Warsaw Bus Station) and travel with Bus international line Warsaw -> Minsk. I decided to stop on this option and reserved fly ticket Sofia -> Warsaw. Flight date was 20th of Apr 14:40, ticket reserved with Polish Airlines (LOT).

Departure was from Sofia Terminal 2 – in Sofia we have two terminals (The Old one Terminal 1 and new one Terminal 2). All times I flight so far from Sofia airport was from Terminal 1 so this time it was my first time from the bigger and much newer and modern Terminal 2.

Sofia International airport Bulgaria newer Terminal2

My dear friend Mitko (Nomen), leave me by his car to airport and then I checked-in.

Sofia airport SA logo and building Terminal 2

I could bring up to 20 KG with me, ticket costed 326 EUR because I reserved it a bit late (8 days before flight), moreover Sofia -> Warsaw is not very common flight destination from Bulgaria, as not much of Bulgarian citizens live in Poland.

Sofia airport courtesy Terminal 1

The ticket included also a meal and cold-drinks so this also added a bit to high ticket price. Flight was on a very little airplane and though scheduled for 14:40, flight was late and we were in plain about 14:50 and airplane take off around 15:00. By the way the airplane was the smallest one I ever traveled with so far with, very very small one. I think the pilot  was quite professional or the reason was the small plane size but anyways the landing was amazingly smooth. In Warsaw the airport is maybe a bit bigger than Terminal 2 but in general it was easy to orientate take luggage and go out very quickly. The luggage come quite quickly I had to wait for it only few minutes. Then I went directly to bus station and rided on BUS number 175 (there is second possibility to take bus 188) both go to Dworec Centralni Avtogara (Central Bus Station). According to prior instructions I red on the internet it was said to go to bus station Pomnik Lotnika. I tried with this but unfortunately the information to go down on Pomnik Lotnika and took bus 523 is obsolete now. And in order to reach Dw. Zahodny you need to go directly to Dw. Centralni with bus nr. 188 or 175 and then go through a subway on left side and wait on bus station for bus nr. 123 or 125 (not sure the exact nr.). Then Dw. Zahodnyi is only 6 / 7 stops away, I asked some people in English and thanksfully some Polish speak English or at least I can partially understand what they say because their language is close to Russian and Bulgarian. BTW it is very interesting for me as I can understand plenty of what is written on small shops in bus etc. On Dworec Zahodniy Avtogara stop after going down from bus I had to take left direction and in 2 minutes walk it is the West bus Station. There I asked on information if they can give me information whether there is bus Warsaw -> Minsk. The man in kiosk was not speaking English but fortunately he speaks Russian, so I was able to understand I should go out of bus station and stay on the left Pilon waiting for Bus Warsaw -> Minsk. Bus came in 18:30 just like written on the Internet the Bus company was called "ВизитТурс / VisitTurs". I had 1 hr and half to wait for it cause was little earlier on Bus Station. The Platform Nr. Bus stopped is Platform 10.
Just for info for otheres who like to catch such bus on the Internet I read there are bus-es traveling to Minsk  every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in times varying from 18:30 / 19:00 / and 21:00. While waiting for the bus I meet two ppl from Kazakhstan waiting for another bus for Vilnius and had a good chat with them about situation in Kazakhstan  and Bulgaria. I took also a quick meal – from bus station on price even cheaper than Bulgaria (about 2.5 leva – 1.25 euro). In bus all was fine, they took my luggage I placed myself and waited to issue me ticket. I didn't have Zloty (The Polish currency) in me and only euro and at first the bus driver was not happy with that but then he agreed I pay in euro so all went fine. The bus had 2 or 3 quick 15 minutes Rests. Overall travel with Bus from Warsaw Minsk took about 10 hrs, because of some delay and while checking documents on Belarusian Border. As it is normal with crossing Borders by Bus they checked our documents twice once on Polish Border and then on Belarusian one. After crossing Belarusian Border, right after entering the Border Control Police man give me a tiny application form to fill in with information about my stay in Belarus. As well as I had to go to one small kiosk to create Insurance for me (Insurance for month costs 12 EURO). Making the policy took only few minutes, then we had to go down from Bus with our laggage and we waited on a queue with rest of Belarusians to check our documents. This took about 40-50 minutes. Thanksfully all went normal we were back in bus around 3:00 and arrived in Minsk about 07:00. I didn't have Belarusian Rubles (RBL) so I had to change to take a taxi. I asked one person with my bad Belarusian, where from there is a Change Bureau and on my way to it met another Belarusian who was calling for people looking for transportation to some street in Minsk. I spoke a bit with me and offered to change my EURO, changed me 20 euro for 200 000 B. RBL. He was kind enough to call for me a Taxi. He said I should wait for his friend who will bring me to the address I was looking for. I went to a car which was not officially a taxi but just a guy who will bring me to the destionation. In 25 minutes time was to address ul. Kalinovskogo, Dom (block) 93, apr. 43. Here in Belarus all was new for me. My first impressions were Traffic Lights which were unusually thin if compared to ones we have in Bulgaria and rest of EU.

Minsk unusually thin Traffic Lights picture / Unique Traffic Lights

On my way to address I was impressed by a big magnificient Orthodox Church in construction.

orthodox church All saints cHRISTIAN church in construction Minsk Belarus and wooden orthodox church

I was also striked that everywhere all advertisements and everything was in cyrillic. Some in Russian and some in Belarusian Language. Something noticable was also the street was very clean, the construction of most of Buildings were in style of communist countries with (Panel Blocks) just like it used to be in BG when we had communism.

Minsk Panelnij dom panel block Minsk - typical construction for Minsk remains from Communism

Тhough newer constructions looked very modern and very much imitated constructions from Western Europe.

Minsk ZamyK Trade Center Korona one of most modern Minsk Buildings

Something else noticable is here they continued building using (Block Panels) many buildings as I can see some buildings still in construction. It was clear that the city has good infrastructure (transportation system), much better than one I expected as well the country has a functional economy. Bus-es seem like very much a copy of Bus-es in Holland, actually a lot of the things I saw in Minsk seem like copying Holland and Germany.

Minsk transportation by Bus Maz bus

On my way I saw plenty of University buildings, clear sign that education in Belarus meaning education here is on good high level. The most impressing building I saw so far is the building of Minsk National Library.

New National library awesome building Belarus Minsk

Unquestionably this is amazing construction, I had the opportunity on my first day when in Belarus go there and see the old books stored. Amazingly there are books ancient books starting from 10th century onwards. Most of the books were Church books, Ancient Gospels, Faith Codexes plenty of artifacts. There were of coursesome books remains from communism. Something noticable in Minsk is the amount of policy probably in number of times more than in countries in European Union. Since I'm few days already in Belarus I had the chance to see Minsk's Metro which is probably one of city's attractions. In general the Metro was quite cool, there are plenty of communist slogans and statues remains but it looks normal and almost modern.
The feeling in Metro Station is very industrial, as even from going inside the Metro Subway there is a thin smell of machine oil 🙂

Minsk Belarus Metro transportation Uruch

The metro is accessed by using electronic access card similar to old bank (tape cards). Using Metro and bus inside Minsk is very easy. The city is a strange combination of modern culture with communist spirit remains. Though the city is enormous (2 000 000 million population), all seems very relaxed compared to Bulgaria for instance. As far as I interacted with people, I can say people are kind and helpful and very hospitable. A lot of people in Minsk as far as I can see are religious and civilized. Though I've heard people talk about information eclipse in Belarus, I've seen plenty of people who dress very modern like in western countries. I've seen plenty using E-books, Pads and various tech gadgets so it seems technological development of Belarus is on a normal European level. In general what I see here seems much better than what I expected priorly. There is plenty of more things to write which I will probably do in coming days. So far I hope this little article will help someone who needs basic information on traveling from Sofia to Minsk.

It is curious that Bulgarian and Belarusian people have common root as Pre-historic Bulgarians used to be one nation with Pre-Historic Belarusian. Similarity is visible even to now as there are plenty of common words matching or very similar between Bulgarian and Belarusian. More over later from 9th to 12th century Bulgariaused to be Empire and spread near to territory of Belarus. Similarity between Bulgarians and Belarusians is also visible even in country flag colors and country names Bul-garia (ar) / Bel-arus (ar). Even on a country flag level we share the same colors (white / green / red) in different order.

bulgaria national flag similar to Belarusian (white, green, red)

Bulgaria National Flag

Bulgarian national flag similar to Belarusian (red, green, whtie)

Belarus National flag

As a conclusion I should say Belarus and Minsk looks like a lovely normal modern country no matter the bad rumors we hear on the news that they're communist or ruled by a (Dictator) President Lukashenko. Oh one last thing, if you're in Belarus try to avoid to speak bad things or jokes for Lukashenko. As far as I heard there is plenty of tab devices virtually everywhere. Speaking against Lukashenko or the government might lead you to problems with Militia (Police) or even send you in Jail 🙂
 

My First hitch-hiking experience – travel notes on a hitch hiker trip from Dobrich to Pomorie Monastery

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My first hitch hiking experience travel notes of a hitch hiker Dobrich Varna Pomorie Monastery

I've been 28 years old and for good or bad never travelled hitch hiking. Today however with a friend of mine Kimba thx God I lived to experience what it is like to stay on the road "begging" people to take you on their way to somewhere.

I always wanted to hitch-hike as a youngster but my restrictive controlling parents was too vigilant not to let me have my personal freedom and try hitch hiking. Now as I've grown "old" I have the freedom to do it and I'm glad I could. For sure it is better to do something you always wanted later than never 🙂

We took the "STOP" from a place few meters away from the "scratching sign" indicating the end of Dobrich city area – located about 4 / 5 km from Dobrich center. To come to the well known hitch-hiker's place (which my friend Kimba) knew pretty well since he travelled probably more than 20 times hitch-hiking.

To reach the hitch-hiker place we walked about 1 hour which in the early morning (07:50 to 09:00) came to be quite refreshing.
About 09:00 we started doing the well know hitch hiker gesture to beg traveller to take us 🙂

It felt quite unconfortable and a bit like begging to be on the road waiting for somebody to pick you up on the other hand it felt very challenging as it seemed to be a good "exercice" to raise up self-confidence. We were lucky and we didn't met any drivers to mock us with gestures or car beep. Besides that we only had to wait less than 20 minutes (probably 18 mins) until a car stop and ask her for our direction.
The driver seemed had to travel close to Aksakovo (a small village like town 1 km far from beginning of Varna and just few km away from the city center).

He pick us up and as we go he happened to be a familiar person which I've seen many times in the (International College Albena) where I previously studied.
The guy happened to be a merried for the librarian of the college. We had a nice chat in his car about Bulgaria before in communism and now and who is doing what (which I guess is quite normal) for hitch-hikers. As he drived a very funny scene appeared as we saw a donkey leading a cart full of wood running on the road. Now you might wonder what would be funny of a rural donkey with a cart full of wood, well the cart didn't have any person leading it. It seemed the donkey run away scared by a truck or a noise so the person leading the cart either fall somewhere on the road or the donkey had untight itself and took the direction to its home place 🙂

… Our hitch-hiking plan was to travel from Dobrich to Varna (if possible or the closest village or suburb), then we aimed to take a bus from Varna or somewhere nearby to the city center and from the city center to Travel to the so called (Asparuh's bridge / (Asparuhovia Most) – which is a common hitch-hike waiting and pick-up destination).

As we were left in Aksakovo by the driver, we were lucky to have a close bus stop near us. We went to the bus stop and we only had to wait about 8 minutes until the next bus driving to Varna city center arrived. We pick up a bus number 207 and travelled 'safely' to the city center (on the price of 1 lv per ticket). So our overall travelling for both of us instead of 10 lv (5 lv per person bus tick) costed only 2 lv 🙂 Along with the low price for travelling the hitch-hiking was also very healthy as we had a long walk to the place to depart from and after that had a small walk to pick up the bus to Varna. We made a mistake to not go out of the 207 bus near Varna city center Cathedral but two stops earlier, so we also had a small 15 minutes walking to the Cathedral. As we were not sure which bus we need to take to go to Asparuhov's bridge, we asked few people on the city center. We were told we need to pick bus number 2 or 17 (IIRC).

Eventually as we're waiting near the bus station where the bus-es leading to Asparuhovo stopped, we came to meet a taxi driver driving people to Asparuhovo on the price of a bus ticket (1 lv). In 5 minutes time, again obviously by God's might intervention the driver was able to collect 2 more people so he offered that we all immediately travel. The taxi-st left us on a place a bit after Asparuhovo's bridge which was the common place for hitch-hikers. We had to climb a little hill like place and walk a bit on the highway on (the car damage and wreck area). Very near us was a police car waiting to catch violators of speed limits. I didn't know about this very moment that Hitch-Hiking in Bulgaria is considered illegal!, happily I found this sad fact not by the police man but from Kliment (Kimba). The policeman did not stop us as we found a way to walk through a place which is bit far from them. Kimba choose a place and we started doing the hitch-hiker "PLEASE STOP AND TAKE US" gesture once again (actually the as Kimba was a professional in hitch-hiking he was mostly doing the hitch-hike sign.

There we had to wait about 40 minutes or so until, a good man with a small bus carrying some paper palettes stop and took us.
Thanks God he had to travel to Jambol to deliver the palettes so his travel route passed by near Bourgas (and respectively Pomorie). We had a an intimaditing chat with the person by which I found out he seem to be having many money issues and a lot of debts (just like many of the people in BG nowdays). Unfortunately he shared that just like a lot of us the common people in Bulgaria he is underpaid and often even though he works extra in Saturdays and Sundays it is almost impossible for him to pay his rent, food and family expenss …..

As the conversation progressed, he asked us where are we going if we're going to find a work and I told him we're going to be guests and pilgrims to Pomorie Monastery and in the mean time help the monks if there is work to be done….

It was a pleasure for me to meet such an honest bulgarian middle aged man, which also was good enough to pick us up. The time passed quite quickly as we shared some of common living joys and griefs. The bus quickly approached pomorie so we left us and we split. As I was thankful to the guy and felt pity for his bad life misfortunes and I wished in my mind that God bless, help him and return him for the good deed he done to pick us up.

We were now only 2 km from Pomorie entrance so to the monastery we had to walk only about 4 or 5 more kilometers. On the gas (oil) station, where we were left a fun story happaned as the computers counting the gasoline stopped working. People who filled the car tanks with Gasoline had to wait until someone comes and fixes the computer, neither nobody can purchase anything from the station (a snacks, a coffee, even a bottle of water) was impossible to buy. We stayed on this little station (Petrol) located just 2 km from Pomorie for 20 or 25 minutes and in this time this people who couldn't pay for the gasoline had to just hang up there loosing their time waiting for someone to fix the BUGGED PC ,,,

This scene has once again confirmed my theory that computerization is not always necessery a good think and the over-computerization of everything as the trend is nowdays could create a lot of time lags in many places and often create a great havoc if systems somehow reject working as planned ….

Anyways to be sure which way to walk to Pomorie Monastery we had to consult few local people. Nicely the road leading to Pomoriiski Manastir was easy we just had to walk straight and then turn right. Actually the monastery bell tower is visible on the way so it is not likely that anyone walking straight will not notice the tower which is taller than other one or two stage housed highed buildings.

We came to the monastery and by Gods grace as we asked previously the abbot for a blessing to come to the monastery, they were expecting us.
Immediately one of the persons serving in the monastery gave us a room. I asked for the abbot and we found him in his Abbot place and gave us a blessing. That's the over of my first and hopefully not last great hitch-hiking adventere. The moral from my trip is:
 

To sum it up, if you never tried stopping on a highway give it a try! 🙂

  • hitch-hiking is a great must experience in a life-time thing;
  • Obviously we were lucky and it is always a great think to travel with an Abbot blessing
  • Hitch-hiking in Bulgaria is illegal, so there is thrill in doing it 🙂
  • hitch-hiking could be a very healthy initiative
  • Hitch-hiking is a great raise up and experience new random people self-confidence exercise 🙂

Trip to Romania ( TTR ) – Few of my impressions from Ro-Mania :)

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I just came home from a short 4 days trip to Romania. I'm truly impressed by the beauty, the people goodness and their piety.

Over the last few years, I've visited Romania numerous times, most of the times I just crossed by car while traveling to Holland. My impressions the previous years were quite good already but I didn't have the opportunity until now to see how the country looks "from within" – I mean how the life flows there etc.

I've heard quite a lot of BAD thinks about corruption (from european parliament critics in new) and gipsy like people and plenty of bad stuff over the years.
This is all lies, the country people are not corrupt, they're just smart and find plenty of ways to earn money. For instance while I was traveling there were Romanians people selling raspberries brought by the nearby woods, the raspberry selling is not entering the treasury of the country and this is considered by the European Union corruption and a crime 🙂
Well talking about police, they're a bit corrupt and stopping you for no reason sometimes to ask if you can give them some coffee or cigarettes but i wouldn't put this police act as corruption it is rather an act the patrol police do in order to find some extra cash near the low sallaries received for serving in police 🙂

Well anyways my trip to Romania here are few of my travel notes. The whole travel Route was Bulgaria – Romania, the aim of my travel can be classified as business trip, since I was travelling with a relative's husband who was their to transfer some physical goods (a kind of logistics). The wohle trip started from my hometown Dobrich; we went through Silistra and Ruse and then the so famous Danube bridge. The roads in Bulgaria are not perfect and some regions were full of road holes, but this is normal since we have a harsh winter here and now a road recovery works are in progress on the roads. Crossing the Danube bridge, there is a custom police and they charge something like 23 BGN (Bulgarian levs) for crossing it. Then there is a border police check which as most people who travelled by bus or car over borders (out of Schengen) knows pretty well. You have to hand in your ID and it is checked by a policeman and if you're not in the list of WANTED CRIMINALS 🙂 they let you go. Some 500 meters or a 1 kilometer after that is the Romanian border police which (since not part of Schengen yet checks your traveller ID again).

In Romania we travelled through Gurgevo which is one of the closest cities to Danube river bridgeroad and one of nearest romanian cities to Bulgaria.
Our first destination was a place in Romania called Targo Mures, to go their our route passed through the side road of Bucuresht – Bururesti as Domneles (misters) calls it.

As I'm trying to live an Orthodox Christian life the most striking think from the moment we entered Romania to the one we went off it was the number of Churches, Crucifix and religious references one can see by just crossing the country roads.
Many villages in Romania had 2 or 3 Churches a small chapels a Cross on the road sidewalks etc. Even many Romanian houses almost everywhere had a Christian Cross on top of the house or on the house door. Putting a Christian cross on top of your home is something I myself has thought of and wondered why Christians did not put here in Bulgaria and other Christian countries seeing this being a reality in RO-MANIA 🙂 was unexpected.

Other from my impression is that Romanian people work hard and a lot of them live in the village, owning a small land to grow vegetables and animals (sheeps and cows) mostly. While driving we saw on many places shepherds with large herds of sheeps, people mowing and generally many people who seemed to be working hard to grow their own food. This really made sense since here in Bulgaria grievously animals are rarely grown by country people and most people are living in cities (our rural population is very small).
Growing myself vegetables and having sheeps and living a village life is one of my dreams so seeing so many people growing big portion (if not all of their food on their own) especially in this crazy super-market times is really something that gives me hope, we're not completely doomed yet.

Biggest part of Romania is Orthodox Christian, while the deep central part and the western part is Roman Catholic. Nomatter the differences between the two the people in both parts seemed to live in piece. The western part was visibly more developed than the eastern.
In my observations the western part of Romania is highly influenced by Hungarian culture and architecture, while a lot of Hungarians live their today. We went through Sigishuara which seemed to be mostly Roman Catholic though I saw some Orthodox Church too on the city center. Sigishuara is amazingly beautiful. The people we met all throughout the trip was extremely friendly and always wanted to help and threated us like true Christians, something one can rarely see happening nowdays …

Most of Romania we travelled is mountain covered and the air was extremely clean, so when you're even breathing you feel very different and alive if compared to whether in my hometown.
Brasov is one of the big cities in Romania but its construction is not too much concentrated, the city is quite scattered consisting of neap houses up to few stages per hight. Generally in Romania I haven't seen too high buildings almost anywhere, in Bucurest there are some but still they're not so tall as the blocks in Bulgaria or some other ex-communist countries.

Something interesting about Brasov is that near it is Transilvania and a castle in a small village (or town) called Bran, the castle is dating back from the 12 century and is told to be the original castle where Count Dracula lived. Perhaps the region is filled with Vampire stories but unfortunately my knowledge in Romanesco was so poor so I couldn't get into contact to locals to ask for that (neither I had the time to).

Bran Count Dracula Castle

Bran castle was restored a couple of times and has been a host for the royal family of Romania (many Romanian kings, princesses) through the middle ages in Communistic time it was abandoned and just recently it was turned to a cultural museum (probably part of UNESCO).

The castle is located on a high rock and near it is a beatiful garden and an old times mention. In the castle there are plenty of objects left and traditional princess dresses, pictures, a cinema room, an ancient torture room and plenty of other medievel furniture.
The price was normal 25 LEU (the romanian currency), this equals to something like 6,5 EURO.

On the road, while travelling in Romania on many places you see the signs reading <b> DRUM BUN</b>: which in English means <b>"Have you a good trip"</b>.
During our way back from Bran we travelled through another mountain region – Sinaia.
The prices of food in the super-markets in Romania are quite almost same like in Bulgaria and if compared to western europe many products can be considered even cheap. The quality of food I found to be quite satisfying. A lot of people in Romania are still selling home made yellow cheese and natural grown products in villages as well as I've seen plenty of this street old fashioned tradesman which I like so much on the streets. The country roads especially the central ones and highways were quite good too. Well there is a lot to be said but unfortunately I don't have the time to prolonge this post anymore. In the mountain areas there were some sinaguture for monasteries according to what I've heard from some priests here in Bulgaria in Romania currently they have 7000 Orthodox Christian MONKS! ! ! The number is amazing high just for a comparison in Bulgaria as of time of writting we have not more than 300 monks.

Our trip thanksfully was safe and every romanian we met or ask anything was more than welcome to us and tried his best to help us. Finally it was time and we hit the road back to Bulgaria through Danube riverbridge – the bridge road is a bit better than before some holes are filled in but still there are plenty of holes.
We had to pass through the Romanian Customs and pay a fee for passing by and later were checked by Bulgarian border police – thanksfully with no problems. We had to deliver some cargo to Karnobat in Bulgaria so we passed by there and then through Burgas headed back through Stara Planina (Old Mountain) which is amazingly beautiful mountain and is a must visit place for any keen on mountain tourism.

Thanks God I came back home alive and well and here I am writting this post. To sum it up if I have to grade America and being asked if it is worthy as a tourist destination I would say not only worthy but it is a real pearl you must see!