We arrived this morning in Veliko Tarnovo, just in time for celebrations marking the 130th anniversary of Bulgaria tossing out the Turks. That we came directly from Istanbul seemed to be a source of amusement for our host at Nomads Hostel. He took us around to see some traditional music and dance, and tonight we were treated to a terrific sound-and-light show at the Tsarevets Fortress, capped by unexpected fireworks. Excellent. Bulgaria is shaping up to be a memorable chapter. The biggest surprise so far: It’s been easy to find good — no, great — vegetarian food. Of course VT is a college town. We might stay an extra day or two.

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Folkdancers, fortresses and fireworks.

Late note: We’ve just been informed that Bulgarian Independence Day is officially March 3.