Ok, so I’m a lazy, lazy blogger. But, better late than never.

Quite simply, Bulgaria rocks. Who knew? After a long and wacky sleepless train ride over the border from Turkey (that’s a whole other post), we’ve had several good days soaking up some Bulgarity. At the moment, we’re sitting here in Veliko Tarnovo, a college town in the mountains with a river running through it, after a scrumptious meal of shopska salad (like greek salad only better), rakia (really strong wine type stuff) and yummy bulgarian stew prepared by our hosts Maria, Fredeo and Georgi, playing Texas hold ’em and listening to the frog chorus outside–DJ Frog.

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Earlier today, we took a little hike with an Australian bloke, Pat, to Arbanassi, the town in the hills above that has several very old churches filled with thousands of intricate golden frescos hidden in inconspicuous buildings to save them from the Ottomans during their rule here. The day before we hiked to a monestary and scaled a ladder up a cliff to visit caves that once were home to neanderthals and the biggest cave bear ever found.

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Hiking, cave bears, cheap beer, and music. Life is good.

And, as if it could get any better, this place is home to the 80 cent (USD) pint of beer and–get a load of this–the World Arm Wrestling Championships will be held here in October!

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Veliko Tarnovo: Home of the World Arm Wrestling Championships. Sweet.

Alas, we will miss this exciting cultural experience as we have to be going up north on the train to Bucharest, Romania and . . .Transylvania! Transylvania is home to the Carpathian mountains, one of the last big chunks of wilderness left in Europe and home to all sorts of fuzzy wild critters like wolves, bears and vampires. And just in time for our wedding anniversary. How romantic.