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Part I

Part II 

One year later

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Watch

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.

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.

— W. Somerset Maugham

Hmm. Wait a minute …

Anything that can be put in a nutshell should remain there.

– Bertrand Russell

The Enfield of India 350cc Bullet was a single-cylinder, four-stroke motorcycle, constructed to the plans of the original 1950s’ model of the British Royal Enfield. Renowned for its idiosyncratic handling as much as for its reliability and durability, the Bullet was a bike that demanded a relationship with its rider. That relationship involved tolerance, patience and understanding on the part of the rider. In exchange, the Bullet provided the kind of soaring, celestial, wind-weaving pleasure that birds must know, punctuated by not infrequent near-death experiences.

– Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

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JUSTIN-CREDIBLE! Verlander’s no-hitter first for Tigers since 1984

No-hitters come out of nowhere. They just build and build, like nothing else in baseball.

The way that Justin Verlander struck out the first two Milwaukee batters of the game Tuesday night, you could think: That would be no-hit stuff if he could sustain it for nine innings.

(photo by Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press)

I dislike feeling at home when I’m abroad.

— George Bernard Shaw 

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