Rousse, Bulgaria Part 1

07 June 2011 - Today we had an early start as we docked in Rousse, Bulgaria at 8am. The tour today was a full day tour from Rousse to Varna and the Black Sea. The town of Rousse is located on the high right bank of the Danube River. It is the greatest and the most important Bulgarian town on the Danube River, known also as “Little Vienna” because of its ancient architecture. It is also a regional administrative centre.

Rousse has become the primary river port in Bulgaria and has contributed to the country’s historic and cultural riches. Founded in the 1st century as a Roman military and naval center, the town was called Sexaginta Prista (the City of Sixty Ships). The city’s name changed to Rousse while under Ottoman rule from 1388 to 1878. During the early 1900s, following Bulgaria’s liberation, the Monument of Freedom was erected in the central square. Overlooking the city, the female statue, with a sword in one hand and the other pointing toward the country’s liberators, hails as Rousse’s signature landmark today.

The famous Rousse mound - a prehistoric settlement existed more than 5000 years ago is located within the boundaries of the modern town. About 200 buildings in Rousse are considered part of architectural historical heritage of Bulgaria, 12 of which are especially valuable. Rousse is best-known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture. The city has a lovely downtown pedestrian area, which is filled with people enjoying the music, flowers, and fountains in the summer evenings.

After the tour of Rousse we traveled for several hours towards Varna, on the Black Sea. Varna’s origins date back almost five millennia, but it wasn’t until seafaring Greeks founded a colony here in 585 BC that the town became a port. The modern city is both a shipyard and port for incoming freighters and the navy, and a riviera town visited by tourists of every nationality.

It’s a cosmopolitan place and a nice one to scroll through: Baroque, turn-of-the-century and contemporary architecture pleasantly blended with shady promenades and a handsome seaside garden.

We had lunch at a restaurant on the beach shaped like an old pirate ship. It was very hot and humid and it was refreshing to finally get something to drink. After lunch we were free to walk along the beach or get our feet wet in the Black Sea. This was a topless beach and the men sure got an eyefull. 

In the mid afternoon we took our 2 1/2 hr. bus ride back to Rousse and the ship. I was exhausted when I finally reached the ship but was extremely grateful for having left the air-conditioning on high in my cabin.  

It was very easy to drop down on the bed for my pre-dinner nap, a welcome habit I had picked up in the past two weeks. I would nap from 5pm until 7pm and then get ready for dinner.

Another wonderful day was completed and the cruise was unfortunately coming to an end.   


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