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UFOs and Shopping Malls

A big reason for spending three nights in Veliko Tarnovo was to visit what I considered a must-see attraction - the UFO Monument atop Mount Buzludzha<b></b>, not on the radar of most tourists passing through here, but I was made aware of it after seeing a few of pictures taken last year by Chami, a guy I met last year in Budva. What exactly is it? Well ... it really has nothing to do with UFOs, it just resembles one. It's actually a monument constructed during the Communist ear and has been abandoned for years.

Extremely stoked to see this bizarre dinosaur of the Soviet era, I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to get there, as it's not adequately serviced by public transportation, and though it's supposed to be possible to visit the place by tour, that wasn't a fact I was able to confirm prior to arrival. Fortunately, Hostel Mostel offers a number of daily tours if there is sufficient interest ... but ... unfortunately, there wasn't enough interest in the tour covering the UFO Monument, so it didn't happen yesterday. And unfortunately today, again there wasn't sufficient interest, so I was out of luck there.

Inquiring at the TI, it appears that all sorts of tours of the region are available, but not to the solo traveler - local companies cater only to large groups. Sigh ... sometimes solo travel isn't the greatest ... the last option was to rent a car but by the time I figured everything out, it was too late to visit the monument. Sigh, again ... but to get the goods on this unreal monument, check out this blog entry for pictures and the history. Definitely would have been a highlight of this trip, but it'll have to wait until the next time I pass through Bulgaria, whenever that may be.

However, an excellent backup plan was available, one sure to excite any visitor to Bulgaria - today, I would go to - drum roll please - the mall! Huh? WTF? Why the mall? Well ... as odd as it seems, sometimes visiting a mall while traveling reminds me of home. Homesickness can creep in at times, and what better way of feeling at home than to go to that most North American of institutions, the shopping mall?

The Central Mall is billed as the most modern shopping centre outside of Sofia - that info is obviously out of date because it was shit. Half-empty, and the remaining half didn't feature any stores I was particularly interested in browsing. No restaurants worth eating in, nor any food court filled with Bulgarian delights, nor delights from anywhere else in the World, for that matter. The mall wasn't a total waste, however - part of the reason to visit was just to chill out, since the hot Bulgarian sun was been taking its toll on my body, leaving me feeling fairly run down after two weeks here.

Sure, the location can't compare to the numerous wonderful little cafes dotted all over Veliko Tarnovo's old town, but escaping for a few hours to an air-conditioned mall wasn't the worst thing in the World. It still left plenty of hours in the day to explore some more nooks and crannies in the old town and more importantly, plenty of time to do some more cafe lounging, just like us backpackers are known to do. Speaking with one of the hostel workers, who is currently studying book publishing at Veliko Tarnovo's University, it's the perfect place for his chosen career, as he's spent countless hours reading books at the numerous cafes around town. So after three nights in Veliko Tarnovo, tomorrow is time to move on - as much as I love the lazy backpacking style, perhaps I'm not a true backpacker ... sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, and this much lounging is starting to make me restless!

UFO Monument I Never Saw

UFO Monument I Never Saw


Crossing the Bridge to Trapezitsa Hill

Crossing the Bridge to Trapezitsa Hill


View of the Asenova District ...

View of the Asenova District ...


Hidden Spot On the Other Side of the Yantra

Hidden Spot On the Other Side of the Yantra


Bridge Across the Yantra

Bridge Across the Yantra


Pedestrian Bridge

Pedestrian Bridge


Back to the Other Side

Back to the Other Side


Forty Martyrs Church

Forty Martyrs Church


Central Mall ...

Central Mall ...


Shot of Caffeine ...

Shot of Caffeine ...


Sounds Deadly ...

Sounds Deadly ...


Crappy Pizza, Crappy Lunch ...

Crappy Pizza, Crappy Lunch ...


Courtyard of the Hadji Nikoli Inn For a Break

Courtyard of the Hadji Nikoli Inn For a Break


Beautiful Spot For an Ice Coffee, But ...

Beautiful Spot For an Ice Coffee, But ...


Lunch Part II ...

Lunch Part II ...


Can't Miss Item in Bulgaria ...

Can't Miss Item in Bulgaria ...


Extreme Disappointment ...

Extreme Disappointment ...

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Bulgaria

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