Sozopol 2

Silivri, Turkey

Merhaba,

  Another day, another day in Silivri.  More loud concerts last night but far less charming than the night before.  Sounded more like bad karaoke.  That’s the curse of cruising life.  Sea-sides often have bars and restaurants and bars and restaurants often have loud music.  The water seems to amplify the effect too.  Thankfully most stop by 2 am…  So far the weather forecast says we’ll be able to shove off tomorrow for our next anchorage between here and Çanakkale.  Not that Silivri isn’t a lovely town, but I’m ready to be done and twirling around on anchor gets old fast.  Thank goodness for my Kindle which I can’t believe I’m saying, but it’s true.  I’m now a convert for travel.  When we’re home it will be back to those lovely books from the library. 

   We have actually booked our tickets home for September 20th.    We have lots to do at home.  Randal wants to get our land cleared to begin thinking about the shape of our future house and he also needs cataract surgery in one eye for sure.  I have cataracts but they’re stable so can wait.  We’ll have the compliment of doctor and dentist appts. as always.   Hope to see many of you as we’ll be home until December 16th.  Then it will be back to Marmaris for the winter. 

I’m really getting caught up with the email!  This is the second and final one about Sozopol.  I do recommend eastern Europe for travel if you’ve not been there and want something a bit different but not really too different.   From Sozopol we stopped in Tsarevo to check out of Bulgaria.  It was just a few hours stop where we stretched our legs and did the check-out formalities before heading off overnight to Istanbul.  When we arrive in Marmaris we will have circumnavigated the Mediterranean which isn’t the world circumnavigation Randal had hoped to do, but it’s certainly an accomplishment.

Ru

Sozopol 2

When I found the information about the Sozopol Fiction Seminar, the name Elizabeth Kostokova didn’t ring any bells.  So I looked her up.  I love her books!   She wrote The Historian and The Swan Thieves.  The seminars are for both Bulgarians and English speakers and as I know several folks who write, I thought I’d post this for something they should keep in mind. 

Sozopol Fiction Seminars (29 May–2 June 2014)  (but it seems to be annual so look for 2015)

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation offers its seventh annual summer fiction writing seminar in the ancient town of Sozopol, Bulgaria. The seminar program consists of intensive daily fiction workshops, roundtable discussions, guest lectures and literary readings by faculty and participants. Fiction writers from Bulgaria and fiction writers from English-speaking countries, including but not limited to the U.K. and the U.S., are invited to apply. A total number of ten applicants will be selected for participation and funding.

Follow-up events as a part of CapitaLiterature, an annual literary program hosted by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation in Sofia, Bulgaria, will take place on 3 June 2014 in the Bulgarian capital city.

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation was established in 2007 by the American writer Elizabeth Kostova in order to promote the teaching and professionalization of creative writing in Bulgaria; to encourage, challenge, and publish highly talented literary writers in Bulgaria; to create connections among Bulgarian, American, and British writers; to assist in the training of translators for contemporary Bulgarian literature; to facilitate the publication of Bulgarian writers in English; to nurture readership of Bulgarian writers in Bulgaria and abroad

http://www.contemporarybulgarianwriters.com/

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St Kirik Peninsula across from Sozopol.

DoraMac was at the very end of the dock at the very back of the marina.  But the marina was very close to town so the walk not so far as in Constant or Varna.

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View from our dock on a Kodak color morning.

The Art Museum was at the northern tip of Sozopol (which isn’t so far at all) had only been opened a week we were told and didn’t look quite ready for visitors.  I just peeked in for a minute but saw folks hard at work cleaning so left.

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These two sculptures were in the lobby.  I especially like the hands.

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Coffee time.  The coffee was quite strong but adding hot water made it just fine.

The shelves near the register held some interesting stuff so I took a photo.  This caught our waitress’ attention.  She pulled a huge crab claw from the display and told us it was the largest taken from the Black Sea.  A future furniture designer with dreams of apprenticing or studying in Italy, her English was excellent as she’d spent summers in the US in coastal towns.  This was her first summer in Bulgaria because now finished with university she no longer had a student visa to visit the US.  Travel should be encouraged!  It makes such a difference in how you see the world. 

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I was attracted by the little people and didn’t really notice the claw behind them.

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She had a dream, but not a plan which is better than no dream and no plan.  At least with a dream you have a reason for a plan.

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This shop had the most beautiful felted clothing.  The colors were gorgeous and vibrant.  In places it had been made to look almost shear and delicate.  The clothing was made by the owner’s wife.  Sadly he had no card so I’ve printed the shop sign big below if anyone happens to go to Sozopol which I highly recommend.

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Horse and carriage tours were available.  Makes you wonder what the horses are thinking?

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How’s your retirement fund doing?

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What was our owner thinking?  You don’t catch him wearing one of these pink poofs.

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Our carriage is a Mercedes.

I must say I think those poofy things do keep the flies off even if the big pink ones do look a bit goofy.

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We saw the Mercedes carriage  on the street leading into the new town area.

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The main street in the new town overlooked the Central Beach of Sozopol on the east side of the old town peninsular.

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Just silly

In the morning we’d all walked into town for a few groceries at the small grocery store nearest the marina in the new town.  In the afternoon Mary and I made one more pass through the old town for any last “must haves” and for a seaside lunch.

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A beautiful view and the best fish soup of the journey. 

I wanted fish soup but the menu didn’t list it so we asked. 

    He : No we don’t have fish soup. 

    She: Yes we do have fish soup. 

    It’s 10 Lev.   It’s 12 Lev. 

Between the two waitstaff I did manage to get my fish soup and it was wonderful even for 12 Lev which is about $8.  My small bottle of Schweps soda water was  about $1.50.  Plus tip for Frick and Frack. 

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The fish broth was buttery and flavorful and there was enough fish to make a meal.  A half dozen mussels just added to it all.  What fish soup is supposed to be along the seaside!  You can see from the rim around the bowl that I’d started eating before I remembered to take a photo.

Also our lunch view….

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The woman by the water was a great subject and I have several photos

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Every place is better with a book!

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She was reluctant but as I’d bought two of her doilies, she agreed.  It least I know what I bought was made in Sozopol, Bulgaria.

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This enterprising young girl was collecting mussels from the concrete dock at the marina.

Sozopol

Silivri, Turkey

Merhaba,

   We took the dingy to town today for some lunch and a visit to the grocery store.  That’s about all we should really do and be acceptable as we’ve not officially checked into Turkey yet.  There are no checking in facilities here in Silivri.  We have two more day passages and then we’ll be in Çanakkale where we will officially check into Turkey.  The weather will keep us here until Monday and then we’ll set off. 

It is Victory Day in Turkey (defeat of the Greeks) so we’ve been treated to official speeches and dramatic music during the day and Turkish party music long into the night.  All along the way, the Ottoman Empire has been “the enemy.”    Silivri is a fishing village so I’ve taken lots of photos of the men hard at work arranging and rearranging nets.

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Turkish hospitality is still Turkish hospitality.  We ate lunch in a small doner shop.  While we waited for our food, a spicy eggplant caviar and a chopped tomato/cucumber salad were brought to the table as well as a basket with flat and yeast bread….no charge for that or the tea afterwards. 

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This email is about Sozopol, Bulgaria; our real last stop of the passage to Turkey.  We stayed for two nights in the lovely seaside tourist town.  It is so small that in no time you feel at home and eager to wander.  I took lots of photos so this email is just the first of probably 3. 

Ru

Sozopol

     “Old town Sozopol’s romantic atmosphere with its narrow cobbled streets, houses with high fences on stone foundations with sun-dried brick walls and external wooden boarding, typical for the Black Sea school of architecture, make it a most enchanting and captivating place.

Time in Sozopol has different dimensions – fishermen are still seen catching what the Sea has to offer on wooden boats; older women sit in front of the picturesque houses, chatting, knitting, selling freshly picked figs, homemade jams and jellies, while almost everyone who decides to dig in the ground or to build something stumbles upon remnants from the past – clay vessels, ancient coins, wooden objects, little statues and much, much more

It was severely devastated in the middle of the 14th century during an attack of the Genoa fleet. Later it was conquered and sold to the Romans by the knights of Amadeus of Savoy. After a long siege the town fell under Turkish rule in 1453 – Sozopol residents voluntarily surrendered to the Ottoman army which enabled them to preserve their lives houses, and monasteries. The Sultan turned the town in its own property in order to be able to collect taxes from the thriving port, which he could not do with Muslims. The move, however, saved Sozopol from the raids of Cossack pirates. In 1623 they robbed the St. John the Baptist monastery, bringing an end to its existence. The legend tells that the pirates were hiding their booty and treasures in underwater caves off the rocky shores, particularly the one of the St. Toma Island, called by locals The Snake Island.  Sozopol was assigned to the newly independent Bulgaria in the 19th century. Almost all of its Greek population was exchanged with Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars.”

     See more at: http://www.novinite.com

By Decree No 320 of the Council of Ministers of September 7, 1974, Old Town Sozopol was declared an architectural and archaeological sanctuary under the name "Antique Sozopol".  It includes over 180 Sozopol houses from the Bulgarian Revival, built between the middle of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, some of which were declared monuments of culture.  Most popular among them are The Marieta Stefanova House, The Kurdilis House, The Kreanoolu House, The Todor Zagorov House, The Kurtidi House, and The Dimitri Laskaridis House, among others. – See more at: http://www.novinite.com/

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Just near the marina was a small local market area where shops sold fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and  household supplies.  Just before leaving Sozopol we bought fruit and toilet paper;  the essentials.

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Cat on a ceramic tile roof… looks like she’s about to have kittens

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The green mark outlined in black middle of the left part of the map is DoraMac on the newer docks where we were tied. 

Old Town was to the north and new town, the south.  Both were very walkable from the boat.  Coney Island meets Provincetown?  Actually Sozopol is more Europe than US, but you get the idea.  The only seaside image missing was the saltwater taffy shops, but then the Black Sea is fresh water so there you go. 

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Of course with all its history there are ruins to be excavated and lots of churches.

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Lots of shops to cater to tourists too; this one selling a sling bag with an American flag motif.

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We resisted

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Narrow cobbled streets and wood houses were enchanting

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“Houses in the Old Town are built of stone and wood and conform to the so-called Black Sea school of architecture. The best known are The Marieta Stefanova House, The Kreanoolu House, The Todor Zagorov House, The Kurtidi House, and The Dimitri Laskaridis House, among  others.”

http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/259/sozopol

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The Laskaridi House built at the end of the 18th early 19th is now an art gallery

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I fell in love with Anna Batinyoti’s house and wish we could have explored the inside.  It too was built at the end of the 18th early 19th centuries.

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Newer homes kept the same shapes but with modern materials.

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Small chapels popped up around the streets of Old Town.

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Second half of the 6th century

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Small chapel overlooking the Sozopol Bay

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I would think heading out to sea would make one want to pray to something.  Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of mariners. 

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Lots of small cafes lined the hillside overlooking the waterfront.

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Our last official stop before moving on to Turkey sent me looking for a few last “souvenirs” actually made in Bulgaria.  This neighborhood shop was filled with lovely gifts and the artistry extended to the way the owner decorated the plain brown bag with a white doily folded over the top.  Next she punched holes through the doily and bag and tied it with twine. 

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Along the rocky shore of the Sozopol peninsular

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Kids! 

Varna 2

Silivri, Turkey

Merhaba,

   I’m a bit fuzzy.  Wednesday was a long day.  We left Sozopol (with no port police to check us out from Bulgaria) at 10 am, tied up in tiny Tzarevo (with port police to check us out from Bulgaria) at 1 pm.  We walked around a bit before officially checking out from Bulgaria and heading on to Turkey.  We arrived in Istanbul only to be dismayed that we couldn’t check in at our planned marina but had to re-cross the busy harbor to stay overnight at the ridiculously priced marina with the outrageously priced check-in agent fee.  The marina “kindly” let us pay the 140 Euros for the night without making us check in to Turkey first.  This morning, Friday we left Istanbul and are now anchored 30 miles away in Silibri where we also can’t check in so can’t leave the boat.  The winds are twirling us around worrying Randal and making me spacy.  As this isn’t a port of entry, we can’t check in here either but if the winds calm down we might take a dinghy to shore tomorrow for some fresh fruit and veggies.  We have several days of canned food for sure.  Until the winds outside the harbor calm down we’ll be here which may mean several days.  Thankfully we have wifi so I can download more Kindle books if I run out.  The joys of cruising.  But the sun is shining so that’s good.

This email concludes the Varna visit.  We arrived in Varna after an overnight passage so were too tired for the evening walking tour after spending most of the day in town trying to chase down boat paint that didn’t work out.  We went early into town the second day on the off chance I’d misunderstood the tourist official and there really was a 10 am walking tour.  Unfortunately I’d not misunderstood.  Though the website and printed info listed an August 22 morning tour, the volunteer was unavailable to lead it so it was canceled.  So we walked around the then had lunch and then some more walking around and then were too tired for the 6 pm walking tour.  Varna was interesting and deserved better than we gave it.  Just so you know.

Ru

Varna 2

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Coca Cola on one side and Tuborg on the other.   

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“The cathedral in Varna is one of the symbols of the city. It is situated on “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” square in the center of Varna.” http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/103/Katedrala_Uspenie_Bogorodichno_Varna

The evening walking tours met at the Cathedral; we just never made it back at night after being out and about all day.

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A very tiny map, one eye that needs cataract surgery, and Cyrillic added up to the long, long way.  Finally, a woman past up once because we thought her a bit too old and doddery actually gave us the correct directions.  By the time she saw us the second time she sort of initiated the discussion.  Just goes to show ya.

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Everywhere though the doner shops are beginning to give them competition around the world.  But I don’t think of doner wraps as fast food so I eat them. 

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This was clever enough that he earned some money from Rick and me.

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The top half of that woman really is there somewhere.

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He was a rather  lack luster fellow  for such a fanciful profession.

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We walked past this place to the end of the plaza but finally decided nothing looked really “local” which means “good and cheap.”   This place was really good and really reasonable. 

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Goat cheese ratatouille tart with green salad= B+ especially compared to some of the other food we’ve eaten along the way.  This tasted good and looked lovely. 

Rick had breaded lamb sweat meats, Randal pizza and Mary chicken over pasta with a salad.  While we were waiting a plate was brought out, the waiter said salad and placed it in front of me.  I told him I had the ratatouille but he just walked away.  So everyone was like, “don’t complain; just eat it.”  It was a wonderful tomato and cheese salad and I tried to share.  In truth it was Mary’s salad but I can’t feel too bad because I spoke up right away.  I did give half of a cheese tart to Rick whose dish was more an appetizer and he ate some of Randal’s pizza so it all comes out in the wash. 

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First opened in 1936 we were told that the Nazis ate there and the Communists ate there, now we’ve ate there proving the old adage, “she who eats last, eats best.”

Filip Spasov has been the owner for the past 16 years.  Many of the desserts served are made by his mom.  Our experience there was good so I wrote a tripadvisor review after reading one that was truly terrible. 

Varna 1

Atakoy Marina

Istanbul, Turkey

   Merhaba,

A tiny bit of my Turkish is coming back, just a tiny bit which I can say in Turkish but can’t spell at this point so I won’t especially after a night passage with watches and interrupted sleep.  The fee for this marina seems outlandish to us as well as the agent fee to check in so we’ll do it further down the coast.  We’ll do short day trip for the next few days, our ultimate goal being Marmaris by the 7th or 10th  of September depending on the weather. 

I liked Varna and if we’d stayed a few more days, there were some interesting museums and later in the week a morning walking tour.  As it was we were too tired at the end of the day to schlep back into town for the 2 hour daily evening walking tour.  One of our reasons for stopping in Varna was boat paint and we spent our first morning on a wild goose chase looking for it.  Long story, bad ending. 

But Varna is charming and definitely worth a visit.  And both restaurant meals I had there were really good!

VARNA – The Sea Capital Of Bulgaria !

     “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.”   That just about sums it up. 

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We left Constanta 7:55 pm and arrived in Varna at 9:00 am.  My watches were from 10pm until midnight and then from 6 am until 8 am so I got to see the sun rise.  No doubt which direction is East.

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The marina shared the public dock so we were surrounded with “pirate touring frigates”  playing American pop music and tiny sailboats with tiny children learning to sail.

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Learning to sail when you’re too tiny to fear death is a good time.  The boy in the yellow sailboat looked  no older than 5 or 6.  He was followed about by a woman in a motor-dinghy teaching him “the ropes.”

I did think a few of the kids were going to crash into us, but they all did just great.

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Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior was in port for maintenance

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Carling Cherry Cider;  a good alternative to wine or beer!

“Looking for refreshment of a different flavour? We’ve expanded our Cider range to include new Carling British Cider Cherry.

Like our core Carling British Cider, Cherry is a blend as delicious and refreshing as our No. 1 lager, featuring a refreshingly crisp taste with just a hint of sweetness. And, of course, a beautiful cherry flavour.”  http://www.carling.com/products/cherry-cider/

I actually chose the Carling because I’ll remember the Carling brewery near Boston on the “shores of Lake Cochituate,” which was always mentioned in their commercials.  I do think the Carlings are related but I can’t prove it just now. 

“Hey Mabel, Black Label!   In 1956, Carling began brewing in a brand new state-of-the-art brewery in Natick,which was located in suburban Boston. This was also the first new brewery in over 40 years for the New England area.The brewery sat on 32 acres of land and overlooked Lake Cochituate. Natick, "America’s Most Modern Brewery", had the following brewing.” http://heymabelblacklabel.com/id45.htm

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Dutch/Swedish Antonia and “Harry” came aboard.  We’d met them several stops previously but finally had time to get together.  They have two great little dogs who now just wag their tails at me rather than barking a few woofs. 

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Town was a schlep…. But worth it.  This time we walked over to the beach side and then through the park.

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A love letter along the quay.

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Day-beds rather than beach chairs

Town was a mix of older and Soviet and new and neighborhoods…

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The History of Varna Museum and the Church across the street.   There wasn’t time to go the first day we arrived and we never made it back but it sounds interesting.

History of Varna Museum

“Established in 1969, this history museum is housed in a building that has had several lives. Originally the Belgian consulate, the same building was later a hotel and then a prison before the museum opened on the site. Three exhibitions are spread across the three floors with a total display space of 600 square meters. Here you can learn all about Varna’s economic, industrial, cultural, educational and touristic development from 1878 to 1939.” http://www.gpsmycity.com/tours/museum-walking-tour-in-varna-3733.html

http://12121.hostinguk.com/varna_history_museum.htm  tells about the exhibits.

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The restaurant next door..

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Real chicken noodle soup and grilled garlic flatbread.  Yum!!!

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Some new mixed with the old in the great neighborhood between the marina and center city.

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People watching is always fun

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This young woman was head to toe American flag so Randal gave her one of our American flag bandanas to complete the outfit. 

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Opera Varna building

http://www.operavarna.bg/monthly_progall_a.php

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Poster in the lobby for the Opera Nabucco so, of course, I had to investigate the Jewish star.

нАбуко =  Nabucco

(That was a task guessing the letters to use on the Google translate Bulgarian Typewriter.)

“On its surface, Nabucco is about the epic struggle of Zaccaria and the Jews suppressed by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and his vengeful daughter, Abigaille. But to Italians fighting for their freedom from Austria, Verdi’s first great opera was an inspiring call to arms.”

http://www.operaphila.org/production/nabucco

I can see this translating to the Bulgarians fighting to free themselves from Comminism.

   “Varna is the largest Bulgarian port and resort city on the Black Sea Coast. Once the ancient Greek colony of Odessos, it is the center of operatic activity in north-eastern Bulgaria. The first performance of opera scenes date from the founding of a choir at St. Michael’s Church in 1893 and of the Gusla Music Society in 1899. In 1920, 1928, and 1930 attempts were made to organize a permanent theater; between 1926 and 1937 the first Bulgarian musical festivals began to be organized.

After the socialist revolution in 1944, Varna became the home of the Varnensko Lyato (Varna Summer), an international music festival. A symphony orchestra was founded in 1946, and the Varnenska Narodno Opera (Varna National Opera) in 1947, housed in the National Theater.

The first opera performance was Smetana’s The Bartered Bride. The repertory is predominantly Italian and German, with special emphasis on Mozart and modern European and Bulgarian music (especially that of Parashkev Hadjiev). Operas staged for the first time in Bulgaria include Cosi fan tutte, Britten’s Albert Herring and his version of The Beggar’s Opera, Il turco in Italia and Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery.

The regular season starts in September and ends in August, with between four and eight new productions a year. The theater, built by N. Laxarov in 1932 is a mainly classical style, holds about 600; it was renovated during the 1980’s and reopened with Die Zauberflote (1989).

http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/opera/OFB/misc/houses.htm#Varna

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Women and men were in the plazas selling handicrafts.  It’s interesting to see what is common around the world such as woven slippers, wood carved products, and crocheted doilies.

  “In Bulgaria, when you enter someone’s house it is polite to remove your shoes which will be replaced with a pair of these hand made knitted or woven slippers. “

http://www.momchilovtsi.info/artsandcrafts.htm

Varna’s origins back to 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.

Some Facts About The City of Varna

Near the port of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world (dated from 4,500 BC) was found In 1972; an ancient necropolis with 280 tombs and 3,010 golden objects were found weighing over 6 kg altogether. According to experts it is the oldest processed gold ever found in Europe.

Today Varna is the largest city on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and is the main port for both naval and commercial shipping. Because it is a close neighbor to the popular coastal resorts of Golden Sands, St. Constantine & Helena, and Albena, Varna has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Varna is also the host city of numerous prestigious cultural events.

The city lies in the Bay of Varna, nestled in a deep valley between the Frengen Plateau and the Avren Plateau. Varna is over 11 km long, while its width, including newly erected residential quarters, is nearly 9km. The city’s structure resembles an amphitheatre as it follows the curves of the Bay of Varna. It is surrounded by gardens, vineyards and groves.

During occupation by Turkish forces in the last decades of the 14th century, Varna preserved its significance as a port and trade center. As Bulgaria fell under the Ottoman yoke, the only bearers of the Bulgarian cultural tradition remained within the folklore, the people’s festivities, and the church paintings.

In 1881, after the liberation, the mayor of Varna Mihail Koloni brought up the question about a modern public park. His offer was at first scoffed by the local municipal councilors but a fund for the project was granted. Soon the park enlarged to 26 decares, 130 trees were planted, paths were cleared and ”towards nightfall alleys thronged by a long train of gentlemen and dressed-up ladies”.

Varna lies on the same latitude of the famous Atlantic resorts Bayonne and Biarritz in France, on a large, flat and high terrace on the northwestern most curve of the bay which juts some 7 km inland.

http://varna-bulgaria.info/

BBC report June 24, 2014 Forecasters said that the equivalent of a month’s rain fell in the regions of Varna and Burgas over the past 24 hours (June 19.)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27935436  shows the devastation though most was cleared away when we arrived.

Constanta Final Email

Adakoy Marina

Istanbul, Turkey

Merhaba,

   Our luck at finding good/safe/reasonably priced berthing has seemed to run out.  Our first stop in Istanbul turned us away as we’d not yet checked into Turkey.  We’d planned to do it there as Rick and Mary had done 3 years ago, but no it’s not an option.  So we crossed back through the busy Istanbul harbor to the Atakoy Marina.  They had room and could check us in; for a price.  Over 300 Euros to check us in and another couple hundred euros per night.  So we’re moving on where the cost to check in is actually reasonable.  Not sure where that will be and we may anchor out one night too. 

We did cross the Bosporus in the early dawn light which made everything spectacular.  Now we have to make a plan B.

This email is the final for Constanta, a place big enough and small enough and very photogenic. It will be a favorite on my list.

Ru

DoraMac

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Early morning and early evening light enhanced the architecture; even the crumbling buildings were charming in shadows.

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Folk Art Museum   (Muzeul de Arta Populara)

Address: Blvd. Tomis 32

     “Some 16,000 exhibits from all ethnographic regions of Romania are on display here. Folk costumes, jewelry, interiors of traditional peasant homes and household items illustrate the traditional way of life in various parts of the country. On the ground floor, a valuable collection of icons painted on glass dates from the 18th and 19th centuries. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop.”

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

Sadly we visited no museums though I think both the folk art and the art museum would have been quite interesting.  Time just goes somehow and one chore can take all day.

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Not in great shape to start with, a fierce rain storm played havoc with the streets and some of the buildings one night. 

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The part of town that wasn’t “old town.” 

It was Sunday so not much activity.  We were looking for a Globul store to buy more internet time.

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Many of the buildings had such interesting architectural details.

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Ottoman influence perhaps.

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Art deco?

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I want a dog!

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Just waiting….

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I missed it; but a minute before a small boy had thrown a rock against the metal fence making lots of noise and sending him and his friend scurrying back across the street to disappear into their house.

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A very popular beach was neighbor to the marina.

More Constanta Stories

On our way to Tsarevo to check out from Bulgaria and then on towards Istanbul.  We will be in Turkey tomorrow after a night passage.  Sozopol was a lovely stop; a Bulgarian seaside town with all the foods, families, and shell knick knack souvenirs.  I had the best fish soup of the trip in a really goofy waterfront bistro where the two waitstaff couldn’t agree if they served fish soup and how much it cost.  We didn’t see it on the menu, but they did have it and it was perfect.  Mary’s chicken salad, listed on the menu, not so good.  You pays your money and you takes your chances.

This email shares more Constanta photos and I think I still need at least one more Constanta email after this.  I liked Constanta.

Ru

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Everything that had come down for the passage had to go back up.

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August 15th Assumption and Navy Day

August 15th was Assumption Day and Navy Day (Mary is the patron saint of mariners) and the Old Town harbor area near the marina was packed with people and a display of naval power. Even  Traian Băsescu, the President of Romania was supposed to have been there for opening ceremonies. 

“The feast day of the Assumption of Mary, or simply Assumption Day or St Mary’s Day, is one of the most important feasts in the Orthodox Christian calendar. Large crowds gather in processions and pilgrimages involving thousands of Romanians occur at Moisei in Maramureș, Nicula in Transylvania and Putna in Moldavia. St Mary is the patron saint of the Navy, so the holiday corresponds with the Day of the Romanian Naval Forces, also known as Navy Day. Events, such as demonstrative shows featuring navy ships, are held in port cities and often attract thousands of visitors on August 15.”

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/romania/st-mary-day

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Romanian Cub Scouts handed out flyers of the day’s activities.

By the time we walked over there was not an inch of space along the water front and it was too hot to stand around listening to speeches in Romanian.  Official speeches in English aren’t all that entertaining most of the time either.  That’s when we set off for the chandlery and found the Synagogue.

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Old sewing machines, mostly Singer, are used for displays everywhere in Europe.  Here it’s the entrance of a coffee shop where we stopped for our daily iced coffee.  (Yesterday it was cool enough here in Sozopol that we had hot coffee.)  I liked the painted light bulbs.

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This woman, on her way to the huge Orthodox Cathedral, apologized for the condition of the town.  She believed that the economy was terrible and the government worse.  Rick and Mary told her they thought the town had much improved since there visit 3 years ago.  But we only see the tourist areas and not the real infrastructure.

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St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cathedral

     “Constructed in Greco-Roman style between 1883 and 1885, the church was severely damaged during WWII and was restored in 1951. The interior murals display a neo-Byzantine style combined with Romanian elements best observed in the iconostasis and pews, chandeliers and candlesticks (bronze and brass alloy), all designed by Ion Mincu and completed in Paris.”

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

Services were being held so we didn’t go in.

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Ruins of an early Christian center just next to the Orthodox Church. 

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A statue by the harbor is a woman looking out to sea; coincidentally a squar-rigger was out in the harbor for Navy Day.

In New Bedford houses were built with “a widow’s walk.” 

   “Any trip through Cape Cod, Nantucket and other local coastal towns is a tour through the 19th century cultural landscape of New England — an architectural intersection between its British inheritance and the stylistic dictates of a New World.  Widow’s Walks are platforms nestled in the high gables of peaked roofs, though they vary in size, ornamentation and functionality depending on their place in history. Widow’s Walks first emerged from the vague mists of folklore; purportedly, they were observation decks for wives to survey the horizon for their husband’s return from sea.” – See more at: http://blog.sevenponds.com/

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     “On 22 December 1989, Romania’s communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown in a violent revolution and fled from the capital, Bucharest. Three days later, he and his wife Elena were executed by firing squad. It was the last of the popular uprisings against communist rule in eastern Europe that year.

Communism – the end of an era 

After the euphoria of Solidarity’s victory in free elections in Poland and the Velvet Revolution in Prague, this was different. The Romanian revolution was the last, and the bloodiest, in the whole region. It came to a head on Christmas Day, when the dictator and his wife were executed.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/574200.stm

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Everyone who lived of lives in Chicago get in this photo!

The woman in the stripped dress moved to Chicago.  Her “superman” son was born there as was her granddaughter.  They were all visiting family still living in Romania.  Rick grew up in Chicago.  I only lived there for 6 months as a student teacher so I took the photo.

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Thousands of people had walked to the waterfront for the morning festivities and now they were returning home.  We sat in a restaurant and watched the parade.

We’d still be sitting there now waiting to order if the man at the table nest to us hadn’t flagged down one of the overworked waitstaff and sent him to our table.  He and his family were on vacation in Constanta also.

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Exchanging email addresses.

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We’ve found in Eastern Europe American Flag images are really popular which wasn’t so surprising as most people were so pleased to learn we were Americans.  That felt really nice! 

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Street Art

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I couldn’t resist climbing onto this giant chair in front of the Art Museum.  I think I’ve already mentioned that my roommate Eileen did great “Edith Ann” immitations.  I really can’t resist.  This blue chair photo was taken in Westport, Canada duirng our 2011 visit to Charmaine and Linda.

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Sculpture celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the December 1989 Revolution

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She translated the sign but both of us agreed we weren’t so sure we understood the sculpture.

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Jewish Constanta

Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

  добър ден  dobŭr den Good Afternoon

We went off exploring old town Sozopol today and had a grand time.  It’s small enough so you don’t need a map unless you’re looking for a very specific place and even then you hardly need it.  I’ve taken lots of photos so you’ll see the place eventually.  We’ll be here tomorrow too, so will  explore the newer part of town which isn’t so much bigger than the old part of town.  I like small. 

This email is about the synagogue of Constanta; the connection with memorials in Israel, and some silliness about Romanian food. 

Ru

Jewish Constanta

There is a small chunk of the Great Synagogue of Constanta on DoraMac.  I didn’t take it; it was given to me as a gift. 

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We were out looking for a chandlery Rick vaguely remembered from 3 years ago when I saw a street and building that I believed to be the remains of the Great Synagogue.  We walked over to C A Rosetti Street and found the building with a locked gate and barking dogs.  A man from the house next door saw us and asked if we would like to visit the building.  We said yes; he shushed the dogs, unlocked the gate and let us into the yard adjacent to the synagogue.

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     “Currently, the only synagogue in Constanţa – the Great Synagogue, is in an advanced stage of

degradation, being abandoned and ransacked, in a real danger of collapse.

From the entire synagogue, there are only three full walls left, fractured diagonally. The roof was

destroyed, so were the majority of colored glass windows. The walls still preserve intact Jewish symbol -

Star of David.

     Although the entrance to the synagogue is not forbidden, even though the synagogue is in

danger of collapse, the access is impossible because of the packs of dogs in front of it.

On the left and right side of the building, there are new buildings; whose construction has only

weakened the”skeleton” left standing.

     Only 16 years ago, during 1995-1996, the local residents said that religious services could be

held in the synagogue. Once abandoned, without a security guard hired to watch it, the building was

ransacked of anything that was not nailed down. “

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

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    “The tenants of the neighboring house, who had put a chain to the gate and a few dogs in the yard, were the only ones to make sure and prevent homeless people take shelter inside the building.”

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro

I gave the man a 10 Lei note to thank him.  Then I bent down to pick up a small bit of concrete as a reminder.  He then picked up a huge piece from the pile on the porch and broke a chunk off before I could stop him.  I had vague thoughts that taking “historic ruins” was some sort of crime but didn’t want to offend our “host.”  So I carried it back to the boat and will keep it until they need it back to refurbish the synagogue. 

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     “To restore and consolidate the synagogue, extremely qualified workforce is needed, generous

funding and the desire to save one of the emblematic buildings belonging not only to the Jewish

Community but also to Constanţa.  A few years ago, the Jewish Community of Constanţa tried to save the Great Synagogue in Constanţa.  An architect from Bucharest, Robert Tauwinkl, developed a project to consolidate and repair the building of worship, which is in the archives of the County Department for

Culture, Cults, and Heritage of Constanţa.  The architect even obtained the certificate of urbanism.  A few steps on, things got stalled when it came to money; the building restoration costs a lot, beyond the

financial power of a community that does not even have a Rabbi any longer. “

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

The Jews in Constanţa played an active role in the cultural and economic development of the

city, complying with the suggestions and taking advantage of the opportunities of the urban community

and official policy. From the late XIX-th century until around 1930, the number of the Jewish community

members rose – both in number and as economic power. Although the commercial activity and banking

are at core, the real estate should not be overlooked, as they left numerous traces in the public and

private space of the city.

The specific feature of the Jewish religion has led to building synagogues, schools, public baths,

and a cemetery. The social status of merchants and bankers, intellectuals (lawyers, journalists, doctors,

chemists, teachers, historians, librarians, architects, painters, actors, etc.) required and adequate

representation of both the professional space and the residential one. The Jews have contributed to

building the historic fund of Constanţa; today, a number of representative buildings became monuments of architecture.

It is an unfortunate fact that the present Jewish community of Constanţa has 59 members only,

which included those of Mangalia – many of them had been assimilated and only a few purely Jewish

ethnics. In these conditions, the problem of protecting the architectural heritage is a task beyond the

current influence of community. The saving of this Jewish architectural heritage, found on the Romanian

soil, requires extensive inter-institutional programs that can identify technical and financial means.

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro

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The Great Synagogue was on Str. C.A rosette

    Constantin Alexandru Rosetti was a Romanian literary and political leader, born in Bucharest into a Phanariot Greek family of Italian origin. Wikipedia

Born: June 2, 1816, Bucharest, Romania

Died: April 8, 1885

While reading about the Jewish community of Romania I was stunned to come across mention of the Struma and the Mafkura.  I remembered memorials to both immigrant ships in Ashdod, Israel.

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Memorial to the Struma and the Milka Maritza in Ashdod

   “Since 1940, the Romanian government has adopted a series of measures to counteract a

possible aggression coming from the surging of the hostilities in Europe. The start of the war with the

Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, turned the city and port of Constanţa into the main target for the Soviet

aviation and navy.  During this period, the Jews, victims of the anti-Semitic laws, were still assisted in their efforts to emigrate and Romania remained  ”the most important place of illegal Jews embarking. They left for Palestine on the ships from the ports of Constanţa, Sulina, Tulcea, and Brăila.”

According to the existing data in the archives, the Jewish emigration through the port of

Constanţa took place with difficulty and sometimes disastrous but rhythmic between 1940 and 1944.

”There were several ships with the Jewish emigrants: 9 large vessels (Darien II, Struma, Milka,

Maritza, Belasitza, Kasbek, Bülbül, Mefküre, and Morina) – four of them (Darien II, Milka, Maritza, and

Belasitza) with two exits from the port – and 15 small vessels; the number of Jews who came from

Romania as above can be documented as of 4,846.”

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

Voyage of the Struma

The Romanian port of Constanta, on the Black Sea, was a major embarkation point for Jews attempting to leave Europe for Palestine. Thousands of Jews, desperate to escape the Germans, took the route by boat from Constanta via Turkey to Palestine, despite British immigration restrictions.

In December 1941, in Constanta, 767 Jews boarded a boat named the Struma. They planned to travel to Istanbul, apply for visas to Palestine, and then sail to Palestine. The Struma was unsafe and overcrowded, and lacked adequate sanitary facilities. Despite engine problems, it reached Istanbul on December 16, 1941. There, the passengers were informed they would not get visas to enter Palestine and, furthermore, would not be permitted entry into Turkey.

The boat was kept in quarantine in Istanbul’s harbor for more than two months. Turkish authorities denied the passengers permission to land without British agreement to their continued journey to Palestine. On February 23, 1942, the Turkish police towed the boat out to sea and abandoned it. The next day, on February 24, the boat sank. Although the cause of the sinking is not definitively known, it is assumed that it was mistakenly torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. Only one passenger, David Stoliar, survived. The sinking of the Struma led to widespread international protest against Britain’s policy on immigration into Palestine.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005410

On a happier note I received the following email from “Cousin Ernie;”  the same Cousin Ernie who’d sent me to  Fortnum and Mason while we were in London and who is also the railroad buff….

     “Your pictures and comments on Romania are particularly interesting. Did you know, there is an old Yiddish song, called "Romania", that I remembered while reading your post. My Grandfather used to play it in Ozone Park, when I was just a kid. It also has comments on Romanian food, including Mamaliga. To my total surprise, I managed to find it on Google and thought you and Randal might like to hear it… so here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0agi_Gj2IEc

Ernie

I followed the link and could actually catch the word mamaliga in the song.  With that information I looked for an English translation.  It’s below and sort of makes sense.

Rumania, Rumania

“This song is called Rumania, Rumania. It is composed and sung by Aaron Lebedeff. As in the past I have included the song in Yiddish text, as well as transliteration and translation. The translation if from the back cover of the original album, and while it is a fairly accurate translation, it nonetheless fails to capture the true humor of the original Yiddish lyrics. In this song, Aaron Lebedeff sings about old Romania, its special foods and the good life there before the war. To the best of my knowledge, mamalige is some sort of maize dish (maybe similar to cornbread). Karnatsl is a garlicky meat patty. Kashtaval (or Kashkaval) is cheese made from sheep’s milk. If anyone knows what Kastrovet and Patlazhele are, please share it with us all in the comments.”

Oh! Rumania, Rumania, Rumania …

Once there was a land, sweet and lovely.

Oh! Rumania, Rumania, Rumania …

Once there was a land, sweet and fine.

To live there is a pleasure;

What your heart desires you can get;

A mamalige, a pastrami, a karnatzl,*

And a glass of wine, aha … !

Ay, in Rumania life is so good;

No one knows of care;

Everywhere they’re drinking wine -

And having a bite of kashtaval.

Hay, digadi dam …

Ay, in Rumania life is so good;

No one knows of worry.

They drink wine, though it’s late;

And have a bite of kastrovet.

Hay, digadi dam …

Oh, my, help, I’m going crazy!

I care only for brinze and mamalige

I dance and jump up to the ceiling

When I eat a patlazhele.

Dzing ma, tay yidldi tam …

What a pleasure, what could be better!

Oh, the only delight is Rumanian wine.

Rumanians drink wine

And eat mamalige;

And he who kisses his own wife,

Is the one who’s crazy.

Zets, dzing ma, tay yidl di tam …

“May salvation come from heaven … “

Stop and kiss the cook, Khaye,

Dressed in rags and tatters;

She makes a pudding for the Sabbath.

Zets! Tay ti didl di tam …

Moyshe Khayim comes along

And takes away the best part;

Moyshe Khayim, Borukh Shmil -

Tickle her on the sly.

Zets! Tay tidl di tam …

And the girl pouts, alas,

Seems unwilling, but allows it.

Tshu!

It’s good to kiss a lass

When she’s sweet sixteen;

When one kisses an old main,

She begins to grumble.

Zets! Tay yidl di dam …

What a pleasure, what could be better!

Oh, the only delight is Rumanian wine

http://yiddishlyrics.wordpress.com/  has a link to Aaron Lebedeff singing and you can follow along with the transliteration of the Yiddish.

Thanks Cousin Ernie!

*A Karnatzel is a dried, cigar-shaped beef sausage, generally about the width of a nickel and seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. http://www.kettlemansbagels.ca/

I’m assuming everyone knows what pastrami is.  But if not,

Pastrami is Kosher barbecue, it is corned beef with chutzpah…..Culinary historians believe the highly seasoned, smoked, juicy, bright pink beef in a dark robe, was invented by poor Jews in schtetls in Romania where it may have been made from goose or duck meat. Today some avant garde chefs are returning to that tradition, even making it from salmon, turkey, or other cuts of beef, like round. Without refrigeration, meat spoiled quickly, so they rubbed it heavily with salt and pepper and other spices, and smoked it. This both tenderized it, flavored it, and helped it keep longer. Today, most pastrami is made from beef brisket or navel (a.k.a. plate), tough, stringy, fatty, cheap cuts. The process turns it tender and succulent.

     Some say beef pastrami was first made in the US by an immigrant kosher butcher, Sussman Volk, in 1887, but that date is disputed by the owners of Katz’s which opened in 1888. Katz’s is the oldest deli in the nation, and a haimish New York landmark. If you have never been there, make the schlep to 205 E. Houston St. (pronounced HOW-ston) right after you get off the boat from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to complete the immigrant experience.

http://amazingribs.com/

Evening in Port Tomis Constanta

August 24, 2014

Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

Constanta 2

This email shows our stroll into the old town for dinner the first night we arrived.  No history or many stories, just photos of the old town showing itself off in the evening light.

Ru

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Iliutza Horiuk 

  We met this young man in Tulcea when we were in having a late afternoon drink at the Republica Restaurant where DoraMac was tied.  He was there for a folk festival.  While walking along our first evening in Port Tomis he and I passed each other and both surprised and pleased to meet again.  Unfortunately I didn’t get his correct email address.  He plays the cimbalom which is like a hammer dulcimer and will travel to the US later in the year as part of a folk group.  Kathy, keep an eye out for him as he’ll be in the Boston area. 

http://cimbalom.by/about_cim.htmla

http://katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com/

Tomis Boulevard was lined with restaurants and we found one with good food and a helpful owner.

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His son Marco was the subject of his dad’s tattoos. 

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I wanted something light so had a salad and glass of white wine.  Perfect!

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I shared the tuna with this friendly kitten

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Lots of balconies everywhere.  I want a balcony!

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Rapunzel Rapunzel….

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Port Tomis/Constanta 1

Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

добър вечер  dobŭr vecher Good Evening

   We left Varna about 7 am and arrived here in Sozopol about 3:45 pm.   The plan, at this point, is to leave Wednesday for an overnight passage through the Bosporus towards Istanbul.  It all depends on the weather exactly what day we’ll leave.  Sozopol is small enough to enjoy for a few days with an old town as well as a “new town.”

   This email is the first of several about Port Tomis/Constanta.  It was another “favorite” and a place one could spend much more time.  And it was our final stop in Romania.

Ru

Leaving Sulina and the Danube behind at 6:55 pm for a night passage to Constanta

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I’ve “painted” the 12 kilometers of canal bordered by stone breakwater quays .  You can see two boats going ahead of us from the canal to the Black Sea. 

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Looking back as the sun set as we  began our journey into the Black Sea

Port tomis/Constanta

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9:30 am was our arrival time in Constanta

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We were tied stern-to on the back wall of Marina Bay marina which was rimmed all round with restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops. 

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Looks great but not an Israeli ice coffee!!!  But we made do.

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Stefan Diamandi, future mariner

Stefan was intrigued by the heavy socks and boots both Randal and I were wearing.  Most tourists in hot places wear sandals or sneakers so Stefan is intrigued by those who wear boots.  He took our photo and I took his.  In Vidin I met interesting women, but in Romania we met interesting men.  (We wear boots because they’re just more supportive for all the walking we do.)

City Highlights

Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanta lies on the western coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles from the Bosphorus Strait. An ancient metropolis and Romania’s largest sea port, Constanta traces its history some 2,500 years. Originally called Tomis, legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece.

     Founded by Greek colonists from Miletos in the 6th century BC, Tomis was conquered by the Romans in 71 BC and renamed Constantiana by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in honor of his sister. The name was shortened to Constanta during the Ottoman era. During the 13th century, Italy, especially Genoese merchants, dominated the Black Sea and Constanta flourished, only to decline two centuries later under Turkish rule.

     Fine mansions and hotels were built in the 19th century when King Carol I decided to revive Constanta as a port and seaside resort.

     Constanta is the fourth largest port in Europe, ranked just after Rotterdam, Antwerp and Marseille.

The third largest city in Romania, Constanta is now an important cultural and economic centre, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town centre. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Open-air restaurants, nightclubs and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainment.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html   also has info about all the landmarks we saw

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The Genoese Lighthouse  (Farul Genovez)

Address: Str. Remus Opreanu

Soaring 26 feet, this lighthouse was built in 1860 by the Danubius and Black Sea Company to honor Genoese merchants who established a flourishing sea trade community here in the 13th century.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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The Casino   (Cazinoul)

Address: Blvd. Carpati 2

      During the 1914 visit of the Russian Imperial Family, the casino was host to a royal gala. Despite diplomatic negotiations, Grand Duchess Olga refused the proposed marriage to Prince Carol of Romania and the Russians sailed away. The Grand Duchess was later killed by the Bolsheviks along with the rest of her family.

Completed between the two World Wars in art nouveau style according to the plans of the architects, Daniel Renard and Petre Antonescu, the Casino features sumptuous architecture and a wonderful view of the sea. The pedestrian area around the Casino is a sought-after destination for couples and families, especially at sunset.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

     From a distance, the Art Nouveau building on a promenade beside the Black Sea looks majestic. As you walk closer, however, Casino Constanta reveals itself: broken windows, curling paint, and rusted railings hint at the dilapidation inside. 

     The casino, located in the southeast Romanian city of Constanta, was inaugurated in 1910. With its grand size, seaside location, and marine-themed decor, Casino Constanta soon attracted wealthy travelers and became a symbol of the city. But its glory days were short-lived.

Romania’s changing fortunes in the face of two world wars saw the casino fall into disrepair. During the Second World War, the building was used as a hospital. Under the post-war communist regime, it operated as a restaurant. By 1990, the place had become so run down that it was too expensive to maintain. The building has been closed ever since, a silent sentinel on the edge of the Black Sea.

http://www.slate.com/

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Bogdan Nicodin gave us a lesson in Romanian and Eastern European modern history.  It’s always so interesting to hear from  someone who lives in a place there version of the country’s history.  His politics were similar to ours so we found what he said quite believable.  A very wise, witty, charming young man.

Ovid Square was the center of the old town area and full of charming buildings in various stages of repair and disrepair.

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The Great Mahmudiye Mosque   (Moscheea Mare Mahmoud II)

Address: Strada Arhiepiscopiei 5 (Ovidiu Square)

     Built in 1910 by King Carol I, the mosque is the seat of the Mufti, the spiritual leader of the 55,000 Muslims (Turks and Tatars by origin) who live along the coast of the Dobrogea region. The building combines Byzantine and Romanian architectural elements, making it one of the most distinctive mosques in the area. The centerpiece of the interior is a large Persian carpet, a gift from Sultan Abdul Hamid. Woven at the Hereche Handicraft Centre in Turkey, it is one of the largest carpets in Europe, weighing 1,080 pounds. The main attraction of the mosque is the 164-ft minaret (tower) which offers a stunning view of the old downtown and harbor. Five times a day, the muezzin climbs 140 steps to the top of the minaret to call the faithful to prayer.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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National History & Archeology Museum

Constanta – Glykon

(Muzeul de Istorie Nationala si Arheologie)

Address: Piata Ovidiu 12

     An impressive collection of artifacts from Greek, Roman, and Daco-Roman civilizations is on display illustrating the history of Dobrogea from the Stone Age to modern days. Greek and Roman objects can be found on the main floor. Two statues, one of the "Glykon – The Fantastic Snake," dating from the 3rd century BC, and the other of "Goddess Fortuna and Pontos," god of the Black Sea, are considered protectors of the city and port and are the highlights of the collection.

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Ovidiu’s Square

Constanta – Publius Ovidius

   Designed by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari in 1887, the statue dedicated to the Roman poet, Ovidius Publius Naso, gives name to this square. Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid to Tomis in 8 AD.

The House with Lions

Constanta – History and Archeology Museum   (Casa cu Lei)

Address: Str. Nicolae Titulescu 9

     Blending pre-Romantic and Genovese architectural styles, this late 19th century building features four columns adorned with imposing sculptured lions. During the 1930s, its elegant salons hosted the Constanta Masonic Lodge.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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Everything comes alive at night with the cooler temperatures

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The Roman Mosaics   (Edificul Roman cu Mozaic)

Address: Piata Ovidiu 12 (next to the National History & Archeology Museum)

      A vast complex on three levels once linked the upper town to the harbor. Today, only about a third of the original edifice remains, including more than 9,150 sq ft of colorful mosaics. Built toward the end of the 4th century AD and developed over the centuries, it was the city’s commercial centre until the 7th century. Archeological vestiges point to the existence of workshops, warehouses and shops in the area. Remains of the Roman public baths can still be seen nearby. Aqueducts brought water six miles to the town.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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The new commercial port in the background

Tulcea and Sulina

August 22, 2014

Varna, Bulgaria (again)

Здравей zdraveĭ

   We checked back into Bulgaria and will have one more stop at Sozopol before we check out and head back towards Turkey probably stopping in Greece first.  Not sure yet exactly what the plan will be.

I am definitely ready to be done and my enthusiasm is flagging to tour each place we visit.  I really did enjoy or stop in Port Tomis, Constanta and wish we had more time.  But we really do have to get going if we’re to get back to Turkey, find a place to get DoraMac repainted and totally spiffed up ready for whomever becomes her next owner AND fly home to the US hopefully by mid-September.  But maybe I’ve wet some appetites about visiting Eastern Europe with its charming cities and towns and warm, friendly people. 

Ru

Tulcea

“The largest town of the Delta with a population of 91,000, lies just before the last fork in the Danube at km 71 on the site of the ancient Roman settlement of Aegissus, built in turn on a Dacian city founded in the 7th century BC.  It is a significant port and industrial centre, with no particular charm, but the harbour bustles with luxury boats taking visitors on trips into the delta.

  In town, you can get a good overview of the many varieties of local flora and fauna in the Danube Delta Museum, along with displays illustrating the traditional life of delta fishermen.  There are also museums of history and archaeology, folk art and ethnography, as well as an art gallery.”  JPM Danube Guide. 

Sulina

“Downstream from Tulcea, passenger boats ply back and forth incessantly between fishing craft and rusting cargoes along the Sulina branch.  The channel was deepened back in the 19th century to permit the passage of bigger ships, and the winding 92 kilometer stretch of the river was turned into a 64 km canal with a navigable channel 150 m wide and at least 7.50 m deep.  Merchandise and passengers are unloaded at regular intervals outside the little villages scattered along the banks.

…port of Sulina, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea.  You can see the 0-km maker near the old lighthouse.  Already a settlement in Byzantine times, Sulina was later a mooring point for Genoese ships.  Since the 19th century this former fishing village has developed shipyards and a fish-processing industry (no longer there.)  Here the work of the river is highlighted: by depositing 80 million tons of silt and gaining 40 m fron the sea each year, it has moved the lighthouse from the shore to the middle of the marketplace!  From here the Black Sea seems just a stone’s throw away, even if the ships still have to journey another 12 km through a canal bordered by quays in order to reach the open sea.” 

JPM Danube Guide 2013 edition.

I’m afraid we spent our time in Tulcea going to the ATM, buying sim cards for our dongles, going to the outdoor market for some tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers, and the next day to the grocery store.  Not a very exciting time in Tulcea, though for the guide to say “it has no particular charm” is a bit unfair.  It wasn’t instantly obviously charming, but if you explore the small places and neighborhoods, you can usually find something or someone to bring a place to life.  While having an “arrival drink” at the Republica Restaurant where we tied up DoraMac, we met a young man traveling with a folk group.  We chatted for a bit.  Days later while walking through the old town here in Port Tomis, we met him again and learned about his travels as a folk music musician.  You’ll meet him when I write about  Port Tomis. 

We did spend a bit more time exploring Sulina where we were tied up on the waterfront promenade of small shops and restaurants.  Three years ago when Rick and Mary did their first river trip, the waterfront was one dusty road with not much on it. 

The article below tells what Tulcea was like before communism and I think it’s pretty accurate for many of the places that we visited.

Augustin IOAN

A Space of Forbearance

- Ethnicity and Architecture in a small Romanian town –

http://www.google.com/

Augustin IOAN : Romanian Native Collaborates with UC Professor   

http://www.uc.edu/alumni/spotlight/augustin-ioan.html  a Fulbright Senior Scholar and the recipient of a Getty Grant

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It was hard to photograph the birds as we weren’t so close to shore and I was busy catching up with the photos from earlier stops.  But here is a photo of a stork I did manage to catch.  Thankfully Delta tourism seems popular as a way to safeguard the wildlife in the area rather than draining the place as we did in Florida.  An eco-tourism industry has developed taking tourists into the Danube inlets to see the flora and fauna and visiting the small towns.  We were much too big to go those places and taking a “boat tour” at that point wasn’t in the cards. 

https://romaniadacia.wordpress.com/tag/danube-delta/ shows more and tells more about the Delta area with lovely photos of the land, birds and people.  Really worth a look.

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Tied up at the Republica Restaurant which was another test of gymnastic abilities getting off and onto the boat.

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There really is a Transilvania in Romania.   Thankfully Randal’s card did work here.

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Big boats come along up the Danube here, this one from our destination, Istanbul.

We left Tulcea early for Sulina.

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Along the way we’ve seen lots of horses, all looking well fed; at least from a distance.

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http://www.independent.co.uk/

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First single digit marker.

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The last of the Danube charts we’ve been following.

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Tied up along the waterfront promenade near St Nikolas Church.

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Randal and  “Christi” the Sulina port police. 

He explained the port rules but also taught us about Romanian food which we tried the next day for lunch.

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Romanian Orthodox not open when we were there.

“The cathedral was built between 1919-12 and 1933-34. It was built to commemorate the return of Dobrudja to Romania in 1878. The dome was a target in World War II and the church sustained heavy damage. Repairs began in 1969, furthered in 1975, and finally completed in 1982.

https://www.stnicholascenter.org/galleries/gazetteer/4079/

In the late 19th century, Sulina, although modest in size, was one of the most prosperous towns in Romania, thanks to the activities of the European Danube Commission. Numerous edifices and monuments (presented below), which have survived to the present day, although now in an advanced state of decay, complete the image of a once flourishing and cosmopolitan port.

1.The Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas was built in a number of stages, between 1910-12 and 1933-34. Its foundations were laid by King Carol I himself, on the occasion of his visit to Sulina in 1910, to commemorate the historic act whereby Dobrudja was returned to Romania in 1878. The church is remarkable for the harmony of the whole, the unity of its Neo-Romanian forms, and its picturesque details. In its architectural design, the central band of cable moulding and the mosaic medallions are particularly worthy of note.

     The fact that most of the places of worship in Sulina are dedicated to St Nicholas is because most of its inhabitants are mariners or fishermen, who honour this particular saint as their patron.

http://www.icr.ro/bucharest/

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1856 (Ottoman). Inactive at least since 1983. 16 m (59 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story masonry keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white. A 1st order Fresnel lens is mounted in the lantern. …The Sulina Branch of the Danube is the only mouth navigable by modern ships. Sedimentation has moved the entrance to the river considerably to the east, leaving this historic lighthouse high and dry. Located on the south bank of the river in the town of Sulina. Site open, tower open daily for climbing. ARLHS ROM-019.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/rou.htm

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“We’ve been  waiting for you since 1945,” were the words spoken by the man on the far left.  He had his heart set on owning a Camaro one day.  He was with his wife’s brother and father.

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In the cooler evenings shops opened and folks came out to stroll.

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We managed to walk past the restaurant we were aiming for so ended up at the last one on the promenade.  The fish soup was only okay (not nearly as good as Martha’s) and probably not really intended as a meal.  But it was late so I didn’t want anything heavy.  But the singer was really good.  She sang many songs in English and sounded a bit to me lik Joan Baez.  She was sitting at the edge of the restaurant in the dark so my photo is a bit odd.

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“Christi” recommended this place and one of the dishes he suggested was mamaliga

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Mamaliga, goat cheese and cream : The photo is bland but the food wasn’t.

(Ma ma lee ga ) is very similar to polenta.  This goat cheese was very salty as is most goat cheese I’ve had away from home.  Mixed together it was very good but more than I could eat.

    “Romania isn’t best known for its food but it will be….I know. There is an incredibly rich culinary tradition here, homegrown in Romania, born out of the necessities of life, brought in by the Ottomans, Germans, Russians, Serbians, Hungarians…. Add to that a generous climate, fertile soil and the Black See that provide fabulous ingredients in abundance and you are ready to feast.

To understand Romania and to understand mămăliga, you have to understand traditional Romanian culture.

Historically, Romanians ate this golden bread (mămăliga – made from cornmeal) as a replacement to bread. It is inexpensive, easy to do every day, in every season and could be found in every house.

Mămăliga is similar to a porridge made out of wheat of cornmeal traditional for Romania. It is better known to the rest of the world in its Italian form named polenta.

Traditionally, mămăliga is cooked by boiling water, salt and cornmeal in a special-shaped cast iron pot called ”ceaun” or ”tuci”.

Mămăliga is much thicker than the regular Italian polenta to the point that it can be cut in slices with a string, like bread.

Sometimes, mămăliga can be much softer, almost to the consistency of porridge.

Mămăliga is a fat-free, cholesterol-free, high-fiber food. It can be used as a healthy alternative to more refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta or white rice.

In Romania, mămăliga is used as a bread substitute and can be served all day:

-with sour cream and jam for breakfast,

-stuffed with cheese and served with pickles as a all day meal

- used as the starchy base for meaty stews, grills, Sarmale recipe here….(Mamaliga and Wild Boar Stew)…etc, at dinner. )

http://chocolateoblivion.blogspot.com/

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Some buildings along the promenade had been lovely once upon a time, but now needed lots of rennovation. 

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The Danube: Kilometer  2412 back in Kelheim, Germany to 0 at Sulina, Romania

From Sulina we did a night passage in the Black Sea to Constanta, our final stop in Romania.  There we did do a bit of exploring.