On the way to the South, 3rd part

So, briefly about the previous 2 parts:

– Boss is back

– Started to sail downstream, until Giurgiu

– We’ve already passed through Croatian, Serbia and the Iron-Gate stretch

A new day came, a new sun rise up on the horizon.16th of June. 2 more days until Giurgiu, 2 days later we’ll start to sail back to Budapest, but until then I have a few things to write about. The rest of this trip had been spent on Bulgarian waterways. First city on the line was Vidin. To tell the truth, we had no other chance. And as it figured out, this place is not so demolished and poor as I’ve thought before. Okay, you can’t compare it with Budapest or Vienna, neither with Durnstein or Melk. The first impression is the most important, they say, and for first impression, I did not like it. Old concrete building – with a shape of a cube – stand on the shore, just in front of the ship. Not so cheering sight. The border-police officers did not change the feeling that I won’t visit this city.  Huge barrier all along the river, homeless dogs, homeless people on the river bank, or already in the river. My enthusiasm to go out was decreasing fast. But I had to go out, I must see this place as well, I want to see it. Then one of my colleague informed me, that this place is not so terrible as it seems, trust her, she’s been here before. I said okay, why not, at night, after she finished we went out to check out the city. And during the night, or afternoon, something happened with this place. The homeless people were disappeared, the dogs – probably – went back to the center, the gloomy building somehow seemed more friendly in the dark, and next to the barrier there were a few restaurants – some on the shore, some on the Danube. So we left our floating home and started to walk in the same direction as the river flows. For a while we’re walking on the barrier, after that we went to a nice path between the woods. Small, tiny parks on the left and the right, restaurants, pubs, so not a ghost city at all. In the end of the route there was a statue in memorial of the dead, and later on we’ve reached the castle. Because Vidin – this small town – has its own castle, and I can’t tell it’s name. She said it’s nice, it worth to walk until there, check it out when it lighted up.

And she was right. The parks were nice, the neighborhood was quiet, a normal area, and also the castle seemed nice with the lights, you’ve felt that you would like to visit this place after the opening hours. But unfortunately the gates were closed, the walls were too high to climb it, so the visit has to be done in another time. In exchange we had a nice walk, talked a lot, laughing, so we had a good time in this – for me – unknown place. Later on we had a nice dinner on the river, I’ll have an other post about this places. So in the end, Vidin was a nice surprise for me, the night changed the place, and the city was calling you for a visit. After the dinner we went back to the ship and put down our heads for a sleep.

18th of June, Saturday. Our ship had arrived to Rousse. You ask that where is it? Close to the Danube Delta to the Black-Sea, but not in a running distance yet. We’re in Bulgaria, before anyone would ask. The weather was nice, it was extremely hot, not even one cloud on the sky, humid, and the place is…

 

Somehow not the most impressing…

But it seems Bulgaria is just like this. Next day afternoon I went for a run in spite of my mother words, not to go out by myself. And then something changed again in the city. The air was more than humid, I felt like I’m drinking, breathing water in and sweat it out after. And if it wouldn’t be enough, first I had to climb a hill, and only later on the streets became flat, and I’ve found myself in the main square (?) of Rousse. Busy nightlife, already at 9 pm, youngsters, elders, the terraces of the restaurants were crowded, the central fountain were spitting water while all the colored lamps were pointed on it. It was exactly the opposite what I’ve seen during daytime. Everyone was waving, smiling, singing and laughing, like I’m in another country, and between the two territories there’s a stone wall which separates the feelings; on one side (daytime) just seriously, no fun, strict, while on the other side (nighttime) smiles, friends, laughter , life-full community – maybe this was the effect of the alcohol. Anyway, it was much better to run then: 5.3 kilometers in 25 min 13 sec, which is pretty good in these weather circumstances.  At night – for my surprise – I’ve found myself again in a restaurant for a dinner in a really nice, traditional Bulgarian place with local food and drink, some traditional music, and as I’ve mentioned, in an really Bulgarian place – what I’ve passed during my run. But I’ll explain this later on my next post. After the dinner the same procedure, back to the ship and sleep. And it was going on for another 8 days.

Next day, we’ve experienced a few more things, disembarkation in Rousse, than go to Giurgiu, on the other side of the Danube, where was the embarkation – okay, just one part of it. Then back to the Bulgarian side, and on the next day back again to Romania, and from there we started our trip back to Budapest. Oh, and of course, every time when we changed location between Rousse and Giurgiu, we had passport control, so it was the extremely “good part” of the 2 weeks. On the way back I did not go out so many times, also I’ve skipped the running sessions as well due to my health condition – I mean the cold or the allergy, I don’t know.

So, briefly these are my opinions, experiences about the voyage between Budapest and Rousse. Just a few things I’ve learned:

– The “don’t judge at first sight” theory is true, Bulgaria has beautiful small towns as well, not just the seacoast.

– From the point of running opportunities, the bank of the Danube is always a good choice. Mohacs, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Rousse, even Vidin, if you’re a little brave.

– I’ll write about the restaurants in a separated post, but the local food are very nice. It can be a salad, meat, or some kind of wine, local brandy, all good choice. The quantity and quality are more than good, my colleague ate more than me – shame on me…

– This part of Europe also can be beautiful, you just have to be opened for new, different things. At first sight, the cities could be scary and dark, but they’re not. And, of course, the Iron-Gate stretch, that’s something what you MUST see!

 

 

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Oh, just a small note on the side: during these cruises, the European Championship was on, where the Hungarian National Football Team were participating after 40 years! In the group, Hungary made it to the FIRST place with 5 points (1 win, 2 draws, 0 defeat). We’ve been in the “F” quartet with Austria, Iceland and Portugal. I’ve “watched” all the matches online, but just in written format. First we’ve played with Austria, and we win for 0:2! I remember, I was screaming when Hungary scored. Mostly during the second goal, when Stieber went on the right side from a long pass, and lobbed the ball above the Austrian goalkeeper, to make sure that Hungary will defeat the Austrians. I jumped up from the chair, screaming, thrown the pens, and the passenger was simply shocked, like he was looking at an idiot with serious mental problems. I told him, no worries, everything is fine inside, we’ve just succeed in an international competition after a long-long time! Then the game against Iceland, where we’ve scored on the last minute and made a draw with them. 1-1. And then, one of the greatest match of the whole tournament: Hungary-Portugal. One more draw, but what a draw? 3-3, and this time – finally – I could feel how is it, when not our team has to run after the score, the final result didn’t influence our 1st place in the group! We did not have any pressure, but Portugal, they needed to win, or at least make a draw to move forward from the group. And literally, we’ve played the best match against them. It was like heaven for every single Hungarian person, to go through the group without any defeat, and play the most amazing match against Portugal – and as later on it has been chosen, the best goal of the tournament was scored in this match – and no, it was not Cr7. It was Zoltan Gera, the 37 years old attacking midfielder!

Next Saturday, when we arrived back to Budapest was the greatest – and in the same time the worst – part of this EC. In the best 16, we had to play against Belgium, and I had a chance finally to watch it in live with my friends in the city center. The score was 4:0 for Belgium, so that was the final destination for Our Team, but what happened after the game, that was one of the best feelings ever! Everyone was on the streets – as I’ve already seen it on the internet – and celebrating the Team. They loved them, cheered them, celebrated them, like they won the whole event!

“Szep volt fiuk, szep volt fiuk”, “Buszkek vagyunk, Buszkek vagyunk”, “Aki ugral, buszke Magyar, hej, hej”, and the most beautiful, the anthem for the Hungarian Team:

“Az éjjel soha nem érhet véget,
Varázsolj nekünk valami szépet,
Repülj velünk a szerelem szárnyán!
Indul az utazás, csak erre vártál.”

These sentences, rhythms came after each other for hours. The crowd went all along the Ring Road, then to the Deak Square and further. The traffic totally stopped for the night, no trams, no cars, nothing, people were crying in happiness, they’re happy, the happiest of the universe, they had finally A Team to support! It was awesome, fantastic, like it was another planet, but still in Budapest. Next day I had no voice at all, I could not speak, I had to communicate with the guest by writing and hand-signs. But every single moment worth it, this night never ended!

So, this is the last part of the Black-Sea cruise, and the last part of the 2 weeks what we’ve spent down there. I do hope you enjoyed this written journey with me, and did not disappoint you!

Thank you for reading and sharing! 🙂

 

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