Bulgaria to Serbia

Sept. 11–12: Sofia Bulgaria — After three flights and 26 hours, we arrived in Sofia on the 11th. We checked into the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, which was surrounded by interesting things to see. Hagia Nedelja Church is in front of the hotel and ruins from the ancient Roman city of Serdica are everywhere. St. George Church, which occupies the Roman Rotunda, sits in the courtyard behind the hotel, and behind the Rotunda is the Presidency Building complete with a “changing of the guard” ceremony. On our walking tour the next morning, we passed an impressive city park, and visited the stunning Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the evening, we were bused to Restaurant Vodenitzata for dinner, Bulgarian folk music, and a fire walk.

Sept. 13: Travel to Vidin Bulgaria — We departed Sofia by bus and headed to Vidin, a port on the Danube River. In route, we had lunch at the Rocks Restaurant, named for the rock formation behind it. Once in Vidin, we stopped at Baba Vida Fortress, which dates back to the 10th century. In late afternoon, we boarded the Amadeus Brilliant for our 9-day cruise up the Danube.

Sept 14: Orsova Romania — We stopped at the Romanian Port of Drobeta Turnu Serverin and traveled by bus to Orsova where we toured the Catholic Church. The church was built under communist rule because Orsova had to be moved to higher ground when the Iron Gate Dam was constructed. Bucharest, the capital of Romania is nowhere near the Danube, so Orsova is all we got to see of Romania. In the afternoon, we passed through the Iron Gate lock and sailed through Iron Gate Gorge.

Sept. 15: Belgrade Serbia — We toured the Belgrade Fortress and both St. Sava Church and St. Sava Temple.

Brief as the visits to these countries were, we were able to grasp just how difficult life was for most Eastern Europeans under communist domination and how resilient these people are as they struggle to restore their traditional cultures and rebuild their battered economies.    

© Virginia E. Vail 2012