S: Eastern Europe and the Black Sea October 2010
FC: Eastern Europe and the Black Sea October 2010 | Ann and George Nibert Photo Album I
1: Departing Fort Myers at 1:30 PM on October 5, 2010, we arrived in Bucharest, Romania at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. At the Ramada Plaza, we joined our friends, Bev and Ron Shafirka from Winnipeg, Manitoba
2: Thursday, October 7, 2010 Bucharest City Tour | National Museum of Art | University of Bucharest (1864) was the center of anti-communist protests in 1989. | Cercul Militar National | Arc de Triumphe was built in 1935 to commemorate World War I soldiers and the creation of greater Romania in 1918.
3: 82 foot tall pillar with the potato Memorial of Tevirth in Revolution Square honors the patriots of the 1989 uprising against the Communist Regime. | National Defense University | Fountains of Bucharest Union Square | Built during the Communist era, Boulevard Unirrii is a copy of Champs-Elysee in Paris, but is purposely one foot wider and three feet longer. Because of its wide boulevards, Bucharest is often referred to as "the Little Paris".
4: Palace of Parliament is the World's 2nd largest building after the Pentagon. | At the beginning of the construction in 1983 during the Communist Era, it was called the House of the People. Part of the interior is unfinished and remains a shell.
5: Housing along the Boulevard Unirii near the Palace of Parliament. | During the Communist Regime, this old shell of a building was the KGB. A new glass structure is housed within the old walls. | CEC Palace was the oldest Bank of Romania. Built in 1900, it provided 106 years of service and will become a museum in the future..
6: Eastern Orthodox Churches of Romania maintained a low profile in order to survived the Communist Era. | Below is the Stavropoleos Monastery, built in 1724. | Kretzulescu Monastery - 1722
7: Inside Stavropoleos Monastery.
8: We had lunch at Carul Cu Bere, a famous Beer-Pub in Bucharest, Romania | Unusual poster on the wall of the ladies WC
9: Romanian style electric wiring | As we left Bucharest and traveled toward Sinaia in Transylvania, we noticed that many rural homes have big gardens and little vineyards in their front and back yards. Often there are roadside produce stands in front of their homes. Romania is the world's leading producer of cabbage (varza). | Romanian style electrical wiring
10: The Gypsy people of Romania originate from the Sind region now in Pakistan. Today, the majority live in towns and villages and many retain their language, names, customs and music.
11: Some Gypsies can be seen living together in large ornate houses. A few can still be seen traveling in carts along the highways and are still regarded as "thieves"
12: Late Thursday afternoon, we arrived in Sinaia, Romania | Named for the 17th century Sinaia Monastery, Sinaia is one of the oldest and most famous mountain resorts | Sinaia Train Station
13: Sinaia is also known as "the Pearl of the Carpathians" and once was the favored destination of Romanian royalty. | The Montana Hotel was our home base for three nights.
14: Friday, October 08, 2010 Bran Castle or Dracula's Castle | According to Legend, 15th century ruler Prince Vlad, known as "Vlad the Impaler", used this castle as headquarters for his incursions into Transylvania. He was revered by Romanians for standing up to the Ottoman Empire and was known for enforcing the death penalty by impaling his enemies. | Hunor Nagy is our excellent Program Director
15: Dracula's Castle has many narrow corridors, nooks, chambers and narrow stairways. The stairway on the left was a secret passage between the first and third floors until discovered during the castle restoration.
16: Inside Dracula's Castle
17: In 1897, Bran Stoker wrote a terrifying story of Dracula 's Castle.
18: The different levels of the castle are impressive from the courtyard.
19: A lovely view and a light dusting of snow can be seen from the upstairs balcony.
20: As we leave Dracula's Castle and walk through the marketplace, we notice the delicious smell of Romanian Funnel cake
21: We continue our drive to Moeciu de Sus to dine on Tochitura (Romanian stew) at Restaurant Craiasa Muntilor.
22: As we traveled toward Sinaia, we stopped at a foggy overlook. Hunor surprised us with a snack of wine and cheese.
23: Peles Castle was our first tour today. Construction of the castle began in 1873 for King Carol I de Hohensollern. Peles Castle contains 160 rooms representing German Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, Gothic, German Baroque and French Rocco styles. | Saturday, October 9, 2010
24: Statue of King Carol I | Beautiful murals and fine wood decorate the exterior.
25: Seven terraces form the beautiful Italian gardens.
26: As we traveled from Sinaia to Brasov, we encountered snow in the higher mountains. As we arrived in Brasov, it was quite rainy. | Founded by the Teuronic Knights in 1211, old city Brasov exudes a distinct medieval ambiance.
27: St Nicholas Church was first built in 1392 and was expanded through the 18th century with a mix of Byzantine, Baroque and Gothic styles. | The old Schei Gate was rebuilt in 1827.
28: The Black Church is Romania's largest Gothic church, built between 1385 and 1477. | Disaster struck Brasov when the fire of 1689 leveled the town and blackened the walls of the church.
29: Old Town Hall (1420) and Council Square | Brasov is Hunor's home town and he is delighted to show us his city. | Seeking shelter from the rain in a phone Booth.
30: Even the pigeons know to stay out of the rain. | Bev wants to stay dry in this bicycle taxi. | Built in 1559, Ecaterina's Gate is the only city gate to survive medieval times.
31: The Jewish Synagogue Poarta Schei was built in 1898.
32: From Poiana overlook, we see that Brasov is fringed by the Southern Capathian Mountains. | Apples from this vendor were delicious. | As we returned to Sinaia, the weather still looked ominous.
33: was named after Mount Sinaia in 1690. The monastery is comprised of the Old Church (1695), the Great Church (right) and Romania's first museum of religious objects. | Sunday, October 10, 2010 The Sinaia Monastery
34: As we walked through this entrance to the courtyard, we saw the Old Church (1695). The paintings in the entry way are original.
36: Following our visit to the Sinaia Monastery, we left Sinaia and continued our journey back to Bucharest. At a Mall, we had lunch and met another motorcoach of GCT travelers. From Bucharest, we continued on to Ruse, Bulgaria to board our ship.
37: Crossing the Dambovita River in Bucharest. | Typical living conditions in drab gray apartments on the outskirts of Bucharest.
38: As we leave Romania, we cross the Danube River into Bulgaria.
39: Crossing the boarder into Ruse, we met our ship, the M/S River Concerto at Bulgaria's largest port along the Danube River.
40: On our first evening on board the River Concerto, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset
41: Our first Port Talk in the lounge with Captain Ivan Galic, Hotel Mgr Eva Kapustova, Program Directors Hunor Nagy and Zoe Trestian. | Our first dinner on board ship. | The beginning of many delicious desserts.
42: Founded in 1888, Varna Archaeological Museum keeps more than 100,000 artifacts from the archaeological digs of the submerged settlements in Varna Lake. | Monday, October 11. 2010 Early morning finds us traveling through the Bulgaria countryside from Ruse to the seaport of Varna, the largest city on the Black Sea.
43: In the Varna area was found the oldest processed gold ever known in the world. (dated from 4,500 BC)
44: The Cathedral of Varna known as Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral is the largest Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral - 1886.
46: Varna - The Sea Capital of Bulgaria was founded as a port by the Greeks in 585 BC. Today the city is the main port of naval and commercial shipping. | Monument of the Bulgarian - Soviet friendship
47: Cultures still linger from ancient, medieval and renaissance times to mingle and coexist throughout a modern city. | However 800,000 Gypsies reside in Bulgaria. Their lifestyle sets them apart.
48: We enjoyed lunch in Azalia Resort overlooking the Black Sea.
49: Bev and Ann enjoyed walking in the water of the Black Sea. | Our tour of Eastern Europe will be continued with Album II. Album by Ann Nibert