Roaming Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey

I’ve got a little behind reporting my European trip, so thought I’d finish it up quickly as there have been a few things I’d like to have blogged about recently such as:

The only Palin that should go near the white house is Michael (given that he didn’t leave his country for the first time in his life last year; and has been to Alaska).

The football match between Cuba and the USA; I always like the way that in the world cup the Americans manage to draw Iraq or Iran (even the Women ended up playing North Korea recently), but having the football team playing in Cuba was something else. There were even some American supporters there; they made sure that they covered their faces with flags so that they wouldn’t get chucked into prison when they returned to the land of the free (or maybe they could have thrown them straight into Guatamala bay 😉 The USA won the match 1 – 0, in what looked like awful weather conditions.

Anyway, onto Romania; I’ll just put a few pics up, as I was only there for one day (plan was to get the coach to Istanbul, but ended up getting the train to Sofia instead).

This is the palace of parliament building, it is the second biggest building in the world after the pentagon in the USA. It has 3,100 rooms and cost 3.3 billion euros to make.

Palace of Parliment Romania

This is one of the many hidden churches in Bucharest. During communist times rather than knock down many of the churches, the government built around and above them; probably to make buildings that were built to bring awe look insignificant.

Bucharest hidden church

When I was wandering around Bucharest I bumped into these people; I’m not too well up on Romanian politics so I’m not sure who they were meant to be imitating (if anyone); they were lots of fun though.

Stilt people


As I couldn’t get a bus down to Istanbul, and the train from Bucharest seemed to divert via Greece for some reason, I jumped on a sleeper to Sofia. I arrived at about six in the morning, and booked a coach to Turkey for about seven in the evening; loads of coach firms were running the Sofia – Istanbul route, so lots of choice, it cost 50 Lev for the 12 hour journey (about 20 pounds).

This was my first time in Sofia for about 15 years, and boy the place has changed. When I was there the streets were full of military police and I was unable to walk down many streets. But it is perhaps the shopping that has changed the most; 15 years ago the shops were full of products but no body had the money to buy them, and for food products there were long queues. Now, the shops are busy and the people look a lot happier.

The churches are pretty cool, done in an orthodox style with shiny gold roofs; as it was a Sunday mass was going on, which was quite interesting to watch.

Nevski church sofia

Sofia church

I stumbled upon this ministry building, it’s good to know that they are prepared for any situation.

Ministry of Emergency Situations


I got the coach to Istanbul, not recommended as there was a three hour stop at customs, with us getting on and off the coach again and again to stamp one thing or another and have our baggage checked (it’s much easier on the train; they just knock on the door and you give them your passport).

I like the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and have blogged about it before. This time I didn’t need to go sightseeing so after I had booked the sleeper to Denizli, I strolled around aimlessly, and chanced upon the electronics and opticians area; I got some new prescription lenses for my sunglasses; it took about two hours and cost about 15 quid.

Looking around it looked like many of the Mosques were having maintenance work done on them; guess they were giving them a good spring clean or something.

Istanbul Mosque


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