WJ Tested: Bulgaria – Rousse to Varna and the Black Sea

WJ Tested: Bulgaria – Rousse to Varna and the Black Sea

Included Shore Excursion on Uniworld River Princess Danube River Cruise

Bulgaria - Rousse to Varna and the Black Sea

Bulgaria – Rousse to Varna and the Black Sea

First thing in the morning, Uniworld River Princess cruised the very short distance (a couple hundred meters) across the River Danube from Giurgiu, Romania to Rousse, Bulgaria.

Ruse (Rousse) in Bulgaria

Ruse (Rousse) in Bulgaria

Did You Know?… Ruse (Rousse):

  • Is the most significant river port in Bulgaria
  • Is the fifth largest city in Bulgaria
  • Is located on the right bank of the Danube across from Giurgiu, Romania
  • Is often called “Little Vienna” because of its Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture
  • Was called Sexaginta Prista (the City of Sixty Ships)when first founded by the Romans in the 1st century
  • A must see are the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo
  • Try one of the local beers,Kamenitsa or Zagorka in one of the cafes
  • Sample a Shopska Salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, topped by sheep cheese
  • Don’t miss Kiselo Miyako yoghurt, an important ingredient in many Bulgarian foods

After a delightful buffet breakfast in the restaurant (served from 7-9 a.m.) we departed Rousse at 8:30 a.m. on the all-day excursion to Varna, Bulgaria and the Black Sea. Some fellow passengers that were tired, had previously visited Varna, or who were just not keen to spend six or more hours on a motorcoach remained behind.

Note: Another included excursion available was a Choice Tour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to Ivanovo and Bassarbovo Rock Monasteries

Bus to Varna and the Black Sea

Bus to Varna and the Black Sea

Our bus left the port promptly at 8: 30 a.m. and during the ride to Varna the local guide from Rousse, Maria, pointed out sights of interest along the route. Just after 10 a.m. we made a 30-minute comfort stop at a restaurant, where they also provided coffee, tea, bottled water and a local sweet bread snack.

Varna Archaeological Museum

Varna Archaeological Museum

After another 90-minutes driving through the Bulgarian countryside we arrived in Varna and immediately went to the Varna Archaeological Museum, home to the oldest gold treasure in the world. Cruise Director Heiner took those not wanting to visit the museum directly to the town center for a short tour.

Varna Museum - Thracian Gold

Varna Museum – Thracian Gold

Following our 30-minute guided tour in the museum we stayed behind and spent time in the special gold exhibition – we were disappointed to later discover that the gold pieces were only replicas.

Varna Museum - Thracian Gold

Varna Museum – Thracian Gold

Note: Although admission to the museum is provided by Uniworld, there is an extra fee for taking photos in the museum – they give you a sticker to display so you can’t cheat.

Varna - Main Pedestrian Street

Varna – Main Pedestrian Street

With about 20 minutes to spare before meeting our fellow passengers back at the bus, we made a quick dash by ourselves into the town center to Varna’s main pedestrian area. The tree-lined boulevard was busy with locals and tourists enjoying the cafes and taking a break from the scorching sun.

Jill in Varna

Jill in Varna

Did You Know?… Varna:

  • Is the third largest city in Bulgaria
  • Is a seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
  • Has a population of approximately 335,000
  • Is a major tourist destination known as the summer capital of Bulgaria
  • Is the site of the oldest golden treasure in the world at the Varna Necropolis
  • Visit the Varna Archaeological Museum
  • Try the Shkembe chorba, a tripe soup popular to the region

Then we were back on the bus for a short 10-minute drive to the pirate ship restaurant Mr. Baba, where we had lunch of fish soup, veal stew with rice and strawberry mousse – a beer or glass of wine was also included.

Mr Baba Lunch - Beef Stew

Mr Baba Lunch – Beef Stew

The restaurant was a bit hokey, but the location was perfect for strolling the beach and gave easy access for dipping our toes in the Black Sea.

Pirate Ship Mr Baba in Varna

Pirate Ship Mr Baba in Varna

By 3:30 p.m. we were once again back on the bus and ready for the 3-hour drive back to Rousse and River Princess. We arrived at the ship by 6:30 p.m. and received a warm welcome by Hotel Manager Silvia Sobotova, while some of the crew offered refreshing cold towels (the temperature was 40+ C/115+ F) and iced-tea.

At 7 p.m. we met Heiner in the lounge for lounge for a short port talk about the following day’s excursion options (Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi), before making our way to dinner (photos below) in the restaurant.

Danube Sunset - Rousse

Danube Sunset – Rousse

After dinner a few hearty souls still had the energy to kick up their heels for a couple of hours in the lounge to the delightful music by onboard musician Freddy – we were not among them!

Shrimp Cocktail River Princess - Appetizer

Shrimp Cocktail River Princess – Appetizer

Bulgarian Shopska Salad

Bulgarian Shopska Salad

Pork Tenderloin Medallions - Entree

Pork Tenderloin Medallions – Entree

Fillet of Red Fish - Entree

Fillet of Red Fish – Entree

Ice Cream - Dessert

Ice Cream – Dessert

Signature Dessert

Signature Dessert

 

If You Go:

Continue Reading WAVEJourney’s Uniworld Eastern Europe Explorer River Cruise Review:

Cruise Overview | Bucharest | Peles Castle | Bran Castle | Bucharest City Tour | Uniworld River Princess | Giurgiu: Embarkation | Rousse to Varna & the Black Sea | Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi | Captain’s Welcome Gala | Vidin, Belogradchik & Baba Vida Fortress | Iron Gates | Donji Milanovac | Viminacium Archaeological Site | Sava River | Belgrade City Tour | Deck Dining | Vukovar & Osijek | Cruising the Danube to Budapest | Budapest City Tour | Budapest Parliament Building Guided Tour | Gabcikovo Hydroelectric Dam and Lock | Bratislava City Tour | Captain’s Farewell Dinner | Vienna City Tour |

Notes: WAVEJourney travelled from Bucharest to Vienna as guests of Uniworld River Cruise Collection from July 25 to August 8, 2012.

 

Leave a Reply

CONNECT WITH US