Museum and Cultural Tour of Bulgaria in 9 Days --- Preface (保加利亚文化历史九日游 - 前言)

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Planning:

Following my usual strategy for travel planning, I first got some rough ideas on the highlights of the country by referring to the "Best of Bulgaria in 12 Days Tour" by Steve Rick. Based on Huahai and my own schedule, I then decided that we could spend at most 9 days for the trip.

Usually, we would do self-driving tour for such a trip. However, I found out that it may not be very easy to go to some of the places on our own due to the language barrier.  Given this potential issue plus our busy schedule due to work, I decided to use a tour company to help the planning. Fortunately, custom tours in Bulgaria are quite affordable. We used Traventuria (http://traventuria.com/), which have received great reviews on tripadvisor. Communications with the company was very easy. After a few email exchanges, we settled down on the following iternary. Traventuria helped us book all the hotels and also was responsible for providing transportation, including a private car and driver (who also served as our translator and tour guide).

Equipped ourselves a English guide book: Bulgaria (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE), we were ready for our big trip!

BTW, I highly recommend this book, which turned out to be extremely helpful during the trip, as not every place we went to provides descriptions in English. In addition, we  also found a couple of new places from the book to add to the original iternary (e.g. Stone Forest).

Iternary:

Day 0 Pick-up from Sofia airport and transfer to Hilton Hotel.
Day 1 Tour of Sofia (about 3 hrs) + Archaeological Museum.
Day 2 Rila Monastery + Buyala Church 
Day 3 Etara open-air museum + Veliko Tarnovo + Tsarevets Fortress
Day 4 Rousse + Roussenski Lom
Day 5 Madara Horseman + Stone Forest + Varna
Day 6 Nessebar
Day 7 Plovdiv
Day 8 Bachkovo Monastery + Shiroka Luka  + Devin
Day 9 Devils Throat Cave + Yagodina Cave (return to Sofia) 
Day 10 Departure from Sofia airport

准备和安排

这次选在保加利亚度假主要的原因是YY要在这里参加一个为期将近一周的学术会议, 还是安排一个旅游项目才对得起来回在飞机上消耗的差不多两天的时间和我们几个月前得的一年有效期的法国申根签证。

YY一向擅长懒人旅游攻略,绝不会花超过一两个周末的时间做功课。而这次YY懒人旅游攻略又上了一个新的层次。在参考了Steven Rick的十二天的保加利亚旅游路线之后,YY决定至少得有一周以上的假期,而且主要以看保加利亚的世界文化遗产为主。不过我们工作都挺忙的,所以给自己放一周假加上前后的周末也就差不多是极限了。YY又开始研究给HH定票的事情。八月是欧洲的旅游旺季,飞机票都其贵无比,而里程票根本就没有。幸好可以用积累了多年的信用卡的点数来换票还稍微便宜一些,但也花了快十三万点。

机票订下了以后,YY先在tripadvisor上找了一个最受好评的旅行社,让他们按以上要求安排一个合适的路线和提供估价。看了路线和估价后YY决定一切让旅行社包办,因为似乎不比自己安排贵多少,可是需要准备需要的事情和路上可能遇到的麻烦却少了很多。 另外旅行社也提供自驾游,但是这里物价便宜而我们又语言不通上包辆车确实是省时省心的好办法,特别是我们要去的一些地方非常偏远,用GPS也不好找,在迷路的时候可能会让两人都很紧张。话说平时辛苦挣钱可不就是为了好好花吗?于是在几个电子邮件往来加上付款加上付款之后,行程就订下来了。YY从网上买了一本保加利亚旅游指南( Bulgaria (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE)就算是做完了所有必须的准备工作了。

基本行程

第0天:HH被从索非亚机场接到索非亚希尔顿酒店,和在这里已经开了一周会的YY会合
第1天:索非亚一日游 
第2天:Rila修道院及Boyala教堂 (住索非亚)
第3天:Etara民俗村, 查雷维茨皇宫(住大特尔诺沃)
第4天: 鲁塞, Roussenski Lom
第5天: 马达拉骑士(Madara Horseman), 石头森林(Stone Forest) 瓦尔纳 (住瓦尔纳)
第6天: 内塞巴尔(Nessebar)一日游 (住内塞巴尔)
第7天: 普罗夫迪夫(Plovdiv)一日游 (住普罗夫迪夫)
第8天: Bachkovo Monastery - Shiroka Luka ,Devin
第9天:Devils Throat Cave and/or Yagodina (回索非亚)
第10天:回家

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Nice place