Велико Търново (Veliko Tarnovo) and the Dragon Dance

Last weekend we spent in Veliko Tarnovo, one of the former capitals of Bulgaria, before the occupation of Ottoman Empire (in 1393). It’s a very historical place. For sure of this old time not a lot has been remained, only the foundations of a fortress, called Царевец (Zarevets). During communist era the government tried to rebuild the castle, or at least part of it. Now you have the original ruins and ruins of construction.
Anyway, it’s a special place. On top of the hill where Zarevets resides you find the Patriarch’s church with very modern paintings (unfortunately taking pictures would have cost 5 Лв = 2,50 €). Every now and then there is an audio-visual show at this castle, it will be illuminated by different colors and you can hear music – the problem: you never know, when is the next time. So we didn’t see this.
It’s a huge area with lots of walls, ways and … an awesome view of the city. Veliko Tarnovo is lying in a meander of the river Yantra, which cut it’s bed deep into the earth. Most of the city consists of small houses which are build on the river slopes. So the city structure is something very special and from every viewpoint you are astonished again. In the old town centre you have a lot of houses with the typical architecture of Bulgarian Renaissance.
In total we haven’t seen a lot of Veliko Tarnovo, because we were a large group of eleven people (everybody from our Language Course in Burgas) and we met there to celebrate Adrian’s Birthday.

I can really recommend the hostel were we were staying, the Hostel Mostel. It’s in renovated old building, a very comfy place and they even left some holes in the painting of the walls, so you can see the structure of the wall. The staff was also very amiable and there were interesting, international guests (always a good sign for a place).

One of those guests was a Japanese guy, Oikado Ichiro, who is travelling (walking!) through Europe for quite some time now and he is an artist. He has a show, which he calls the ‚Dragon Dance‘. On the second day he already announced that he wants to do this dance for us and when we got home from Saturday evening Birthday party we found a note on the floor with his costume next to it, which announced his Dance for 11am or 12am. I was up a bit earlier, so I already could see him preparing. Finally when nearly everyone was awake he started his show (the rest awoke because of the noise). It was really impressive, what he showed us with just some simple costumes and some masks. The show lasted for about half an hour and afterwards we spent quite some time talking to him, he wrote us our names in Japanese and we exchanged e-mail-addresses.

So much for this trip, it was really a nice experience again.

This week the hard disk of my notebook died, so I had to buy a new one and reinstall everything. Fortunately I’m often doing backups, so I didn’t lose a lot of data, but some pictures of the last trips are damaged :( The good thing: I have now a hard disk with the double size from the old one (250 GB). I’m now using Xubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibix, I’m curious how it will work for me in the long run. For now I have to say, it feels really fast.

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