Right now, we’re on a train heading across Bulgaria from Varna to Sofia. L and LJ are napping and I’m here.
Writing, reflecting and enjoying the sunshine and views of the mountains.
We’ve been travelling for almost three months. We’ve been to nine countries and had countless adventures. We’ve tried and learned many new things, faced many new challenges and made many new memories.
So far, we don’t hate each other, we’re still healthy and we haven’t lost any luggage...So I’d say we’re doing okay.
Time for change
Things will change a lot over the next few days.
We’re changing continents – leaving Europe and heading to Africa!
We’ll be spending three weeks in Tanzania in the area around Arusha. We’re going to meet up with L’s mom, who does volunteer work in the country with the Canada-Africa Community Health Alliance. It will be really nice to see some family, especially for LJ.
Another coming change is that we’re slowing down.
We’ve been in six countries in the last six week and it’s not a pace we can keep up for a year. Our intent is to now spend two weeks to a month in each place. In fact, after Tanzania, we’re heading to India for almost two months.
Slower travel is so much better for us. We eat better, sleep better and spend less money. There’s no rush to see everything and we have time to relax and just live.
I mentioned challenges…There have been a couple, though nothing serious.
For L and I there is a bit of stress and anxiety. We need to work hard to keep them at bay. With a trip like this there's lots to think about, consider, figure out, organize and make happen. It can be overwhelming. We’re trying to meditate and exercise more and we're trying to slow down. L even gave up coffee, though he still makes one for me every morning. 😊
The other challenge is LJ's. She’s not unhappy but she’s struggling a bit more with being away from home, especially at night when the exciting distractions of the day are gone. When we started travelling, she could always find someone to play with at the park, but now everyone is back in school. We’ve been trying to give her more comfort and a sense of control by letting her sleep with us, plan meals, pick restaurants and choose activities. We’ve set up video calls with friends and we try to get her excited for what’s to come. Seeing her grandmother will likely help. And we’ve decided to enroll her in a really cool outdoor school in India while we’re there.
Two weeks in Varna
So far, the challenges are manageable and the last two weeks also helped on all fronts. Varna is a small city on the Black Sea and this time of year it’s calm and quiet, so LJ was more content there. Our Airbnb apartment was awesome and much more comfortable than our last place in Romania. It was really close to the beach, there was lots to see and do within walking distance, and because of the time of year, we often had places to ourselves.
We walked to the Museum of Medicine History, the Naval Museum and the Varna Archaeology Museum (which houses the oldest gold treasure in the world). LJ did a candy making workshop and we explored the ancient Roman Thermae of Odessus and the mysterious Stone Forest (one of only two naturally formed deserts in Europe). We even saw a puppet show that was entirely in Bulgarian and seemed to be a rather hilarious take on Little Red Riding Hood.
LJ and I also spent an awesome afternoon at a small amusement park. We went on rides, ate ice cream, laughed and chatted. Homeschooling last year meant she and I got a lot of one-on-one time and although it’s great having L around; we were both kind of missing our mommy/daughter days.
During the two weeks we also hung out at the beach, went out for some nice dinners, cooked some good meals, and spent some of the chillier and rainier days cuddled up on the couch under blankets reading.
I got lots of work done, LJ played lots of soccer at the park and L finally got a haircut.
We’re so glad we went to Bulgaria and are a little sad to leave our cozy Varna home.
But…Now it’s time to move on down a new road.
There are new adventures to have and new challenges to take on.
See you in Africa!
Varna, Bulgaria with Kids
How to get to Varna, Bulgaria:
We took the Pegasus Bus from Bucharest, Romania.
Where to stay in Varna, Bulgaria:
This two-bedroom Airbnb apartment was comfortable, affordable, spacious and convenient.
What to do in Varna, Bulgaria:
Explore the ancient Roman Baths and the mysterious Stone Forest.
Visit the many museums.
Have fun at Detski Kat – a small amusement park.
Make candy at Lollipop.
See a puppet show at the State Puppet Theatre.
Where to Eat in Varna, Bulgaria:
El Kapan (we went here twice)
Pastaria Grand Italia
Staria Chinar – Port Varna (eat the cake with yogurt and matcha tea)