Journey Around the World

Subtitle

 

Angel Mislan and Mireya Mislan World

Travel

 A journey around our Spaceship Earth

that will take us from the past to the

21st century.  

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Hi good people!

We are working on our next update that covers Greece and Italy from February 2014 to June 2015. Meanwhile, you can enjoy our previous update below.

Resultado de imagen para construction work signs cartoons On the works!!!

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This update covers our activities,

adventures, and trips while in

USA, Canada, Spain, Honduras, and Bulgaria.

See update below: May 2012 - January 2014

Note: You can translate this site to the language of your preference using Google “Translate” in the Google Toolbar.

Nota: Puede traducir ésta página electrónica al idioma de su preferencia utilizando Google “Traductor” localizado en las opciones (Toolbar) que Google ofrece.

   

 

 

Update of World Travel

01/27/14

Update May 2012 – January 2014

Happy New Year 2014!!!

I am writing from Pamporovo, Bulgaria. We arrived here on December 02, 2013 from the city of Segovia, Spain where we spent fifteen months and we’ll stay here until the end of February 2014. Pamporovo Ski Resort is our “base camp”. It sounds a little bit confusing but allow me to explain.

On my last update, I wrote from Bayou Liberty in Slidell, southeast Louisiana, U.S.A. where we stayed for 9 months. During that time we sold our Toyota car, prepared to begin our Eurasia (Europe and Asia) World Tour, and visited family and friends in New Orleans, Louisiana; Brandon and Mobile, Mississippi; Duluth, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and State College, Pennsylvania.

We left Bayou Liberty in Slidell, Louisiana, on September 05, 2012 and arrived in Segovia, Spain the following afternoon. We chose to rent a fully furnished Piso (apartment) in Segovia because our Spaniard friend, Martin, whom we met in Granada, Nicaragua, highly recommended the city. We agreed with Martin in everything he said regarding Segovia. It is a small, beautiful, and a UNESCO World Heritage city that was our “base camp” for 15 months (September 06, 2012 to November 25, 2013) and from where we traveled throughout Spain and some European countries.

                         

 While in U.S.A.:

 Two of the women who I love very much had their babies. Celeste had her first baby and named her Avery Rose and Carolina had her second child and named him Alexander. Both babies are beautiful and growing fast. We visited Celeste and Carolina several times and enjoy being with them and their families.

 

During the month of May, we visited my stepdaughter, Cristina and her boyfriend Alejandro in State College, Pennsylvania. Cristina was getting her PhD in Penn State University. We traveled to Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada with them and had a great time. The Niagara falls are worth visiting, they are one of the greatest God creations. We took a boat ride (Maid of the Mist Tour Boat Ride) and viewed the Canadian Horseshoe falls. We heard the water rushing down and even though we wore a raincoat provided by the tour operators, we got soak and wet. Do not fix your hair if you decide to take this tour you’ll end up wet. It was fun listening to the roar of the falls and felt its cold water all around us. We also walked behind the Canadian Horseshoe falls (Journey behind the Falls Tour). We purchased the Niagara Falls Adventure Passes tour from Niagara Parks Office (www.niagaraparks.com).  In addition, we rode aboard an exterior glass-enclosed elevator to the top of the observation deck of the Skylon Tower and enjoyed the views of the Niagara Falls, the great Gorge, and city skylines of Toronto, Canada and Buffalo, New York, USA. We also took a ride in an aero car that crossed the Niagara River and a bus ride along the Niagara Parkway.

 

We celebrated my stepdaughter Sadie’s birthday. Together with Sadie, my stepdaughters Cristina and Leticia; Leticia’s husband Maurice and her children Jasmyn and Caleb, visited Stone Mountain Theme Park, Georgia (www.stonemountainpark.com) and toured by boat Lake Lanier. In addition, we visited Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We had a great long weekend with family.

 

Also, we visited Troy, his wife Rachel and their daughter Elizabeth Grace in the city of Austin, Texas. I could not leave to our Eurasia World Tour without visiting these three lovable people.

 

During our stay in Slidell, we got together with Claudia, Guy, and their son Connor. We also visited our friends Lourdes, Reg, and their daughter Lourdes Marie; and Toni and Lisa. It was great to see all these people. 

 

While in Europe:

 

In Segovia, Spain

The city of Segovia and its Roman Aqueduct were declared World Heritage by the UNESCO (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq3nO73qZsY) in 1985. It’s a very small city with 60,000 inhabitants. It is located 45 minutes from Madrid, the Capital of Spain, and it is centrally located within the Spanish territory.  We walked everywhere in the city. When we just arrived, we did not have a vehicle and we did all our errands by walking and/or taking the autobus. We visited Madrid three times by train. Our Piso is centrally located and there is no need for a vehicle here. We purchased a Nissan  vehicle since we want to travel throughout Europe at our own schedule and leisure without having to adjust to any autobus and/or train schedule.

From our fully furnished rented Piso, we had the supermarket, Movie Theater, pharmacy, dentist clinic, bookstore just by crossing the street. We also had a great restaurant called Dolce Vita Pizzeria (http://pizzeriadolcevitasegovia.vpweb.es/Inicio.html) where besides Italian food they cook Spanish and Bulgarian dishes. In addition, we walked to the Royal Palace of El Alcazar de Segovia where Queen Isabel the Catholic was crowned Queen of Castilla and Leon on December 12, 1474. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon financed the Italian navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus’ Voyage that lead to the discovery of the “New World”. We exercised daily by walking around the neighborhood, to the center of Segovia, and/or in the Royal Palace Gardens of La Granja of San Ildefonso where its gardens and fountains are gorgeous (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Palace_of_La_Granja_de_San_Ildefonso).

During the summer months (June, July, and August) most of Segovia’s restaurants and bars place their tables and chairs outdoors and people sit outside to have drinks and/or eat until late in the evening with family and friends. The months of June and July were great because dusk was reached until 10:30 p.m. We enjoyed summer in Segovia because the days felt longer. Segovia’s weather is dry and has a lot of sunny days.  We liked its weather because the highest temperature reached during the summer months while we were there was 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather was like heaven for us coming from a very hot and humid city like New Orleans.

My love for cooking began in Segovia since we lived across the street from a very good supermarket called Mercadona. It sells fresh seafood, vegetables and meat, and daily baked bread, etc. I enjoy cooking and I expand my knowledge by asking locals for local recipes and/or searching for recipes in the internet.  

Segovia is a city with recycle bins everywhere; we were able to recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, tin cans, and glass. We have never lived in a place where we could recycle plenty.  Overall, Spain recycles and we were glad to participate.

We spent Christmas 2012 in Madrid and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights in its center. The city center was lively and people were joyful. Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor (main plaza) were packed with people day and night. We celebrated the New Year 2013 with Katya and Grisha and their family and friends. They had a party in their restaurant Dolce Vita Pizzeria.  They cooked traditional Bulgarian dishes and drinks. Also, we had a great time dancing to Bulgarian music.

 We spent a lot of time at Dolce Vita Pizzeria because of the great food, hospitality and because we met nice Spaniards like Leandro and Jose.  Going to Dolce Vita felt like being in the U.S.A. show called “Cheers” “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came…” Kudos to Dolce Vita Pizzeria!!!

We went sightseeing with Leandro to several places. One place that we traveled was to the town of Cuellar to watch the “Encierros” (running with the bulls). These Encierros are the oldest in Spain and take place on the last Saturday of August. We did not participate in the run with the bulls because our bones, muscles and other body spare parts are not manufactured anymore. It was fun to watch people (mostly young ones) running in front of a bunch of bulls (Spanish Tradition). We saw a man in his upper 70’s year of age running too. Another place that we visited with Leandro was “Las Hoces del Rio Duraton Natural Park” (http://www.segovia-sp.com/sepulveda/hoces-du.htm). Las hoces are a series of 100 meters high gorges that were formed by the River Duraton. The park has 5,037 hectares and is the home of hundreds of Leonado vultures nests built in the cliffs. We sat quietly by one of the cliffs and saw the vultures constantly flying overhead (about 20 feet above us) so close that we can hear their very long wings hitting the wind. They flew for hours. It was an unforgettable experience.  Another trip with our friend Leandro was to hike throughout the National Peñalara Natural Park (http://www.parquenaturalpenalara.org/). We accessed the park at Puerto de Cotos, spent all day hiking and reached its highest peak where we watched gorgeous views and ate lunch that we prepared early that morning.

We returned to the Puerto de Cotos during the month of October to collect wild mushrooms with Leandro, Polina (Katya & Grisha’s daughter) and her boyfriend’s mother. We spent all day mushroom hunting and later that evening we all met at Dolce Vita Restaurant where Leandro cooked the wild mushrooms that he gathered that day. Leandro is an expert in mushrooming. He taught us the different type of mushrooms and how to identify the edible from the poisonous species. In general, Leandro is a man of all trade. We had a great time with him and learnt a lot.

Also, we took a trip with Katya and Grisha to the province of Cantabria. We visited the towns of Santillana del Mar (where we felt like living in the Middle Ages) and Los Corrales de Buelna. Also, we visited along the coastline the towns of Suances and San Vicente de Barquera. One village that was a must visit for its stew dish and it took us a while finding it, was the small village of Caviedes where we ate its famous Cocido Montañez (mountain stew).

In addition, from Segovia we visited nearby villages and towns such as Royal Palace of Riofrió, Rascafria (toured 15th century Santa Maria de el Paular Monastery), Valdesqui, Cercedilla, Ayllon (during its medieval Festival), Maderuelo, Sepulveda, and Villa de Turegano.

We also visited and ate lunch in the beautiful medieval town of Pedraza (http://www.pedraza.info/). It is a walled town with origins dating from the XI century (AC). The town has a gate that serves as its only entrance and exit. During the first two Saturdays of July the town holds the Candles Music Concerts during which the town is illuminated by thousands of candles. Irene, our friend, was our tour guide during this trip back to the middle ages. We ate in El Soportal Restaurant housed in a XVI century building. We ate roasted lamb cooked in a wood oven, white judiones soup, morsilla (blood sausage), picadillo, and homemade dessert, the meal was excellent and delicious!!! We drank the region red wine.

In March 2013, we drove to Valencia to enjoy Las Fallas Festival for eight days. It reminded us of Mardi Grass Carnival in New Orleans.  The festival goes on from March 1 to March 19 every year, the entire city celebrates it, and the last five days become a party all day and all night. Each neighborhood throughout the city organizes groups of people to produce a construction known as a “Falla”. It is built with wire mesh, paper and wax, Styrofoam, wood, and some other materials. Its construction takes months and a number of artists, carpenters, painters, sculptors, and others participate. The end product is an amazing artistic monument (a Falla) that each neighborhood displays for the duration of the festival and it is torched late on the festival closing night. The most gorgeous Fallas that we saw were in the center of Valencia. Some Fallas were built with political and social concerns themes in a satirical way; whatever is happening in politics in Spain and/or around the world at the time. We saw the burning of several Fallas on the festival closing night. Besides the gorgeous Fallas, the festival has open-air live music, parades, fireworks shows, lights displays, and delicious food. We ate Paella Valenciana, a specialty of the region; churros; hot chocolate; porras; buñuelos de calabaza; horxata with fartons; and chipirones. We enjoyed five days and nights of continuous party, we took the metro by our hotel to the center of Valencia about 2:30 p.m. and returned around 3:30 a.m. We recommend visiting Valencia during Las Fallas Festival and being ready to party (http://www.valencia-cityguide.com/tourist-information/leisure/festivals/the-fallas.html).

We spent the last three days of our stay in Valencia, visiting the L’Albufera de Valencia (National Coastal Wildlife Reserve) and coastal towns such as El Saler, Perellonet, Sueca, and Cullera. Furthermore, we toured the City of Arts and Sciences Complex in Valencia (http://www.cac.es/).  The complex has the largest aquarium in Europe (Oceanográfico), IMAX cinema, planetarium, center of interactive science, opera house and performing arts center, and more. Its buildings have stunning modern architecture and various shapes for instance the Hemisféric building has the shape of an eye and Prince Felipe Museum of Science reminds a whale skeleton. The complex buildings were designed by architects, Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela.

From Segovia, Spain to Pamporovo, Bulgaria:

We took a car trip to Pamporovo, Bulgaria during the months of April and May 2013. We traveled through several countries to arrive at Pamporovo.   From Segovia, Spain, we made overnight stops in the towns of Labege; France; Spotorno, Italy; Sezana, Slovenia; Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia; and the city of Sofia, Bulgaria until we arrived to Pamporovo, Bulgaria six days later.   

Pamporovo weather was perfect for us, the highest temperature was in the upper sixties; it was spring season and we traveled everywhere. We took one day trips to the city of Plovdiv and the towns of Chepelare, Shiroka Laka, Madan, Levochevo, Polkovnik Serafimovo, Gradat, Outpost Gradat, Povdis, Banite, and Devin where there are several hot springs and spa resorts.

After two months in Pamporovo, it was time to return to Segovia and decided to take another route. This time we were able to sightseeing the cities that we drove through previously. From Pamporovo we drove to the city of Sofia where we walked along a pedestrian walk area with plenty of shops, outdoor cafes, and restaurants. The following day we drove to Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia where we walked to the town center and crossed the Sava River along the St. Irenaeus of Sirmium pedestrian bridge, the biggest in Serbia.  Once across the river we ate one of the best pizzas and drank a delicious draft dark Serbian beer on the deck of a floating restaurant called Splav “Krug” (Raft “Circle”). We arrived here early in the afternoon and left late in the evening. We had a great time watching the Sava River, the sunset, and the stars in the sky from the restaurant deck. The next morning we drove to Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Our Hotel Penzion Tavcar (http://www.penzion-tavcar.si/gb/index.html) was located in the countryside of Ljubljana in the Village of Šmartno ob Savi, named after St. Martin. We went for a walk in the village and later that evening we ate a fantastic dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The next day we drove in a northerly direction from Slovenia through Austria where we ate lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Austrian Alps until we arrive finally to the town of Laives, Italy.

We made overnight stops in the town of Laives and in the city of Beinesco in Italy, and the city of Nimes, France. We drove from Nimes to the beautiful city of San Sebastian, Spain. This city is located along the coastline of the Bay of Biscay and it is famous for its festivals. Its fame comes from the San Sebastian’s Jazz Festival during the last week of July and the San Sebastian International Film Festival during September.  We took a city bus from our hotel to the city old center where we walked and ended up eating in a lively bar where we ate awesome pinchos and tapas. We drove to the City of Segovia the next morning until we arrived in the evening. It took us eight days this time to drive from Pamporovo, Bulgaria to Segovia, Spain but we got to sightseeing more.

One day trips and visiting North-Eastern and Southern Spain:

We visited several cities during my step-daughter Cristina and her boyfriend Alejandro’s visit to Spain during June 2013. Cristina arrived two weeks earlier than Alejandro and together we took one day trips to San Lorenzo de el Escorial, Toledo, Avila, Salamanca, and Valladolid.

Also, we drove to the city of Barcelona where we spent one week touring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the famous Architect Antoni Gaudí. Some of his amazing works that we toured inside are Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and Casa Batlló; and viewed his masterpiece and still un-completed La Sagrada Familia Church which has been under construction since 1882. In addition, we walked throughout the city center and took a taxi to the top of the mountain where Tibidabo Amusement Park and the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are located. The park was closed but we got to go up to the top of the temple where we had a spectacular panoramic view of the city. Angel and Cristina toured inside La Sagrada Familia Church and walked throughout La Rambla and Güell Park while I stayed at the hotel because I was not feeling well. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, has a rich cultural heritage, and has the professional Football Club Barcelona (soccer team) better known as Barça where Leo Messi plays. 

Once Alejandro arrived in Segovia, the four of us traveled for one week to visit Spain southern region and toured the cities of Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Gibraltar.

In Granada – we lodged in El Albayzín neighborhood, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has narrow winding streets and Medieval Moorish and Andalusian style houses. It was built on a hill facing the Royal Palace complex of the Alhambra. We took gorgeous pictures of the Alhambra from La Plaza de San Nicolás in El Albayzín. Also, we attended a flamenco show in a former cave now transformed into a flamenco show club. Following the recommendation of several Spaniards, we purchased tickets two months in advance to tour the Royal Palace complex of the Alhambra in Granada, a UNESCO World Heritage site

(http://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/) and an awesome place to visit.  From Granada, we traveled to the cities of Cordoba, Sevilla, La Linea de la Conception, and Gibraltar (British Overseas territory).

In Cordoba - We visited the famous Mosque - Cathedral of Cordoba (Cathedral of the Assumption of our Lady) which was a medieval Islamic mosque that was converted into a Catholic Christian cathedral. We were delighted with its Moorish Architecture. We crossed the Guadalquivir River by walking on a Roman Bridge and toured the Calahorra Tower Museum.

In Sevilla – We walked in the well preserved historical center and toured the Royal Alcazar of Seville.

In La Linea de la Concepción, Spain – We waited for Cristina and Alejandro while they visited Gibraltar (British Overseas territory). They brought their passports and were allowed to cross into Gibraltar. After a few hours, they returned and told us that they walked across the Gibraltar International Airport runway to get to the center of Gibraltar; quite an adventure! The fact is that pedestrians and motor vehicles have to cross the airport runway to get to the center. We went to the beach and while we watched the Rock of Gibraltar from the Spanish side we drank some of the best “mojitos”; the bar tender was a nice and friendly man from Dominican Republic.

           Professional Cycling:

As fans of Professional Cycling, we traveled to the Port of Navafría, Community of Madrid and the city of Madrid to watch Stages 22nd and 23rd accordingly of the 2012 Vuelta de España, and returned to Madrid to watched the final stage of the 2013 Vuelta de España. We arrived to Madrid earlier both occasions to scout a good place along Calle Gran Via in 2012 and in front of Plaza de Cibeles and Paseo de Recoletos in 2013. We watched the cyclists ride in front of us nine times.

Also, we traveled in July 2013 to the French Pyrenees to watch Stages 8th and 9th of the 100th year of Le Tour de France Bicycle Race (http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2013/us/stage-9.html). We left Segovia and arrived to the French town of Bidart for an overnight stay. This town is beautiful and is located along the Biscay Bay coastline.  It is a surfer’s paradise and has excellent seafood dishes.

Our next overnight stop was at the town of Quillan for Stage 8th. We arrived a day earlier to scout a steep slope and long road along the race route to watch the cyclists and took a car ride to search for it. Well, all the uphill places were taken already by people with recreational vehicles (RVs). There were hundreds of parked RVs along the cyclists’ race route so we returned to our hotel cabin by the river, ate a great dinner and drank two pitchers of delicious sangria at the hotel’s restaurant (La Maison Templiere Hotel, just outside Quillan). The next day we watched the cyclists rode in front of us across the street from our hotel. We left Quillan two hours after the cyclists passed us and drove throughout secondary and scenic roads to arrive at the town of Bagneres de Luchon.  

We checked into our hotel in Bagneres de Luchon and ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant where we met a Spaniard bicycle fan who gave us excellent tips where to watch Stage 9th. We rose early from bed the next morning, ate a delicious breakfast, and drove for fifteen minutes until we found a steep slope and long road in the Village of Castillon de Larboust to watch Stage 9th.  We parked our car around 9:00 a.m. and waited patiently for the cyclists to arrive around 2:30 p.m. We walked and sightseeing the small village; ate lunch; took a nap in our car; and got up to watch the sponsors vans parade passed by us and caught several nice souvenirs.

The first thing we heard before the cyclists arrive was the loud noisy of the TV station helicopters and our hearths felt excited. We had a good view of the cyclists at a distance where we were and saw them climbing a Category 1 mountain peak. We recognized Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Peter Sagan, Alberto Contador, and Yukiya Arashiro as they passed by us. It was a very hot day so the cyclists had their jerseys zippers pulled down, looked tired as they climbed the Category 1 mountain climb, and drank a lot of water. Our reason for waiting cyclists along a steep slope and long road is because they have to slow down a tiny bit and we are able to watch them climb for a longer time than if we wait on flat terrain where they ride very fast. The race finish line was at the town of Bagneres de Bigorre and this is where we headed next.

Bagneres de Bigorre was a party town with the arrival of the cyclists and as soon as we entered the town we joined the celebration. We stayed two days in the town and enjoyed the racing festivities.

We took the long and scenic route to return to Segovia. In our way, we visited La Mongie at the foot of the famous bicycle climb of the Col du Tourmalet, where we rode in a cable car to Pic Du Midi de Bigorre (http://www.picdumidi.com/web/fr/15-les-nuits-au-sommet.php) where we viewed a panoramic view the Hautes Pyrenees mountains.

Also, we spent two days in the Spanish town of Bielsa. We arrived at Bielsa after a spectacular trip from La Mongie, France. The journey took us through some magnificent Pyrenees' landscape and mountain villages. Our stay in Bielsa seemed like a dream. The Hotel Valle de Pineta was excellent and the food at its restaurant, delightful. We ate dishes of deer and wild boar in chocolate base sauce, duck in wine sauce, seafood fideua (seafood noodle paella), and tuna in a mole sauce. In addition, The pastry shop next to the hotel had some regional delicacies that we could not resist to eat. The town offers great hiking trails and other outdoor activities.

          Visiting Family in Honduras:

In October we visited my family in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We flew from Madrid to Miami, Florida in USA where we spent one night and from there into Tegucigalpa. I was planning to do some shopping for North Face brand pants in Miami but when we arrived there, we found out that a taxi fare was $60 U.S. dollars for round trip from our hotel to the Miami International Mall, therefore; I decided to postpone my visit to the mall.  While in Tegucigalpa, my niece Gaby told us that there was a new mall called City Mall in front of the airport and that she believed that there was a North Face store and more stores where I could do my shopping. Well, I did all my shopping at City Mall (http://citymall.net/index.php/inicio-3 )in Tegucigalpa. We also hiked a trial at La Tigra National Park and enjoyed the breathtaking view of Tegucigalpa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Tigra_National_Park). In addition, we took a trip to accompany my sister, Bella, to a meeting in a town along the Caribbean coast of Honduras. After her meeting my sister joined us at Cesar Marisco’s Hotel and Restaurant located in front of the beach in the town of Tela where we spent the night and enjoyed the ocean view, drinks, and good food.  We returned to Segovia, Spain after three weeks visiting my family.

           Back in Segovia:

During our fifteen months living in Segovia, we met great people like Katya, Grisha, Polina, Leandro, Jose, Geri, Irene, Beatriz, Minerva, Gustavo, and Paco. Also, the owners of our piso, Luis Fernando and Sandra were very nice and accommodating to our needs. In addition, we visited Maria Luisa (my sister’s friend) and her wonderful family in the community of Madrid. Her mother cooked mouthwatering Paella.

Segovia and Spain in general have plenty to offer on culture, food, wine, places to visit, etc. We highly recommend visiting Spain.

            At the present in Pamporovo, Bulgaria:

As I wrote previously we arrived in Pamporovo on December 02, 2013 from the city of Segovia, Spain.  We did not want to drive for several days to get here as we did during our April-May 2013 visit thus we decided to travel part by road and part by ferryboat. We are glad we traveled this way; it was relaxing and exciting.

We drove from Segovia, Spain to the city of Sabadell in the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain where we spent the night. Since we arrived early to the hotel, we decided to drive to the Grimaldi Lines Ferry Company Port to confirm the information printed on our ferryboat tickets and to ask some  questions that we had regarding to the location and time of boarding. We purchased our ferryboat tickets of Grimaldi Passenger/Car Ferry Company through Directferries (http://www.directferries.co.uk/). Its Barcelona facilities are recently built, nice, and have a restaurant. After we completed everything that we needed at the Grimaldi facilities, we walked around the port and marina area, took pictures, and ate dinner. The next day we arrived early to the Grimaldi facilities, registered, and received our three boarding passes; one for Angel, one for me, and one for our vehicle. We reserved a private inside cabin because the trip from Barcelona, Spain to Civitavecchia, Italy was going to take twenty-one hours long.

Once onboard the ferryboat, we parked our car and checked into our private cabin. We were surprised for the cleaned and nice cabin we had and that there was a complete bathroom (toilet, sink, and shower stall). It reminded us when we took a Caribbean boat cruise in 2005. The ferryboat was comfortable, large, and has a bar, several restaurants, a small swimming pool, shops, casino, arcade, etc. We entertained ourselves during the trip by sleeping, reading, eating, watching TV, and walking on the outside deck. The ferryboat sailed between the Islands of Sardinia and Corsica and we were able to see Sardinia at a very close distance.   

After crossing the Mediterranean Sea, we finally arrived to Civitavecchia, Italy by night time. It took us approximately one hour to get off the ferryboat and to find our Bed and Breakfast (B&B) lodge. Chiara, the owner of the B&B, and her daughter drove us to a restaurant to eat dinner and we walked back to the B&B. We ate in a German owned restaurant that served delicious Italian pizza and excellent German dark beer. The following day we drove to the city of Brindisi where we spent the night, and the next day we took our second Grimaldi Lines ferry boat towards the Greek port of Igoumenitsa. The Brindisi ferryboat port terminal was a small facility but we managed to obtain our boarding passes and eat lunch. We arrived at 2:30 a.m. to the port of Igoumenitza, the owner of the Holiday Zigos Hotel was waiting for us (we emailed her previously regarding our late arrival time), we checked-in, and went to bed right away. The following morning she served us a very delicious breakfast and some additional foods (traditional Greek) not included in the breakfast menu but she wanted us to eat. There was plenty to eat that morning.

We left Igoumenitza towards the town of Sidirokastro, Greece where we slept. The town is located 20 kilometers from Bulgaria’s border crossing. We left Sidirokastro after breakfast the next morning and headed to the City of Sofia, Bulgaria. We crossed the Greek-Bulgarian border and continued driving to Sofia. We checked into our Sofia hotel, rested a little bit, and dinned in the hotel’s restaurant. We felt rested and energized the following morning, ate breakfast, and drove to Pamporovo, Bulgaria. This is how we arrived to Pamporovo, Bulgaria.

Combining car driving and boarding a ferryboat was the perfect way of travel, we were not tired and we enjoyed the new way of travel by passenger/car ferryboat. It was fun and exciting!!! We’ll do it again.

It has snowed in Pamporovo three times since we arrived in December, 2013 and it has been rather warn for a ski resort but they make machine groomed snow.

We ate Christmas dinner with our friend Lidia and her husband Peter who cooked a delicious dinner. We had a very nice time with them. Also, we celebrated the New Year in the complex New Year’s eve party, dancing, eating and drinking. We shared a table with Kalina and her boyfriend Atanas, her friend Zvesdelina, her husband Varban, and her daughter Viara. They are very nice people and we had a great time sharing and talking with them. We plan to visit Kalina and Atanas at Burgas in our next visit to Bulgaria.

We shop and do all our errands in the town of Smolyan. It is located 20 minutes by car from Pamporovo. The town has a long pedestrian walk area, where the locals gather at restaurants and cafes, and shop at local stores. We go to Smolyan at least twice per week. We have eaten in several good restaurants and discovered that there is a movie – theater. Every time we visit Smolyan we discover a new store and/or restaurant. People are very helpful and nice throughout the town.

In addition, we are taking classes of the Bulgarian language with our Bulgarian friend Lidia. We have a good time learning Bulgarian, as we walk along the sidewalks in the town of Smolyan; we stop and read the stores and streets signs. At the restaurants, we practice the letters of the alphabet and the numbers.

Well, I finally finished writing this summary and perhaps it is the reason for the nice snow that is falling right now. A nice gift from nature.

Приятен ден!!! (Have a nice day) from Pamporovo, Bulgaria in the Rodophe Mountains.

Hugs!!!

Mireya