Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Out and about in Pleven

Today I went to the Pleven Panorama, it cost me 5 leva to get in, once inside I was then paired with a man who spoke some English and asked if I wanted to pay 20 leva for a guided tour.  He also informed me that I would need to pay 5 leva to use my camera.  (about 2 minutes into my taxi drive to the monument I realized that I had forgotten my standard lens on my camera, I only had a close up one, so I knew there was no way I was going to get any descent photos of the place.  When I stood 100 feet from the front door I could still only capture the building front entrance in 2 shots, the top and the bottom, HA)  So I told the man I wasn't going to pay for pictures and I didn't act super interested in paying the 20 leva for a guide….but for some reason he decided to be my guide anyway.  (I feel like I am paying the "gringo"tax everywhere I go, but it needs to be named something else like the "gringesky tax" or something.  Either way I am a target….but I am fighting back!  You may have ripped me off yesterday but today I am getting a tour for FREE :) )

When you enter there is a very LARGE staircase that wraps around and has 4-5 large paintings.  There is nothing to explain the scenes, so if I hadn't had my "guide" I really would have had no idea what was going on in them, other than the obvious men at war.  Once we cleared those paintings we made it to the grand show, a large circular room with a painting going all the way around it.  In front of the painting was a 3rd battle "forefront" if you will.  There were trenches with fake dead bodies and guns and cannons.  The whole thing is a big war scene from September 1877 when the Romanians, Russians and the Bulgarians finally fought off the Ottomans in Pleven which allowed Bulgaria to declare there Independence.  On December 1877 was the formal end to the siege, I believe or the point where the rest of Bulgaria was freed.   

Outside I ran into a very nice man selling his wares. (the basic touristy things, he had decks of cards, coins, magnets, table cloths, ash trays and more)  I have seen many tables like his.  In fact there are even more in the city center right now because Baba Marta day is coming and everyone is selling red and white bracelets to commemorate the day.  (I will get pictures of it tomorrow perhaps)  Anyway the difference was, he spoke wonderfully clear English (and Spanish, french and German, I can really only attest to the English and Spanish)  We had a great time talking and he told me many times, I could just look and I didn't need to buy anything, which was so different from the normal pushy sales person.  I wish now I would have asked to take his photo!

At this point I had finished my Pleven Panorama experience and it had taken all of 25 minutes.  Good thing the guide told me I did not need 2 hours there.  She had asked the taxi that drove me to the monument to pick me up in one hour.  However, everything was wet and rainy and you can only look at cannons so many times and I didn't have my book, so I started to walk.  The good Lord has blessed me with the ability to find my way out, if someone drives me in, I can reverse my steps and get myself out.  so I began to walk to meet my taxi!  And I took some photos along the way.

(disclaimer.  I have been having trouble getting this computer to work well for me, it is really not the computer's fault but most likely user error.  So I threw in some photos that should have been on yesterday's adventure. I also refuse to struggle to get these into order….so there you have it.  ENJOY…and if you are even in Pleven and have to chose between the Panorama and the Regional History Musuem…go to the Reigional History Museum!!! 


this sign said wine museum….I might have to find that place!

after my short adventure I waited for Grace to get back to the hotel and we went for lunch.  Her and I have a problem on these trips, we never take photos of each other together or separate, so here I am "enjoying" the restaurant called Speedy.  This was before my food came….I was really not that happy after it came.  I should have stuck with the skewers….skewers are always a good bet.  I also need to stop ordering mashed potatoes, in the last 2 days at 2 different restaurants I have been eating instant luke warm mashed postatoes…they are not good.

I thought this bus sign was nice.  The colors were nice to see on another dreary day of sunlessness.

as I take pictures like this one I often wonder, is there someone inside wondering why I am taking pictures of the entrance to their house.  And how would I feel if there was a foreigner outside my house with a large camera taking photos.  My answer is that I would probably try to go and make small talk with them…..but I am beginning to think I might be a rarity.

I found this very comical.  Apparently this slipnot fan could not contain his excitement about this band and just had to but it up on a building….very quickly and plainly.  Odd.

Again the colors got me, this graffiti artist, had a much bolder message than the slipnot fan….I don' really know what it says, but I thought it looked nice :)  The sign for the Panorama is also in this picture.  By the way, I really don't know that I would have found this place if I had tried to walk myself there.  It only cost me 3 leva each way from the hotel and I think it was worth it.  Although if I hadn't planned on the taxi coming back, I couldn't have just walked.  It was about 10 minutes away from my favorite museum.  you know the one, the Regional history Museum! :)

this was a look down the hill from the Panorama.

And here is where I finally ran into my taxi driver.  I think he was very surprised to find me walking up to his taxi.  He had stopped to buy some cigarettes and when he came back to the car, there I was!

Yesterday I discovered my favorite grafity…a true artsy book nerd must have commissioned this one :)  It seemed very planned where it was and I thought it was lovely.  There was a book store on the other side of this building.

this was on the entrance to what I assumed, using my best deductive reasoning, was a bar :)

the only thing I would change about these statues would be to have some info in English near them.  You know where else there needs to be some info?  At breakfast at this hotel they have some cereal, near some bowls.  Next to the bowls and the cereal is a pitcher of what looks like milk….only it isn't milk.  It is WATERED DOWN YOGURT!!  Now, I say, if you are going to put a pitcher of watered down yogurt, which apparently people enjoy drinking here, for the love, either move it from the cereal or put a sign on it.

Again the colors brighten my day a bit and brought light to what I find a communism dreariness, which isn't so bad when the sun shines….I am hoping for sun tomorrow!!

This is a door to a church….

I thought this tree in the middle of the sidewalk was lovely, I like that although the tree was in their way they just made the sidewalk around it, and even when they chopped off all of its branches they still thought, hey birds might like this tree, we will hang some bird houses on it.  So nice of them.

this is a painting from the regional history muesum…I am into colors today!

wish I knew who this guy was and why they are celebrating him currently!

and last but not least is a Darth Vader bug man…who I do not think was commissioned to be here but it made me laugh and take a picture.


  1. I wonder if everything is ok...

  2. Where are you guys??? We miss you. I want to see an update of how is Simon doing. I have to tell you... I love that little guy. ;)