Category Archives: Travel with Katie

Every adventure I have whether on day trips around the UK to amazing experiences abroad.

Bulgaria: Krushuna Falls

Visit Bulgaria

If residing in Veliko Tarnovo for a few days and you want to go on a day trip, I highly recommend visiting Krushuna falls. On the way we pit stopped at the Sopot Reservoir to stretch our legs because our friend/driver Paul got a tad lost. The reservoir was quite peaceful and picturesque, a nice warm breeze blew as local families camped nearby and a small group of men enjoyed a spot of fishing. After about 45 minutes resting here we hopped back in the car and eventually found road signs directing us to Krushuna falls.

Nested in a scenic forested landscape with abundant caves and other karst formations, the Krushuna Falls impress with their turquoise waters and peaceful natural setting. The Krushuna waterfalls are reputed to be the highest in Bulgaria and are also known as the Maarta waterfalls which is the name of the river which flows through this area. Some of the falls are as high as 20m along the gorge and there are many eco paths you can choose to walk.

Walk up the eco- trail to see the waterfalls from the top of the gorge and have an enjoyable lunch on the meadow by the caves. Or even spend the night camping under the stars at this heavenly location!

How to get there: The Krushuna Falls are adjacent to the village of Krushuna, not far from Lovech in north central Bulgaria. There are regular daily buses from Sofia or Veliko Tarnovo to Lovech as well as local buses from Lovech to Krushuna and back, so even though our journey was a bit muddled it is actually rather easy to get to these waterfalls.

Interesting fact: Krushuna is a bird of prey that is still found in the area.
Bulgaria trip
Continue reading

We’re Backpacking around Vietnam & Cambodia!

Apologies for the blog being quiet for over a week. I was mean’t to post before we left on the 10th December but with work commitments to finish up and pack and then be up early to catch our coach to Manchester airport, I’ve just not had time!

So, as you can see we have been backpacking around Vietnam & Cambodia! We decided last year we wanted to be away for Christmas (and from Christmas as we’d had enough of the tackiness and superficiality of it all) and I’ve been saving small amounts each month of 2017 to be able to be abroad right now. We were initially going to just concentrate on Vietnam and travel up the country however the weather in the middle of Vietnam is not so great, its typhoon season and heavy rainfall in that area, so instead we opted for a multiple entry visa in order for us to visit Cambodia for a short while.

Our Itinerary began with a couple of days  in Ho Chi Minh city (also known as Saigon) in Vietnam, then we travelled to Cai Be and Chow Doc to travel along the Mekong river to get to the Cambodian boarder. Here we spent a day in Phenom Penh- Cambodia’s capital city before heading up to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat of which we we stayed for four days to really soak up the vastness of the ancient temples. After that we flew out of Cambodia back to Vietnam, Hanoi but we plan to see more of Hanoi a few days before we leave the UK so we didn’t stay there too long and ventured to Cat Ba Island to enjoy the famous Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Soon after that we ventured to Ninh Binh which is our current location and where we plan to stay for four days, including Christmas Day, shortly after we’ll catch a sleeper bus up to Sapa and the IndoChina Mountains for a few days before heading back to Hanoi to explore the city properly and do some last minute souvenir shopping. We fly back to be in the UK for New Years Eve.

Continue reading

Bulgaria: Etar Living Museum

Easy to get to from Veliko Tarnovo- Etar Museum is based in Gabrovo and take under an hour by car to get there. It’s a world inside its own gates, a selection of building showing how life was in Bulgaria until quite recently, how families lived and worked,many still do here. Lots of crafts to see and buy, my favourite are the wooden plates. This is a safe place to bring children and there are two very good restaurants at either end of the complex. This open air museum is very cheap to go in at about 5 Lev plus free WiFi too. This is a Brilliant place for a day out.

This is an enjoyable walk through the recreation of how Bulgarian life used to be-if you are a history buff or culture vulture, this beautiful place is for you. Set in a very scenic location this outdoor village museum shows the trades and traditions of Bulgaria in way that keeps you interested. Information boards are in both Bulgarian and English and explain what each house was used for and the items inside, the living quarters were also shown with an explanation to complete the full picture.

There are many seating areas to rest at as you take a slow wander around the site.

Continue reading

Bulgaria: Emen Gorge

Emen Gorge is super close to the Balvan village, which is about 20 minutes away from Veliko Tarnovo city centre. We had no idea at the time that Emen is walking distance to my mum’s home in Balvan and its pretty awesome this place is literally in her back garden. It is a little local secret, tourists are unaware of Emen Gorge and it is difficult to get to if you don’t have a car- but not impossible. There are local buses from Veliko Tarnovo to Balvan and Emen or you can get a taxi straight to Emen village & the Gorge- however taxis and buses only run until around 5pm in regards to going somewhere out of the city centre, so if you did opt for local transport, timing is crucial in order to catch the last bus back from or tell your taxi driver to collect you at a designated time. There is also no phone signal out there so other than the local kiosk in Emen village that has a landline phone, you have no way of contacting a taxi company AFTER your walk around the Gorge- so pre-book your taxi journey back to Veliko before you visit Emen and please make sure it’s before 5pm, the drivers will get grumpy with you and charge you even more or in our case, just decide its not worth their time!

That being said, we didn’t know all this information when we went there, ha! We booked a taxi to take us there which took 10 minutes from Balvan to Emen and when we were done exploring, Jon realized there was no signal so he couldn’t ring up to get a taxi back to my mum’s home and we had missed the last local bus (You might need to check for local buses to and from Emen, we mainly used buses to and from Balvan for day trips because that was our main base).

Thankfully the lady who runs the Emen kiosk took pity on us, gave us water and rang up a taxi company from the shop’s phone line, however as stated above, the company wouldn’t come out to get us as it was after 5pm. One of the locals over heard our issue and said he was going to Veliko Tarnovo after he’d finished his beer and do we want a lift? We said yes as it was our only option being stranded in this place, he dropped us off in Balvan and we gave him some money for a couple of beers as a thank you and then we found out that Emen is walking distance from Balvan- so we could have walked home. Walking from Emen to Balvan is about an hour and 30 minute walk, which would have been nice to take in the scenery on the way back to my mum’s house because we are a couple that loves walking plus saving money in the process- ah well!

Continue reading

Bulgaria: Veliko Tarnovo

Bulgaria visit Veliko Tarnovo
When people hear ‘Bulgaria’ they think of Sunny Beach in Varna which is a tourist hot spot in the summers, or they think of the snowy mountains and ski resorts in Borovets and Bansko. Yet there is so much more to Bulgaria than those two destinations.

My mum lived in Veliko Tarnovo for three years which is a city situated in the middle of Bulgaria. It’s about 4 hours away from the capitol, Sofia which is close to the ski resorts, and 4 hours away from Varna where Sunny Beach is situated. It is literally smack bang in the middle of the country. She chose to live here because whilst it is still geared up for tourists and there are things to do and see here, it is a slower paced lifestyle and you’re surrounded by an array of forests, gorges and caves! What’s not to love? Many people who do visit here, opt for a short stay or day excursion. It’s exceptionally beautiful all year round and there are many coaches or tours operating from both sides of Bulgaria to enable you to visit Veliko Tarnovo, perhaps you need a break from skiing and fancy touring around this quaint town covered in snow? With its cobbled stones and traditional buildings what’s not to love? Or maybe after days of sun bathing on the Sunny beach strip you fancy a day of culture? Either season, Veliko Tarnovo is a place you must visit!

Many expats prefer to buy and live in villages just outside Veliko Tarnovo. Land and property is cheap to buy because many young Bulgarians go to work in the cities- preferring a more London-like lifestyle whilst British expats have been renovating these huge farm houses and turning them into Bed & Breakfasts, hotels and retreat centres thus reviving the entire area for the locals to thrive from- tourists bring money which supports local shops and markets.

Visit Bulgaria

day trip to Veliko Tarnovo

living in Bulgaria
My mum sadly does not live in Bulgaria anymore. Due to health and personal reasons she has recently moved back to the UK for the time being but she loved living out there. She loved the people, the food and the simple way of life so who knows what the future holds? In comparison to Spain and France, it is is also a cheaper place to live, your money will stretch even further and you’ll feel comfortable.

I loved our family home, I was sad to let go of my childhood home, she still kept it and rented it out to a family back in Blackpool however it was a weird feeling of excitement for this new adventure living abroad and resentment for allowing a new family live in the house I grew up in. But it was a smart financial move to do this, renting out our house in Blackpool gave my mum a small income to live off in Bulgaria (on top of her retirement pay), any savings she had went towards renovation and decoration of her new Bulgarian home.

My childhood was a financially difficult time for my mum as a single parent barely affording food and heating yet things began to change in my late teens and my mum became a retail manager and over the years also became a landlady to 4 properties, that’s when we began to live more comfortably, it was then, she decided to work towards owning a property abroad- for a while she did think about the usual destinations like Spain, France and Cyprus but then she remembered how much she adored our family holiday to Borovets, Bulgaria when I was six years old which she scrimped and saved for, for years! She adored the wooden beamed houses and cabins, she adored the locals and way of life so she went back out there and fell in love with the house in Veliko Tarnovo. She sold all those rental properties in the UK to help buy and renovate it and I was so proud of her for achieving this, we were dirt poor when I was a kid and people were amazed my mother achieved this dream as a single parent, she is living proof that no matter your circumstances you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and it is her strong willed, tenacious spirit that inspires me and I’ve become a lot like her now I’m a grown woman.

So below are a few photos of the Bulgarian house and its vast garden that my mum owned, I just loved visiting her there, it was a nice break away from England and inspired Jon & I to live abroad because we could physically see the possibilities just from staying with my mum in Bulgaria and both of us dislike the lifestyle in the UK. We even thought about buying a property and land in Veliko Tarnovo to run our businesses from- I’d set up a yoga & belly dance retreat and Jon thought about running photography tours. We are still considering this dream, but not found the right country for us to make that move just yet!

Fancy living in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria? Click on the link to look at properties: Yantra Homes

buying property in Bulgaria

holiday in Veliko Tarnovo

expat in Bulgaria

expat living in Veliko Tarnovo

Continue reading