Monday, September 1, 2014

My summer holidays...:)

Hubby and I had the whole month of August off, so on August 2nd /Saturday/ we drove to Tatarevo to pick our children up...:) My parents welcomed us with another yummy BBQ and we had a great time together...:) 

After spending the rest of the weekend at home, the four of us went to Karlovo where we spend a wonderful, lazy week - we slept a lot, read books, watched TV, made some walks and BBQs, and got totally spoilt by my mother-in-law...:) 

We made a day trip too - on August 9th /Saturday/ we visited the Shipka Monument on the Shipka Peak in Stara Planina /Old Mountain, or the Balkan Mountains/. This monument is a memorial to those who had died for the liberation of Bulgaria during the battles of Shipka Pass in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Vanyo wanted to visit this monument for a long time /ever since he attended Kindergarten/ so he was super happy to finally do it!:)

After the Shipka Monument we visited Etara - an open-air ethnographic museum...:) It's very interesting and beautiful there...:) We bought some really yummy breads from a bakery and then sat at an old-fashioned cafe...:) 

Our final destination was the Shipka Memorial Church which is built in a Russian style - very beautiful!:)

We drove to Plovdiv the following day, August 10th /Sunday/.:) August 12th /Tuesday/ was my 39th birthday, so we did another day trip - this time to the Rhodope Mountains...:) We had dinner at our favourite place - the Blue Inn...:) And on the way home we bought delicious ice-cream cake!:) 

As usual, I was super spoilt for my birthday - I got lots of phone calls, e-mails, messages, Facebook greetings, cards, gifts, etc...:) The children had made me a super cute card - so sweet and thoughtful of them!:)

The days that followed, were quite uneventful - we mainly relaxed at home reading, watching movies, etc. We went out a couple of times too - did some walks, sat at cafes, had fried fish at the Rowing Canal... 

The highlight of our summer holidays, however, was our trip to Greece on August 29th /Friday/. We travelled to the area of Xanthi which is the home town of my dear friend Konstantina /who now lives in France with her husband and their daughter/ and she was extremely nice to give me some information and tips about the places worth visiting...:) It felt so special, because all the time I was thinking that my friend has been there too...:)

We travelled at night as hubby wanted us to meet the sunrise at the sea...:) We arrived to Xanthi easily, but then we had a problem finding Avdira... Luckily the people were very friendly and nice so they helped us to find the way... We arrived to the beach of Avdira before the sunrise and we totally fell in love with it!:) Such a beautiful place!:) And not crowded at all - totally unlike our Bulgarian beaches... Unfortunately it was a bit windy that day, so I didn't dare to get into the sea, but I dipped my feet a bit and the water was warm and nice...:) We loved Avdira so much that we might go there for a longer time next summer...:)

We stayed at the beach until 11 o'clock and then we drove to Xanthi. We passed by the Abdera archaeological site /that my friend Konstantina had advised me to visit/ but we were too hungry and it was too hot, so we decided to leave it for the next visit. By the way, my husband and Minnie had a very funny conversation about the Abdera archaeological site on our way home. My husband teased her, saying something like: 'What there is to see, just some rocks?' and Minnie replied: 'Dad, you have no idea how many rocks I've seen during my school practices. And I can assure you that each one was different and unique. So it's much more interesting than you can imagine'...:)

When we arrived to Xanthi, we tried to find a nice place to eat. We sat at 'Kipos', which is right next to the river... We really liked it there, because the view was beautiful and there was a nice fresh wind coming from the mountains...:) The staff was very helpful and super friendly.:) They brought us two bottles of water at our arrival /a very nice and unexpected gesture:)/. We had Greek salad /for all of us/, pork souvlaki /for hubby and me/, chicken souvlaki /for Minnie/ and a cheeseburger /for Vanyo/. The souvlaki were garnished with rice, cooked in a very interesting way /with raisins and walnuts/. The cheeseburger was garnished with French fries and onion rings. We also asked for bread and they brought us a big plate with it... The portions were very delicious but also very huge so we couldn't eat all and sadly had no room for dessert... The children had cokes and hubby and I enjoyed wonderful Greek coffee...:) We were pleasantly surprised by the bill - all that yummy food and drinks for only 35 euro!:)

After our lunch we went for a walk at the Old Town. We loved it there!:) It reminded us of Plovdiv so much!:) We visited the Folklore Museum as my friend Konstantina had suggested...:) Then the kids decided that they wouldn't mind having ice-cream, so I bought them some /hubby and I were still feeling too full to eat anything/ and they ate it at a park...:) Unfortunately we had to leave Xanthi /and Greece/ soon afterwards, because there was a fair in Karlovo the next day and we had promised to my in-laws that we'll visit them then... But it was such an eventful and adventurous day, and we loved Xanthi and its area so much that we'll definitely visit it again - hopefully for a longer time!:) And hopefully next time we can meet my dear friend Konstantina and her family too!:) That would be awesome!:)

After leaving Greece we made a short visit to Zlatograd - a Bulgarian town right at the border with Greece. It turned out to be a very beautiful place too!:) The children visited the Ethnographic Museum while hubby and I enjoyed a cup of coffee outside...:) On our way home we suddenly felt hungry again so stopped at the Blue Inn for dinner...:) We got home at about 10 p.m., totally knocked out, but so full of nice memories and positive emotions!:)

The following day /August 30th, Saturday/ we drove to Karlovo for the annual fair...:) My mother-in-law welcomed us with super yummy BBQ and on the Sunday we took the children to the fair where they had lots of fun at the bumping cars...:) Then it was time to get home as hubby and I both had to be back to work today...

Of course, we saw some movies in August - 'Identitiy Thief' /very silly...:(/, 'The Stepford Wives' /nothing special...:(/, 'Last Vegas' /nothing extraordinary, but still nice, funny and heart-warming...:)/, 'Magic Mike' /I really wanted to like this movie as I love all the actors... The dances were great /Channing Tatum was amazing as always/, there were funny and touching moments, but as a whole it was nothing special... Maybe I just expected too much.../, 'Paranoia' /nothing special again:(/, 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' /great entertainment for the whole family...:) And incredible Wolverine - as always!:)/, 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' /lots of breath-taking special effects, spectacular action scenes and dark humour...:)/, 'The Amazing Spiderman 2' /unfortunately not as interesting as the first Amazing Spiderman, but still OK to watch for some entertainment.../, '47 Ronin' /it was great to see Keanu Reeves again, but the movie was nothing special...:(/ and 'Divergent' /I was pleasantly surprised by this movie - it was thrilling, exciting, and very, very interesting to the very end!:) Two thumbs up!:) Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the sequels...:)/.

During my summer holidays I also finished reading the fifth book of the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R.Martin'A Dance with Dragons'. It was much more interesting and exciting than the previous book of the series...:) Actually it was not a surprise as all my favourite characters are back in the story...:) Now I'm looking forward to the sixth book, hopefully it will be finished and published soon, fingers crossed! :)