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July 1, 2002

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We explored Varna, Bulgariaís foremost resort town on the Black Sea coast. Shops, bars, and street side cafes cover every corner. A large, tree-lined boulevard leads to a beach teeming with sunbathers. The Black Sea water felt warm and the beaches and boardwalk provided a great place to watch people. One piece of the boardwalk imitates downtown New York, with a fake Statue of Liberty and a sign for Howard Johnís instead of Howard Johnsonís. Our first impression of Bulgaria: itís old style Europe that reminds us of Russia because all buildings seem to have been built 50 years ago, signs use Cyrillic, and Bulgarian sounds like Russian to our ears. Request Bulgarian menus in the restaurants because the prices are cheaper than those on English menus. Prices are reasonable: expect to pay around $4 per meal and $7 for a nightís stay in a cheap hotel (per person).
 
Varna's Opera House, where to go if it rains.
What's Bulgaria's major religion? Orthodox Christian.
 
New York beach scene on the Black Sea Coast at Varna. These beaches compete with Romania's for the bulk of Eastern Europe's summer scene. You don't need your bathing suit tops here, but most women wear them.