We awoke well rested after a day at sail and boarded our buses to Veliko Tarnovo, Burgaria. The weather was challenging and we viewed the ancient fortress from under our rain hoods.
As I was walking down the tile stairs toward the restrooms at our lunch hotel I heard someone behind me fall. Turning around I realized it was Randall. His wet boot had slipped on the smooth tile and he went down – hard. His right shoulder hurt and we thought we’d better get it checked out. Things happened fast. Our guide started to call for a doctor’s visit when the woman who owns the hotel gift shop stepped in. She’d already called her personal physician and he would see us. She arranged for a taxi and went with us to the doctor’s office. The doc examined Rand and said he thought it badly bruised, but nothing torn or broken. He wrote a prescription and sent him for an X-ray, just in case. So, we loaded into the taxi for the hospital for an X-ray. The facilities were basic, but the X-ray was digital. We had the X-ray, the results (negative), our prescriptions filled and were back at the hotel within an hour. (We’d still have been waiting in the emergency room at home.) The gift shop owner had paid all the expenses as we had no Bulgarian currency. She offered to let us repay her by putting the charges on our credit card through her shop. We did – the total cost $70US! And, that included the medication, taxi, doctor - everything!
While we were experiencing our personal drama the rest of our group enjoyed shopping in the quaint town, finding beautiful silver filigree jewelry and rose oil, local specialties. We continued our visit to the small village of Arbanasi where we visited an old Orthodox Church, with a brief concert by the local cantors. While we were enjoying the local sites, our ship traveled upstream to make up for some of the time lost the day before. We traveled through small villages, well off the tourist track. The scenes of small town, Bulgarian life will stay with me a long time.
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