Rick takes you behind the scenes as he films Italy's Cinque Terre, five charming villages hidden in the rugged Italian coast. Rick: This place feels so venerable. 5.0 out of 5 stars 14. Rick: Ah, OK. The 175-foot-tall steeple, flanked by bulbous golden onion domes that shimmer in the sunshine, holds a giant bell cast from discarded artillery cartridges after the battle. And to this day, these perpetually flowing water taps are appreciated by the locals. OK. Rick: …it's mineraly… This pivotal battle led to the eventual demise of the Ottoman Empire, and to the creation of the modern, independent country of Bulgaria. Rick: You got Mediterranean — so it's a little bit of Greece, a little bit of Turkey, and a lot of Bulgaria. However, it is inaccurate to assume him as gay as he is a proud father of two grown-up children. Inside, you're immersed in the glow of Orthodox tradition. Hindliyan House was decorated to the taste of its merchant owner. Did you come here as a child? Even amid a pandemic that has hit the travel industry hard, Steves … The peaceful beech forests seem a world away from the big city. After a lifetime of exploring Europe Rick Steves shares his reasons why. We'll trace the country's complex history, from ancient Thracian tombs to medieval Orthodox Christian monasteries to Soviet monuments. Stefan: This is very traditional way in Bulgaria. Is that typical in Bulgaria? Experience the fun, conviviality, intimacy, and spontaneity as Rick hosts a travel happy hour on Zoom from his living room. In 1951, he suffered a stroke that rendered his right hand useless. Rick Steves advocates independent travel. Stefan: Yes — actually many times, with my family. The town's hillsides are blanketed with both traditional homes and dreary concrete housing blocks. One of the largest Orthodox churches in Christendom--and the only national church I can think of that's named for an important saint of a different country: Russia. Experience the fun, conviviality, intimacy, and spontaneity of joining Rick in his living room as he drinks his favorite wine and shares his inspirational and sometimes hilarious behind-the-scenes stories. Stefan: Yeah… Rick: And what is "no"? This towering monument commemorates that vast and mighty realm. Stefan: Yes, yes, of course. And Georgi Dimitrov, the "Bulgarian Lenin," is simply ignored. 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. Rick: How many springs in Sofia like this? In this town, anywhere you dig, you find ancient ruins — bits of Roman Sofia. It's the only national church I can think of that's named for a sainted military hero of a different country: Alexander Nevsky, of Russia. These bricks were a gift from Austria's Emperor Franz Josef — who, after what must have been a muddy visit in 1907, wanted to encourage Sofia to pave its streets. Rick Steves' Europe Egypt’s Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor. 3. Bulgaria's complicated history has made it a melting pot. It's dedicated to the Russian and Bulgarian troops (now buried in the crypt) who fought fiercely to defeat the Ottomans in 1877. Workers rise before the sun to quickly hand-pick the new blooms. Boyadzhiev's best works feature timeless slices of peasant life: Back in pagan times, people prayed not in temples, but under trees. Go behind the camera with Rick and his crew for the shoot of his 2006 Milan and Lake Como episode as Rick shares all the tricks of his trade in TV production. Local authorities figure that street artists will tag buildings anyway–so they might as well focus all that creativity, and pay them to do it. 4.0 out of 5 stars 42. Stefan: This is a traditional Bulgarian drink, and it is called "rakia." Video: Watch "Egypt's Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor," an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. And today, it remains the country's revered national treasure. A fattened pig being slaughtered for Christmas; above the victim, each weathered face could tell a story. In the southeast of Europe, Bulgaria sits at the east end of the Balkan Peninsula. Its 1.2 million inhabitants enjoy an airy street plan, fine architecture, lush parks, snow-capped mountains on the horizon, and a relaxed pace of life. Rick: No?!? Rick Steves Europe 12 New Shows 2019-2020. 6. It's more vertical than horizontal, with a mix of blocky modern construction and traditional Bulgarian homes. Rick: To your health — nazdráve! Today, you can drive up, up, up into the mountains and stand before this decaying souvenir of a failed system. This church was built to honor the Russian soldiers who died to free Bulgaria from the so-called "Turkish yoke.". Are you ready for some virtual travel? The faithful light candles to help power their prayers: lower-level candelabras are for the deceased; higher-level ones represent prayers for the living. Hi, I'm Rick Steves back with more of the best of Europe. Rick Steves’ Europe is an empire, with 100 U.S.-based employees and 150 freelance tour guides around the world. Leaving Veliko Tarnovo, we cross over the Balkan Mountains. Fred Plotkin, who wrote Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, has a Youtube series called Fred Plotkin on Fridays. 2014 | TV-G | CC. And with its ethnic diversity came different religions. Freshness is critical. The payoff: a wide variety of rose oil products, appreciated both abroad, and at home. The wedding was conducted in St Thomas of Villanova, and the reception took place at Saint David Gold Club. Stefan: And a lot of Bulgaria. Under the arcade, vivid 19th-century frescoes depict Bible stories, peopled by angels and devils, saints and sinners. This was a golden age for Bulgaria — the 13th and 14th centuries — when its empire dominated the Balkan Peninsula, and stretched all the way to Ukraine. And the royal banquet, with the gods, musicians, servants, horses. see our FAQ. All over Bulgaria, controversy swirls around crumbling communist-era monuments — like this one. Rick: You know, frankly, this is more interesting than what I would expect. Rick Steves' Europe. Rick: Da? For a visual orientation, scan the mountainous horizon from the valley near Kazanlak and try to pick out three big landmarks: the flying-saucer shaped Buzludzha monument; the blocky Shipka Pass monument; and — down below that — the glimmering golden domes of Shipka Church. Also known as "The Mousetrap," this district was once a dreary, deserted, and dangerous quarter. Peasant women cluster around a fire, knitting as they eke out warmth. Within its walls, you feel something special — both sacred and timeless. A place where East and West mix harmoniously. Jump to bottom. The ruins of its fortress are a reminder of the city's importance 800 years ago. It was a favorite destination. And this replica tomb demonstrates how even in the afterlife, the deceased would be surrounded by comforting images. Here's St. John of Rila, who, seeking a hermetic way of life, founded this remote monastery in the year 927. In Plovdiv, as in many European cities, local leaders understand that buildings are going to be tagged anyway. ET | REGISTER. Todor the silversmith — with his strong hands and distinctive technique — transforms strips and strands of metal into exquisite jewelry. They didn't reveal the reason behind their divorce. And graffiti makes it clear who won the Cold War. S11 Ep1106 | 26m 15s Craftspeople keep traditions alive, and roses offer a fragrant harvest. According to legend, the Asen brothers planted a sword on this spot and said, "Here shall be Bulgaria.". Plovdiv is a city with many personalities, built upon layers of history: Under the 14th-century Ottoman mosque, they've excavated an ancient stadium. 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