Saturday, 28 May 2011

About Sofia Central Mineral Baths/ Zentralni mineralni bani

Sofia Central Mineral Baths

Sofia (as well as my whole country Bulgaria) is blessed with tons of natural mineral water sources. In the area of Sofia there are around 50 of them. The water comes from very deep, which garantees that is ecologically clean. One differ 8 completely different mineral water sorts (depending on mineral ingredients). "Zentralni bani" ("Sofia Central Mineral Baths") are located down town and should not be missed. You can drink from the hot mineral water taps, or even better you bring an empty plastic bottle and fill it for later. You will see a lot of locals doing the same (in big bottles) as the mineral water has great healing effect too....

Sofia Central Mineral Baths

The building of the Sofia Central Mineral Baths (in yellow behind the fountain) has been refurbished for the last few years. Before this it was used as the city's public baths until 1986. Public baths have existed in Sofia at least as early as the 16th century. During his visit to Sofia in 1553–1555, Austrian traveller Hans Dernschwam noted the presence of one large bath and two smaller baths on either side of the city!

Sofia Central Mineral Baths

The building was designed in the Vienna Secession style, but contains also typically Bulgarian, Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox ornamental elements.

Sofia Central Mineral Baths

Next to Zentralni bani one may find several posters of old post cards from Sofia as a decoration hiding one building place:-)


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sofia in the spring sun...

Sofia reflection
My home town, Sofia, is extremely beautiful when the sun comes out. Last week I enjyoed several of Sofia landmarks in the sun...Not only the Russian church shines in the natural light, but also the golden cupolas of the cathedral Alexander Nevski.


The statue of the Saint Sofia, the protector of the city, is also worth admiration (by or without sunshine). Since 2000 it has replaced a statue of Lenin located on square "Nezawisimost" (the busy central crossing of boulevar Maria Luisa and street Todor Alexandrov). The new statue is 24m high and represents Sofia (with golden skin and bronze dress), holding the symbols of wisdom and fame (an owl and an wreath). With the building mess around one may though kind of overlook this beauty....

Sofia Theater

Another of my favourite building in the city is of course the National Theater Ivan Vasov (on the picture above).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The old harbour of Hoorn

A walk in the old harbour of Hoorn is a must. There are plenty of beautiful boats to look at. Middays some fishing boats are coming back and I was lucky enough to be present while a boat was putting its catch (several nets of crabs) in the pots.
Hoorn boats
The boat with wings (as on the picture above) is typical for the Ijsselmeer. When the wings are up the boat may pass through very shallow water and canals.

In the middle of the old harbour the previous city gate ("Hoodftoren") welcomes the visitors and the floating vessels.
Haven Hoorn
Plenty of birds are present too... Some of them are even doing fish-check once the fishing boats are left empty:-)
Hoorn bird

Friday, 13 May 2011

The city of Hoorn

Hoorn is a very cozy and beautiful city situated 35 km north of Amsterdam. "Hoorn" means cape and the town is really located on a tongue of land located in Ijselmeer. Its center offers a few lovely buildings. One is definitely the Westfries Museum (first and second picture).

Some years ago Hoorn was having the biggest kaasmarkt in Noord-Holland. In the building (third picture), where once the town "waag" (balance) was located, there is a nice restaurant now. The city has a very beautifulold harvour, there will be a separate blog entry about it.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Oostvaarderplassen, the nature reserve in province Flevoland

The nature reserve Oostvaarderplassen (known as OVP) is located in the Dutch province Flevoland, in a polder created in 1968. In order to prevent the area of becoming a woodland (which would lower the habitat value for water birds), a number of large herbivores were brought in (red deer and Konik ponies, small size horses).

Nowadays the area is a favourite place for people who would like to enjoy a piece of nature north of Amsterdam. One may spot plenty of different birds and water birds, next to them several horses, deers and hairy cows live also here. The are where the large herbivores are living is closed for the public, but several parts are open for walk. I had the chance o admire some colourful butterflies, awesome bird concert, very friendly horses.

There are two visitors centers. One is located at the north entrance of the park, close to Lelystad - "Bezoekerzentrum Oostvaarderplassen". The second one is called "Natuurbelevingszentrum de Oostvaarders" and is not far from Almere station.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Theefabriek in Houwerzijl/ Great tea museum in Groningen

The "Theefabriek" is located in an old church in the tiny village Houwerzijl. It represents the only tea museum in the Netherlands. A beautiful garden welcomes the visitos to have a tea outside, after one had visited the museum and enjoyed the huge tea shop with over 500 different tea sorts...
A must for all tea-lovers spending a day in the Dutch province Groningen!

Monday, 2 May 2011

The lighthouse of Ameland/ de Amelandse Vuurtoren

Only a tiny number of all Dutch lighthouses might be visited. The lighthouse of Ameland (together with the one on Vlieland) is one of them. On the way up several small exhibitions (about the marine life of the island, the different lighthouses architecture around Europe or about the history of ligthouses in Holland, old naval maps) are greeting the visitors.

The "Amelandse vuurtoren" was built in 1880-1881 and is 55 meters high (15 floors and 236 steps to get to the top). Since 2005 the lighhouse is open for tourists. In the summer months even til 22h! Here you may find an extensive list of all (active, deactivated and demolished) "vuurtoren"/ lighhouses of the Netherlands.

A very good overview of all 5 Watt-island-lighhouses plus their building year is on the drawing below of a newspaper article.