20230520 Tourist in Constanta, Bulgaria.

Yesterday I planned my train trip to Bucharest for Sunday and for Tuesday booked a plane ticket from Bucharest to Toronto.

I had earlier asked (by email) the train company about taking my bicycle on the train from Constanta to Bucharest. They had answered that they had trains with special cars for passengers with bicycles. This morning when I tried to buy a ticket online, with “bicycle” filter selected, there were no trains! I called their customer service and was told that there were never any trains from Constanta that allowed bicycles.

So I spent some time searching for a bus that would take bicycles. Romania has many bus operators, but it does have one website for bus schedules and tickets. All the buses but one were mini buses with no large luggage cargo area. Luckkly there was one full size coach bus with a regular large luggage area. On the website they did not indicate any information about luggage allowances or restrictions, and when I called I only got a pre-recorded message in Romanian, so I am praying they will take my bike. This full size coach bus only comes through Constanta on Friday and Sunday…departing Constanta Sunday 10:00 pm and arriving Bucharest 1:00 am!

I had to leave my free apartment as they had a new paying guest, and check into a hotel. I left my bike there and spent the rest of the day visiting some of Constanta’s top attractions.

First I visited the Archaeological Park to see the remains of Ancient Tomis Fortress. It is located in a green park at the edge of the old town. You can see the remnants of a couple of gates, walls, columns, amphorae, and other fragments. These historical artefacts date from the Roman-Byzantine period. Roman rule started in 72 BC and ended in 6 AD when the fort was destroyed by the Bulgaro-Avaro-Slav population. 

I continued to the Old Town to see the Capitoline Wolf of Tomis.

Then I walked to Ovid’s Square, the centre of the Old Town. Here, you find the statue of Publius Ovidius Naso, the Roman poet who was exiled to ancient Tomis. The statue is in front of the Constanța History and Archaeology Museum building, built 1912-1921. It was designed as a city hall in the Romanian Revival style. 

On my way to see the Constanta Casinonm I saw an old interesting building, a church and more old Tomas remnants.

The Museum of Sculpture of Ion Jalea.

A beautiful building naturally decorated with a grape vine and roses.

The majour harbour on the Black Sea.

Then I saw the Constanta Casino, an amazing art nouveau style building on the waterfront, long neglected, it is finally being renovated. 

Next was the Genoese Lighthouse. Located on Constanta’s promenade, close to the Casino and old town, this historic monument was originally built around the 1300s, in honour of the Genoese merchants who had established a flourishing sea trade here. It was rebuilt in the 1860s at the order of the Danubius and Black Sea company. The lighthouse has a height of 8 metres and it was in use until 1910. 

This poster and one of the many buildings under contruction indicates that Constanta is an important Romanian city.

Next was The Grand Mosque of Constanta. Built in 1910 by King Carol I, the mosque delivers one of the most impressive sights Constanta has to offer. And it’s also conveniently located in the old town area. Byzantine architectural elements decorate the outside of the building, and the interior is just as beautiful. A large Turkish carpet, a gift from Sultan Abdul Hamid, is the centrepiece of the mosque. I walked up stairs of the minaret, a height of 47 metres, to confirm that it does offer spectacular views of the harbour, beach and the historic town centre.

Finally I went down to the huge sandy beach right near the old town and marina and waded in the Black Sea. Video called and managed to connect and share the moment with Anneli and Annike.

To top off the day in the old town square I enjoyed a great meal (super tender beef cheeks, creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom caps with hard cheese, with a Romanian beer) on the outdoor patio of the Pizzico restaurant. Tomorrow it is back to eating from the supermarket. Except for the hotel’s included breakfast on their rooftop terrace. 



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