How A Bolyarka Beer Saved Me From Blast Injury. A Trabant Fest In Velhiko Tarnovo

Mar 23, 2010 No Comments by

Picture Taken at VT Trabant Fest: 20th March 2010

Nope not another Bansko video report! Time for a weekend escape. Trabant fans know that the picture above is from the medieval historical capital of Bulgaria, Velhiko Tarnovo and the Trabant Fest.

So much to do and see, that on Saturday, after an early morning climb up to the Tsaravets fortress, I headed straight for, what every petrol head would give their right arm to see, the Velhiko Tarnovo Trabant Fest.

The amusement and laughter factor were huge. Listen to the onlookers lapping it up as the wheels screeched during the timed “trials”… a hugely intricate set of manoeuvres of cornering and reversing. All timed and even broadcast for television.

These East German made Trabants emerged in every modern variant — from convertible to shooting brake. Colours came in the original communist era pastel shades of, mmm grey — and many other respray jobs.

Exploding Chicken Shop: No Joke


Picture Taken Saturday 20th: Velhiko Tarnovo gas explosion

Just a few minutes after nearly stopping to buy a chicken at a takeaway store, my thirst took over priority from eating — so we chose to go for a Bolyarka beer first. This decision saved our skins. Because the shop blew up!!

Sounded just like a bomb blast.

…A throbbing bang. I quickly made way back to the scene.  Soon revealed it was not a bomb, but rather a huge gas explosion at the chicken takeaway shop I was about to queue at.  Eight people were injured – mainly cuts from glass it seemed. Incredible the casualties were so few — and none fatal.

It made me feel how fragile life can be.  Our close shave from injury was marked by taking in a cool, and locally brewed, Bolyarka beer.

Tsravets Fortress

Picture Taken: 20th March 2010. Velhiko Tarnovo roof tops

Bolyarka Beer: My Latest Winner

Bolyarka is not a beer brand you see so much in Bansko. It’s brewed in Velhiko Tarnovo and, at 4.2% alcohol, it’s good for a clear head in the morning. A clean and refreshing summer lager style beer, this is now one of  my favourite after Pirinsko, Zagorka and Shumensko.

I took a look back to my last beer review and much has changed — so I’ll be bringing regularly updated news of Bulgaria’s beers.

Velhiko Tarnovo: A Top 10 Bulgarian Destination

This medieval city with its terracotta roof tops stunning views and a really thriving nightlife surpised me by its size. A university town and a popular weekend destination all year round, made me realise how Bulgaria offers such variety.

Hotel in street

Picture Taken: 22nd narch 2010. Studio Hotel & Restaurant, Velhiko Tarnovo

Upscale shopping and huge variety of bars and restaurants, incredible location make this a good example of successful all year round tourist attraction. The light show on the Tsarevets fortress was cancelled due to the blast, but everyone says well worth timing your visit for a show day.

In Velhiko Tarnovo, I stayed at the Studio Hotel ( A highly recommended boutique hotel, with funky designer rooms, smart bathroom fittings amazing views, a quality breakfast and dinner and welcoming smiling service. This was the best hotel service I have come across in Bulgaria. I paid just 45 EUR per night, booked through

What Is Your Favourite Beer?

The beer choice is increasing, and I’ve been especially enjoying the malty flavours of Shumensko dark. A beer that is remarkably close in style to English bitter. Advertised everywhere, but can be tricky to find in supermarkets. Kamenitsa dark is also well worth a try if Sumensko dark is unavailable. But what are your favourites, from Ariana and Astika to MM and Stoishno bock let me know you favourite beers below.


Picture Taken 20th March 2010. View From Tsravets Fortress

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About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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