If Your Hotel's Wi-Fi Is Naff!
I did notice an internet cafe here in the centre of town but forget where it was but if you have your laptop with you and need a connection several of the cafe-bars here offer free Wi-Fi. The Vision Cafe on the corner of Dounavska and Batenberg (??) was the one that I used most mornings which has a fast and reliable connection, and, as a bonus, decent coffee, friendly staff and is pretty good for breakfast too.
Having escaped the unkempt scruffiness of Sofia it really was a pleasure to encounter a place where the local people take pride in their environment. Here in Vidin there always seemed to be someone with either a brush in their hand, a window-cleaning squeegee or a hosepipe. I'm not just talking about the municipal employees but also the local shopkeepers, bar-owners, the woman in the Nikola Petrov art gallery and many others. OK whilst there are a few odd bits of delapidation around the town with splodges of graffiti here and there the town itself has a cared-for look and as I said on my intro page the minor flaws are "nothing a little spit and polish wouldn't solve"
A Wander Up The Danube
For most casual visitors Vidin probably pretty much stops when they reach the Baba Vida Fortress. Half-heartedly blocking the footpath there is a red and white painted pole and an accompanying warning notice (which I never actually managed to translate) where the path meets the concrete flood defence heading north up the river bank towards the ferry port.
Ignoring the warning notice and ducking under the pole the concrete dyke continues for about half-a-mile until meeting a grassy footpath atop an earthen embankment which then diverges from the river heading towards the entrance to the ferry terminal.
In early spring this little part of the wander, even though it does take you away from the river as the banks become lightly forested marshland, involves being greeted by the cacophony of the local frogs calling their mates. It sounds as if there are millions of them and at first I mistook the resonance for some huge piece of Heath-Robinson dockside machinery gone rusty and working in overdrive.
I would have been content enough with the frogs for company but having breakfasted late and it still being a little too early for the first beer of the day decided to continue and find out what was beyond the ferry terminal. At first it seemed more of the same, joining yet more frogs as the marshland continued on the other side of the fenced-in ferry terminal and its free trade zone.
Wandering further the embankment started to veer back towards the river, though still being separated by marshland. After another mile or so the river bank became reachable again with various tracked paths leading down to it, tracks for what I can only guess though I'm sure not all were totally legitimate. Some of the tracks would have been for forestry vehicles as the woods here are obviously cultivated, others made by local fishermen, walkers and day-trippers (during the summer much of the marshland recedes and the river bank offers some pleasant out-of-the-way beaches) yet others looked quite fresh and with tyre tracks leading right up to the waters edge at places where the water is still deep enough to allow a reasonably-sized boat to be able to pull in to shore.
But enough speculation: I was here just for a wander and my rewards manifold with scurrying lizards of varying hues, butterflies too numerous and fleeting to photograph, herons and other river avians looking for their lunches, a dead vole being lunch itself for a whole colony of ants swarming its carcass like a second coat of fur. All this and more and with the added bonus of having the whole place to myself for the couple of hours that I spent just meandering - a perfect way to spend a sunny spring lunchtime before heading back to town for that well-earned beer!!
Present charm of past glories
3rd century BC - Celtic or Thracian settlemment of Dunonia, depending on whom you read
Roman conquest in 46 AD was followed by the building of a fortress called Bononia, to control the Danube crossing
During the second Bulgarian empire (1185 – 1396), Bdin became an important northwestern bastion and trading centre.
1396 – the fall of Bdin marked the completion of the Ottoman conquest of present day Bulgaria. Renamed to Vidin, easier to spell by the Turks
the Turks built an extensive city wall and strengthened the Baba Vida fortress, which remains today.
16th century – the largest town in Bulgaria and one of the biggest ports around the Danube.
Late 18th century – as Turkish rule weakened, the local pasha declared independence from the Sultan
1878 – returned to Bulgaria by the Romanian army following the Russian – Turkish war
1885 – attempt by Serbia to take the area was resisted
1990s – fall of communism and UN economic sanctions against Serbia have severely affected the town, with a recent boost past the EU enlargement
Somehow out of reach, but peaceful and tranquil, Vidin is worth a night if only for the delicious fish dishes on the boat restaurants. Add a sunny day and the sights on the riverfront and you’ll stay 2 nights.
Vidin the gateway to Europe
"Discover Vidin ,its full of surprises."
Vidin is the regional town for North west Bulgaria.It sits on the banks of the river Danube.Its stacked with history from old Bulgarian, Roman,Turkish,Russian and modern Bulgarian.There are plenty of historical sites in and around the town .The place is very cheap :food ,drinks,clothes,household goods and houses.In fact many British dont go home without buying a holiday home or moving to Vidin.For the price of a second hand car you can buy a house with lots of land in one of the nearby villages.The area is ideal for fishing ,sightseeing,watersports,cycling and living the old tradtional life raising your own livestock and growing your own veg.