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!!
As soon as you enter the region of Belogradchik ,your eyes are drawn to the amazing rock formations ,rising from the hills like stone guardians.Many have been given names by the locals because they resemble people or animals.The town itself is a delightful place ,clean and well kept ,with cafes,bars ,shops and guesthouses,while keeping the old traditional feel of a Bulgarian village.This place is a tourists haven,without many tourists,so you can walk around at leisure without the crowds.At the top of the town is the ancient fortress of Belogradchik,rebuilt and extended by the Turks in the 18th century.The fort is built amongst the rocks and is excellent repair.You can climb to the very top of the fort,some of the steps are not for the faint hearted,but once your there the views are outstanding.You can see the town below and to the the North you can see the amazing rock formations .streaching as far as the eyes can see.One Bulgarian writer described the place as one of the undiscovered wonders of the world.This place is a must when you visit the Vidin Region!!!
See my travelogue!