A Packed First Day

Posted on Apr 18, 2016 in Bulgaria

After 20 hours of travel and being awake for more than 30 hours with just a few winks on airplanes, buses and in airports, the Casco Bay Elite team has wrapped up their first day in Bulgaria. And what a first day it was.

The trip was smooth but tough on the youngest members of our group. The long travel made them exhausted and travel sick but they pushed on and stayed positive. After arriving in Sofia we traveled to Plovdiv in two rented VW vans with beautiful views of farmland, forests and the snow capped Rhodope Mountains from the highway.

We were greeted at our newly renovated hotel by the coach of the Vasil Levski team and our main point person in the country. Our hosts at the hotel had a wonderful lunch prepared for us and we enjoyed stayng in one place for a couple hours. Our first stop after getting settled in the was Vasil Levski school so we could see the facility and watch the Greco Roman practice.

Vasil Levski sports school in Plovdiv - our home base.

Vasil Levski sports school in Plovdiv – our home base.

On our walk from the hotel to the school Peter Delev mentioned Vasil Levski has at least 8 Olympic Champions and 1 world record holder. Not too shabby for a school of about 700 students in a city of just over 1 million people. If that wasn’t intimidating enough, the 20 or so Bulgarian wrestlers at practice started firing off arm spins and body lock throws when we walked in. Their intensity and comfort with throws gave our team a taste for what they can expect for the rest of the week.

After watching some of practice, we toured more of the school and surrounding sports infrastructure of the city. In addition to wrestling, Vasli Lesvki has separate training facilities for gymnastics, volleyball and basketball, power lifting, boxing, and other Olympic sports. Nearby is one of the world’s largest man made courses for rowing and crew competitions. The World Championships and European Championships alternate competing there.

We finished our night with a walk around downtown Plovdiv and a nearby park. Downtown is a beautiful open air market with shops, restaurants, crafts, historical artifacts, and great people watching.

The crew at a park fountain near downtown Plovdiv

The crew at a park fountain near downtown Plovdiv.