I had the pleasure of meeting Iva Boteva at the San Diego Crew Classic this April. Born in Bulgaria to a family of rowers, she began rowing at 10, going on to win many national titles. She was recruited to row for UCSC and subsequently made Los Angeles her home. Turning to coaching in 2002, she open iROW Fitness Studio five years ago. In 2008 Iva took a group to row in her homeland. She is repeating the opportunity this year, with a trip in June and one slated for early September. To see more details, check out her website, but here are the details:
Bulgaria is located in South-Eastern Europe and occupies the Eastern part of the Balcan Peninsula. To the North the country borders on Romania via the Danube River, to the East it touches the Black Sea, its southern neighbors are Turkey and Greece, and to the West it borders on the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro.
From wild, wooded mountain ranges speckled with remote villages and enchanting monasteries to vibrant modern cities and long sandy beaches hugging the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria rewards exploration.
The main stops of our rowing tour will be Sofia, Plovdiv, Rousse and Varna. We’ll stay approximately 2 days in each location and will travel in a spacious mini bus with a professional driver. In Sofia we’ll row in the beautiful Pancharevo Lake (in the top picture with the single and quad), have a walking tour with a professional tour guide, and visit the Natural History Museum, home of thousands of artifacts connected to Bulgaria’s archaeology, fine arts, history and ethnography.
Next, we’ll visit Plovdiv (host city of a few World Rowing Championships in recent years) our rowing site is a 2000m canal with perfectly flat water and no motor boats. After rowing we’ll visit some of Plovdiv’s most amazing sites such as the ruins of a Roman Amphitheatre and a preserved 19th century “old town”.
Rousse will be our next stop and on the way there we are going to explore Tsarevets, a medieval fortress that served as the Second Bulgarian Empire’s primary fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces.
Our accommodations in Rousse will be right in the “center” of the town, which is its main street or promenade, filled with shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. It’s the perfect place to walk and explore a bit on your own and then relax at the hotel’s spa center (your trip includes your choice of a full body massage or facial at this location).
After our Rousse visit we’ll take off for the magical coast of the Black Sea. We’ll stay at a beachfront hotel near the city of Varna. While at the coast we’ll have some day tours to visit different sites. One of those is going to be Old Town Nesebar, an ancient town with ruins of 5th and 6th century churches and on the Black Sea Coast. While at the sea coast we’ll also have some time to relax and enjoy some rowing in addition to other water sports and activities prior to heading back to Sofia for the conclusion of the tour.
This once in a life time experience is priced at $3,750 ($3,495 for iROW clients). Included in this price are:
· Nine nights luxury accommodations (double occupancy): 4 and 5 star hotels (2 nights in Sofia, 2 nights in Plovdiv, 2 nights in Rousse, 2 nights in Varna, 1 night in Sofia). Single supplement: $450
· All breakfasts, lunches and dinners (drinks, including alcoholic drinks are included as well)
· Six or seven rows of approximately 1 hour each (weather permitting)
· Alternative activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, etc. as a substitute to rowing
· Guided tours in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse, Nesebar and some other locations
· All fees associated with tour guides, museum visits, boat rentals, etc
· Private mini bus and private driver for our tour
· A spa credit towards your choice of massage or facial in Rousse
In other words, the trip is priced to include absolutely all costs while you are in Bulgaria (with exception of any personal items you may want to purchase). The only thing you need is your plane ticket and travel insurance.
The capacity is for 6-12 people and your non rowing friends are welcome to join us. We must have 6 people signed up by April 30, 2014 in order to proceed with the trip. To sign up, please send a $1,000 non-refundable security deposit. This reserves your spot in the tour. The remaining amount is due on June 1, 2014. Forms of payment accepted: checks and credit cards (for credit cards please add a 3.5% surcharge). For questions, please contact Iva at email@example.com or 310.895.5506.