Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Monument to the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship, Varna - August 2017

Earlier in the year I managed to persuade Mrs Hunter to book the family holiday in Bulgaria. Why persuade you might ask ? Well you see a rather splendid chap whom I infrequently meet up with is based in that part of the world and if you travel all that way it would be very rude not to pop round and well, meet up and see some stuff.

I sat in a local cafe waiting for Darmon Richtor, and him not being a morning person he was late, sorry hang on he wasn't - I was early, having had only 3 hours sleep I sat hiding from the midday sun drinking coffees with fresh lemonade chasers. I hadn't seen him since our Latvia and Lithuania road trip and well I knew he had something rather good to show me and I will be very honest, I was a little excited.

This place was in our second explore of the day.

The Monument to the Bulgarian Soviet Friendship or as it is sometimes called The Russian Monument is a rather grand monument perched 110 metres up on top of a hill above the city of Varna overlooking the Black Sea. A rather deceptive monument which is in fact building with a big secret (more on that later).

Built over a four year period from 1974 the monument acts as a memorial for Russia's support of the Bulgarian people during the 1828-29 Russo-Turkish War.  The political changes of 1989 saw the monument fall into disrepair and without going into any politics, the monument splits opinions.

On with the explore


Hang on, 301 steps and although I didn't count them it was a killer in the early mid afternoon sun, oh you will have to trust me on this, it was hot - very hot.


This shot does not really give a sense of the size of the monument, but it stands 23 metres in height with a width of 48 metres.



So now having reached the summit it was time to go in and unfortunately the entrance sadly had been recently sealed preventing our access.


Fortunately my guide knew of the "servants" entrance and with a bit of a wiggle and limbo in we went to darkened snaking maze of corridors taking us up thru and ultimately onto the top of the monument.

By this time I was hot and bothered, however it was nearly time for some of that cold beer that we had cunningly picked up from the shop before our ascent.



We then started to make our exit and for that promised beer, via the "Star Room".


Pausing to look in the darken depths to a sealed lower level.


Out back into the heat of the day we paused and chatted for a catch up since our meeting drinking our hard earned beer and then Darmon teasingly let slip "there is more".

We carried on towards the base of the hill, I heard mention words of warning about snakes in the undergrowth - great !!!

Resembling a Dharma Initiative hatch way from an episode of Lost and all we needed now was the dreaded Smoke Monster as we entered some kind of military bunker.



It was vast....


Really, really vast and a sprawling maze.



After a good wander around Darmon directed me to a shaft which rose up thru the hillside into the monument above.


Under our feet lay uniformed guillotine cut stone and we stood a few feet below the surrounding floor level. The shaft seemed to continue below us and had been obviously filled in, but someone had been busy removing the stone by hand - perhaps the bunker complex continued below into further levels ?


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Dance in the Dark by Chris Alan and Melody Anne

Whilst down in my shed (or spider filled man cave as Mrs Hunter calls it) I had a very surprising message from the office of Melody Anne, a New York Times and USA Today best selling author, wanting to use one of my photos for the cover of her latest book.

It was an offer I couldn't really refuse and I didn't.

Chernobyl 2013

Dance in the Dark

Dance in the Dark

Monday, 17 July 2017

Wellington Rooms, Liverpool - July 2017

The Wellington Rooms, Liverpool. Also known as The Irish Centre this Grade II Listed building sits rotting despite a £121,000 grant to fix the roof which to date has clearly not been done.

Built in 1815 the property has sat empty since 1997.

Having seen the building on a BBC4 documentary back in 2016 I had desperately wanted to take a glimpse of the the inside of the building. So myself, Blacksnake and Tbolt did when the word came around.


The simple fact is that in its heyday the Wellington Rooms would have been spectacular.








Having survived the damage of  the German bombings of Liverpool in 1941 it remains to be seen in what form this building will be saved in its latest fight.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

RAF Wittering Weapons Store - June 2017

Visited with Tbolt and Snapt.

This one didn't really float my boat, but Snapt liked it a lot - as correctly predicted by Tbolt.

This base was once a storage facility for nuclear weapons.

Not a lot to see and mostly shit graf was the order of the day sadly, looks like we missed a bit, but I don't really expect a revisit any time soon.













Sadly 2/10 from me,

Friday, 23 June 2017

Highways Department, Johnstown, Carmarthen - June 2017

We spotted this place on the side of a busy main road in Wales. After a frustrating day we popped our heads in.

Looked like an old school which had been later used by the Highways Department for offices. Not much to say about the place to be honest. It had potential from the road side but ultimately crap, thrashed to within an inch of its life.

Visited by Snapt and Tbolt between rain showers.





Lights on, no one at home

Given that Wales is obviously a country of milk and honey we did find it a little strange that the lights where left on despite the building being "alfresco" and looking empty for years.

Posted to save you the time and effort 2/10

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bethlehem Chapel, Wales - June 2017

Visited with Tbolt and Snapt on our delightful return journey thru Wales.

Situated in the middle of a very remote part of Wales, off the beaten track and then further and further down another remote country lane is a little chapel next to a phone box. You may need the phone box, this is an American Werewolf kind of place and you won't be getting a signal on your phone if you need to phone for help (thinking vehicle breakdown rather than being ripped apart by a Lycanthrope to be honest).


This rather, very, small chapel is sometimes referred to as Sinister Chapel, not very sinister but location wise very quiet, remote and a little atmospheric on a wet and windy day.

Another Chapel

Another Welsh Chapel

Another Chapel

Another Chapel


We rather liked this place.

Salem Chapel, Wales - June 2017

Snapt, myself and Tbolt continued to trundle around the country roads of Wales.

We had quickly realised Wales was a lot like the Lake District but without the traffic and the Japanese tourists. Wales was good but the weather was shite - just like the Lake District.

We imagined that back in deepest Pembrokeshire a strange man was playing with his dogs and fingering overly large cups of tea whilst sniffing bottles of festering milk.

We had had a lucky escape and whilst the weather was truly awful we stumbled into a little gem of an abandoned Wesleyan Methodist chapel.

Built in 1833 and then rebuilt in 1868 the chapel closed in 1973.

No externals, the place is enveloped with overgrowth and it at risk of collapse at some point in the near future.


A Chapel

A Chapel


A gem of a little chapel, we rather liked this one a lot.