I think that every town and city nowadays should have a forest nearby so as to provide its citizens with the much-needed and missed contact with nature. In this aspect, Lipnik forest park is very well positioned. It is close to the town (16 km) and yet in some parts of it you feel there as cut from urban life as possible. This is a big forest with various tree species. There are mostly limetrees as indeed the very name shows--(lipa in Bulgarian is a limetree or linden in English) but there are others as well such as gingko, pines, birches etc. There is a big lake for rowing with a cafe. Inside the forest itself there is a very nice restaurant which is open all year round and whose WC is one of the cleanest I have ever seen in Bulgaria. It is also good that prices there are the same as in Ruse itself. You can reach the forest by bus--the time for travel is about 20-30 min. Some part of the forest are really wild and hard to go through because of the thorny bushes, weeds etc. Once I even got lost in this forest. It is very beautiful to walk along the rim of the forest as you can enjoy both the forest itself and the open fields that surround it.
So far so good.
And now the bad things! Too many cars! The forest is cut through its centre with a road with considerable traffic. Cars speed up and this can be even somewhat dangerous. The noise of cars can be heard in many places in the forest and this spoils the impression of wilderness. Some huts are deserted and destroyed and stand empty with smashed windows and terraces full of trash. Inside the forest there are too many buildings-villas which are fenced and where you are "welcomed" by hysterically barking dogs. Here and there you can "enjoy" illegal garbage pits which have been there for months and maybe years. There is no park-police at all and this is a big drawback as on weekends the central and more accessible parts may get overcrowded.
And last: the so-called zoo is simply horrible. There were some goats and they were relatively OK. But I was horrified by the two bears--one male and the other--female who were cut off from each other in two cages so that they are unable even to see each other. And the cages were so small that the poor animals could not walk more than two or three steps. This really depressed me. These bears should be removed from this place and sent somewhere else.
To sum up: beautiful nature but there is much to be desired for a park. That is why I have given an "average" rating.
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