Spring in Bulgaria 2013
Trip Recap May 25th – June 1st, 2013
 


May 28th Geraniums, roses, honeysuckle, wild snapdragons and petunias greet you as you stroll on cobbled streets of Old Nessebar…be in the moment and enjoy it, oh there is also a great pastry shop that has the best phylo pastry filled with feta cheese that you must try. We walk by two old churches and go into another, St. Stephan, built in the 10th century to admire the murals that were painted in the 16th century. They are beautiful and again cover every wall and the ceiling. Some are too dark to make out – the many candles over the years have caused a lot of soot to cover these…perhaps it is a good thing, but there is still lots to see. Even the little churchyard outside is a welcome retreat – covered in grape vines of course. A tidbit of interest is that many people who worked on the sea would come to these churches and carve their ship on its walls…thereby asking special blessing over the ship and those who sailed on it. You can see at least five on the photo I took. We see the remnants of a Roman bath and of a Turkish bath. We see the intricate way that they used brick, stone and clay tiles for outside decoration…built in the 13th century. We see just how beautiful the flowers look against the ancient rock walls and steps and in planters hanging on balconies.

We continue to Plovdiv, Beautiful sunny day for driving past wildflowers, vineyards, cherry trees laden with cherries – this is the time for them, more Thracian tombs, sunflowers, wheat and corn. We notice in each of the villages we pass that every home has a pergola holding grapes. They are used for shade, food and wine and bring such a beauty to them as they grow. A lot of them also have neat and tidy vegetable gardens supplying the family with fresh organic food. Whooping cranes also nest in this area and there are plenty. They love being around people it seems and each nest we passed had birds in them…a good sign. There were also small solar farms and wind turbines. Walnut trees line the highway. They use them in so many ways. Even gas stations have rose gardens.

On the way we stop at Herbs Valley in Kipilovo to meet Antonanina Blagoeva and her husband. They own a B & B and are in the middle of landscaping so it was a fun time to be there…to see what they had accomplished in a short time…they even have a maze planted. The house they have set aside for the B & B can hold up to ten people and would be perfect for family gatherings – there are three bedrooms…you can see that we enjoyed lunch there as well and what hospitality they offer. It was hard to think of me being in Bulgaria, it felt so much like Italy…after lunch we jumped in the 4 wheel drive to go visit the distillery where they take the herbs that they grow and produce essential oils. Then into the vehicle again and out into the countryside to see just a bit of their property and a very special area high up in the hills. We passed houses that were vacant now…their hope is to renew them and give them new life as lodging for people…what a place to stay! Ok, here we are, high up and still we have to walk up further…to these gigantic rocks molded into the hillside. Lucky for me my guide is a history genius so we find something that she has not seen before. These rocks were likely from the Thracians and used as ritual or sacrifice areas…there are holes carved into the rocks and from the holes are lines carved in a ‘v’ shape to take away – what? We don’t know what they did here, but there are many holes in these rocks. We look out onto the vista that is before us and just cannot believe how beautiful it is and suppose they chose this area because of this. You can see for miles, it is very high up and these rocks are in a perfect position. They own this property and hope to preserve all that is on it, including this special area. We are fortunate to have been able to see this unspoiled piece of history and walk on it, dip our fingers into the water the holes held and admire the beauty of where we were.

We pass through Jeravna, filled with ancient old houses and finally to Plovdiv with its stunning architecture all due to the wealthy merchants who made this their home from all parts of the world.

Dinner was at the delightful Hemingway

 

 
 

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