Hope you all enjoyed the first part of my trip to Bulgaria.
We left off at the end of my time in Plovdiv, and heading back into Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
My favourite part of Sofia was the Bulgarian museum that my bf and I went to. As I mentioned in my last post, I found the history of Bulgaria to be incredibly fascinating.
Including, and not limited to, the fact that the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria had several wars, and the Ottoman Empire enslaved Bulgaria for over 500 years. The Ottoman Empire was Muslim, and forced the country to convert. There is a story of how women were forced to either change their religion (as previously Bulgaria was a Christian country), or be killed/raped. So instead, they would jump off of mountains to avoid their fate. (Like I’ve mentioned before- Europe has a dark history)
All of this was learnt in the Bulgarian museum, which was stunningly beautiful as it used to the palace for royalty. The museum, and some of the artifacts we saw, are below.
The Bulgarian alphabet, how it used to look is on the left, and the more modern style is on the right.
After our brief time in Sofia (also spent meeting many people for drinks, and coffee’s, but which I have no pictures of so I will skim past), I headed up to the Rila monastery with Assen and his mom. The Rila monastery is up in the mountains of Bulgaria. It is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, and after a visit, I can see why. It was founded by a hermit in the 10th century, and was built up due to donations by almost of the Bulgarian rulers for the next 400 years.
Don’t mind the extremely preppy look I was sporting that day. I had to cover my shoulders to be allowed into the monastery, but it was much too warm to actually wear the sweater.
My trip to Bulgaria ended up at Assen’s family cabin, which was also up in the mountains. It was “Virgin Mary’s day”, so we celebrated with a lamb dish, which I have no idea what was in it besides lamb and rice, but was delicious. Assen’s brother used to live in the UK, so he speaks English, but the rest of his family ranges from little to no English. As such, there was a lot of pointing and miming things out to get the point across.
As is consistent with what I know from other friends I have that are from Eastern Europe, love in families is shown by providing them with food. As such, Assen’s family continued to provide me with food (and more and more food), and would make comments about how much I ate. At one point, Assen’s grandpa tried to point something out to me, but Assen warned me not to look because if I looked away from the table, food would have found its way on my plate.
Beyond the massive amount of foods that I was provided, it was a great family environment to be in (despite not following anything that was being said).
The lamb dish we ate
The table setting (this is only about half of the food that ended up on the table).
Me being very proud of myself for eating everything
Assen and me, out at the front of his cabin
The view from the front of the cabin
The trip ended with a drive back to Sofia, and a final night out with Assen’s friends. The Bulgarian way is to enjoy many drinks (and some shisha) in a large group. So that was our final night in Bulgaria, before heading back to the UK.
Before going to Bulgaria, I expected it to be a sterotypical Eastern European country, with dilapidated buildings and not much to see. However, I will gladly go back after my visit, as there was more diversity and beauty there than I ever would’ve expected!
I promise I’ll take a bit of a break from my travels to discuss some of the yoga I’ve been doing, as well as food I’ve been making in the kitchen. Anyone reading out there, please feel free to tell me what you’d like to hear more of!