I’m back today with a bit longer of a post! Remember way back in August when I went to Bulgaria?
Well I have finally got around to uploading these pictures!
This trip was really nice. Originally we had planned to also go to Istanbul, Turkey for a few days, along with spending some time in Bulgaria, but unfortunately due to some visa issues I had (my passport was expiring in a month’s time but you need to have a visa that is good for 6+ months in order to get a visa), we were unable to go. Instead, we had a relaxing time in Bulgaria.
Everytime I go to Bulgaria, it’s a very different experience than when I go on any other vacation. This is because Assen is from Bulgaria, and therefore the point of the trip isn’t to explore but instead a chance for him to see his friends and family. It’s an interesting experience for me to see a different side of a country, as I spend a lot of my time with locals; but sometimes it’s a bit lonely as well, since I’m usually the odd one out, as I don’t speak Bulgarian and a lot of Bulgarians either don’t speak English, or feel shy to speak English to me.
Assen usually will try and incorporate in a few fun trips for me, to try and make it more exciting and interesting for me. This year’s trip, we went and saw these “rock mushrooms”, explored Perperikon, and spent a few days at the sea-side.
First up, the rock mushrooms.
These rocks are formed by a result of volcanic eruptions that occurred undersea about 55-65 million years ago. After the sea withdrew, the erosion became more noticeable. They were quite interesting to see, as typical of Bulgarian sites, you could get right up to them and take pictures with them- whereas you’d think most thinks that old would be sectioned off.
On a separate day of exploring, we went exploring to a site which has been around for 7,000 years. It was a hot, sunny day (I’m missing those right now) so we were all slowly melting as we explored. As Assen and I were with his mom, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend, we had a Bulgarian guide telling them facts about the site. Then Assen was stuck with the job of translating it into English for me.
The site was Perperikon, which is located on a high rocky hill and is believed to be a sacred site. It was established in the Copper age, with individuals believing in the Sun God. As time went on, the religion continued to change, with eventually there being the first church of its kind being built there (though only the base still exists).
According to legend, two crucial prophecies were made at this location. One predicted the glory and fame that Alexander the Great would achieve, and the second, made several centuries later, predetermined the power and strength of the Royal Emperor Julius Caesar Augustus.
Again, I found it interesting that despite this being an extremely old, and historically important, piece of land in Bulgaria, you were still able to climb over everything. The site was a royal site, and as such, in the below picture, I’m sat in the throne where previous Kings from thousands of years ago sat. I think I’m a little taller than those kings were…
Also in the area, were sacrificial spots. Whilst we were told they were “mainly” animals, their were occasionally human sacrifices as well at that time.
The view from the ruins was absolutely amazing.
After a couple of days of exploring the ancient sites, we arrived at the sea side and checked into our beautiful hotel. One of my favourite things of Bulgaria is how cheap it is compared to the rest of Europe. They have beautiful sand beaches, and amazing hotels. This hotel was 5 star, all inclusive, and we were staying for less than what I’ve paid for an ok-room in Western Europe.
For 3 days, we laid around the beaches, drank lots of mint beverages (a Bulgarian speciality- a mint flavoured liquor with sprite), and relaxed. One of the days, we splurged at the spa. Again, since the prices were so cheap, I couldn’t help myself and ended up getting a massage and a facial, as it was still only about £50!
The night after spending the day at the spa, we went for fresh mussels out at a mussel farm. Assen had told me about the mussel farms beforehand, but we didn’t have a chance to go on our last trip. Unfortunately it was too dark to get very good pictures, but we were sat at the edge of the water, and you could see all the mussels in the water. You know it’s fresh when you can see where they’re harvesting the mussels from!
After our 3 days of lazing around the beach, we headed to a different beach town to meet up with Assen’s friends for a night out.
Last year, I spoke about chalga music and how it’s a popular form of music in Bulgaria. This year, for our night out, we ended up staying out until about 4 in the morning, dancing away to chalga music as confetti rained down from the ceiling (and by “confetti”, I mean “ripped up tnapkins”). It was a great night, however, when we had to check out of our hotel the next day at 10 am, none of us were feeling too chipper.
I headed back the following day, having driven back to the capital, Sofia. I’m sure I’ll be back in Bulgaria next summer, and I look forward to exploring more of the country.