Of course, also this year I am traveling into the “real” Bulgaria. During my first stay the manager of my hotel was so kind to offer me his car. I’ve been lucky. In that way I was completely independent and free to travel and go whatever I wanted.
Peter und I went to Irakli and „experienced“ the beach there. Irakli is on the way to Varna.
I’ve planned a trip with Peter and Rudiger. We went to Malko Tarnovo, Strandzha Mountain and in the end - Tsarevo at the Black Sea. On the way we’ve been stopped by the Police near the Turkish border. They wanted to check our documents. After seeing my passport quickly and looking into the car, the policeman asked: “All German?” I said – “Yes” and he replied to me – “Ok. Bye!”. Obviously they were controlling the area trying to prevent the illegal crossing of the border. Bulgaria wants to justify its suitability for Schengen.
I found the road through Strandzha Mountain much better comparing to the last year. I have warned my companions to aspect a lot of holes on the road, but my worries were rootless. However, this time we should be careful about the wild horses in the area.
A Rest in Breshlian, around 10 km from Malko Tarnovo:
The restaurant in Breshlian
The hotel, which belongs to the restaurant
Peter (on the left) and Rudiger
The entrance to the museum and the church
Remains from Thracian times
As usual I visited my dear friends in Stara Zagora. This time I went by car instead of a bus. On Saturday evening we had a dinner party. We had such fun! On Sunday we went to the Rhodope Mountains to visit the Marvelous Bridges (Chudnite mostove) ones again. Everything went well. The weather was nice but only until we started to climb up to the Chudnite mostove, when it suddenly changed. With our arriving there was a hailstorm. We even couldn’t think of the idea to get off the car – it was impossible. Only the ones who haven’t been to the Chudnite mostove before got some courage to go to see them. I remained in the car. Nevertheless, for me it was a very nice trip. Travelling around the Rhodope Mountains is always a great experience for me!
Marianna and Pencho
+ Maggie and Radka
Now with Tenyo and me
With Marianna’s sister Tsvetelina
I did a fantastic trip of three days with Petra and Rolf. We rented a car and drove to the Rila Monastery and Melnik.
Our rental car
We left Sunny Beach at 9.45 am. We drove through Aitos and Karnobat towns in direction Sofia. Once I saw Stara Planina on my right hand side, my mood change, I felt very happy and glad. We had coffee break at Lozenetz. Then our trip continued through Sliven and Stara Zagora, where we wanted to join A1 highway, but unfortunately we’ve been diverted from the road. We had to take the secondary road until Plovdiv where we finally join the highway. In the evening they said in the news the cause of the road diversion, but our Bulgarian language was too poor to understand what actually had happened. Anyway, from Plovdiv till Sofia we travelled without any problems. After we reached the capital, we took on South, straight to the border with Greece.
The rest stop in Lozenetz
We stayed over the night in Dupnitsa. The town is situated near to the junction for Rila Monastery. We stayed at “Rila” hotel, situated just in the centre of the town. There is a very nice pedestrian area full with restaurants. The town seems clean and tidy, at least the central part. We were impressed! The hotel was cheap and well maintained – the single room costs 29 leva, the double, 37 leva. The only disadvantage were the extremely thin walls so I could hear my snoring neighbor.
View from my window – The Rila Mountain
Petra and Rolf in the restaurant
On the next morning we departed to Rila Monastery. The trip went fine and the road was in very good condition. The Rila monastery is just breathtaking, amazingly beautiful place! If you are looking for anything different from beach, sun and cheap drinks, you should definitely visit that place. I didn’t regret the fact that this was my third visit there. On the way back we had lunch in a very nice restaurant and we met at least 20 Dutch caravans. We continued our trip on south to the town of Melnik, happy that the car had air conditioner as the temperature outside reached 35 degrees.
The Entrance tot he Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery
Some icons on the monastery wall:
Rest in an idyllic restaurant:
We arrived at Melnik at 1pm. Until the First Balkan War (1912/1913) the town was important merciant centre. Even Karl May had decribe it in his books. Today Melnik is famous mostly with its wine and wine restaurants in a typical architetonic style. The pyramids of Melnik are very popular. They are actually sand hills which dominate the panoramic view of the smallest Bulgarian town. We spend the rest of the day there, enjoying the lovely wine. In the evening we didn’t have any problems in finding nice and cheap hotel for the night with prices starting from 40 leva for a room, which is very convenient. The interiour of the rooms were really nice and the atmosphere cosy. The only thing that provocate kind of negative emotions was one snake which was taken away from the hotel and trown away in the dry river bed. It was huge attraction for the children who came to watch the „action“.
Just before Melnik
Pictures from Melnik:
Contrary to our trip to Melnik when we were in a hurry and concentrated on finding a place for the night, on the way back we weren’t so anxious, so that we could enjoy the beautiful nature. Instead of taking the highway leading to Sofia, we decided to take the road through the beautiful Pirin, Rila and the Rhodope Mountains. We joined the highway at Pazardjik, completing our tour which was: Melnik – Gotse Delchev –Jakoruda – Velingrad – Batak – Peshtera – Pazardjik – Stara Zagora – Sliven – Sunny Beach. Because of a few diversion on the road we couldn’t go to Bansko and Razlog. However, we had already passed one already reconstructed part of the road and were really excited of how good it was. That’s why we had a full understanding of reconstruction works and diversion routs.
There are a lot of high mountains in Bulgaria. The highest pick is almost 3000m above sea level.
In resume, it was one fantastic trip around the ”real” Bulgaria and its beautiful nature and mountains. The accommodation at reasonable prices wasn’t an issue at all anywhere we went. I was nicely surprised by the improvement of the road system. Lot of roads were repaired, the traffic signs were much better than they used to be and that we were expecting. Especially on the highways and the main roads there were often indications either in Cyrillic and Latin. It was really easy for us to orientate as there were enough signs everywhere. However some of them were hidden behind the trees so it wasn’t always easy to see them. The Bulgarian language is helpful when you are looking for a hotel for example, but it’s not necessarily.
At the beginning of Octomber we visited Elza in Banya. Banya is situated near to Bansko.
Pictures from Bansko:
In the house of Elza:
I have to say, in my personal experience, the general condition of the road system is fine and travelling around is easy. You can see some holes in the road, but they are rare. The majority of the main roads are repaired or in process to be repaired, but I can’t say the same for the secondary ones. Some tracks are in horrible condition, covered with huge holes. They are improving as well but slowly. One example is the road between Malko Tarnovo and Tsarevo at the Black sea. Last years it was covered with numerous holes, which now are filled up. Obviously because of financial issues and difficulties the secondary roads are not completely and entirely repaired - they only filled up the holes and that’s it. And far not all of them. They just skip the small holes, concentrating on the bigger and deepest ones. Anyone pre-selects and highlights the holes to be filled. It seems like this for example: