My first memory of encountering someone from Bulgaria was in a London airport duty free. I was headed to Vienna to meet my brother for a trip. I opened the conversation about the EU and the Bulgarian was eager to share his experiences with the negative changes in Bulgaria since joining the union. The plight of the farmer and the manufacturer were the main themes. I left the store feeling curious about this friendly person and his country in the east.
It was only on my trip to Venice with a friend that the plans for a trip to Bulgaria became a reality. In the spring while traveling around Michigan the plans were made and in August the trip commenced. I took my mother along and met a friend in Sofia. My mother and I were pleasantly surprised with the parks and friendliness of the residents of Sofia. There was real happiness here.
We took two guided tours and one self lead. The first tour was to the Rila mountains for hiking and then the monastery. The other guided tour was for a charming ancient city of Plovdiv. Both trips were amazing, but the guides were the best part! Our first guide was Paul a happy, bubbly hiker. We were excited to be able to get some salves and tinctures from the local artisans selling them at the foot of the mountain.
Our Plovdiv tour guide was Konstance, my ideal type of person for friendship and conversation. She’s highly educated with keen perception. We talked most of the day and the entire ride to and from the ancient city. Our first topic of conversations was electricity and ended on cheese making. We had the opportunity to discuss the political changes within Bulgaria, including the communist reign.
We enjoyed a couple of days exploring Sofia which was a lovely little city. The architecture is quite boxy due to the communist building projects. That said, the churches and other historical buildings are very amazing. Arena di Serdica is a hotel and spa with Roman ruins in the basement. We had massages and spa services there. The spa services in the city were incredible! The prices are really reasonable, the service is exceptional. The people are a pleasure.
After we saw all we could in three days in Sofia we hopped on a bus and headed north to Verniko Tarnovo. The taxi drivers were a disaster, but other than that the town is just a charm. A hilltop town with trails and even waterfalls not far away. We stayed at a cute family inn on the top of the hill. I found two jewelry stores with lovely silver pieces. They have great silver!
Last, but not least was the rose products. They are all amazing and all can be bought here in America if you’re not up for the long flight. Click the picture and see all you have been missing. I love them all and can’t wait to make another order.