photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

Improvised and spontaneous. This is probably the best trip. While you are drinking your coffee and you just have the idea why not… And so! You ride the car and you're on your way.


Do you sound familiar?


I am one of those tireless latitude researchers. I've been traveling for as long as I can remember. I will always remember how we crossed Bulgaria longitudinally and with Grandpa's trabant. I was still shivering at the smell of gasoline that was occupying the small "coupe" of the carton. Since then, my grandmother has "inherited" the habit of never falling asleep when riding in the front seat and always having a lively conversation with the driver. From Ivaylovgrad through Harmanli, and from there - a wide world, in my childhood eyes ... Asenovgrad seemed to me a very big city. Before going to school I had visited Sopot, Karlovo, Sofia, Ruse, Shipka and Troyan several times. I had also crossed the Balkan Mountains many times, and the turns then seemed terribly scary.

photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

So, remembering sometimes about those first steps in my journey, I make the journey again. Well, yes - the best improvisation is prepared, I learned in my first year at university. I have a long list of near and far places. And with my eyes closed, I draw my luck.


And so it happened that Saturday afternoon. As we sat in the yard in the afternoon, enjoying the distant peaks of the Rila Mountains, I just decided it was time to move. Not that we had not crossed roughly 1400 km just days before. (Munich - Sofia). My preliminary research papers had identified a few places. So I took the path to the Panagyurish Colonies, the first time I went, but it really surprised me with its beautiful views in August. The river was winding along the road, and the forest was so fragrantly green that I could only taste the pine needles. I was alone, which meant I could stop at any place I wanted.


And so it started… I had a few points marked. The first was Dushantsi Dam.


Reaching me, however, took more than the time indicated by the navigation. On the one hand, the journey around the Panagyurish Colonies was really a test, even for elders and doyen behind the wheel like me. 50 km, showed the device and time to reach - almost an hour. Besides the many craters along the way, I stopped because of the scenery. To say that beautiful would mean to hurt those pastoral views that were revealed in all directions.


photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

But what mattered was the time - the important thing was to feed my soul, saturate my camera.


Shortly before I reached Zlatitsa in front of me, my magnificence revealed my magnificence to Stara Planina. A group of horses meekly sank across the meadows.

photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

I always knew it, but in recent years I didn't seem to have that much time for these beauties. Shortly after the device took me to the central - Balkan road, the Dushantsi stop came. The village itself bears the typical appearance of small settlements - in the distance the church peels off, under the fence, and apples sprout - from those - the real ones, the fragrant ones. Flowers and alleys give out where the local "authority" is located, otherwise the village is sunk in a Saturday snooze. I print sequential frames and again on the car.

photos: Dimitrina Pandurova

I'm close now. After a few turns, I head out to Dushanci Dam. It is incomparably small with the Ivaylovgrad dam, past whose walls I have passed dozens of times.


Bridge repair is underway. Several youngsters are fishing. The waters are as calm as if they were sunk in the same afternoon nap as the village.



photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

There are steppes formed under one wall. I look around the terrain and quickly find it perfect for camping or camping. For others (like me) there is a hotel complex that rises above one part of the dam.


It's really beautiful! And how many times do I think how many beautiful places there are on this planet of ours. I'm not one of those people, as in that saying, "my garge is the best." I don't like to compare because I think beauty has thousands of dimensions.

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# on a walk around Bulgaria

The dam somehow skillfully combines the wild and the tame. Inside, the dam is 45 meters deep. Therefore, bathing is prohibited. The daredevils to break the taboo are missing. I approach the shore, and the thick shade of the trees gives me that much-sought-after break.

photos: Dimitrina Pandurova

Before I go again, it's time for the next point - the Antonant Falls or the Butterfly, as he is known. It is in an extremely easy location, but it actually took me the longest to reach it. Just because the navigation has a wrong location. I didn't have a phone battery to put through Google's card. I had read interesting facts about the village - according to Wikipedia, there is a settlement from ancient times, as well as during the Thracian Antiquity and the Middle Ages. There are several sepulchral necropolises in the vicinity. After a few rounds of the village of the same name (as it was called a partisan) I decided to improvise again. In another case, I would have learned something about the village - it was first mentioned before the 6 century. Then it exists under the name Ludzhene - no, it does not come from a lie, but from the Old Slavic word for meadow - "meadow", "lie", "bow". Since I was tempted by nothing on my multiple laps to park the car, I got on the highway and decided to drive on it because the photos I saw showed it was on the road. In the end, it turned out to be the most easily reachable waterfall of all I've visited.


Short photo break - the fact that the waterfall is on the main road does not allow again and again the car. On my list for the day, it is still early afternoon and the sun is there, somewhere - very high, is the Elena Basilica.

photos: Dimitrina Pandurova

Although the road sign is quite large, I passed it at first reading. I went back. I took the road, which was very narrow, paved, but from those small rural sections. Once upon a time, civilized flooring simply disappeared. I entered a unique area - on one side there was a birch grove, and then a small chapel came along. And typically a second sign on ours was not. And now where?!


Attracted by the majesty of the Balkan Mountains, I decided that I would go as far as I could. So after a very short trip I found myself in a sort of pseudoparking. Still, it was a guide that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to see Elena Basilica. I found myself at the foot of a small hut. A large company had organized something like a picnic excursion. The creek rustled. And the remains of the basilica were rising above the hut.


photos: Dimitrina Pandurova

Probably this place will not be of interest to people who are not interested in the remains. The St. Helen Monastery Complex, which is an early Christian basilica, once stood here. It was the center of literature during the Second Bulgarian State and existed until the end of the 17 century. Unfortunately, it was completely destroyed by the Turks, led by Yahia Pasha, who ordered the place to be burnt and toppled with cannons, thus destroying almost the entire monastery.


The views revealed from the Basilica to the Balkan Range are phenomenal.

photo: Dimitrina Pandurova

Later, as I continue to search for information about the area, I learn that it is full of mounds - over 20, some of which have been explored and testify that they have existed since the Neolithic period.


The time is now around 17. I decide to take the opposite route, but not through the Panagyurish colonies, but on the lower side through Zlatitsa. I see a signboard - 10 km. Chavdar village. I have read so much about him that there will be no stopping me some 10 km. - I refuse.


From far away, various signposts pop up for sightseeing in the area. More than commendable and absolutely unknown to most Bulgarian regions. And what else does this village with a possibly partisan name reveal to me ?!


To be continued!

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