So, let’s walk a bit! This time I started with a slightly different attitude. My first journey began with enthusiasm (and fear), which calmed down towards the end. Now I expect the enthusiasm to increase on the go! 😜
You can also fallow the trip in Polarsteps and not to overload the post with pictures, most of the photos you can find at the end of it divided into galleries.
I have to tell you that I am extremely happy with myself – 18 km on foot with a 22 kg backpack in 36C heat!
I’m really self impressed! Today I just wanted to walk. Despite the heat, despite the backpack…
I was happy to get to the Monastery, where I had decided to spend the night. So I follow the GPS and sigh with relief when I hear that in 150 m I will reach my destination. I scratched a bit my head (just an expression) when I find myself on a bushy goat-path, but… the Spaniard promised that I am almost there (my navigation is in Spanish), so I did continue. I was already too tired for other experiments anyway.
After a hundred meters of goat trail, another 50 follow across the river… but the bridge is nowhere to be seen!
The scratching is hardening… I don’t have much choice. It is just an absurd to go back to look for another way after all that walking.
The question is what to risk – to try, as I am loaded with all the luggage, to take off my boots on the pebble on which I landed (the grass all around me is even taller than me!) Or to grit my teeth and step in with the shoes on, and then to throw away mega expensive custom insoles?!
Although I’m not an engineer, I estimate that my teeth will come out quite expensive, so I play a stork while getting rid of shoes and socks. As from that moment until I step on the other bank, a thought hadn’t leave my head – how much fun it will be with the electric shock on my waist if I land on my pretty arse in the river… 🙉🙈🙊
I try to explain to the abbess the strange choice to carry my shoes on my shoulder while walking barefoot onto the thorns. She smiles and says, “Yes, it happens every now and again. There was a bridge once, but it’s gone now.” Great! Someone should tell that to those GPS mapping companies!
Anyway, the party is still due – the fun will be when I am leaving!
Let’s walk – Bazovets
I wake up, as usual, at 5:30 am and I am surprised to find out that nothing hurts (much)! I pack my bags and myself, trying not to get the whole monastery on feet, and quietly slip out through the monastery gates.
Today’s goal is Voneshta Voda – another 18 km, which increased by 4 when I refuse to cross the river half asleep. So there would be some hitchhiking today!
I just finished the extra 4 km and a boy with a bike on the trunk stopped for me. He was going to Plachkovtsi. Great, so I’m going there too! 😆 He was a biker going at some king of organized mountain riding there.
I went for a walk in Plachkovtsi, drank coffee, but I didn’t like to end the day at 9 in the morning. Check on the internet and on the train for a 15-minute trip to Krastets.
As soon as I go off, I feel that something is not quite right… I ask about the village – there is no village, it has not been there for years, since the mine was closed. Well, there was no river to cross here, there was nothing at all! And on the internet it was written that there is even a guest house… So much for the trust in technology!
I went back to the station and talked to the chief there. The man offered me a place for a tent by an ice fountain, but I didn’t like it – if it rained, all the water would gather there. He showed me something else – just the perfect place, but with no water. Third suggestion – go back one stop by the train, a little climbing and I get to a chapel, shelter, barbecue, picnic tables and, most importantly – a spring fountain!
Absolutely wonderful place! However, long negotiations followed between me and myself. The forecast is rain all night, and so up high it will get cold… At the end of the day I decided that once I’m here, it would be a shame not to stay.
I put up my tent, having to sweep the lawn from all the plums under the trees, arranged everything for the night, and everything else, including my shoes, was neatly packed in my backpack, which was packed in its raincoat. If necessary, I can quickly move everything under the shelter. Well, I hope would not need to! 😉
I get up at 6:30 am – it’s too late for me! I wonder why? Probably because of the boar trying to tear down my tent… No, no one actually bothered me except my own imagination, which woke me from my sleep with a pounding heart in my mouth, shortly after midnight.
There is nothing more frightening than the fear itself!!!
The morning is fresh and cool, though cloudy. Light and irrigating rain did fall intermittently all night. I enjoy the serene tranquility and majestic beauty as I drink my coffee. I’m in no hurry this morning. I can only get out of here by train, and it is at 10 o’clock.
I hear a cough, a rustle of water, and I notice a figure carrying the liquid in question to water the trees in front of the chapel. Oh, there is a very cool sign on the fountain inviting tourists to take care of the young saplings because of the heat. I forgot to take a picture of it, unfortunately. Maybe Anton would do this favor to me, next time he goes to the peak…
Yes, Anton is the early bird I almost scared with my “Goodmorning“. Afterwards we had a long and pleasant conversation and even managed to take a selfie.
After I was left alone again, I began to collect and organize my stuff, which, I don’t know how, had taken up almost the entire shelter. In the meantime, another object appeared, which I startle with “Hello“!
Hmm, a familiar voice answers me… It turns out to be the one who last night, seeing the silent tent (in which I was already falling asleep), shouted from afar to find out if anyone is there and if everything is okay. We talked for a while and everyone went to mind his own business.
Until at one point he reappeared with a glass of hot water and a packet of coffee… What a gesture!
Then on the train, where the conductor looked at me in shock, when at her question – where do I want a ticket to – I did answer – I don’t know, give me some time to think! 😆
Forced to decide at last where I want to go, I spit – Tulovo. There I can catch trains in different directions if necessary. In the end, I decide that I am going to Yagoda village – there are mineral baths, so there should be a place to spend the night. And I definitely need a shower! 😆
A car stopped after obviously a lot of hesitation and two or three times turning on and off the turn signals. Drive backwards a bit – because of the hesitation, it had already halved the road to the village. An icon painter and a teacher, as I understand later, frees the front seat with a swing while asking (obviously to himself) – are you a crazy woman, to walk in this heat (already did pass noon)…
And he continues: And what now? What are you looking for in this lost village? But you have another ten kilometers to Yagoda after that. And you don’t have to be there at all, believe me. Besides, it’s so expensive there…
Oh, well, listen to what, with this female mind you are going today, I should better take you to Yagoda! But I will leave you at the crossroads out of it, to decide by yourself whether you will enter the village or not. Because it’s best to catch the bus and go to Pavel Banya – the water there is much better and the prices are more normal…
Well, he convinced me at least to some extent. I decided not to enter the village. However, I continued on the main road with the idea to reach Kazanlak and spend the night there. And the artist made a U-turn and returned to the other village to work on the frescoes in a church…
For the second time in my hitchhiking practice, a lady stopped for me. Stamenka – extremely pleasant and interesting company! We are traveling to Kazanlak and somewhere in the process of the conversation, without any reason, she says that she can leave me at a gas station just outside Pavel Banya (which is way after Kazanlak!). Well, it seems that today I have to go to Pavel Banya. I have no idea why… So I’m going then…
I decided to walk from the gas station, because today I was very lazy in terms of walking. At some point I notice that the car coming towards me is slowing down. I wondered what they could ask a madwoman with a backpack who was walking and singing…
The car stopped next to me. The lady who was driving with a worried expression asked me: “There is still a long way to Pavel Banya, do you want me to give you a ride?” And I was just walking… at the opposite of her direction!!!
Today I met some wonderful people! Thank you!! 💖
Let’s walk a bit to Turiya
After yesterday I did sunburn decently (rather indecently) at the mineral pool, today the sun was in disgrace and the last thing I thought about was sunbathing! Or putting a 22 kilos backpack on my back! So I put the camera on my shoulder and went for a walk to the nearby village of Turiya – the birthplace of Chudomir.
I left early with the clear awareness that there were hardly any interesting things in the village except the writer’s native house, but that was enough for me. I have wanted to see the place for a long time and the fortune brought me to the right place!
It was closed, but it wasn’t that important. Well, I peeked out the window to see the atmosphere inside, which, I think, have been hardly similar with a whole bunch of boys running around…
I decided to have a coffee in the village’s cafe. And it doesn’t work. Well, nothing that I can do, so I am going back. Anyway, I decided to ask a lady I met if there was anything else I could see around, and she directed me to the Roman bridge at the end of the village.
And here began the interesting part of the walk.
In my direction was the village goatherd, who gathered the goats to take them to graze. I asked if I may take a picture of him and he was so happy, as if I were bringing him a gift!
We walked and talked. He told me about his family – his three goats. For the people of the village, for the important things in his life.
He boasted to every old lady who led her animals to add them to the herd. Every time happily explaining that I photographed him and his goats. And he invited the every one to come, so I can take pictures of them with the goats. I took the pictures of course. And they rejoiced as if they had become media stars!
How little does a person need indeed...
I went on the way back in an uplifted mood, filled with the positive energy of their joy! I walked and sang, smiled and even danced when there were no cars around, otherwise in the mental hospital I will have a hard time refuting the testimony that I am absolutely mad!
Three people stopped offering me transportation. I wasn’t even with the backpack (yeah, my back asks just for that now!), which generally wins the sympathy of passers-by. I was just happy, and this is clearly felt even by a passing car!
As I packed my backpack this morning, I kept wondering if my back would agree to carry it. It still makes me feel a bit uncomfortable just by touching the sheets and wearing the T-shirt… Putting on my backpack carefully and cautiously, I was relieved by the result. Coffee on to go and on foot quickly to get ahead of the heat!
A lady picked me up shortly after leaving Pavel Banya and took me to the main road, from where I continued on foot. I walked about 10 km before someone else stop for me again. I just dropped off my thumb in disappointment, noticing the foreign plate of the car – it couldn’t be for me. When, to my great surprise, it pulled a little further and stopped waiting for me!
It was Miro who was smiling at me from the inside, a pure Bulgarian from Norway. 😉 As it turned out later – an interesting interlocutor and great company! He offered to take me all the way to the village of Trud – 10 km before Plovdiv. Well, obviously Karlovo dropped off this time, we are going straight to Plovdiv. 😜
Let’s walk a bit in Rila mountain
Mainly the photos will speak for today!
We left at 5:30 am in the morning and returned at 22:30 in the evening. A wonderful day among the beauty of Rila mountain. The weather was with us all day – cloudy, some drizzle 1-2 times, but started really to rain only when we got back to the cars.
Tired but smiling! 😎
The rest of the photos can be found in the gallery, not to overload the post with pictures.
Let’s walk a bit to Sopot
I asked my friend Tony, with whom I spent the last night, to take me to the exit of the city so I could hitchhike towards Karlovo. 10 km before Karlovo I had to threaten her with a beating to let me walk at least a little!
I decided to walk to the town. Well, it was until I realized that something was wrong with my backpack. I could feel the things tied outside wasn’t tied up well enough, and in the shadows I could see that one of the belts was hanging odd.
The hardest part for me is putting the backpack on my back, especially lifting it off the ground. So I thought better to hitchhike to Karlovo, fix all things on a bench or table and continue somewhere. Maybe to Kazanlak…
The boy, who stopped for me, turned out to be going to Sopot. Great! It was just this morning when I wondered if I should deviate so much and go see Sopot. The dilemma has found its solution!
When I asked the locals what interesting things I could see around, the first thing they told me was the “old poplar“, even before the Vazov Museum! 😉
So I took the trouble to find it and, as you can see from the photos, it was really worth it. A wonderful idea, realized with lots of desire and thought! Beauty! 💝
Today the hitchhiking was not so productive. In fact, it was. Only two people stopped for me, but they were the right two. Departing from Sopot at 7 am in the morning, I was soon in Karlovo, where I stopped for 5 minutes to eat 2-3 walnuts and drink some water.
This complex procedure was performed in a garden by the road, and accordingly I did not go unnoticed. My backpack aroused curiosity and attention, people stopped and talked to me. And a lady even walks with me to the exit of the city to talk. Size matters! 😆
I was beginning to worry of drivers ignoring me when, to my great surprise, a car with three older people wearing masks stopped in front of me. And, despite their fear, they took a complete stranger in their car!! My mask is in the backpack (I’m only using it if I go into a store) and I felt almost guilty that I couldn’t take it out to reassure them that they are protected.
I was left on the ring road of Kalofer, as it was pointless to enter the city just to get out of it.
From there I walked a lot again, arousing the interest of several police patrols. However, no one stopped me, they just looked at me curiously, and one of the policemen was startled when I smiled at him and greeted him. It has become a habit for me to stress people with “Hello!” :))
Another surprise – a bus driven by a young lady did stop! In general, I do not hitchhike buses and trucks – people are not willing to risk getting hitchhikers in company’s cars. Well, but in this case, I raised my thumb before to see it was a bus and got lucky.
Petya was traveling in the direction of Stara Zagora and we decided she could leave me in Kazanlak. But, engrossed in the conversation, we remembered that only as we passed Kazanlak… 😄
And we continued to Stara Zagora, until I saw the sign Tulovo. And decided that it is – I take the train towards home…