Day five with VisitBulgariaOn in Bulgaria promised to be quite hectic. We were up at day break for a quick breakfast then we were off to Sokolski Monastery. We explored the monastery, the garden, and the premises at a leisurely pace to start the morning.
We were probably the first eager tourists to visit the Etara in the morning– the most popular Bulgarian open-air ethnographic and architectural complex which is stunningly unique with authentic craftsmen working there. For about an hour, I saw and got acquainted with so much of the Bulgarian daily life at the time. A total of 50 sites – houses with craft workshops, water installations, and other buildings as well as the only collection in Bulgaria of technical installations driven by water – filling mills, water mills, grindstones, etc., are situated there. It was an absolutely breathtaking experience.
We had to cover a lot of ground and other destinations in the program so we had to leave Gabrovo. On our way, we had a sneak peak at the architectural reserve of Bojentsi for which we should come back as it needs a lot more time to truly enjoy it.
It was a lovely surprise to be met by the mayor of Dryanovo at our next sight – Dryanovo monastery. The mayor explained that the reason this monastery became famous in Bulgarian folklore was due to 179 fighters, monks, and villagers holding out to over 4,000 Turks, who held the high ground, for over 9 nights. Even to this day, you can still see some of the impact craters that still remain in the outer walls.
5 years ago, the first eko trail went up and it takes you up to the Bacho Kiro Caves. Inside this massive cave, remains have been found from prehistoric cave men all the way through the ages. Another interesting fact is that the monks were one of the first people here, in Bulgaria, to use a water wheel to provide electricity for lighting.
Our next stop, and one that I had really been looking forward to, was the old capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Tarnovo. Here we met with the director of the famous sound & light show that Veliko Tarnovo perform over 150 times a year.
Finally, we reached our spot for lunch and I had Serbian grill. I must admit that I didn’t expect to be so delicious but it very much looks like the Bulgarian grill with special spices. I ate like a queen at this spot trying 7-8 different types of meat and of course the tripe soup.
Before our next stop in Yambol, we couldn’t miss the phenomenal submerged church in the Jrebchevo dam. Hopefully the photo gives you an idea of this recently very popular sight featured on BBC and CNN channels.
We were greeted in Yambol by a young lady at the new interactive museum called the Bezisten. She prepared a speech explaining about the museum’s history, which back in the Ottoman day used to be an indoor market and since has held different positions.
The museum housed one of the oldest worked gold coins in the world and a Thracian vase with a swastika and what could also be a star of David engraved on it.
The Yambol Museum of the Battle glory, near by, had steel chariots, tanks, and air crafts.
A lot of the exhibits were Russian/German dating back to the 1st and 2nd WW’s. For me, the pride of place was a two-man helicopter gun ship that saw service in Afghanistan.
With the light fading we had two more stops to make. The first stop was an ancient Thracian and later Roman settlement called Kabile as well as some well earned wine tasting.
The rooms of Edoardo Miroglio winery left me speechless. Great fresh green salad with Rakia and a main dish including chicken with spinach and nuts went really well with one of the best wines of theirs – Edoardo Miroglio Chardonnay 2015. This is how we ended one of our busiest days in Bulgaria. I sipped my wine and reflected on my journey so far. What a unique experience.