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TusVeSa
Travel Diaries And More by Samloka
Aug
18.

18.08.09 – Rila Monastery – Blagoevgrad
By Garik and Lena

  • This night we slept well, it was warm, the beds were comfortable. At the morning we had breakfast at the cute place Lena saw yesterday, the restaurant with the traditional clothes in it. When we entered the restaurant we chose to seat at the no-smoking area, but unfortunately this area was clear of traditional clothes… The breakfast included: ham & egg for Lena and sirene cheese, fried in egg for me. This fried cheese is something to try at home! In addition we ordered “Pechoni Chushki” that are backed bell peppers in vinegar. For “desert” we had cappuccino and tea….
  • After breakfast we headed toward the Rila Monastery. We’ve visited the museum of history which emphasizes mostly the personality of Ivan Rilski. We had a major impression from the carved christian cross that is these days known as a spectacular masterpiece. When we finished with the history museum, we tried to find the anthropological museum nearby but without any success. Time started to pressure us on, so we went back to hotel for checkout. We moved our backpacks to the storage room in the hotel and continued our walk in the monastery.
  • Our next goal was to checkout higher floors of the monastery and try to find the lost museum. When we came back to the monastery we’ve noticed a big amount of tourists entering the site. Well, we knew already that today is some holiday for Bulgarians and that a mass was held in the main church. Any way, it was not allowed to go upstairs in the monastery so we entered the kitchen where is a big cooking pot that a cow can be cooked in as one piece!!! There we met a young Israeli couple that we’ve seen them already yesterday in the restaurant in the evening, and I already new than that they are from Israel. Shlomi and Tamar their names. They’ve traveled in Bulgaria for a week and a half till today, without a car. As we are, they did a little bit of Rila mountains, also they walked in Pirin, but Shlomi was the only one to carry a bag. Tamar’s luggage they leaved in Samokov. They have also not finished a trek they started, but not because of the physical problems; weather was the reason. Rain in Rila and Pirin caused them to withdraw the idea of trekking in the Bulgarian mountains.
  • So we had a little chat with them and continued toward the hotel together.  Shlomi and Tamar slept last night at the same hotel as we are. While they continued with their walk around toward Kiril meadow, we decided to cut the chains and head to Blagoevgrad. We said goodbye to each other. When we came into hotel to take our bags, we’ve noticed that the woman in the reception is the one that was there yesterday evening and night and this morning!!! Doesn’t she have a break or something?!
  • To get to Blagoevgrad one have to take a bus from Rila, but to get to Rila one can choose between waiting a long time for a bus or just take a taxi and pay a lot! We thought to take a taxi because we didn’t want to waste the time waiting hours for a bus. Outside the monastery, there is a bus station where also taxi cabs are. When we approached the area, we saw that there is only one taxi cab waiting… The driver asked us if we want to take a ride with him for 20 Leva!!! We said no; it’s unbelievable to pay 20 Leva for couple of minutes. But when another taxi arrived, the driver asked for 30 Leva!!! We spent another 15 minutes in a bus station and then decided to go back to the monastery. We sat there watching the tourists come and go. We’ve ate ice cream with a “Soviet” old days taste… The ice cream was mixed with ice cubes… :) Buy the way, when we walked earlier with Shlomi and Tamar, we passed the ice cream stand and the girl there did something amazing! She was holding an ice cream for some tourist in her one hand and in her other hand she drilled something in a floor!!!
  • Then we went down with the stream near by, we walked till we reached an old cemetery, where we turned back. On our way back we met Shlomi and Tamar again. Their bus to Dupnica goes through Rila, so we are taking the same bus. We were surprised to see Shlomi’s baggage; he bought snowboard in Bansko (summer sale) and now he is traveling with it across Bulgaria. The bus we took was old with no conditioning. The music was foreign, not Bulgarian. We chat with a little more and at Rila we said the last goodbye. They suggested us to visit Melnik, Bansko,  Sandanski and not to rent a car but use a public transportation instead. In Rila we took another bus, older then the first one, with curtains that once were table cloth.
  • After half an hour we reached Blagoevgrad. It took us another half an hour to find the hotel we wanted; Christo hotel. It was worth the effort. It’s a superb 3 star hotel with excellent service and a great cuisine in not so expensive restaurant. In the reception we met a nice young local girl who speaks Russian language well. She tried to help us so much, in any possible way! She even let us pay in Euros. We got a nice room with TV and fireplace. The view was fantastic, over the city and a church near the hotel.
  • The hotel is located in Varosha; an old quarter of Blagoevgrad, surrounded uphills with a big garden. We took a little walk there after we settled down in our room. The LP book promised great observation places uphill but we didn’t find any so we turned back to hotel, to eat dinner on the terrace. In the time we sat there, waiting for our food to come, Lena was mooned by some dude through one of the windows near… Then a couple minutes later some 14 years old girl showed up in the window… WTF?! Also we saw 4 people earlier, with a bunch of dogs… What is going on here?! We were back in the room as soon as we finished the meal. So meanwhile the plan is not to rent a car, because we didn’t find any… Tomorrow we will head to Melnik, then we’ll see our next stop. Good night.
Stream near Rila Monastery

Stream near Rila Monastery

A bus we took in Rila

A bus we took in Rila

Free apples!!!

Free apples!!!

Christo hotel and a church

Christo hotel and a church




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