Bulgaria was an unexpected delight, but this is not what we thought upon our first sight. Day one in Sofia, grey and drab it seemed but by the third we had discovered the artistic scene.
Getting our first shots of Hep A & B, we taxied out to the town of Koprivshititska, nestled in a beautiful forested dale, to discover how Bulgarians rose up against the Turks. Then we took an old train to a somewhat remote and almost abandoned village named Ivan Vassavo where we helped a British and Russian couple on their Permaculture small holding planting seedlings and small fruit trees, whilst guarding ourselves against the the teeth of their two year old.
Back on the rails we then headed to Shipka, in the valley of the roses, amidst many a Thracian tomb, we met with a lady who was instrumental in establishing a Permaculture movement in the town, we dined with her family for a couple of days, lent a hand and also checked out the Balkanology Permaculture project where students were already weeks into a Permaculture landscape design project, so we helped out for the day before joining them on a mountain hike up snowcapped peaks to the Buzludzha Monument, the most alien of communist buildings that we have seen yet. One more bus and one more train and we find ourselves in the company of a beautiful dutch family who are hoping to develop an eco community in the tiny village of Vetrintsi, spending the night at their family home we learnt about their business plans, share their love for vegetarian and raw cooking, explore their beautiful little village and exchange many books. Next we taxi to the lovely city of Veliko Turnovo admiring Bulgarian handicrafts and cuisine before taking yet another train to Palamastra for four days of volunteering with the amazing Julie and Joe, making bread, jam, cheese and building rocket stoves we leave with an amazing breakfast picnic, so we feast on the train to our last stop Sozopol, a small seaside town on the edge of the Black Sea.
Click the interactive map to see the places we visited during our 17 days in Bulgaria.
- Discovering Sofia’s eco bohemian backstreets full of hip independent boutiques and organic restaurants.
- Finding Bulgaria’s permaculture trail including the popular Balkanology project and meeting up with some amazing people, this made Bulgaria a magical place for us.
- Our four night stay at Julie and Joe’s homestead, making foodstuff and building a rocket stove mass heater.
- Olof’s laptop caught the blue screen of death just as we were about to start our first Permaculture Design project.