Bus Ride to Koprivshtitsa

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
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Trip End May 12, 2012


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Where I stayed
Scotty's Boutique Hotel Sofia
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
House museums in Koprivshtitsa
Central Train Station - Sofia

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofia-Capital,
Friday, April 27, 2012


I think I have a lot to say today but want to be concise and not rambling, but....

I had a little trouble with adjusting to the time difference.  I didn't want to change my watch or phone to the local time, and so I set my alarm an hour too late.  Luckily I was just awake before my breakfast was delivered to me.  It is nice to have breakfast included - orange juice, a roll, some very nice jelly and good tasting coffee that was just short of lukewarm.  I made another faux pas and took the tray downstairs as I was leaving.  They prefer to leave them in the room for the chambermaid to take upstairs to their kitchen.  Oh, well.

I got directions from the desk clerk on how to get to the bus station - go down Maria Luisa, over the bridge with 4 lions, keep straight and it is on the right.  I only started at 9:30 and when I had finally gotten a ticket - it seemed so much longer - it was already 10 but the bus wouldn't be leaving until 1 pm.  Lesson #1 for the day - a repeat lesson, unfortunately:  when you are taking public transportation to go out of the city, you need to start out before 9 am at the very latest.  I was lucky, however, in that after I was told to go to the next building, got directions to an agent, and was told by that agent that there was no Koprivshtitsa, I did go around and ask others.  I got at least one more negative before a driver pointed me back at the original agent where I spoke to another woman who sold me the ticket.  While I was wandering around killing time, another woman told me that there were no trips to Koprivshtitsa.  I had intended to mention my second lesson but now I am not sure what it was unless - don't always take no for an answer.

It was a long wait and I left my book back at the room.  First I took some photos of the train station next door.  There was some great socialist realism design stuff going on there.  At least that was my impression.  I tried to walk on Maria Luisa farther down but ended up on a highway with no sidewalk so I turned back and decided to have some lunch, sit in the sun and people watch.  Bulgarians smoke a lot and there appears to be a tendency toward being overweight.  There were some very skinny young women however.  I got to observe various kinds of luggage and apparel.  I would say that leather pants are more popular here - on men and women - and women were wearing some very high heels.  As an aside, shoe styles are quite amazing.  I should take some photos of shoe store windows.

I forgot to mention that there was some horrible litter - no, more like garbage - at the train station but the public restroom was very clean - maybe due to the tax collected at the door.

Back to the bus ride.  I got on the bus about 20 min before scheduled departure and it was practically full.  I tried to figure out where to sit and then was told something like I couldn't sit in one seat.  It turns out there are assigned seats and mine was "as in David."  I still haven't figured out where the seat designation is on the ticket.  The agent had said the ride was about 2 hrs which would give me a little less than 2 hrs to see the house museums there.  Driving was slow out of the city because of traffic.  As we emerged into the countryside, we began to stop at all the villages to take on and discharge passengers.  Three pm came and went.  I really had no idea where Koprivshtitsa was on the schedule - I thought it was probably last but didn't really know and communication was poor.  Finally a bit before 4, the man next to me who had gotten on in Sofia as well was ready to get out and he said we were at Koprivshtitsa so I got off, made sure the bus would be in the same place at 4:50, got some directions from a woman who was helping me speak to the bus driver and off I went.

It wasn't until I was back in the bus seeing Koprivshtitsa from a higher vantage point that I noticed that it could be Bulgaria's Kyoto.  There was a stream running through the middle of the village with numerous stone  bridges across it - just like - or reminiscent of - Kyoto's philosopher's path.  And in a way, because of the old house construction, the cobbled streets, it had the aura of historical monuments - like Kyoto's many temples.  It was a shame that I didn't get to spend more time there because it was so picturesque and I hardly saw anything of the museums.  I went inside the Oslekov House, walked around the church yard and went inside Todor Kableshkov's house.  In some ways the decoration of the exteriors was more impressive than the interiors but they were interesting for the artifacts collected in the various rooms:  cooking utensils, baby furniture, rugs and embroidery.  There were a lot of rooms that had banquettes along the walls, covered in red cloth and a few pillows I think.  These were sitting rooms, dining rooms and I think bedrooms as well.  There was a communication gap here.  Maybe I can find out more on the web at some point.  There were family portraits of some dashing and daring young men in the Kableshkov house, but all the material was only written in Bulgarian and even though I can make out some words here and there, I couldn't put much together, especially in my haste.

I calculated that it took me a bit more than 5 minutes to reach the museum entrance, I needed another 5 to get back, with a 5 to spare, that left me around 40 minutes.  It certainly went by fast, especially since I was too worried about time to get out my glasses to read the map and so I had to keep asking people which direction to go to see the house recommended in the guide book - Lyukov's House - that I never did find.  I took a photo - or tried to - of an elderly man driving his donkey and cart.  I may have seen several men or just seen him several times.  I loved all the old stonework and would have loved to have taken more photos of the wooden parts of the various buildings.  I had passed a souvenir stand with cow bells and hoped I had just a few seconds to negotiate for one or two.  As it happened, I got 2 - a larger one and a smaller one - with a reduction of 1 leva - but the man had to take them off his wooden pole by passing them over all the others.  I was afraid that I had made a bad choice but I got back to the bus with a few minutes to spare and I was one of the first....and one of the few.  So I could sit where I wanted - or so the young man near me advised.

On the drive back I got to enjoy more of the scenery from the window.  We had gone up into the mountains, probably over a pass, because as we wound around the hairpin turns, we were near the top, and then we descended into a another river valley.  Even though there were obvious fields, nothing was growing much at this point, and I couldn't tell what kind of crops they might be.  I did see a few herds of cattle, a few chickens, a few horses, and a donkey tied up in one field.  We saw mountains with bits of snow on them.  I wonder if Sofia is in a bowl of mountains.  There were pines and birches and lots of small flowering white trees which I assumed were plum or pear trees.  I like the style of houses - kind of square with stucco over what looked like twigs and filler of some sort.  The windows tended to be fairly large with 4 panes.  Some had decorative wood features but most were fairly plain.  There seemed to be fewer houses among the fields.  I wonder if the people live in the villages and go out to tend to the fields rather than living in the midst of their fields.

The drive back was faster than the ride there - fewer people getting on and off - so we made it back to the bus station around 7:20.  I found my way back to the hotel and realized why I had so much difficulty last night - I mixed up my landmarks.  I should go out and try to get a photo of the synagogue lit up at night since the one with my new camera didn't turn out last night. (Actually, it did.)  Since I still need to get up early and get some sleep, I don't know if I will get to put any photos up tonight.  I am glad that I managed to get on to the internet though.  I hope I can send this blog entry out.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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