Euro development explosion...
Trip Start May 31, 2007
107Trip End May 20, 2008
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Think Lake Tahoe without the lake...lots of stunning mountains and views and a very relaxed, laid back vibe (minus the construction stuff)
Also, the food in Bulgaria is loads better than in Romania. We have been enjoying wonderful freshly grilled vegetable dishes here..they come out on scathing hot earthenware plates and grill up before your eyes...the wine is palatable and the prices are fairly inexpensive for European standards. More than once I have asked for directions and had the locals walk me to my destination which is amazing.
Some of my tourmates went to the Dancing Bear Sanctuary outside of town where many of the Dancing Bears in Bulgaria live after they were rescued from their former lives of bondage and torture. Apparently, their paws are greased and they are forced to step on hot plates 'dancing' (they are constantly lifting their feet so that they don't get burned) with a cord string through their tender nostrils...held by their owners. Some of the bears they saw, were still moving back and forth in this manner, traumatized from years of 'dancing'. It's a tradition that's also found in other places in the world...unfortunately.
On the way to Bankso, we visited the Rila Monastery and that was definately a highlight...located in the mountains, reminded me a bit of the Tibetan Monasteries except this one is Orthadox Christian. Elaborately painted murals inside and out of the church which was surrounded by multi-story buildings completely enclosing the coutyard and providing housing for those that live at the monastery. Right outside the gate we found home-made donuts...score and Jess, of course, found her glass of red wine.... : )