Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
What is the best birthday gift that someone ever gave you? I think I have the best friends ever, because I can’t think of just one. Surely I will always remember my 18th birthday gift from my aunt who arrange for me to meet a famous shaman, or my 20th birthday gift from my parents who took me to see the Great Pyramids of Giza. Even when I am not in mood for celebrating, my friends find a way to make my day special. I am known to hate surprises, however, this fact doesn’t stop them to prepare some surprises for me now and then.
So guess what happended on my birthday this year? Vesi and Aylin, my closest friends and travel soulmates, gave me as a present a bunji jump! I have it on my 100 TO DO List for a while, but I didn’t think I can actually do it. I have fear of high, I can’t even stand straight on a kitchen chair and they wanted me to jump from 60 metres high bridge! Well, as it was birthday present it would have been bad luck to say “no”, right? So I agreed to do it, even though I wasn’t sure if I will have enough courage when the moment arrive. They wanted to join me, of course, so it was a little bit hard to find a day when we all are free, but we finally did. Last week we went to Varna for the jump. Its a famous seaside city, more than 300 from Plovdiv. It took us the whole night to arrive – 7.30h train ride. Finally we arrived in sunny Varna with the only tought for a morning coffee. Our bungee jump hour was in the afternoon, so we had few hours to kill. We had a quick tour of the city center and then we headed for the beach. Who can imagine that at the begining of May, in 10 in the morning, it will be sunny enought to get burn on the sun!
Anyway, with any minute passing, I was getting more and more nervous. Could I really jump from the bridge? So the moment arrived, we were standing on the bridge waiting for our turn to jump. I was terrified! I was more than terrified! I promised to jump and the girls were there to support me, so I had to do it. I climbed on the rail of the bridge and I looked down, I amost had an heart-attack. Then looked at the girls and said “I can’t do it, I just can’t”. And they looked back at me and said “Yes, you can!”. Then I realised what’t the best birthday gift – the support of the ones you love. The fact that my friends came with me to share this moment, that they are always there when I need them – that’s the best birthday gift ever!
And I looked down again, closed my eyes and jumped.
Ivan Vazov is Bulgaria’s most famous and beloved writer and poet. One of his most recognised stories is “Дядо Йоцо гледа”. He was inspired to write it when he walked the same path in the mountain that we were going to walk. The place is situated in 50km from Sofia, in Vratsa area. We took the train and after 1 hour we arrived in the little vilage Bov, then we took the path up in the mountain. It takes approximately 1.30 to hike to the top. The path goes through a forest and the rocks, and pass by the amazing waterfall “Skaklia”. Its 85m high and its one of the most beautiful waterfalls Ive ever seen! The best time to visit is during the spring, so we were at the right place in the right time. The best thing about the waterfall is that you can stand right under it and feel the water falling on your face. Yeah, call me crazy but its awesome!
The view from the top is also spectacular. I can understand why Ivan Vazov felt inspired! The beauty of my beloved Bulgaria inspires me too!
Text by Neli
If you ask a Bulgarian for a traditional Bulgarian salad, the answer everyone will give will be “Shopska salata”. The name of the salad came from the Sofia area, however, its used in the whole country. Its very easy to make it and it is qute popular during the spring and the summer months.
Here it is the recipe:
Place tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion in a large bowl and toss. Place oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with crumbled cheese before serving.
Its quite easy and very delicious. The most important ingedient is the cheese, so if you want to make it right, be sure to have this white salty cheese.
Lakatnik rocks are situated in north of the capital city Sofia, in Old Mountain (in Bulgarian: Stara Planina), its 1 hour ride with the train. We took it from Sofia Central station in 10 o’clock and around 11 o’clock we were there, ready to hike to the top of the rocks. A lot of mountaineers come here to climb the rock with special equipments. The most attractive part of the rock is this little house called Eagle’s nest. The only way to reach it is by climbing the rock. Since Vesi and me didn’t have the needed skills for that, we took the regular path to the top of the rock. At the end of March the trees didn’t come into leaves, but the nature was beautiful anyway. River Iskar passes here and forms beautiful landscape.
It took around 1 hour to go to the top where there was old communist monument. It was quite windy, so if you decide to go, better be in the spring. April, when the trees are blooming, is the best month to do so. We had a lunch, home made sandwiches, and enjoyed the first sunbeams of the spring. We had a plan to visit a cave in this area – Temna dupka cave. We’ve spend half an hour trying to find it when it turned out that we’ve passed close by it on our way up. Eventually we found it, but we didn’t had any guide or equipment, so we decided not to go deep inside. Actually, its one of the longest caves in Bulgaria, there are a lot of branches, underground lakes and a river and it could be dangerous if you don’t know the place. We decided to play safe this time and to came back another time with someone who can show us the inside of the cave. And that’s for sure, becuase we loved the place. We definately want to came back, when the weather is better and the grace is greener:)
Text by Neli