“There is nothing better than the bad weather”, I have always quote one of my favorite writers. And indeed, I love bad weather. I love that kind of days when the sky is gray and rainy as the angles above are crying. Therefor, I love traveling in the spring and in the autumn, when the weather is changing from sunny to cloudy to foggy. Well, traveling in that kind of weather can be tricky but it worth just for the chance to have a walk in a colorful forest while listening the sound of the rain drops falling on the leaves. Here’s why when our travel buddy Aylin offered us to join her for a mountain trip, Vesi and me agreed immediately. This year the autumn in Bulgaria was worm and even if it was already the beginning of November, the temperature was around 15 degrees. The trees in the forest still had their leaves colored in green, red and yellow. So we couldnt wait to leave for the trip and spend few days away from the noisy city. We had planned tree days road trip in Rodopi mountain – visiting some sights and trying traditional cuisine. Well, one thing I’ve learn from travelling with Vesi – the things never happen quite as planned. She knows a lot of interesting destinations and has great ideas what we can visit. So, we’ve changed the plan couple of times, but isn’t it this the best way of traveling – having the freedom to follow your crazy spirit? So we all were okay with these changes of the plan and we had even greater trip. We hiked to pick St. Ilia, we took a walk in cave “Uhlovica” and climbed the rock of Belantash. We had the chance to enjoy beautiful views to the mountain picks and to have a walk in the forest.
We drove to village of Leshten. Unfortunately it was raining the whole day, so we couldnt fully enjoy the beauty of the place. Anyway, we loved it. Leshten is a small village in the mountain, where you can see preserved houses from XIX century. Another interesting thing to see there is the house made of mud and cley. Its an eco house that you can rent if you want to spend there night or more. Being there is like to be in Lord of the Rings movie, so its quite unique experince. Well, we couldnt afford to spend the night there, so we just took a look and continue our trip.
We visited some other villages in this area – all of them famous with old houses with beautiful architecture. Because of the rainy day there was no one on the streets so it felt like the time there was stop forever.
We’ve spend the afternoon driving in very bad conditions. Fortunately our driver was quite experinced so he didn’t had problems driving on narrow mountain streets in the foggy weather. We’ve spend the night in Trigrad in front of the fire place in a cosy guest house. We ate the most traditional dish in Rhodope area – Patatnik and we had a good rest. On the next day Vesi suggested to climb pick Ilia. It wasn’t in the initial plan but the weather was good so we were tempted to accept her offer and so we did. It didn’t take long and soon we were on the top, standing on a special platform called “eagle eye”. The view from there was amazing! There is nothing more beutiful than a mountain in the fall. Some of the trees were still green, others were colored in gold and some were burning in red. Priceless.
From there we headed to Smilan, where we had the chance to try traditional dishes with smilianian beans. Tasty! We spend the night there in some vila and on the next morning we headed to cave Uhlovica. Its famous with an impressive flowstone formation known as the Icefall at its end. I was happy to visit it without killing myself. Walking in a cave can be really dangerous for someone as clumsy as me. According to the plan, we now had to head home, insted of it we decided to visit Belantash. It was on our way, or we thought so. It turns out that it was 30 km further than we thought, but anyway, we visited it. Belantash is beutiful rock near Asenovgrad. The place is connected with many legends about magic and energy. I don’t know about that, but the sunset from there was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!
So it worthed! Even thought Vesi couldnt go back home on time and she was late for work. We left her in Plovdiv and the rest of us continue to Sofia. When we arrived it was already late night. We were tired as hell, but in a very good mood. We had the chance to escape form the reality for couple of days and to see the beauty of our beloved Bulgaria.
Text by Neli