23 March 2016


(village of Borovovillage of Belitsavillage of Zagrazhden)

Finally the long expected May holidays came. We had six whole days – of course not enough. They are never enough. The time to make the tour that has been planned for months. When the holidays come it is very hectic, so I booked our accommodation in March and called a few times to confirm our reservation.
We set out for the Rhodope Mountains. I adore the Rhodope Mountains in spring. My only concern is that this year we will miss the real, fresh, mountain spring. The last fruit tree blossoms have already fallen down in the other parts of the country but after the daily rainfalls it is green everywhere and the vegetation has sprung up.
I made up my mind in advance that whatever happened I would not get angry.
If it rained (as it was foreseen by the weather forecast) let it rain. If we had to miss something from our targets – we would try again at some point. I can’t possibly control the weather; I will just not get irritated.
We were on our way to Asenovgrad. Our route was going by the Western part of Zhrebchevo dam. Early in the morning the sky was dark, it was cool and was about to rain any minute. The morning fog around the water basin hadn’t withdrawn yet and had created beautiful landscapes.

We continued travelling. After a while the sun came up and we started feeling its warmth.
There was some kind of a holiday or a market day in Asenovgrad. It was so crowded. Lots of people were walking down the centre and there was a traffic jam. We turned to Asen’s Fortress. The Church of Holy Mother of God was lying on the rocks wrapped in greenery, a part of the ruins.

Clouds began crawling in the sky which wasn’t a good sign but … ‘I will not be angry! I will accept what it is!’.
The situation around Bachkovo Monastery was literally a fair. Instead of attracting me, this place had put me off recently. However, everyone has the choice of liking of disliking certain things.
Our next stop in our tour was Slivodolsko Padalo Waterfall. I included it at the last minute. I had forgotten it was in the area. We had to walk up to the waterfall. I was afraid it would be quite muddy and it would rain. We hadn’t reached the place yet where we were supposed to leave the car when the first raindrops appeared on the windscreen. We saw a few cars, two of which were from Ruse and Dobrich. An over middle-aged couple were wondering whether to go as well – ‘It is not the day today!’.
We kept on travelling to Yugovo. Actually we were on our way to Zagrazhden village. Maps and various navigation systems would direct you via Yugovo – Laki – Davidkovo but we chose a scenic ‘road’ via the village of Planinsko. You take the sideway to the village of Belitsa from Yugovo (we thought the bears park was located in that Belitsa but no – it turned out there was another Belitsa in Razlog area). Before going to the village we popped in the village of Borovo.
The pictorial Rhodope landscapes, the narrow roads and the typical small houses and meadows started appearing from Yugovo. We were jumping like fish on the dry coast from the right window to the left one not to miss anything.
There was a huge dark cloud above Borovo village. And there it was – ‘Ascension of the Lord’ chapel rising gloriously above the whole village.

We walked along the narrow, central street of the village and dropped in closer.

A wonderful view of the whole village was revealed and from the other side – of the mountains. After a while lightings started flashing the area. Thunders echoed not so far and it began raining again.

We left Borovo and were off to Belitsa.
It was pouring with rain and because of the thunders I felt as if the earth was shaking. We stopped by the first rest shed that we saw and we got off the car with great difficulty but at least we had a roof over our heads. We had a sandwich, a chat and gradually the rain was diminishing until it stopped eventually.
The sun started shining brightly and the sunlight reflected in the raindrops of the green meadows and the pine tree branches. The air was purified. It was fresh and pleasant around.
The road was winding along Belishka River and the water with chocolate-like colour was rushing at full speed after the flood rain.

Suddenly a carved tunnel appeared in front of us.

The river had sculptured a natural rock bridge on the right side throughout the ages popular with the name Shapran hole.

We came in the scenic Rhodope village of Belitsa shortly. It was wonderful – spring hadn’t gone completely here. Blossomed trees were standing out among the green meadows.


We continued our tour towards the village of Planinsko. We stopped by to enjoy it and take photos of Gyumbertiyata Waterfall. Its water was falling down so powerfully that it muffled our conversations.

After the spring pouring rainfalls one could see the water abundance here in the mountains. Water was trickling on the high rocks on the other side of the road. There were small waterfalls everywhere.
There was a wild thyme smell and the road was passing by lush glades in spring yellow colour.

The sun ran away again, chased by the dark clouds. Surprising or not it started raining again.
We came in the recesses of Kormisosh Reserve. One of Todor Zhivkov’s former residences is located here and the forestry is famous for game breeding. Now it is owned by the state and is still used as a hunting property.
We were far from the truth about bears only as the locals bred them to enrich the species, and they were not the dancing bears. Time was flying and it was raining again. Fortunately, the forest was quite dense.
We knew in advance the road would be asphalt only to a certain part and then only stones. We were bumping along the stones. There were holes, water was running down the road, and we were hardly moving. Nevertheless, we were charmed by the greenery that surrounded us from all sides. A hind that was grazing calmly by the road complemented the magic.

Slowly, slowly, upwards, upwards.
You can always find a fresh spring water fountain here in the Rhodope Mountains.

We noticed a board showing that the road was under construction. How interesting – there was neither equipment nor a living soul.
We were just about to despair that the road had no end and we came to a normal, obviously recently asphalted road.
It was drizzling and in the late afternoon the sun was trying to go through the clouds. After a long trip we reached our final destination – the village of Zagrazhden. And here was the spell of the Rhodope Mountains. All of a sudden, as if the stage curtains were lifted and a real show began. Green meadows, blossomed fruit trees, evaporations, small cottages with smoking chimneys, fresh air. In a nutshell,  mountain atmosphere and peace.

The accommodation turned into a whole experience. Due to reasons not dependent on us we changed our first place that we had booked. A bit disappointed we went to a house which was recommended “as a replacement’’ where to stay in. I always bear that in mind on holidays but destiny knew what to do. We turned out to be on the top of the village.

We were met warmly by the owners of ‘The Hadzhievs House’ or famous also as ‘Krasi’s House’. The cottage was just perfect – nothing fancy and it had everything that a man needed for a normal stay. The balcony view was simply stunning and it could take away any shadow of primary disappointment.

There were two couples of us. The tavern that met us with a blazing fireplace was totally at our disposal. Furthermore, we definitely needed to warm up. It was cool. 
We prepared our dinner quickly and had a toast … or two that we had arrived safe and sound, to the emotions on the road and the adventures that were forthcoming on the following days.

To be continued ….

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