13 June 2016

A fairy tale from ‘Geo park Iskar-Panega” TOUR №20/07.2011

At the end of July 2011 we made a spontaneous tour of Lukovit area and the village of Karlukovo, ‘Geo park Iskar-Panega’. The park is divided into two parts – landscape «Panega» and a karst complex called «Karlukovo».. The geo park is situated just near Lukovit town on the road Ruse-Pleven-Sofia.There are some boards and a parking lot. 

There are wooden stairs after the entrance that take you to the low ground near Panega River, an estuary of Iskar River.

It comes from one of the biggest karst springs in Bulgaria, Glava Panega and the water is turquoise.

The route follows the river current. 
Summer, heat, mosquitoes and rainfalls were expected, it was wet and stifling in the lowlands and very windy in the highlands – it wasn’t like a beginning of a «fairy tale» at all
We set off with great enthusiasm. At the very beginning we met a shepherd who started asking us what we were doing in the area. Of course, we explained we were there to make a tour of the area. He warned us to be very careful because there were snakes.»Blast it!» 
A few days ago one of the cows was bitten on the leg, and another one lay down on a snake by chance and thus died with the snake underneath.

We moved on.

A bit further following the narrow path on the left bank of the river we entered the kingdom of the dragonflies. There were colourful little dragonflies flying all around us. Besides, the place turned out to be a kingdom of wild weeds as well. As if no one had stepped in that jungle for a long time. Tall grass, grown from the dampness and the sun, had seized everything. The perfect spot for the snakes, »stinkers». We moved one after another as the first one lifted and took away the weeds with every step on the road not to come upon a snake ambush. By pushing the grass aside dragonflies flew up. The river was running quietly and the colours were fantastic where the sun was shining.

There were some reflections of trees, bushes … a fairy tale.

Unfortunately it was hard to enjoy the magic around us because of the constant need to look down at our feet …A bit later a wooden bridge turned up that connected both river banks.

There was another one (supported with metal) a little farther 

… and that was how we got to a shadowy place for recreation and a possible picnic. We stopped but not for a long time because the kingdom of mosquitoes and «other pests» was hereThe river made a turn near the pavilion and high rocks were reflected in its water.

It is most interesting for the tourists here because the trail continues on a wooden bridge above the river mounted to the rocks.

The river is winding and weird rocky formations complement the landscape.

 Following the tourist trail you would go straight to the karst complex in Karlukovo. We had researched the distances in advance and thought we wouldn’t have enough time, so we went back and set out for Karlukovo.
What was most interesting to us was «Prohodna» caveThe cave turned out to be easy to reach. The odd thing was that it was right under the road we had travelled on. This cave represents the longest cave tunnel in the country – 262 m long. There are two entrances as the height of the western one reaches 47 m. I had read somewhere it was the highest cave entrance in the country. The entrance we used in the cave kingdom was about 35 m.

The cave is naturally lit up. It is due to the other interesting formation called «Oknata» or «God’s eyes» - two holes with the same size resembling eyes. 

They have been formed by the natural erosion processes and the water. The cavern is a shelter of bats, rock swallows and other bird representatives. You can meet Homo sapiens as well such as – fans and enthusiasts practising bungee jumps, rock climbing etc. We saw representatives of both groups, mentioned above.
We stepped forward on the path and our heads started going round in amazement. What height, what impressiveness?! We didn’t feel like leaving it. The other entrance from the Cavern home was really huge.

It was time to get our next stamp. We came back to the parking lot and were off to «Petar Tranteev» National cavern home to receive the stamp №30. We were surprised there was no one and decided to have a look around. The view was magnificent. We could see Iskar River, other rocks and forward as far as possible the Balkan Mountain curves, and more specifically Teteven Balkan mountain. We made up our mind to look for someone in the village who could give us some more information where to get the stamp from. We were told to go down to the Psychiatric clinic.

The man with the stamps worked there, too. We went there but without success as we couldn’t find the right man. Anyway, we looked at the matter from another angle.
Национален пещерен дом
However, the story with the stamp started becoming really annoying because we were wasting our time and we had decided in advance to have a look of the area from a panoramic point of view and that demanded a lot of time. We returned to the cavern home again. We entered the hallway (it was open) and nobody was there. Just after the porter’s glass «the precious» stamp could be seen.
Some negative emotions started arising inside of me but finally the great idea of opening the book came up to see if we could take a stamp from another object in the area. «Which number is the seal?» I looked at the board above the entrance of the cavern home where that information was shown - «30»! «Are you sure?» I looked again as the sun burnt my head a lot during the day «Yes»! «Well, do you know we have the stamp №30!!!» «!!!!???!!» and we were goggling in dismay.
The stamp number 30 was ‘The Ethnographic Museum’ – Lovech, which we had already received. And what happened: we wasted about an hour and a half to fool around because of a seal that we had had actually. Sometimes I am really fed up with that book as we go back and deviate from our plans because of it – but it’s our passion! And in that case it’s not the book to blame!
So, somehow pleased or not …we continued travelling to the «panoramic view». Amazing!!!

There was such a strong wind that would take us away!

There was another great wonder called «Provartenika». A rock tower with a hole, where it had been proved that during the winter and summer solstice, the sunshine passed right through the hole.

It looked like the Thracian creations and the incredible similarity with «Probitiya kamak» near Venchan TOUR 9 ‘A view of Venchan from Nevsha’  supported that theory even more?! 

We realised that tour was like a tale at a later stage when most of the disadvantages had almost faded away and only the beautiful views, the tranquility, the solitude, the flapping dragonflies, the cavern grandeur appeared on the surface of the memories!
Now when I go back there it looks like a fairy tale!

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