Last weekend’s tour took us to Bulgaria’s South West. A region famous for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking views, here we got to experience new adventures and see some familiar places from a different angle.
Stop number one was Rila Monastery, where we had a guided tour led by monastery staff. Part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the institution is impressive not only for its stunning architecture, but even more so for its story. Rila monastery has played an integral role in protecting not only Bulgaria’s history, but also culture and belief through hard times. The monastery’s museum section offers a rich collection of artefacts and its guides tell captivating stories. Knowing how to avoid the crowds and being guided by someone who knows the place’s secrets made the difference to our experience here.
Why have fun later, when you can have fun now? There wasn’t any point in postponing the highlight of the trip and next came the rafting down Struma river. Our rafting partner delivers the longest rafting experience – more than 2 hours and almost 13 kilometers of thrill, safely led by the most experienced guides. Two things that took the experience from good to great were picking the right season (of snow melting and heavy spring rain) and having a professional and fun guide in the boat.
Day 2 was booked for our mountain experience. We went on a trek to Yavorov hut, repeatedly voted the best hut in Bulgaria. Here we are always welcomed warmly and the lunch never disappoints. This hike is suitable for different levels as it is comparatively short and the exact route choice could easily be adjusted along the way.
What is the best thing after a rainy day in the mountain? That’s right – a pit stop at the sauna. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at our villa and enjoying life with a beer in front of the barbecue. The chalet-style house we enjoyed is not only a work of art, but was also very convenient for spending time together in games and socialising.
Day 3 was packed with the mysterious church in Dobarsko, our delicious lamb meal at a traditional mehana and Stobski Piramidi.
What we saw in the old church in Dobarsko, complemented with the incredible stories surrounding the temple was quite interesting. Nevertheless, the drawings we saw in the new church in Dobarsko were the real deal and for some of us they were outright shocking. This tiny old village was definitely worth the visit. Even if you are not big on religion, the history and the myths surrounding this place are quite compelling.
Last stop of the tour was for a natural rock formation known as Stobski Piramidi. This place offers a pleasant 60-90 minute walk and guarantees some nice views. Nevertheless, at this point all the fun was in the laughs. By the end of the tour we had all bonded so well, that some new friendships were guaranteed.
Photo credit goes to our friend Bojana, who did an outstanding job. Thank you, Boji!
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