So, it has been a very long time since my last post. But I thought it was time to share my latest news.
I recently went to Bulgaria with my girlfriend. Located in Eastern Europe near Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea, Bulgaria has a lot of natural beauty including caves, waterfalls and mountains and sea. So for me it was paradise and I felt excited to shoot the landscape as well as the detail within. The country still has a lot of communist buildings and you can easily see the poorer regions from the slightly more wealthy.
Our eight day trip started in the capital of Sofia and we slowly made our way to the East and the Black Sea via the Balkan mountain range and central Bulgaria. Driving there was a great option once you start to get used to the Bulgarian way of driving!
Lovech, central Bulgaria was our next location which has an ancient fortress and is a beautiful town located on the River Osam. Whilst we were there we visited two caves and a waterfall. The first was Saeva Dupka, which was named after two brothers, Seyu and Saev, who used it as a hiding place during the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. These caves are used for music recitals and host a large number of rooms and steep levels. The next cave was Devetashka Cave, which was a place like no other. The cave was very open and it felt like you were on the surface of the moon with the grey dust on the ground. The cave is home to some 30,000 bats but unfortunately we did not see any. Devetashka Cave is also famous as a filming location for the 2011 film The Expendables 2.
Lastly, were the most gorgeous, scenic waterfalls I have ever experienced. Krushuna Falls were very tall and boasted almost milky coloured water. The tourist paths took us very high up and we could even walk amongst the falls, having a refreshing break in the blistering heat.
After this wonderful time in central Bulgaria, we travelled 300km to the Black Sea coast. We drove via the Balkan mountains passes from the north to the south via the famous Shipka Pass and an old historical peak called Buzludzha. This was home to the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party and was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels and the Ottoman Empire. This monument was somewhere I had heard of prior to our trip and was spectacular to see. It was located 1400 meters high and boasted amazing views of surrounding towns as well as the Shipka peak. The UFO-shaped building felt very intimidating and as a documentary photographer I was intrigued to visit this disused abandoned site. Unfortunately I did not make it inside but took may photos from a lower level.
Later that day we reached the beach town of Nesebar. Divided from the old town and the new, Nesebar (new town) hosts a large number of communist style tower blocks whereas the old town contains many ancient ruin churches and an old windmill. We spent three days there exploring the town and of course the warm sea! We treated ourselves to a massage on the beach and had a lot of fresh fish and lovely local drink.
Finally, on the last day of the holiday we ventured back to central Bulgaria to the Troyan Municipality. Here we visited Troyan Monastery, a beautiful old church which dates back to the 16th century with beautiful paintings and a lovely setting right in the valley of the Balkans. After this we travelled nearby to a small village called Beli Osam which translates to White River. Here we were invited to a Bulgarian wedding which was another wonderful way to experience Bulgarian tradition and culture. It was a night of celebration, drink, dance and a lot of fun!
During my first visit I learnt a lot about Bulgarian way of life. It is a very cheap place in terms of money. Most people did speak English but some of the older generation only spoke Bulgarian or Russian. It was great to have my girlfriend translate for me!
Below are photos which summarise Bulgaria! I recommend this beautiful country to all!
Sueva Dupka cave
Playing around with shadows at Krushuna
Silhouettes at Devetashkata Peshtera
Location for the 2011 film The Expendables 2
The ancient town of Lovech from the fortress
Vasil Levski statue- the man who attempted to free Bulgaria from the Ottoman empire. Unfortunately it happened five years after he died.
Fishing on the river Osam- Trai Dyanko
Shipka Pass looking towards the Shipka Peak
1400 metres from Buzludzha Peak looking down on the Rose Valley city of Kazanluk
Pano from Buzludzha Peak looking at Buzludzha monument and the Balkan mountain range
Prior home of the Bulgarian democratic party. This building from the 1980s now lies disused and abandoned. It was very intimidating and unique.
One of sixteen ancient churches of Nesebar
Road connecting the new town with the old. Note the windmill which is an icon of Nesebar.
Lunch with a view. Eating in the new town looking towards the old part
Eating fresh fish at Talyana, including Vatys, Zargan and Trigona. Note the green drink, Menta & Mastika which is an aniseed and mint liquor.
Michael’s echo cocktail bar. A wonderful cave place which serves a wonderful array of cocktails
Classic Bulgarian homecooked food including Shopska Salad, Sausages and roasted peppers. Served with Rakia spirit and beer
Elegant paintings at Troyan Monastery
Dancing the traditional Horo dance at a Bulgarian wedding. Very quick footwork!
Hitar Petar restaurant- located on the river Osam