Once again we arrived in a country without any plan. As we crossed the border from Romania to Bulgaria we had no clue of where to go, except for….south. As I usually do in these kinds of situations, I scan Google maps for an area with lots of green and curvy roads. Usually that means great experiences. But this time our experience turned out even greater than expected.
On Google maps I saw a photo of a fortress surrounded by strange shaped rocks. ‘That’s our next destination’, I said. And so we went. 90 kilometers and 3 hours later – yes we’re slow – we arrived in Belogradchik. Which, as we learned later, means ‘little white city’.
We arrived just before sunset and headed straight to the fortress, all the way on top of the town. We were too late to enter the fortress, but just on time to take some beautiful sunset pics of the rocks and the landscape.
Right on top of the rocks there we observed three guys with binoculars, seeming to look for something deep down the cliff. One of them was dangerously balancing on the edge. Crom asked jokingly: “This is no suicide attempt, right?”. Luckily not…they were looking for a phone that fell down the cliff months ago. They were not planning on climbing down to get it, but just wanted to be sure it was still there….just being curious. Sure, why not 😉
After a short chat the guys offered to meet the next day, to show us some beautiful spots around town. Of course we could not refuse an offer like that.
The next morning we visited the fortress and afterwards met Miroslav, one of the 3 guys. He proudly showed us around Belogradchik and took us to the spots with the best views over the rocks. During our walk with him we saw at least 3 different spots around town and between the rocks where we wanted to spend the night. At that point we knew we would not leave any time soon
That night we learned what true Bulgarian hospitality is. Especially our stomachs learned a good lesson 😉 Peter, another one of the 3 guys, told us about a specific local fruit and he invited us to his home to try it. Again, an offer that we couldn’t refuse. Once at his house, we tried the peculiar fruit (which was very good and tasted like apple with cinnamon). But before we knew, the fruit was followed by cheese, walnuts, meatballs, stuffed peppers, bread, beans, wine and more fruits, all home made by Peters mother. It turned out to be his birthday and we were at his birthday dinner. Wow! After a few hours of eating and chatting, we rolled back to box, while joking about the massive fruit we just ate. It was the biggest and best fruit ever. Thank you Peter!
The third guy, who we started calling Clark Kent after his risky escapade on the cliff, worked as a guide in the Magura Cave. He offered to give us a tour there, even though it was his day off. The Magura Cave is a huge cave of 2,5 kilometers long, with several rooms, lots of bats and most importantly: original cave paintings of 10.000 years (yes, 10.000!) old.
Eventually we spent a full week in Belogradchik. We found a perfect spot between the rocks, next to a water spring and hidden from the town, yet very close. (Find the location on our Sleepin4wheel map!) Here we could enjoy the van life to the fullest: taking outside showers and making a camp fire to do some outside cooking. Here Crom is stirring the pasta with pumpkin and pesto made of wild stingy nettles. (Yes, that’s wild cooking :))
…and Valine even did an attempt to do some yoga….(and wishes Crom would have taken some photos from another angle ;))
All we can say is….Belogradchik rocks!
Thank you Miroslav, Peter and Clark Kent for giving us the perfect welcome to Bulgaria!