Exploring Bulgaria: Desolated, wild and forgotten villages
Bulgaria: Beautiful country in the center of Balkans – Some say poor people live here, but many people from US, Western Europe and Asia choose it as their new home. No need to believe me, but in some of the next interviews I’m going to publish new posts in which you may find happy foreigners living in Bulgaria and sharing their interesting story.
This time I decided to interview someone who is exploring the Bulgarian lands, enjoying the authentic nature and experiencing unplanned survival situations.
What’s your name and where are you from?
Hello! My name is Alexander, I come from Smolyan. This is a small mountain town, situated in the heart of Rodopa mountain. I like nature and freedom. These are the two most important things for me and I cannot live without any of them. I am a great fan of nature and in my free time I take my backpack and go into the woods. All my hobbies are connected with nature and outdoor activities – trekking, camping, cycling, climbing, kayaking, fishing, photography and speleology.
You said you like doing trips in the nature. Where was your latest trip?
Huh, yes I like it! 🙂 I will talk more generally…In the last two years I had the chance to travel really a lot. My trips were mostly in Bulgaria, but I could also visit the Greek island of Thassos, where I made a three-day-cycling around it. It was great adventure. After that I could visit Hungary and the lake of Balaton – the Hungarian sea. I stayed there for ten days, had the chance to practice kayaking in the lake and had a lot of other interesting trips in the area of Balaton. I could also visit Granada, Spain. Although it happened in the hottest part of the year when temperatures through the night do not go under 30 degrees, and at daytime it is usually about 40-45 degrees, it was a memorable journey for me. I visited the age old palace of Alhambra which impressed me deeply. In the fall time of the year I made the trip of 2013 (I call it like that). I spent two weeks in Central Turkey /Anatolia and Kapadokia/. Culture, nature and people’s attitude there overturned my ideas for life.
Awesome trips, Alexander!
But I like Bulgaria most, so wherever I go I love the moment of returning to my town and my mountain. As I said, in the last two years I made a lot of expeditions in Bulgaria (most of them with my good friend Vilian) to desolated, wild, forgotten villages. These villages have become a brand for us. This is like passion. Even something much stronger than passion. We plan most of our adventures in the border territories of the country where only wild animals live. People have left their homes long ago and now their half-destroyed houses are dwelled by ghosts. Inexplicably, but it is these areas of Bulgaria that attract us most.
About our latest trip – we were headed to a remote neighborhood in the wildest parts of the Eastern Rhodopes. Its name is Doyrantsi. Weather was horrible – thick fog, a lot of cold rain and wind – the worst combination for tourists. Nevertheless we found Doyrantsi, where only two people live. They said to us: “Return back to the valley as soon as possible. In this weather you may get lost. There are a lot of wolves here and they may hurt you badly.” So, this trip is a great example of how we should obey to nature. We must not try to captivate it. We learned really a lot during all our trips.
Sounds really amazing. Have you thought of selling these stories or experience somehow?
Yes, your question is ahead of my thoughts! 🙂 What we did was that 5 months ago we published a book. We called it “Guide of the Forgotten Bulgaria”, so as to make readers sympathetic to what we experienced in all these ghost villages in the country. Our idea is to focus attention of the people to these “forgotten treasures” in the mountain. It hurts when you see a village that has been full of life and now you see only ruins. We do not want this. We dream that one day these places will flourish again, but for this to happen we have to wake up now. We have to be more responsible to our national history.
The book is an adventure one but except adventures it offers to the reader history and interesting facts for the respective place that one can never find anywhere else. These stories and facts have been told us by local people. Maybe most of them are no longer among the living.
Deciding to write a book was like a joke for us in the beginning. For three years earlier I had had a blog on the internet where I put a story after every adventure. I saw that it was beginning more and more popular and after one of our common trips we just said: “Writing a book! Why not? A lot of other people will have the chance to touch to us and our adventures!” 🙂
Yes, why not! I appreciate your decision. It should be a great read and also a great present! So, what’s your next venture? Any planned trips or plans for new products?
Now we have a lot of new plans and ideas for the near future. We want to continue publishing books. We are preparing a calendar with pictures from the forgotten places in Bulgaria. And in generally, all our efforts became something like a project that we called “Forgotten Bulgaria”. We want to make it like a personal cause for everyone to help in the long way of preserving our past.
And of course, we will NEVER STOP EXPLORING 🙂
If there’s something you haven’t shared with the people reading this interview, now is the moment to share it.
I would like to tell to all of you: “Bulgaria in unbelievably beautiful and mystic country. Taste it. Try to breathe from its unique spirit. Be closer to it. Dedicate to it. And Bulgaria will reveal its secrets for you.”
What could you do now?
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