Discovering Bulgaria

Wow, this was a long time without any update.

And many things changed since then – aka my plans. But let proceed with some sort of order.

April and May, at least so far, have been mostly dedicated to Sofia and the surroundings. Together with the group of friends in here we’ve been visiting several places, most of them being some natural marvelous scenery: Prohodna Cave and the Eyes of God, the Devetashka Cave, a lot of Waterfalls (Skaklia, Boyana and the Heaven’s waterfall).

The only urban exploration was Belgrade, in Serbia, where we stayed for Easter weekend – but I’ll dedicate an article to the city alone.

First consideration: I’m/I became more of a city person. Something changed during the years and I now feel more comfortable when I’m wandering in a city rather than walking in the woods to reach the top of the mountains. I still am amazed by this, and I love the view once I reach the top, just, it attracts me less at the moment – probably because it gives you too much time to think about everything.

This said, Bulgaria has been a surprising discovery, and Desi has been our amazing guide through caves, waterfalls and other wonders.

 The Caves: Prohodna Cave, The Eyes of God, Devetashka Cave

Around a hundred kilometers from Sofia, Prohodna Cave was the first huge surprise. And literally: it IS huge.

Feeling like an hobbit..

But the biggest attraction and surprise of the cave are the Eyes of God. We’re talking about two opening on the roof of the cave, which for some strange joke of Nature and erosion (or God him/herself, if you’re a believer), are framed on the shape of a pair of eyes.

The Eyes of God – Got anything to confess, son? 

This wasn’t the only cave we visited. Not too far away from this place, we went to another cave, Devetashka Cave. The main attractions here are the bats (which, unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to see due to their being in the mating season), and the remains of a human occupation which started well over 70000 years ago.

Devetashka Cave, the “humble” house of 35000 bats!

Also this cave is impressive, in terms of size. I’m afraid the picture below does not gives enough the idea of how big it looks like, but this is just a part of the cave, and you can easily check how little the people in the background looks like…

Inside Devetashka

The Waterfalls: Skaklia, Boyana and Heaven’s Waterfall

One thing I am used missing in a lot of places is to be surrounded by the mountains. That’s acceptable, considering I’ve been living most of my life in Torino, and mountains are visible pretty much everywhere in a clear sky day.

But also Bulgaria has a lot of mountains and waterfalls!

One of the first one we went visit was Skaklia Waterfall: 80 meters of jump and quite easily reachable by foot.

Skaklia Waterfalls!

Reaching Boyana’s waterfalls and the Heaven’s waterfalls was waaaay more physically demanding, thou. In the case of Boyana waterfall, that can be translated with being masochistic. “Shall we take the boring 2 hours and a half path or shall we go for the 1 hour one? IT’S NOT TOO DIFFICULT”. Note to self: do NOT get so easily convince about this anymore. EVER.

One grumpy hour later – Boyana’s Waterfalls!

The waterfall is not as big as Skaklia’s, – 20 meters fall -, but it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful of the surroundings.

But the real rockstar in here is, without a doubt, Raysko Praskalo, also known as the Heaven’s waterfall – 124 meters fall, the biggest in Bulgaria! But you have to deserve the sight: about 4-5 hours of walking between the beginning of the path until the bottom of the waterfalls.

4 hours and a half later…

And the worst part are located at the beginning and the end, so to challenge you the most when you’re fresh or  completely exhausted. Well done!

… but this is the view…

In conclusion, I think that the nature of Bulgaria was really a huge discovery for me, and I suppose it’s not as well known as it should from us foreigners. But as well, when we are locals to a place, we tend to ignore those places. One of the most common question I’ve been asked, while I was living in Poland or in my three months here, was “Why Poland? Why Bulgaria? Is it because of work? Or why would you move here ever?”.

Which keeps me wondering: how many wonderful things are so close to us that we do not notice anymore, just because we’re used to live close by?

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