July 17 2009: Balchik Palace and Rural Bulgaria


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Wow, this was quite the day. We travelled outside of Varna with a few destinations in mind.

Our first stop actually resulted in some great wildflower photos. Desi’s dad stopped to fill up some bottles at a mineral water spring along the way, which seemed to be quite popular among the locals. Around the spring area were many varieties of wildflowers. Some looked similar to the ones we have here, but it was nice to see nature again:

Our second stop was Balchik Palace, which was a medieval-style garden-covered park area. On the way we stopped at a scenic overlook that showed a portion of the Bulgarian coastline:

Balchik Palace was amazingly beautiful. We followed a small street down through a bazaar to get there, and inside we were treated to gardens, beautiful buildings and walkways, waterfalls, wine tasting stores and more. We must have walked around for over an hour without realizing it; the time just flew by. There are so many photos to share (in the album at the bottom of the post), but this is one of my favourites:

and another one of my favourites, an archway of flowers:

Desi’s dad was waiting for us, we hurried back up after buying some wine as a souvenir. Our next stop was to visit a distant relative of Desi’s, her Grandfather’s cousin (dad’s side) Paraskeva. She was a very nice old lady in a small village, and she spends her days taking excellent care of her crops and bees. Here’s a great photo of her posing with her crops:

and a closeup of the bees! She was very thoughtful and gave us a bar of honey to take home, which we gave to Walter. Could very well be the same bees that made our honey:

Before we arrived at our final destination for the day, I asked to stop and take a photo of the sunflower fields that were lining the sides of the road. This was the result:

Our final destination was the village where Desi’s dad is from. We stopped at the former home of her dad’s parents who have both passed on now. Desi’s dad stays here much of the time now, and there are animals and crops around the home. It was really fun to see the place, and Desi and I enjoyed feeding the cats and dogs here. The villages in Bulgaria are very old-fashioned and many of the homes are very old. It was mentioned that many of the younger people are now leaving the villages in favor of the cities, which is also happening here to some degree. Many of these homes are older than most homes in Canada still standing, so its very interesting to see. Here are a few of my favourite photos from this village:

…and that very cute cat again (I know I posted this photo while we were in Bulgaria, but its still one of my favourites!):

and a black and white photo from that small home, which I think really symbolizes what I saw there:

From there we headed back to Varna after a full day of adventure. According to the journal that Desi kept during our travels, we did a little shopping that evening for some cheeses and sweets to eat with dinner, and then rested up for another big day. The 18th was Desi’s best friend Nasi’s wedding, which I’ll talk about at length tomorrow. 🙂 Enjoy the rather large collection of photos in the album below:

Comments

  1. Diane Enns
    August 20th, 2009 | 9:12 am

    Hi Don and Desi

    Where do I start….It’s all so beautiful. The flowers, I really like the one of you and Desi in the sunflowers. Great capture of the bee in the lily flower. The fish eye of the winery is very impressive.

    The stone walkways, gardens, critters and animals…especially the cats give us a true indication of the culture in Bulgaria, thanks for sharing so many descriptive photos.

    Love Mom and Walter

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