Driving through mountains in Bulgaria. // Autumn trip.

Driving through the mountain road.

Google suggested that it will be approx. 5h drive, right, well it didn’t count in few stops to admire the view and take photos, other stops for having a lunch/buying food, other stops for necessary human needs in the forest, and some few more were about “oh, no, are we lost?”

The views and scenery was so much better than my crappy photography skills with my nearly 9 years old canon I have not upgraded. But I hope you get the feeling, atmosphere, the vibe through some of these photos and will be inspired and encouraged to visit Bulgarian countryside on your future travels as well. (note - I uploaded too extra shots)

 As on some nature photos can see a bit more of ‘wilderness’ how ‘alone’ we were up on the mountain road, I have added more photos than only wilderness so that you see - ‘hey, there actually lives people!’ - yes, indeed they do. There were several small and very tiny villages through the road or on the off roads (which some of them looked liked death roads and an iphone map wanted us to lead through them...). Our host to who we met at our destination at the end of the road, said that some villages have 2000 inhabitants, but some perhaps 500 houses, but only 10 people, so, it’s diverse. To us - we thought it’s amazing that these small places with that many people are surviving (or had survived) as that is not happening in Sweden and Latvia, or in general Europe, where the small towns are becoming emptier and harder to live outside from a city even though there is a mindset for many to wish to live in countryside. Our host or our new friend Nick thought it’s not so much like that - here people either move away or have no other options, but 'here' are no jobs much around in these places. Some of the villages do survive on tourism business - mountain escape, healing waters, skiing, hiking, etc escapes. When we were in Oreshaka , we were a bit surprised how this one long street village had 5 hostels/bnbs and even 3 restaurants!, and a bar with oh gosh no music.

Roadtrip through bulgarian mountains felt simply "Majestical". These views of wilderness just made to think about “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” - we could survive in Bulgaria as wild people the same as in NZ (movie based). And at the same time passing through the villages where the only real income job was wood cutting for the winter, made me to hear the “Twin peaks” theme song everytime passing those big heaps of firewood. I was glad that we chose to travel to mountains during the autumn season - the colors and weather - just simple majestical. 

With my personal observations, I found possible answer simply - my background,  I come from a bit similar historically country than being just from western culture. I see it that way - eastern Europeans didnt have such things and consumerism as western culture in mid 20th century. Eastern Europeans longer lived a bit “back in the past” comparing to the west. And these people who still live in these villages they are very down to earth, simple, kind and close to nature people who do not thrive to get the newest iphone or amazing kitchen gear which helps you to make dinner easier! They do a lot by themselves, some might live very poorly, some poor comparing to for example of swedish small village with 2000inhabitants - hardly to imagine that that many people would be fine with no car, no tv, no wifi, and no much more extras but only what they got and trading with other villagers. Local said its poor living, but yet they live more what we westerners call now - organic, ecological, homemade, homegrown, etc While we still buy tomato in local supermarket in winter… Eh. Anyway, its a bit too much to discuss. 

The last 12km. That road seemed that we are in trouble! Somehow we managed to push our little car those 10km, but somewhere between 10th and 11th km we understood that is a no! Called up to our host in the middle of nowhere in a place ha calls “Forest Utopia” to come rescue us. He arrived with a big high jeep “Yup, that’s the car we need for these roads!”. We all laughed a bit but he was more surprised that we somehow got that far! Funny fact that Iphones map was misleading us to take an old forbidden and fallen apart road which used to be a shortcut through the wilderness…and maybe would get at our destination 2h earlier … if that road existed. Now it was hiking path. Android gps worked better(even I didnt have any access to mobile network or wifi)! As we were not really introduced to Bulgarian roads, for a while we were discussing if that off road really is the way to take, because back in head our typical stereotype worked on us thinking something from “well, eastern europe has bad roads”. We didnt risk, we took which seemed a detour, but turned out to be the exact road with driving really high up in mountains, breathing fresh air, taking foggy photos and passing a small village Manistir which I cant find on google or information, which seemed to be like the highest built village ever. The host said it was really high over the sea level, I remember hearing four digit number, but on google it doesnt show up. I can only find nearest “village” Banite which is 681m over sea level, population around 1000 inhabitants.

Eh, anyway, these are just photos which I took from straight through passengers seat’s window from the car, many photos even didn’t “turn out well”, as I was a bit dealing with “try to remember manual” (I dont use my camera that much as I used to), so, got some over exposed and blurry, and too speedy! In overall it is enough with what I got - I have great memory photos of the nature, and there are 3vfrom whole bunch of mountain road photos which I am really happy about as they seem to be the ones I always have wanted to get from while on the mountain adventure. :)


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