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Rhodopean Explorer, Friday, May 31, 2019
After yesterday’s tour to Devil’s Throat and almost dying on the way, we are heading out of Trigrad today. The plan is to visit a small mountain village, somewhere in the Rhodopes.
Sunrise over Trigrad
We are starting the day by putting Evo’s driving skills to the test while trying to find a suitable spot for our sunrise shooting. Somewhere up that mountain would be good; however, it turns out the road is not safe enough for us to continue.
At least not with this car; if it had a higher clearance, it would work out just fine here. But not as it is.
My first thought when Evo tells me that we have to go back is that he will attempt to drive backward on a narrow, steep road with the abys right next to us. Well, he might have crazy ideas sometimes, but not that crazy. Though turning the car around here is not much less scary. Luckily I don’t have to do the driving. Of course, he gets it done, and we are soon off in the opposite direction to find a spot overlooking Trigrad.
Very soon after this, we find the perfect spot. My first impression is that we will stay down by the road to take our photographs, but Evo tells me to take my hiking poles. So apparently we are up to hike the steep mountainside. We call this a proper adventure tour. With a little bit of guidance and help, I make it up to our chosen viewpoint, where we await the sunrise.
Once more, time passes incredibly fast, and since we are losing the color in the sky, it is time to pack up and go back to the guesthouse for breakfast. Tasty pancakes with yogurt and fresh strawberries are waiting for us.
Our host tells us a little more about the area. Since she is talking in Bulgarian, I don’t understand a word, but Evo translates it later.
When our host is not working at her guesthouse, she is a teacher at the nearby school. Only nine pupils attend it, and it was supposed to be closed down a while ago, for the children to take the bus to the next town and attend school there. However, the parents challenged the decision since they did not want their children to take the bus through the gorge with frequent rockfalls occurring, just like the one we experienced almost too close yesterday. As with many rural areas, younger people have moved from Trigrad to larger towns for work already.
Leaving for the mountain village
After breakfast, we have a little bit of time left to rest before we have to pack up our stuff and leave. This time we travel farther west, though I promised not to tell the village’s name or location. Yes, I am lucky I get to go there, and it is a lovely place. However, if tourist bus operators added it to their stops, it would lose much of its charm.
Since I decided not to refill our water bottles at the guesthouse, we have to stop along the road at one of those wells. What a wonderful tradition. This spring even comes with a view. There is a waterfall close by, and I cannot resist going down there for my explorations with my camera. Yes, we have time for that too! While the weather is not ideal for this type of photography – I would have appreciated a few clouds – I still enjoy it to the maximum. Maybe I can come back to this spot one day when the weather is more suitable, but for now, I am satisfied with what I am getting.
Soon I find myself climbing over rocks and stones along the river. I love the sense of freedom that this little excursion within the adventure is giving me. However, did Evo even spot where I went? Not that he starts preparing a search and rescue operation for me. I cannot have that.
After a few more photos, I am heading back to the car, where I find Evo enjoying some of the strawberries from breakfast. Yes, our host was so kind as to allow us to take the leftover food with us.
Sightseeing along the road
It feels that we have only gone a few kilometers further down the road when I spot a sign to another Devil’s bridge. That would be a nice detour, would it not? Evo asks a local woman for directions, but it turns out we would have to hike for an hour to get there. Today we do not have the time to do that. However, I will return, and maybe then we can add this spot to the itinerary?
Nevertheless, there are other photo opportunities right next to the road.
It is late in the afternoon when we arrive at our new destination. Unfortunately, however, the weather has changed a bit for the worse. Instead of heading out for the sunset, we spend a relaxing afternoon indoors.
Did I mention that I love being here?
Tomorrow we have another early morning.