My dearest Summer... we love you very much... and the way you enchant our days, fill them with warm sun-rays, with adventures, with new stories.
It was with this thought that I awoke surrounded by village's morning bird ensemble (there's no better start to the day, but this) and that intoxicating feeling of time standing still. How nice it is and how I don't want this feeling to leave me... it reminds me of summers in the countryside when I was a child. The best time...
I jumped out of bed, dressed impatiently, got dressed (in a rustic way), greeted the storks from the nest in the opposite tree, and said: Let's go! No specific direction, no plan... let's just drive, enter the wilds of Strandzha mountain, and for sure we will find our way...
So it happened. It's good to have someone to hang out with me :)
We are traveling. The road winds dizzyingly & beautifully, the forest "talks" silently, skillfully entwining above our heads with the crowns of its trees the most beautiful tunnel of patterned shade and greenery. Wonderful!
No need to talk to each other. It happens just accidentally that one of us exclaims: ohhh, how beautiful! The other agrees and there is silence again.
Et voilá, a village called Bulgari. We decide to pass trough very very slowly and look around. Suddenly we find ourselves in the center of the village. Wide "megdan", spacious, clean, neat. Nice village, I tell myself. If in the morning it seemed to me that time had stopped, then here this feeling is stronger than ever. I turn and what to see! An extremely beautiful church, and in front of it, on the only bench, an elderly man with a hat and a cane was sitting calmly. It seemed like a scene from a movie. I exclaim that we must stop in front of the church. I quickly get down - barefoot, of course - and immediately sit down next to him. I often treat strangers like I've known them for 100 years. I fell for my dad, he was the same. We immediately strike up a conversation, and I, like a child, start asking about the village, about it, about life here, about the past...
From a lively village of 700 inhabitants, there are now only 25, mostly elderly people. Empty and sad, I told myself. The young people got married years ago, he tells me, they all ran to the cities, to Sofia, to abroad. The youngest in the village is a few years younger than him and that's what they call him - The Young :)
We chatted a little more, looked at the church, very beautiful - both inside and outside. We turned around a little more, thanked for the good weather, wished each other a nice day and health. We left with the hope that, when we return next year, we will find him alive and well, so that we can talk again.
On the road again. Fields and expanses open up, we listen to music, and I am happy. I always wanted to have the freedom to allow myself to wake up one day, get up and just go where my eyes can see without thinking or planning, just like today. Simple things, but priceless.
Of course, I always have a bag of clothes in the trunk of the car, just in case, as it's said :)
We stopped on the way, took pictures, laughed, changed clothes, had fun, reflected on life, the Bulgarian village, the mountains, nature and how much it has given us. I collected a great wild bouquet and let my soul get free.
It was super fun at this abandoned gas station near the village of Gramatikovo :) We couldn't pass it by, we couldn't not take a picture. We are appreciators. Although it is very sad to see such decayed, abandoned and ruined surroundings...
Until we reached the village of Kosti. As soon as I entered, I was impressed by the beautiful red tractor, and on the opposite sidewalk, an elderly woman sitting on the bench in front of her house, watching us curiously. I circled around this dignified red handsome man, even his owner appeared, but he didn't want us to take a picture together, I probably embarrassed him, but he was super nice, friendly and smiling. And we exchanged a few stories with him. About the tractor ("it's in motion, only one semi-axle needs to be fixed"), about the village, how to get to the river, things like that...
A moment later I'm already on the opposite sidewalk talking to grandma Tonka. Sweetie. She lives alone, the grandpa passed away, the kids have not been in the village for a long time. The grandkids are also in Sofia. She immediately agreed to take a picture, we even bought honey from her, a wonderful one. We chatted a little more, and she promised me that next year she would meet me again on the bench - alive and well.
We wished it too and headed for the river as instructed by our man with the red tractor. We were so engrossed in small talk that I didn't even think to ask him his name. Well, maybe next time.
We stopped the car at the top of the bridge and walked down. An absolute jungle - wild and beautiful. We burned ourselves on nettles, jumped over thorn bushes and got stung a few times, but who cares - we're great!
And the river, the river is like a fairy tale... full of told stories that have to be told..