Iglika Palace Hotel
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On the way home, Andie declares it's pub crawl time so we pulled into this low ceilinged pub, for want of a better description. It was essentially someone's rather large lounge room, with an open fire in it and a Bulgarian version of Days of our Lives on the TV screen. As far as pubs go, this one had a wide variety of drinks. Well, it had beer. It was room temperature but cheap, straight from the crate on the floor to your table in 3.2 seconds. At 1.20 ...
We hiked up to Ivan Rila's tomb. Had some time on our own with the ward who introduced us to the tame robins that flew on my hand.
Many Bulgarians come up to this place for religious reasons, leave whishes in the wall, fetch source's water. Interesting to see where the Orthodox Church leaves room for connectedness with nature. I however don't believe that Ivan slept in this cave for 7 years without even preparing himself a mattress.
We tried to venture over from the lift station to Ivan Vazov Hut. We knew that the hut is open and we had food for self-supply with us. There was quite some new snow lately unfortunately after a snow-meagre winter. Later the day bad weather came in that was forecasted to sustain for the following days. All in all reasons for us to buy a ticket on the lift down again and postpone the Rila mountain crossing to a later date.
... Intense vegetables, well bbq-ed but generally the dishes are heavy on meat.
I imagine the Rila forests take long to grow. They have quite some misty microclimate that sometimes allows huge algae-like moss to grow from the branches. Hiker's trails are badly signed though, somteimes it's not easy to navigate.
... No discount when staying many nights though. For booking we needed a native speaker to call (e-mail not found).
Nice walk down to Sapareva Banya, takes a little more than 2 hrs. Walking up to the lift station that brings you to the seven lakes takes 1h20.