Celebrating Proud Bulgarian Heritage
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Where I stayed
Shipka to Zlatograd to Shiroka Laka
What I did
Celebrated Bulgarian Independance Day in Shipka/Boozludja, - Zlatograd for a nights stay -to Shiroka Laka for Kukeri Festival
Groggy an in a daze we waited around to catch a bus to the top of the mountain to the site of the independance and were the notoriouse battle and mounument now stand. Sadly the bus only took us halfway now in a deliriouse state we giggle an sang our way up the snowy sleet like trail, clinging on to one another for warmth and support. All walks of life passed us, men in suits, people with health problems, some young children, elderly, the Bulgarian Nationalists- groups agains Macedonia- groups against Turkish in Bulgaria- the Army.... After this frosty, energy packed event I decided to hike down the back side of the mountain to the Russian Church erected in honor of all the Russian solidures burried here- tracing the steps the soldiers took so long ago... It was a tough trek in the blizzard through all of the frozen rose bushes... but i could only think how much easier we had it because every one had enough Home made wine and Rakia to keep them warm and everyone in passing wishing each other "Chestit Praznik" or Happy Holiday and our quick lunch stop where one random man in our group stopped us all laid some news paper down on the snow and laied out homemade bread- sausage- turchia( pickled vegetables) cheese and so on....
From there we made a trek up to the old communist meeting place also high on top of a peak... resembling a nothing other then a UFO... and well to me also feeling like I was visiting a UFO. Amazingly moving place.. can't quite find the words....
From there we made a journy almost in to Greece to take part in a Spring time festival of Pagan origin. Kukeri is a celebration to ward of evil spirits of winter and to welcome fertility in humans and nature for the spring time. Shiroka Laka was a pre in a quty and quaint little valley village in the Rohdopi mountains. Here we found the un official "mayor" of the town who seemd to have a connection wth everyone had room for us to stay and as he flew his little statue of our flag outside our door and quoted non other then JFK we were welcomed to be at home in his sweet old Bulgarian style village house....