Stuck in Smolyan

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of Bulgaria  , Smolyan,
Thursday, July 29, 2010

We stop at a supermarket en route to Smolyan (mm, bread and cheese for dinner. Again.) only to be hassled for money by a determined kid who clings to the car window as we drive off. Judging by his sudden grin, he was thrilled to be photographed, although his less impressed mother shook her fist at us.

We got in to Smolyan at 10pm and then spent half an hour driving in disoriented circles until we found a street sign. Not only does our hostel actually exist, but also has friendly staff who show us to our own apartment, decked out in pristine 70's furniture. The chairs and beds are covered in something that resembles a long haired dog and instantly sets Bevan sneezing.

Smolyan as a town seems to have close to no sights of interest. The town was created as a centre during communist times when all the country people in the region were shipped into Smolyan for purposes of 'centralisation'. Which explains all the high rise grey concrete - even the beautiful mountain setting doesn't manage to improve it much.
It is just as hard to navigate out of Smolyan as in and another half an hour on the smashed up roads had us in a state of extreme frustration. Not a town we will return to. Ever.

As well as rock formations, the area is full of caves, rivers and waterfalls. We stopped at Devils Throat Cave - which combines the best of both worlds as a cave with a waterfall inside. We had to wait an hour to join the compulsary guided tour - in Bulgarian. The cave is deep and the concrete and handrail path crosses the underground river in a cloud of mist and water spray before leading us out the back of the cave where the rushing water has carved interesting shapes into the rocks.
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