I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but it’s June. Already. June of 2018. Yesterday it was 1998 and I was sitting my a-levels, driving a knackered orange Fiesta with a broken speedometer, and planning an award-winning career as a foreign correspondent (or stage actress, or firefighter, or wife of any member of the Prodigy). Now it’s 2018 and I can practically hear time whooshing by my ear. ‘Sleeveless dresses? At your age?’ time whispers as it whooshes by my left ear. ‘You probably need a hip replacement,’ it whooshes by my right.
Still, it’s summer, which is good for the joints. (But not so good for the eyeballs. I just saw my neighbour working in the garden wearing nothing but a pair of speedos and a bumbag.)
My folks visited us last week and we made the most of the beautiful summer weather with trips to Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Etar, Dryanovo Monastery and Troyan Monastery (staying in VT for a couple of nights as a base). You know what’s coming next, don’t you? It’s the Holiday Bore slideshow. Pass the mini gherkins, Margo…
Being the marvellous host that I am, I dragged my poor family around all MY favourite places in Sofia: Made in Blue for food, the University Botanical Garden and Maxi Mania (the giant second-hand clothes shop under the covered market). Very fun it was, too (for me).
|Inside Made in Blue restaurant. Everyone else was eating in the charming garden, obviously.|
|More hot garden action. The gold dome of Alexander Nevski Cathedral shining behind.|
Etar is very sweet and worth visiting if you’re in the Gabrovo region. It’s an open-air museum/village thing with traditional craftspeople making and selling their wares. So, basically, more shopping. Egg mayonnaise vol-au-vent?
|You can’t tell from this photo but there were a gazillion Italian tourists at Etar.|
On the way back from Etar to VT, we stopped in at Dryanovo Monastery and Bacho Kiro cave (which are right next to each other). It wasn’t my favourite cave in Bulgaria (we are quite the cave connoisseurs), but definitely worth a look if you’re passing. The surrounding scenery is beautiful. And the monk in the monastery lets you fill up your own bottles with holy water, which is fun. Twiglet?
|As one of our neighbours says, Dryanovo Monastery has ‘very good energy’.|
|Surrounding scenery. We saw snakes in the river.|
We took very few pictures of VT, probably because we’ve been there a few times now. (VT old town is pretty but we prefer Plovdiv for old-town shizzle and Sofia for, you know, civilisation.) But I did buy a very nice green lamp and we had some ruddy good food, so it’s all good. Here, have a slice of Viennetta.
Lastly, we went to Troyan Monastery on the way home, mainly so I could indulge my pottery fetish in the craft museum next door. (Have I mentioned what a good host I am? Give, give, give, that’s me.) In what can only be described as a fit of madness, I bought no pottery whatsoever.*
*Four egg cups and a serving plate. But, for me, that’s nothing.
|They’re in the process of tarting up Troyan Monastery, and doing a very fine, very sympathetic job.|