Turkey & Bulgaria

May 23rd - June 6th, 2003

Blagoevgrad & area

*Rila Monastery

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May 27th

After breakfast Christina and Inger went back to the square while Matt went to the office for a bit. They did some shopping and Inger did some sketching. I was still feeling rather rough from my cold so I stayed behind and supervised the dog wars, also known as the jealousy Olympics. They got a little carried away, so I had to separate them for a bit. Had just let them out again before Christina and Inger returned. I finally finished reading the novel (Ventus) I read most of on the plane and just had a hundred or so pages to finish, but it took me till now.

We ordered in lunch from the place we'd gotten the lasagna our first night here (salata--a traditional Bulgarian salad of tomatoes and cucumber, with shredded white cheese on top, and a rice mixture). When Matt got home we got the friendly taxi driver Rossen (spelling?) and he drove us a few kilometers north and east through lovely hills and forest to Rila Monastery.

Rila MonasteryThe main courtyard of Rila Monastery.


It's a huge place, wooden and all plastered and murals everywhere. We wandered through it, looking at the murals outside the central church.


One side of the monasteryA side view of the monastery. Note the mountains behind--a lovely setting.


Mural detailA detail of one of the multitude of murals outside the main church. I was charmed by the dragons vomiting water.


They were in the midst of a service and so we quietly went inside. Matt bought us each a candle to light. The carvings and murals inside are really amazing, but best of all was the singing/chanting of the monks doing the service. A sound really unusual and harmonic, complicated and yet simple at the same time. I could have listened forever.

The place is dark with stained wood, and yet even on a grayish day light came in and lit the big crucifix. Some of the murals had silver metal for the halos, and several, oddly, for the figures' right hands, too. We weren't allowed to take photographs inside, and I didn't get the tour book, so I don't have anything to show for that. Alas, the museum had just closed, too, so we didn't get inside that.

It was a lovely place, and the setting gorgeous, too.

After a cup of tea we drove back to Blagoevgrad and I slumped in the chair. I don't know if it's jetlag or the cold that has gotten to me, but I don't have enough energy to shake a stick, much less figure out what to shake it at.

The evening was spent sorting, packing, and making sandwiches for dinner.

Bulgaria - 03.05.26 § Les Semaines Index § Bulgaria - 03.05.28

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