His wheelchair contained a large tray and on it was quite a spread of people’s half eaten lunches, drinks, chicken drumsticks and other pieces of food. He was mentally off for sure – he had a big smile on his face – both hands clenched partially eaten pieces of meat and his face was buried in someone’s salad. Beautiful people – all well dressed were walking by. The contrast of this visual was extreme.
Needing to get out in the country in a big way – I fled the city and headed for the mountains above Rila – about a 2 hour drive from Sofia. First I stopped at the amazing Rila Monastery – admission is free and one can wander about at his leisure. This is a very calming spot that is surrounded by tall mountains and pine tree forests – the air is fresh and clean.
I walked up to the top of the tower for good views – a tower that was built in 1335 and is one of the original remaining structures. The inside of the main church is extremely ornate, glittering with bronze and surrounded by colorful ancient hand painted frescoes.
Bulgaria is in part known for its trekking and mountain scenery – testament to the number of tour companies offering treks and arranging hikes. After the monastery I immediately set off on trails into the mountains for a couple of hours. More to follow!