|Left this am for Rila and mountains and monastery...sky is once again overcast, and rain seems to be the order for the day...a good day to travel...
We had a great trip to Rila village/monastery...Sophia has a wonderful trolley system amd the place we're staying, Hostel Mostel, is close to everything via trolley,bus,or Metro!
Hiking here is what's happening in my opinion. We got here to stay the night and found no cheap, or even reasonable accomodation...ended up in the monastery just because it was the only place really avail...$15 US no food,sagging beds,no shower or hot water...the bare nec. and very unhelpful monks! I think we are too early for the cheap stuff which is open in June mostly for Bulgarians, any traveler would be wise to hike out to camp in a trail shelter...we have no sleeping bags so...
The monastery was started by St. Ivan Rilski back in the 9th century and has been a pilgrimage destination ever since, although now days things look a bit dowdy from the looks of buildings in the vicinity of the monestary...the monestary itself is well maintained - a world heritage site. It is a huge place, beautiful Orthodox Christian paintings and handcarved cathedral sanctury, but not a friendly atmosphere! Monks mostly ignore you even when you might need help with accomodation questions.
But the hikes were terrific, scenery is splendid, and fresh air, water/rushing streams, snow capped peaks, all very accomodating, ha!
Fresh fried donuts where the food highlite w/ powdered sugar! And Mari saw lots of birds! Some new life-listers. Flowers too and all that goes with them (insects!)
Left on bus direct back to Sofia at 3 pm next day