Monday, 27 June 2011

Elena a Great Place to Visit

I can't believe I forgot the camera, DOH!!!!!!! On Sunday we decided to go to the car boot at a (what we thought was local) camp site. I have been wanting to go for over a year & finally we had an opening. Bev & Norman came to pick us up & as we drove off I realised I had left it along with my mob at home, still thinks I, we are just up the road! Wrong!!! We went to the campsite we thought was Camping VT & the moment of dread when a guy who does not speak English (first indication) stares at us then gesticulates when I am repeating car boot, Car boot, with a questioning lifting of my arms (as the Bulgarians do) &after guessing well no cars in sight means no car boot, Intelligent me, Bugger! After trying to find out if there is another near by I managed to understand this was the only place around, so phoned Pete & Claire for directions. Well we went the right way but still managed to get lost & went way past where we should have :( I was very disappointed but we went as far as Elena, another place I had wanted to visit for about 6 yrs. We saw, what we took as a hotel, umbrellas high up & decided this could provide coffee. Bev being very observant saw some steps & up we all climbed, hundreds of them, well it felt like hundreds :D Thankfully it was a cafe & we managed to get a reviving cup. Even though it looked like a hotel bar & outside was a very nice above ground pool with umbrellas, it was infact under a block of flats! That's Bulgaria for you :D & one of the peculiarities I love about this country, the normal rules do not apply here D Anyway we spent what was left of the day in Elena which was lovely & we definitely be going back again to spend a longer time there.
 The belfry of the patron, "Nativity of Mary"virgin birth church -town of elena
Nigel & I found a little Orthodox church "The Nativity of  the Virgin" church, after walking through a little bell tower, which is a separate building. Walking through the old open doorway leads into a lovely church yard with one of the best kept headstones I have seen. The stones all had china cameo's embedded into them with photo's of the deceased. Some held whole families others husband & wives, a really lovely tradition which no doubt keeps these people's memories alive. The church was being looked after by a family, Baba, grandaughter & dad, who was potting flowers, & as people came in to worship we looked around the very well cared for building with its perfectly clean interior. The paintings were vibrant & enchanting the carer's friendly with bright smiles. It was also the first little church I have seen with a huge pulpit high in the heavens made out of beautifully carved wood reminiscent of the wood carvings in Bali. The upper level had vaulted arched ceilings, a magnificent architecture. There were also lots of really old huge leather bound books maybe prayer books & or Bibles, difficult to tell as I didn't want to handle them too much they were soooo old, wonderful. I didn't light a candle for my brother as I don't believe in praying for the dead, once gone it's too late to change your mind & no amount of someone else praying for your soul is going to change that.
Nigel was by now very hungry so we found a little pizza & grill below a hotel on the main drag. The service was very good & even though the waitress didn't speak English & the menu was in Cyrillic with no photo's we managed with the little knowledge I have of the alphabet to order a really tasty pizza & off course a shopska salad with no onions along with coffee's & very nice it was too. We had noticed an open doorway to a garden behind it & Nigel had seen a huge bust of a preisty man, as he puts it. He also noticed people coming & going so after we went to investigate a little out of the way garden & all its secrets it held.
File:Ilarion Makariopolski House.jpg
The memorial house of Ilarion Makariopolski
This house is well worth a walk round, perfectly preserved & sparsely furnished as it would have been, each room in its own original setting. The fire places amazing, the rooms huge & the windows letting in so much light. A wonderful balcony where you can imagine them sitting drinking cafe in the hot summers day then having their siesta with the breeze cooling them. Loved this house. There is a small museum in what was the basement with photo's & manuscripts. Also an area with religious paintings with Jesus & Mary actually looking how they probably did with dark skin black eyes big ugly noses etc not the long blond hair & blue eyes people are fed!!!! Well worth the time spent here a lovely peaceful atmosphere & a beautiful example of a typical Bulgarian revival house :D
Across the road to the house is a cafe that does ice cream Sunday’s, off course we had to try one just so I could let you know, yep well worth the 2 lev yum!
So even though we didn't get to the car boot we had a really enjoyable day & will be going back just as soon as we can.

The mountain town of Elena has a unique museum set up on 2 Doino Gramatik Street.
Throughout time, the house became the birthplace of three great Bulgarians. Ilarion Makariopolski was a fighter for Orthodox Church independence in Bulgaria. His brother Nikola Mihailovski became the leader of the Bulgarian National Movement during the revival period. Nikola’s son, Stoyan Mihailovski, in turn became a poet.
The house brags both a rich collection and outstanding architecture. Made of wood and stone, work on it ended in 1710. Two staircases lead to the second floor, one covered and one open-air.
Napreduk (progress) library club was founded in one of the rooms in 1863.
Taken from

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