Friday, July 8, 2011

Just another day in Bulgaria

Rila Monastery
Now that I am slightly more rested and sitting in the conference this morning I think a little better to be able to write this. Being in Bulgaria is much different than being in Romania, and one of the biggest reasons for this is the language. Bulgarian uses the cyrillic alphabet and is very close to Russian. Romanian uses the Roman alphabet and many of the words you can figure out. This makes finding any building a challenge. While many people speak English, the signs are usually only in Bulgarian. 

That being said, yesterday was a relief because after sleeping in and having a nice lunch, we hopped in our air conditioned van with another driver and headed to Rila Monastery. According to everything we had read, it was a “must see.” I think it took about 2 hours to get there, but the drive was really pretty, full of mountains and villages along the way. 
Fountain of youth perhaps?

painted murals outside of the main church
It was worth the drive; the monastery was very beautiful situated in a valley of some nearby mountains. This UNESCO world heritage site was founded sometime in the 10th century by the students of a hermit named Ivan of Rila.  In a nutshell, this monastery was a hub for education and Eastern Orthodox practice. It is still an active monastery and you can even spend a night there, although it was kind of creepy so I wouldn't suggest it. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Veal and mushrooms

St. George Lamb
After the drive back and somewhat of a nap, mom and I decided to go to a traditional Bulgarian restaurant. We decided on lamb, veal, and a homemade cake that really wasn’t a cake but more of layers of pudding with fruit dispersed that we affectionately called rabbit. Overall, it was a day full of food and learning.
Homemade Cake