September 22 - October 10, 2011
BALKANS
TURKEY , BULGARIA,  MACEDONIA, ALBANIA,
 MONTENEGRO,CROATIA, BOSNIA,SERBIA
Group Journal
Day 07 Bulgaria  on to Macedonia -  Sept. 28, 2011 Wednesday
Itinerary:
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria  Hotel: 28.09.2011 overnight Oosogovo Monastery, Macedonia  

Click here for ►Day 08 Sept. 29,2011 MACEDONIA

We had free time in the morning. some chose to have a long breakfast and finish their laundry. Some were more adventurous, they chose to take the public transportation to the city center and do some more sightseeing. Carol wanted to add a doll to her collection. so she was off early in the morning, Not only did she get a wonderful doll , but she was able to run through the national art museum which was closed yesterday. By 11:00 AM our luggage was loaded and we were ready to hit the narrow roads of Bulgaria again. Today we will drive to Rila monastery. then we have our border crossing and we will stay overnight in Macedonia. One thing we will remember about the Bulgarian country side is how green and lush it is around the narrow roads. The orange mark on the map shows how we traveled through the country from the Black Sea coast in the east to the Macedonian mountains in the west.

      

As we were climbing the mountain, the bus slowed down. None of us expected a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. But Stefan, with his usual polite attitude, assured us that we would love the food here. The fish just caught  from the river by the restaurant was not only really fresh but it was so delicious. We loved it.
Our next stop is Rila monastery, Bulgaria's most famous landmark, situated in the magnificent Rila Mountain.
The warning about how to dress or not to dress at the monastery made it very clear about how we should be dressed.


The monastery was established in 865 AD. The buildings which are now  at the site were restored in the 17th century. Once upon a time there were more than 1000 monks working/living here. During the communist era the number of monks decreased tremendously. Today they have not more than 10 monks working here.

We had to take a local guide to go visit the museum. She was a very serious lady and had no tolerance for questions . We appreciated the information she had given to us, but her body language had reminded us of the SS guardians.

She did not like hearing my comment about a bishop's costume being identical to my grandma's wedding dress.



After we left the monastery, we started driving down the hill. About 20 minutes after we left the monastery a tour member realized that she had left her journal. the driver could not find a place to turn back so we drived all the way to the bottom of the mountain, and stopped at a village.  Like a miracle , we saw a car . Stefan quickly explained the owner of the car that we need to drive up the mountain and fetch the journal book. The car was immediately unloaded and off we went back to get the book. The rest of the group found a place to shop. The lucky shop keeper was very happy when we returned with the journal.

Tonight we will stay overnight in Macedonia Osogovo monastery.

Click here for ►Day 08 Sept. 29,2011 MACEDONIA