So much life and beauty in the garden.
Alper took our goats, Dennie and Monnie, down to meet the herd as usual in the morning and then spent the day wandering the fields with Razim. It helped that Razim is Turkish Bulgarian so he and Alper could chat in Turkish.
Just over an hour’s drive from Wild Thyme is the archaeological site of Madara. It is the unique carving of the horse and rider that has earned world heritage status for this site, but there are many other archaeological treasures here.
The Madara horseman is a stone carving high up on the cliff face and is surrounded by Greek inscriptions commemorating the victories of three Bulgarian Tsars from the 8th and 9th centuries AD. The ruins of their capitals at Pliska and Veliki Preslav are just down the road but here at Madara was their cult centre.
There are temples and other ritual sites which date from the old Bulgarian period just before the conversion to Christianity. It was already a special place before this time and the eerie rock face and caves were used by the Thracians for temples. The museum exhibits some of the Thracian finds which includes a marble slab carved with the signs of the zodiac.
Later on, the cliff face was peppered with caves used by Christian hermits and the plateau above the cliff was the site of a medieval fortress. Occupied over so many centuries, it is easy to see why Madara has earned the title ‘the Bulgarian Troy’.
You can drive yourself to the site or join a Wild Thyme guided archaeological tour.
The Tall Ships are coming to Varna between 30 April and 3 May 2014. We missed the event in Derry, my home town, a few years ago so we're excited about it coming to Varna, only 2 hours from Wild Thyme. The Black Sea is a beautiful stretch of water with an amazing coastline, wonderful nature and historic cities with interesting archaeology.
There will be 50 Tall Ships taking part which will be an amazing spectacle. From Bulgaria, there will be Kaliakra and Royal Helena and Mir, Kruzenshtern, Sedov and Nadezhda from Russia.
We have just been featured in an article on ‘Bulgaria: Ethical Farmstays’ in Guardian Travel. Be sure to read to the end!
Thanks to Kapka Kassabova who wrote the article. Kapka is the author of a wonderful book, ‘Street without a name’, about being brought up under communism in Bulgaria and her subsequent return visit to the country after living many years abroad.