The perfect Bloody Mary

In early May, an email arrived asking if we had any horseradish.  ‘A few plants’.  ‘Wonderful, book us in.  We’re on a quest to find the ingredients for the perfect Bloody Mary!’.

So it was that in June we had a crazy week with Matt and Ruben tracking down some horseradish in the village. 

Our neighbours, Anna, Simeonka and Colio and our shepherd Yomeer were all stars of the show.  Colio even had a makeshift cocktail bar pop up in his garden.  He took it all in his stride after a few shots of complimentary vodka! 

And then off Matt, Ruben and their crew went to source tomatoes in Italy and spices in Morroco!

Delighted to receive the videos:

Click here for Palamartsa. 

Click here for Italy, Morocco and Palamartsa!

A highlight for us was seeing Anna and Yomeer’s faces watching the final films in our living room on the laptop!

From the kitchen

Wild Thyme Farmstay

Delicious food all season from the garden – from our first fruit of the season (cherries) to pumpkins!  We’ve also included a photo of what we receive from our neighbours every start of November.

In this beautiful tradition, they spend all day lovingly preparing gifts of food to pass to all the neighbours, in memory of their ancestors.  There’s always a little candle included which we burn and remember ours too!

 

I’m in the garden

So much life and beauty in the garden.

Trip Advisor Award 2015

Award 2015

We are so pleased and amazed. We just heard that we were selected as the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice no 1 bed and breakfast/guesthouse in Bulgaria. Thanks to all our amazing guests who took the time to write reviews for us. It’s wonderful that our little eco-retreat has been acknowledged like this! For full details, click here.
#TravelersChoice2015

Sveshtari Thracian Tomb

  • Sveshtari Thracian tomb
  • Thracian sanctuaries and stronghold
  • Tomb of Demir Baba

The archaeological reserve at Sboryanovo, an hour’s drive away, is one of the highlights of Bulgarian archaeology.

There are hundreds of burial mounds at the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve but one stands out from the rest because it is unique for Thracian archaeology.

It is the Sveshtari tomb which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The tomb is one of the finest Thracian burials in Bulgaria and visitors are allowed entry inside the mausoleum to see the wall paintings and sculptures. 

The Sveshtari mausoleum is perfectly preserved and visitors can stand under the stone arch that marked the doorway of the burial chamber, the threshold between life and death, the gateway to immortality and the realm of the Thracian gods. This was probably the burial of the Thracian king Dromichaetes who is known from ancient Greek sources.

Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes the Thracian practice where the favoured wife of a dead king was chosen to accompany him to the grave. Sure enough when archaeologists discovered this tomb in the 1980s there was a female skeleton alongside the man in the tomb.

There were also skeletons of horses at the entrance and the Thracians were known as skilled warriors, some serving in the cavalry of Alexander the Great. The Thracian horseman indeed became a popular deity in the Roman period and there are many stone carvings of this figure, the image which later became the standard picture of St. George.

These are the most striking remains at Sveshtari but the expansive reserve also contains hundreds of other burial mounds, as well as the remains of long-lived Thracian ritual places and sanctuaries.

There was also a thriving fortified Thracian city.  You can see the remains of this fourth century BC town which It is probably the political and military centre of the local tribe, the Getae. This place was called Hellis and was mentioned by ancient Greek historians.  

Elsewhere in the reserve, from a much later time, you can see the sanctuary at Kamen Rid and there is the seventeenth century tomb of Demir Baba, a mysterious figure revered by an obscure mystical Moslem sect known as the Alevi. The tomb continues to be visited and respected by Moslems and local Christians. It was built into the site of a much earlier Thracian shrine.

Paprika

Wild thyme eco retreat Bulgaria

At this time of year, almost every house in the village has strings of red peppers hanging from every available sunny place.   Such a pretty sight.  When they are all dried by mid to late September, they will be milled to make a delicious fresh paprika.

 

Foraging for mushrooms

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We’ve just had a fun morning foraging for mushrooms in the forest with Mustafa.  The kids loved it.  There are so many varieties of wild mushrooms, from chanterelles to horse mushrooms to ‘mamatarkas’.  They were really delicious cooked in garlic and served on toast for lunch!

Picking mushrooms Wild Thyme Bulgaria