Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Kapinovo Part 1

The Monastry's Bell Tower
It was a lovely day the other day, just right for going for a day out. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold. We felt that we had done enough in the garden to start preparing for winter and deserved a day off. Apart from which we haven't been walking since much earlier in the year. The only problem which not doing something for a while you then hae to decide where you want to go. Do you opt for somewhere that you have been before, and see if it has changed, or do you try for somewhere completely new. If it is new does anyone know how to get there.

We decided that we would head for Kapinovo monastry and have a nose round there. Looking on the map it didn't look much further on from the camp site at Dragizhevo, so how hard could it be to find. The first order of the day was to stock up on essential supplies. So it was into Gorna for a cappuchino and a kebab, which might not be to everyone's taste. The kebab is stuffed full of all that you need, and we do know of a nice coffee shop not far from the kebabery.  So fed and watered it was time to set off.

The first part of the journey was quite easy, as we had all done that part of the trip many times before. It was when we got to Tserova Koria that we started getting problems. I have to admit that much of it was my own doing. I foolishly tried to use logic, in that Kapinovo monastry is bound to be in or near Kapinovo. Well it made sense to me. I had even looked on Google maps and there was a road from Kapinovo to the monastry, all you had to do was keep the river Veselina on your  right hand side. So we entered the village and took the right hand turn and followed the road down past some houses and the cemetary. Then we started heading into farmland and a farm track. At that point I wasn't too concerned as there was another car parked beside the track, and the occupants were out picking up the heads of sunflowers that the harvesters had missed. Then the track seemed to have a bit of a water hazard that stretched for a good forty feet. At that point I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and that we would head back to where a signpost had been spotted in Tserova Koria. Just as we got back into the centre of kapinovo there was a signpost pointing to the monastry. Brilliant, I thought so we started following that. We were still in the village and the road was getting bad, it slightly improved before getting worse again as we reached the outskirts. Fortunately for us just at that moment who should appear but Dimitar the taxi driver. For anyone who doesn't know him this is one of the best people to know and is always willing to help people. We asked if we were on the right road for the monastry, to which he said yes but he would travel that route in anything less than a 4x4. He suggested that we turn round and follow him and he would put us on the right path.

Oooooo Look A Monastry
Where would we be without the likes of Dimitar? He set off with us in pursuit, back into Tserova Koria and follow the sign that was there in the first place. We followed him through a village with an odd name Pchelishte, definitely a case of say it don't spray it with that one. We went out the other side and Dimitar pulled over at a junction, and gave us directions on how to continue our journey. So Dimitar if you are reading this, thank you we would never have found it the easy way without your help. So following the instructions we even passed another monastry, which we will safe for another day out. Through yet another village, Velchevo, which really did look very well kept, and off into even more countryside. Eventually we passed under an iron arch and we were almost there.

Looking at the pool area and hills
We parked up outside a cafe and ordered coffees, as we were in need of them by then. No coffees were available, so we had to make do with cold drinks. Being hardened 'explorers' we were glad of that coffee in Gorna earlier. So there we were drinking our cold drinks in the shade looking out over a rather nice pool complex. Maybe next summer this will come in handy when thinking of somewhere different to take the family when they come over. It does seem nicely set out there, and it looks like it is an ongoing  project with plenty of money being ploughed into the site. Now I wonder which organisation might be behind something like this, I doubt that it is the church.

The Entryway Mural
A Close-up
Still we had braved the wilds to come and see the monastry, and so we headed off down the hill towards it. It is quite an impressive building when you look at it from the outside, and it is in wonderful surroundings. You can't really miss the mural surrounding the entryway, and the colours are so fresh that it must have recently been redone. I am guessing that there are specialists who do this, as I can't really imagine a monk up a ladder with a paint kettle and brush. Still stranger things have happened at sea as my old Chief used to say. We did make it through the entryway and into the courtyard, we could hear voices but they didn't hear us. Maybe if they did they chose to ignore us, but we decided not to disturb them. From what we saw it looked as though everything was very well kept. People keep on saying about the Rila monastry, but these smaller ones certainly have a charm all of their own. By all accounts you can even stay at this monastry, maybe they have cheaper rates than the holiday camp at the top of the road. We continued our journey down the hill, following the road, the silence only disturbed by the droning of bees and the wheezing of a Trabant as it attempted to climb the hill. Lower down we could hear the sounds of the river, and we were pleasantly surprised to find Blackberries, even if they weren't ripe.



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  2. There is another road to the monastery which is really scenic but only good for a 4x4. The time I did it with our choir it was midnight after a meal at the waterfall and the road was full of potholes and only a rough track used by the wood lorries. Prior to that, we did it in daylight with our taxi driver who took us to the Rockfest held there and it was beautiful although we had a slight delay while a wood lorry loaded up! We returned the more civilised way through Velchevo which is the way you went. I wonder how many other folk have had problems finding it!

    1. The main problem that we had with finding it was very poor sign posting, and also trying to imagine that Kapinovo monastry was actually in or near to Kapinovo itself. It was worth the trip though. :)

  3. Down in the backwoods and yonder...lo and behold;an old Bulgarian Monastery!