Our wildest Saturday night in Bulgaria yet…

We spent our Saturday in Gorno Draglishte, a small rural township in outback Bulgaria. Not the kind of place you would expect outrageous weekend revelries, or at least so we thought, until we met Baba Yana and Baba Vela…



Gorno Draglishte’s wild Baba’s.



We left the serenity of the Rila Monastery behind this morning, bound for the village of Gorno Draglishte. This small farming community of just 800 souls sits in the Rozlog Valley, between the Rila Mountains and the Piring Mountains. These two impressive mountain ranges run East to West across Bulgaria, effectively cutting the country in half. Both mountain ranges boast peaks around 3,000m and are dotted with ski resorts. It’s not quite ski season yet, but there is definitely snow up above 2,500m. We had great views of the mountains the whole way along during our 3 hour drive today.



Enjoying awesome views of the snow-capped Pirin Mountains.



We arrived in Gorno Draglishte after lunch and had the afternoon to ourselves to explore the village (didn’t take long – there are only 4 roads in town!), and to go hiking through the surrounding hills. We were lucky enough to have a glorious day weather-wise and it was great to stretch our legs and go clambering through the grass and over the hills. We just had to dodge the odd horse, cow, sheep, goat and/or donkey (and their malodorous deposits)!



Welcome to Gorno Draglishte, Bulgaria!



Views back down the valley to the village of Gorno Draglishte.



We went clambering over the hills around the village, dodging cows and horses, sheep and goats.



On one of the hill-tops we found a tiny chapel to admire. The church faced out over the valley below and had views all the way to the Pirin Mountains. A great place to sit and admire God’s handiwork for sure…



We found this tiny chapel at the top of one of the hills.



With vistas across the horizon, this would be a nice place to contemplate God’s work.



Gorno Draglishte sits in the Rozlog Valley, between Bulgaria’s 2 big mountain ranges (Rila and Pirin).



After our ramble through the hills we retreated back to the guesthouse we’re staying in with the rest of our little tour group and enjoyed a late afternoon cup of fresh elderflower tea together. Dinner was served not long after by our generous hosts and included an incredible mixed vegetable stew and a pumpkin flan, all made from the freshly picked produce out of Dashenka’s (our hostess) garden. It was so tasty and good, in a simple down-to-Earth kind of way.



Simple, down-to-Earth living – Bulgarian style.



Replete, warm and happy, we thought the day was wrapping up at this point. How wrong were we! Because it was at this stage that Baba Yana and Baba Vela came in. These 2 Bulgarian great-grandmothers, in their 70s, had heard we were in town and had come to entertain us. They sang a couple of traditional Bulgarian songs for us, which was great. But then the evening took a serious turn for the naff when a bottle of home-made raika came out. This Bulgarian version of schnapps is quite lethal. A couple of generous shots of that and we were defenceless against what Baba Yana and Baba Vela had in store for us next: they brought out a whole range of traditional Bulgarian costumes and dressed us all up like a bunch of goat herders. 



Nothing to see here – move along. It’s just a silly bunch of Bulgarian goat herders.



Another shot of raika each and we were then dancing the Bulgarian polka, twirling around the room like professional goat herders. The best bit was when they found out that none of the men’s costumes fitted Shane and decided to dress him up as a large lady instead. That, ladies and gentlemen, is when I watched my husband turn into a bearded Bulgarian Baba…



You’ll note that this particular Bulgarian baba has a bit of a facial hair problem…



Baba Yana and Baba Vela had us in stitches, telling us Bulgarian jokes (translated by our tour leader) and stories about their life in Gorno Draglishte. We, in turn, shared some good Aussie humour and even sang “Waltzing Matilda” for them. Friends since childhood, these 2 lovely ladies were hilarious. They certainly made our night and gave us all a memory we will treasure forever. 


A night to remember – Bulgarian style!


Categories: Bulgaria

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