‘’Rose festival’’ in Bulgaria. Traditions, beauty, fine flavors and many more in 2 wonderful weekends.

One of main symbols of Bulgaria is rose. It’s because producing of rose oil is so popular in the Central-southern part of the country which is called ‘’The valley of roses’’. Kind of capital of this valley is city of Kazanlak where every year in the end of May and beginning of June there are big celebrations of rose picking period. This rose festival already started with few events during weekends. For example this weekend (27 and 28 May) in two villages around Kazanlak will be shown the ritual of picking the roses with all the singing, dancing and old-school producing of rose oil. Other nice attraction in the region will be balloon flights around the dam Koprinka and above rose fields and also horse riding, paragliding and many more! In the center of Kazanlak traditionally will be situated a big open market of rose products.

The main part of the festival will be from 2 to 4 June when there will be a big international folklore festival and a big local beauty competition for ‘’Miss Rose’’. There will be also many more cultural attractions like children singing competitions and rose wine festival.

If the idea to visit this wonderful event inspired you to come here don’t hesitate to contact me via my Facebook page and I’ll organize all necessary things here for you to have your perfect holiday!

 

Join the magical world of Nestinari – these who dance in fire!

The old ritual Nestinarstvo is saved in Bulgarian folklore for more than two 8207.w625thousand years. It’s a sacral dance on fire of people who were initiated in this and while they are dancing they fall into kind of trance, talking strange things, usually predictions. The most interesting thing is that after the dance which sometimes lasts up to hour, there are no signs of burning on feet of dancers (who are called Nestinari).

The origins of this ritual are in the further past related with our precursors Thrakian tribes and their cult to the sun, and also maybe  with Roman Dionysian celebrations. This fact tells us that originally it’s a pagan ritual, but nowadays the dancers Nestinari are dancing with orthodox icons in their hands. This is because for many years Nestinari ritual was condemned and persecuted by the church, and people who practice it started to dedicate it to Constantin the Great who was proclaimed a saint by the church. So today Nestinari holds the icons of the roman emperor and his mother Elena who are their patrons.

In ancient times just Thrakian kings had the right to perform the ritual of dancing in fire, because they were also the greatest priests of their tribes and only they could be in touch with gods. It was believed that fire is the gate between the two worlds of people and gods.

Today this ritual is traditionally preserved in his natural form just In the south-8202.w625eastern Bulgarian town Bulgari. The best chance to see it is on 3 June. It’s such a big attraction and a lot of people comes here on this day every year. People in that town says that nobody can just learn how to become a Nestinar, it’s a gift that you are born with and a family legacy.

If you want to be part of this amazing event or want some other kind of journey here in Bulgaria just text me in my FB profile and I’ll arrange personal tour in the manner that you prefer!

 

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A journey with steam-powered train through the beauties of Bulgaria

Do you like travelling by train? If yes what you think about being a passenger on a steam-powered train which was produced in the beginning of 20th century. Now imagine that this old iron horse is running through a very picturesque canyon right next to a big river and all of the time view around you is changing in most spectacular manner. Surrounding hills turns from just green slopes into an extreme rough rocks and also there is a place where they looks like mighty tall and white giants. There are also around plenty more small rivers with waterfalls, caves, churches and monasteries plus a lot of cozy small towns.

The exact events when the steam-powered train will be in action is on 8th and 9th April and there will be organized tours with local guides at final points of the route. Actually these two days are holidays (part of the Easter celebrations) for the Ortodox Christian church which is the official religion in Bulgaria so you’ll also have the chance to see how local people celebrate it. Both days train will go on different locations.

The steam-powered locomotive itself is the most powerful machine of that

train journey Bulgariakind in Europe. It weights 150 tons and because of its enormous size is called “Granny Bear”. It was produced in year 1931 and after 55 years of service was abandoned. Then two years ago it was fixed and refreshed and now travels just for official events.

Of course you can take a wonderful train journey here any time, but not with that spectacular machine! You are always welcome to contact me if want to arrange train journey or whatever tour of Bulgaria you prefer. Have a look at my website for more inspirational information!

 

Find out why cycling is the best way of travelling for spring season (and not only) and come to experience it in Bulgaria!

Looks like spring comes again in our beautiful country – Bulgaria. It’s one of most gorgeous seasons here  – everything blooms and becomes colorful, air smells sweet and life starts shining again!

For me it’s the perfect moment to travel by bicycle not only because of all the beauty around, but also by the reason that the temperature in this period is most suitable for the purpose. It’s not too cold and in same time not too hot so you’re not going to sweat and climbing is not that problem!

But maybe if you’re not so keen on cycling you’ll ask “Why choose bicycle instead of car”? There are a lot of reasons. First it’s the best way to observe the world that surrounds you moving with good speed in same time so you can reach objects with big distance between them for short period of time. You can stop rapidly when see something interesting and pay attention on it. Can change the route any time using shortcuts or roads with less traffic. You move from one place to another until you’re cycling tours Sofia, Bulgariaworking for the good look and health of your body and also for a nature with less air-pollution! Another thing is that until in car most of us are just watchers, riding a bike gives you the chance to be part of the process. That’s very important in cases when you’re in a foreign country and feels aside of life there. It gives you also the chance to feel independent and free like a bird (sometimes when I go downhill I can really feel what is to be a creature like that). Also until you ride in a sunny day you have sun baths sometimes without even realizing this because flying air cools your skin.cycling tours Sofia, Bulgaria

At all – if travelling by car is like watching a TV, riding a bike is as real as life. You feel all the things around you – sun, air, road, smells, all the objects and if there are more cyclists around you – the team spirit which is precious!  All that gives you strong motivation and forces to live, inspires you with new ideas and makes your body fit!

So what you choose – real life or watching TV?

If it’s the second one and your destination for doing it is Bulgaria look at the trips I offer and contact me:

Celebrating March in Bulgaria. A pagan tradition allowed by the church!

Hi travelers!

If your next stop these days is Bulgaria it’s great because you’ll witness something very interesting. It’s about the celebration of forthcoming spring which name is “Baba Marta” (Granny Marta where Marta comes from March).  The beginning is on 1 March when nowadays people just buy small red and white figures or bracelets made of threads called Martenitsa and give them to their relatives, wishing them health.martenitsa guide

But in old times things were a bit different and this tradition was not that simple. It was a complex of rituals that every family should follow for the healthy being of himself, his family, livestock etc. By that time rituals started from the previous day (the last day of February), when the house and yard should be perfectly cleaned and the rubbish was burnt in the evening. The funniest part is that according to a book about these rituals, the person who lights the fire should be a child or old woman who hadn’t recently been to a toilet! Also in the evening before 1 March people put a red piece of red cloth on the fence of their house or on a fruit tree somewhere in their yard. They did this to propitiate Granny Marta because according to Bulgarian beliefs this mythological entity could be good or bad, depending to people’s actions. For people in the past this moody behavior explained weather changes in March here.

Scientists believe that these rituals are legacy from ancient times – from the pagan rituals of Thracians. They compare Granny Marta with the ancient Great Mother Goddess and say that there are a lot of similar things between them. For example even the red figure from the present Martenitsa is called Penda which is so close to the name of Thracian Mother Goddess – Bendida. So at all Martenitsa is pagan symbol but through the years Christian church has resigned with this fact that it won’t be strange if you see here a priest who wears it!maartenitsa guide

Just until the first half of 20 century Martenitsa was made by almost every Bulgarian family. In small towns the oldest woman in the family made by wool threats these accessories for every member of their family. It’s her job because she already gave birth to few lives and has needed experience. People believed that creating of Martenitsa is almost equal as importance with giving a birth! The main part of the process is twisting of two wool threads – one naturally white and one red-colored. While she is twisting she said loudly her best wishes for the person that Martenitsa is for. This is cause she believed that she’ll lock down these wishes between the threads by twisting. The wool itself shouldn’t be cut from the sheep, but should be picked from the thorns and bushes of some field.

Nowadays industry, free market and present lifestyle changed dramatically this tradition. Most of today’s Bulgarians buy the Martenitsas  for their relatives from sellers most of whom orders them in China where they are made of all kinds of materials but not a wool. Of course there are sellers who produce the things they sell but again a lot of them don’t use wool. Most popular types of Martenitsa are white and red human-shaped figures connected by a twisted red and white thread. Other popular type (that youngsters prefer) are bracelets made again by twisted red and white threads. Of course the market here is full of all types of Martenitsa and everybody can choose between thousands of different varieties.

So if you come here these days and want to know more about that tradition or how to make your own wool Martenitsa, contact me and I’lll tell and show you (last few years I produce my own homemade Martenitsas for my relatives) what you want. We can also arrange a sightseeing tour in Sofia combined with shopping for Martenitsa all around here. For more info about my trips look  other pages of my website.  http://cyclingguidebulgaria.com/bulgaria/

Vienna passions in Sofia

Hey there! If visiting Sofia these days is in your to do list I want to share with you something that deserves your attention. It’s ‘’Vienna days” that happens here from 8th till 14th February. The main attraction of this event is a retro tram with two wagons that you can use to see Sofia for free. It’s authentic old machine that in the beginning of 20 century crossed the streets of the former kingdom of Bulgaria.

It’s not just the fact that it’s for free. When step in the wooden wagon you’ll be meet and greet by a smiley young girls who will give you a original Austrian waffle and your free ticket. By the time of your ride you’ll listen to an interesting facts about Sofia and Vienna and their relation (unfortunately just in Bulgarian) and also great Viennese waltzes. The journey lasts 2 hours and goes all around the city center so it definitely worth it!

Other part of this celebration is a five meters high transparent heart full with waffles which will be positioned in ‘’Mall  Serdica”. On 11 February will happen the annual Viennese ball, and 13th  and 14th will be conference days in the art halls of Square 500.

Actually Bulgarian-Austrian relations dates back to the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century. By that time our country was newly liberated from Ottoman rule and Vienna had a big cultural influence here. Maybe you’ll notice this when you see most of the oldest buildings in the city center. That’s because they were built mainly from Austrian architects or Bulgarians who had their study in Austro-Hungary.

If you need a guide during your staying here or just somebody to hang with have a look at my website and contact me! I’m still a beginner in tourism and my English is not that perfect so just for now my price for this is – AS YOU CONSIDER!

alternative trips, cycling

Your place for alternative tourism in Bulgaria

Welcome to my site for alternative trips in Bulgaria!

It’s a place for every curious traveler who thinks that there are better ways for travelling than using casual tourist services. And also there are cooler things to do in your holiday than go in a hotel and see nearby sights. Except alternative trips I’ll try to present you here Bulgaria‘s diversity.

I’ll suggest you alternative modes of travel and holiday. A cycling tours, road trips by car and railway journeys mixed with historical and natural landmarks sightseeing, dark tourism, rural tourism, kayaking, camping etc. Also will tell you  interesting facts about Bulgarian traditions, spectacular places, beliefs, ‘’off the grid” places and many more.

If you are interested in doing these types alernative trips you can see my Tours in Bulgaria page. If you already know what kind of objects here you want to visit contact me: