Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I suggest we go to see Shipka’ where the Russian Church is pretty + and may even find English Ronnie with his cars as suggested by Kazan at the Kia garage.

  We travelled thru' Kazanlac to reach this ( tho' I felt we must by pass Kazanlac at first.)  A good very thin YM  helped us to turn round in the right direction, and I had now realised our road, after Shipka,  went on to Gabrovo and Veliko Turnovo.    

Indeed we find the church, very pretty and with silver adornments to spire and other high artifacts. It is possible to spy it in the hills for a few miles as u approach the town. This then is a memorial to the war of approx 1880 where Russia and Bulgaria fought to free Bulgaria from the Turkish ‘occupation’ -- there is a Crypt beneath the church which has details and graves of various ‘worthies’ of the conflict time on display. U are asked to pay for any pics taken also and we did  this by buying from the crypt display cabinets of memorabilia/ trinkets.  It was strange to be examining items in  the displays and to  look up and notice the  rather stern soviet looking woman in her office behind - waiting  to collect your money. 
Outside of the church were the usual stalls but there was no great pressure to buy and a chance to practice Bulgarian. We also took pics around the church. Then we headed down from it’s high situation to see if we could find ‘Ronnie’ . 

Instead we found an English 4x4 and a house/ family; they had moved to to live in BG  some 7 years ago from UK London.

i talked to a young lady through a basement window and  Archie came running out and told me how they, he and his brother, had just begun home schooling and the school at Shipka had beaten them sometimes.  I said sometimes they may have needed the discipline.  Archie also corrected me that he had no sister,for the girl I talked to at first turned out to be Dylan,  his long hair had misled me! 

So Archie would have invited us in and but Mum said they were almost ready to go shopping, so instead we drove on looking for ‘Ronnie”  but did not find him –

Now we were back on the Kazanlack road, and we stopped at a restaurant with one of those natural water springs taken to a tap, and here people regularly pulled in to fill their water bottles with the clear water. All this way side natural water is perfectly free.
My wife ate her sanis in the car, saying why waste money when you could grow your own -  and I , to avoid the starvation and weakness of the Monks went to the restaurant. Here for just 4.40 Leva I had a big swine burger and kartofs and a lettuce leaf and was happy to have an almost full tummy at last!

We are now in Kazanlak and my wife and navigator, finds the market. “Sprit” I shout and go to the end stall with its hardware + elec items. I Point to paving slabs and do, after about 20m trying and using pics of 300mm slabs on bit of tissue from restaurant, at least get the Bulgarian word for ‘Slab’. It is ‘Plozka’    

Next we proceed to where I know there is an old wood yard. Amazingly this as now gone upmarket and is sawing wood to specification. But first I go to shop nextdoor to this selling sand cement etc. I and the man there get on OK considering I have only little Bulgarian and he v. little English. But the technicalities of mortar and concrete are not easy to define this way. However, in 5 minutes his  son who speaks English, arrives on the scene and we make real progress.  Mortar is available ready mixed and we also buy a bag of cement to bring up the strength of the mix as necessary. On the bag are essential words which are difficult to find such as sand cement and telling of mix ratios etc..  Dorrette sits in the car and complains re the heat. ‘Hurry up' she chides.  With the biz owner and his son I say ‘women are like this the world over –   I told her to get out and walk in the cool---'