Bulgaria day 6: A whistlestop tour with bears

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June 21st 2018
Published: June 21st 2018
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Bulgaria day 6: A whistlestop tour with bears

Neve let it be said that we are not adaptable....or we change our minds....you decide...

Last night we left it too late to go to bed early for the 4am start we had planned so this morning we, wait for it, had a lie in! No alarms at all! Well we did climb a mountain yesterday so come on, give us a bit of leeway.

The plan for today had been to go to a bear park and take a trip on the narrow gauge railway. Both could be close (depending on what station we board at) to each other but both are over a two hour drive. We looked at other things to do that didn’t include climbing another mountain and they are all hours away so we decided to do the two on different days.

Today was bear day and the Dancing Bears park which is a sanctuary for bears rescued from evil humans. We made one quick stop on the way in Raduil which not only had a Pokemon gym for us to take down but also a tank and an aeroplane. Just sitting there: the tank by a playground and the plane seemingly in someone’s front garden. Strange but definitely photo worthy.

After over two hours we turned right as we thought we had arrived at the bear park but it was another 2.3km on an appallingly surfaced road. We made it though and headed for the payment desk it was only £3 each and a guided tour started two minutes later, which was conducted in Bulgarian for everyone else and English for us two. The tour guide took us down some steep slopes and up some steep hills and steps showing us the bears and telling horrific tales of how they ended up there. One bear for example was blind as its owner had forced it to drink alcohol and had beaten it

We saw quite a few of the 25 bears and they had lots of room to run around. The tour was over in just over 20 minutes though so don’t expect amazing photos. You aren’t allowed to go round on your own but we were allowed onto the roof of the visitor centre where we could see three bears to take photos of without fences in the way. You can also watch a video of people being cruel to bears....thanks but no.

It was fantastic to see the bears, such wonderful animals, and see that they were happy and safe. We could have done with a longer tour or being allowed around on our own but the important thing is the bears and the fact that we helped towards their upkeep.

We had something to eat at a delighful little place just up the road where a whole barbecued trout was just £1.40. The owner’s daughter served us and did excellently with her English. The sheep’s yoghurt with honey was lovely.

We then decided to have a look at Bansko which is the principal ski resort, well in Winter anyway. It’s a lot bigger than Borovets but has history to it and actually has people, local people that is, living and working there. We had a wander round and went to a church that has storks nesting atop it, by god their nests are huge! The main street is pretty touristy and I bet it’s chaos in Winter but it was pleasant enough today.

We bought some gifts and some tat-you have to have some tat and we get something from every country we go to-and then moved on again. We headed into the Pirin mountains but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with a view so we turned round and stopped at some spectacular waterfalls. We whipped our tripods out so we could justify carrying them all this way, oh and to take slow shutter speed shots. This is when Claire discovered that she had forgotten her mounting plate. I took a few shots and went to lend her my tripod....and the clip on my mounting plate broke.... No slow shutter speeds for Claire.

At about this time a car had pulled up and a guy got out guzzling beer. I’m pretty sure there are drink driving laws here and being caught drinking a large bottle of beer as you get out of your car is probably frowned upon. I took a photo of him and his car in case he murdered us.

It was over 2 hours back to Borovets and we made one little stop off to photograph an abandoned petrol station and adjacent cafe. Once back in Borovets we had a meal at Sunny restaurant. The waiter/owner yabbered away like there was no tomorrow but the food was good and it was far from expensive. I had the pork knuckle which was enormous and, as I couldn’t finish it, I will be having it for breakfast tomorrow. Another hectic day over!

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