Bulgaria wasn’t always on my bucket list. I didn’t even know where it was until a few years ago. The more I researched the country, though, the more I realized the endless natural beauty and ample opportunities for adventure. Follow along on my six day journey in Bulgaria with VisitBulgariaOn.
Day One – Eco Hotel Zdravetz, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Approaching the Hotel was an adventure in itself; the forested mountains were entwined with what appeared to be a mystical, ghostly mist. Around hair-pin bends, my host Hristo Yanev gently drove, before suddenly looming tall and proud stood our new home for the next 4 days – Eco Hotel Zdravetz.
Hristo and I were heartedly greeted by the managers, Lybomir and Nikolay, from the hotel. They announced that we had just arrived in time for lunch and we were ready to experience our first meal in Bulgaria.
While lunch was being prepared, I was introduced to my first pleasant surprise, a bottle of Bulgarian beer which tasted superb, followed by my second surprise when I was told that on average Bulgarian beer is sold on in bars for approximately 2 Leva; that’s about $1.20. Yep, I felt at home right away.
Lyubo introduced us to their eco hotel concept. Most of the meat, cheese, yogurt, bread and jam are all produced in the hotel’s grounds. Tourists have a variety of options to fulfill their days. Many guests visit for hunting, specifically boar, deer, chamois, wolf, and fox. Other people visit for the spa, skiing, horse riding, trekking and there is an area for kids/adults to play football, tennis, and volleyball as well as an adventure playground including a kid’s zoo.
Lunch arrived and I was treated to tarator, which is a Bulgarian soup made from yoghurt, diced cucumbers and special spices, and it is literally a dish served cold. The main dish was also from the hotel grounds. It was veal meat balls, called kufte, with new potatoes with yet another secret ingredient that tasted delicious.
After lunch we were guided around the grounds being shown the cattle pens, the dairy and meat production areas, and all the above mentioned attractions.
We were then taken on a gentle 6 km walk through the forest hoping to spot wild deer, however that was for another day. We went to a part of the forest where we were shown where the hotel husbandry the trees. The lumber is then used for either heating or used by local craftsmen in producing furniture, depending on the quality of the wood.
On returning to the hotel, we changed and went to use the Turkish bath, sauna, indoor swimming pool, and jacuzzi and then went to change for dinner.
Dinner consisted of the local Shopska salad served with Bulgarian brandy called Rakia, then a dish of potatoes with melted cheese called patatnik and the main course, pork steak with French fries. The house red wine accompanied us in our discovery of Bulgarian traditional food. The portion’s are exceptionally large, so be warned, if you eat like a pigeon then only one course will be enough for you.
During the meal, we were taken to the bakery and introduced to the bread maker who takes such a passion in his hand-made bread it looks like poetry in motion. The bread would be served for breakfast and during the next day.
We finished off the first day with nightcaps and off to the land of nod.
Stay tuned for natural beauty, adventure, and mouth-watering wines.