After the mist of day one, I awoke to a sunny morning at Eco Hotel Zdravetz in Bulgaria. At 1,400 m above sea level, it was still a tad chilly even though the sun was brightly shining. I was looking forward to a day in nature around the hotel.
Breakfast was served with lashings of hot coffee/tea, fresh bread from the bakery, cheese, ham, tomatoes, cucumbers, and dried meats from the in-house supplies.
The first adventure of the day was to be driven up to one of the hotel’s hides that the hunters use at 1,800 m. Imagine my surprise on entering and finding computers, wifi, beds, cooking stove, table, and chairs. It was deluxe hunting like a home away from home.
Our next port of call was to visit the highest Belocherkovski monastery in Bulgaria perched at 1,650 m. It was built in the 11th century and survived a fire in 2002 after which the church was the only survivor. Everything else was burnt to the ground following a lightening strike.
We returned to the hotel for lunch. Although the hotel tries to produce most of it’s own food, wine, beer, and alcohol, some supplies come from local producers. We were introduced to a very knowledgeable lady called Ruza from the Santa Maria Winery situated in Asenovgrad.
The winery is an up-and-coming business and produced over 100,000 bottles last year, mostly for the home market, and is now looking to start exporting. Their number one seller is the limited edition of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot & Syrah. It tasted superb and I happily enjoyed a glass since I didn’t need to drive. Their Legera series also tasted quite good as well as their Rose.
After the wine tasting, we enjoyed another small walk in the forest of about 6 km.
Knowing what portions to expect for dinner, I had a Sheppard’s salad with the local Rakia followed by a main dish of mushrooms with cheese and garlic and Tatar meatball, which looks like a burger stuffed with cheese and spices. I paired it with a glass of the superb wines left from the tasting.
Before I knew it, the day was gone and I was off to dreamland in Bulgaria.