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This post reminded me of some of my favorite places and days spent in Bulgaria. Remind me why we always come back here with Kalo, no matter how many times we go far from Bulgaria. Yes, the world is beautiful, divinely beautiful and incredible, I want to get to know it all, but your home is where you speak your own language, feel comfort, security and tranquility, your food is the most delicious, you’re favorite people are among you and sometimes you wonder how such beauty has not been noticed this far and has always been before your eyes.
We were there just before Christmas, December 2016. I remember that I even took the presents for our loved ones to wrap them, because when we returned it was the 24th and we wouldn’t have time. Garmen Hills is not a very small complex but at the expense of this- fabulously cozy place for two or company at the end of the village of Garmen. You can rent a whole house (as we did, our villa was Blue View) or just a room for two, there is a good variety, even a rich breakfast if desired. In the summer there is also an outdoor pool, sun loungers and you can enjoy the silence of this place, there are several hiking trips on the Garmen Hills website. And in the winter you can light the fireplace, walk to Leshten and Kovachevitsa (they are a few minutes away from you) and take advantage of the mineral springs and spa procedures in Ognyanovo, which is just about next door or just enjoy the snow which is falling outside (the windows are so huge), nestled in the warmth with a booklet in hand. The owner is a very cool Frenchman – Christophe Lemaire, who fell in love with this place in 2007 and decided to recreate the love he felt for the first time. Definitely he managed to do so and I would come back here again for sure.
The video and the post from this place is a favorite for many of you and to this day (for me too, I must admit). We were there in April 2017 when everything was just blossoming and it was so beautiful, even without many people. The place is quite large, there are open lawns to play on,yoga and whatever your soul desires, gazebos where you can have long breakfasts and dinners, the opportunity to lit the fireplace in the cottage and make a little improvised barbecue (we did that every night) with a large or small company and each of them having their own place and comfort in their own cottage. I like it very much, but honestly, the houses are not very well furnished, they remind you of another forgotten time (for me personally it’s not a big problem, there is some charm in that), but for the most basic disadvantage I find their heating. Every house is heated by some of their built system that is centrally and privately controlled by them. It was too warm and we slept with an open window all the time. Maybe during the winter it would be perfect because on the photos on their site I saw how much snow is accumulated outside and you’ll definitely be warm and you can take advantage of the beauty and the opportunities for tourism in Pamporovo during the winter season.
My summer treasure for my 25th birthday! Then the only thing I wanted was a small restored house with history (in this case 100 years old) in the mountain, I discovered Balkan Dream accidentally at Airbnb, the owners are super sweet and responsive, they just want to revive the small rural houses and hiking and if such a type of “advertising” on my part would help, I’m super happy to share with you my adventure in words and pictures in the next few lines… And they will not be enough to describe the enjoyment of the few days spent in this place. It’s a small, very compact and cozy house, but at the same time you can be with a big company as well. I remember that there were at least 6 beds, the rooms on the second floor were 4, but the bathroom was only 1 (a fault that they should have corrected this year, as we talked then – 29 July 2018), there is also a fully equipped kitchen where we cooked ourselves and our outdoor table with chairs, the yard is very small but enough I chose to celebrate my birthday quite casually, without big gatherings with a lot of people and food, presents, dresses and makeup, I just wanted a walk in the mountains with the bikes, a picnic by the river and even the sun liked my plans (I recommend you go exactly during the summer to go around the tourist path to the Botev peak from the hut Pleven), the lack of cars, the range and the desire of local people to revive the small town and their 100-year-old houses with low ceilings, narrow ladders, but pretty verandas and to continue to live among young people.
Less than an hour drive from Sofia and so different… Have you ever heard anything about the small town of Godech, located in western Bulgaria? I haven’t before I came. But here you breathe without any cigarette smoke, you sleep longer than you intended to and wake up later because you just need the rest, there is no good Internet signal and sometimes you’re scared of the crazy silence and the creaking of the branches on the trees. At this place Strahil has recreated his hobby (as he calls it) into sort of a business. First started with a small furgon, then with a house, after that а second house, and so Forest Houses is born. It’s an interesting place to escape from the city, of course there are some finishing touches that are left to make the place complete (like the interior and furnishings, there are too many hunting trophies, which I really don’t like), but everything else I definitely like. The place is great, it is suitable for good occasions that you want to celebrate with family and friends. Situated right in the woods and you can embark on long walks, the owner Strahil is very kind and helpful, he can recommending interesting places or you just can enjoy the sauna and the small spa that is being done. Don’t miss to visit and the old green UAZ in the forest, which lonely sits.
At the end of 2018 we went lastly in Ognyanovo and the Wooden eco cottage (that’s exactly how you can find it on Google). There was a castle right next to us, a little superfluous but who needs a castle where there is a cottage in the woods, the smell of wood, beautiful fireplace, high terrace with awesome city views and strange squirrels who throw acorns in your coffee? No, I’m not kidding, neither for the castle, nor for the squirrels. Our house was splendid, the fireplace did not stop burning, it made me feel weird paying 20lv.for it. per day, but it created a romantic family atmosphere, perfect for two, and no more. The castle has a restaurant, pool and spa, but we have our favorite place since the last time, which is nearby, with delicious homemade food – “Villa Paradise”, where you can also stay but not quite as cozy as a cottage. Remember that in Ognyanovo the water is mineral even from the tap, make the most of it, we visit Profilaktorium Ognyanovo since my childhood, and is now renovated and quite pleasant. You can enjoy the pools without being guests of the hotel.
I set the beginning of 2019 with this place. This Leshten’s fairytale welcomed us with burning fire in the fireplace, a lot of snow, no running water in half the time (keep it calm, there was a lot of snow which you could melt and in Leshten the water was always scarce) and with a very nice company that makes you forget everything unnecessarily. There was no special occasion, we organized it ourselves, we booked the house Leshtenska Idiliya and the adventure started, 7 women and one little dog Nalu. You can hardly remain impartial to this place, it captivates you with its style and energy, perhaps one of the best I’ve ever been to. It’s suitable for a large company, I do not recommend it for just two people, because it will be too lonely in the whole house, and the price is per day, no matter the number of people staying there. There is a place for 6-8 people, three bathrooms, a kitchen where you can create anything delicious, breathtaking views, summer kitchen and barbecue. I can not wait to see Leshtenska Idiliya in the summer (I even think about going back here to celebrate our birthdays in July with the family). We cooked with the girls, but at the beginning of Leshten there is a very sweet place – the pub where I’ve been to before, you can eat homemade ufka, french toast with homemade wild strawberry jam and homemade herbal tea with honey that is sold in the shop right across from you. The herbs are local, there is home-made honey and even aromatic bayonets with which the risotto becomes enchanting. You can easy walk around Leshten on foot but I recommend that you visit Kovachevitsa as well.