I opened my Lonely Planet Eastern Europe Guidebook and searched for a day trip outside of Sofia. I noticed Melnik, the cultural, wine making city south of the capital and close to the Greece border.
Besides the wine, I also noticed a hike to a monastery, the Rohzen Monastery. In Bulgaria the monasteries are one of the big three, the top three famous items or “must-dos” of the country (according to the guidebook.) The others are yogurt (it was invented in Bulgaria not Greece) and Black Sea resort towns which actually I can’t recommend enough.
Melnik turned out to be quaint town with city stauts thanks to its cultural heritage and wine making. The main street lined with restaurants, inns, shops and cafes seemed to have 2 liter bottles of wine for sale everywhere. And cheap too. This was wine country.
In the afternoon I hiked to the Rohzen Monastery and then returned just before sunset. I stopped just outside the main part of town to take in a meal and the view. As the waiter came with a precious English menu, (I can not read Cyrillic) I ordered. When in Melnik, drink what they drink in Melnik. So yes, I ordered wine, a white wine to start.
A sip. Delicious? I can’t tell you yes, but I can tell you I remember the moment. For me, I was on the other side of the Cold War Iron Curtain for the first time and I toasted to that at sunset. Happy Sunset Sunday.
Stay adventurous, Craig
To listen to my thoughts on all of Bulgaria, tune in to my interview on the Amateur Traveler pod cast – Bulgaria here.
This is my last Sunset Sunday post of 2011, hope you enjoyed them all. Next week I will take off to celebrate Christmas and on January 1st, I’ll post a recap of the year and outline what’s ahead for 2012. New sunsets will appear again on January 8th, 2012. Have a Happy Holidays and definitely enjoy a sunset on your time off.