11 November 2016

In the tulip kingdom (spring in the Botanical Garden in Balchik) - TOUR 28 / April 2013

A tulip – what do we know about this wonderful flower creature?

Its existence is mentioned in the old Persian literature in the 9-th century. It appeared on our continent (Europe) hardly in the 16-th century, transferred from Mala Asia.

The Bulgarian name ‘lale’ comes from Turkish and Persian, and the latin ‘tulipa’ – from the Turkish word ‘tyurban’.

The biggest natural location and variety are in the Pamir Mountains, The Hindu Kush and The Tian Shan Mountain. A few thousand sorts of tulips have been gained for over 400 years.

Many of us associate tulips with Netherlands as the flower is a symbol of this country, and it is the biggest producer of tulips.

It is considered that the beautiful flower appeared in Netherlands due to Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, (1522-1592), a Flemish nobleman who lived in Istanbul from 1556 to 1562 as the Austrian emperor Ferdinand’s ambassador in the court of Suleiman II The Magnificent. His passion for herbs and plants made him send tulip bulbs from the Ottoman Empire to his friend Charles de l'Écluse in 1554. Charles de l'Écluse managed to grow and naturalise the plants in the Lowlands.

The tulip popularity spread and it was grown more seriously in the united provinces (nowadays Netherlands) in about 1593. Its history is stunning but I can’t help mentioning at least one curious fact such as ‘the pearl of spring’ attracted great interest in Netherlands that turned into a mania (tulipomaniа, tulpomanie, tulpenwoede, tulpengekte and bollengekte) that reached its peak in the spring of 1637. Then single tulip bulbs were sold at a price 10 times higher than a qualified master craftsman’s annual income......

So today we can observe patterns, different leaf shapes and a variety of colours.

According to Kazakh’s epos happiness is hidden in the tulip bud. No one could open the beautiful corolla for a long time. A little child saw it once. The child ran to the meadow joyfully and touched the flower with the tender small hands. The bud opened and great human happiness flew on earth.
There is a superstition in Uzbekistan that the sky blue tulip which grows and blossoms in the mountains brings luck

Since last year I have been thinking of visiting the Botanical Garden in Balchik in spring. In the beginning of April I started checking when the right moment for achieving the goal would come. And ‘voilà’, after short hesitations at the end of the month we went together to the flowers paradise.
The weather was extremely pleasant for a walk.
We were some of the first visitors, not to say the first ones, a condition that was enough to ‘enjoy’ the smorgasbord, undisturbed. The various sorts and colours, ordered in groups and flower beds cast a spell on us. What variety, what palette?!

After a long, long, long rotation around every sort as it is seen in the quantity of photos we went to the other parts of the garden.
A little farther some merry pansies in many colours met us in the ‘Divine Garden’.

It was the fascicular daisies (Bellis) turn.

Flowers and blossomed trees fragrance was floating everywhere.

Spring was at its best.
I had visited the place before but that time I was dazed.
We couldn’t possibly miss the rest of the complex. And the history of the site was good. We went to the Palace area. The Palace complex and its garden (the botanical one) were created by the Romanian queen Marie of Edinburgh (Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg (1875 – 1938) who was an heir of two big aristocratic families by birth – the British king’s family and the Russian imperial family, and at the age of seventeen she married Ferdinand – the Romanian king Karol I’s nephew. A lovely spot that actually played the role of a summer residence of the royal family but it meant something more to its creator which she wrote about: ‘That was my return to the sea – my first love.’
At that moment ‘The quiet nest’ villa (the personal king’s residence) was rather bleak but still charming in the background of the garden and the sea.

The beautiful lilies in the lakes were missing but in a while we will come to glance at them and the roses.

The statue of Virgin Marie – the guiding star of the seas, a witness of many events and different fates, was looking at the horizon where the sea and the sky became one. 
We sat on the famous marble throne that had travelled thousands of miles from Florence and turned into Maria’s favourite place where she secluded herself, looked steadily at the sea expanse and enjoyed it.

We stopped at the ‘Sighs Bridge’ for a moment.

The water was falling down and making a beautiful and noisy waterfall.

The stone benches under the biggest Balkan magnolia tree attracted people under its shadow.

A group of photographers were taking photos of models who I avoided tactically 

and the alley after it led us to ‘Stella Maris’ chapel – ‘A Sea Star’, hidden under the branches of big trees.

The water from both springs was running through channels, falling down as waterfalls and pouring in cascades.

As if we came into a fairy kingdom of flowers and water.
The whole tour took us to another period, modernized by the abundance of species and an explosion of colours, especially the tulips.
Ah, those tulips!!! They were the top hit of that spring! I couldn’t take my eyes off them! I hardly left.
A breathtaking view that has remained on my mind forever!
You must visit the Botanical Garden in spring!
I hope I have succeeded in telling you what I saw and felt on that day!

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4 October 2016

Anevsko kale and in Starosel again – TOUR 90/November 2015

Anevsko kale – Kopsis fortress, Hisarya and Starosel 

‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’
Walt Disney


Beklemeto Pass.
On the following morning the wind had subsided but everything was covered by fir needles and cones. The car was where we had left it at least.
The sky was dull and the weather forecast predicted rain. It was raining in most parts of the country.
It was a very important day to us or to the aim we had set – Anevsko kale (Anevo village) near Sopot, a place I had been dreaming about for many years. The rain would ruin everything.
So we were on our way realizing another dream and competing with the rain.

Early in the morning there wasn’t much traffic through Troyan pass. However, there were scenic views.

At last the moment came when the stone tower was standing tall on the edge of the rocks waiting for us.

Kopsis or known also as Anevsko kale.
We started climbing.

A strong wind was blowing again. In the beginning the steep path went through an oak forest where it was under shelter. The track was so polished that it was hard to walk on. Moving a few steps, slipping and you are where you were a while ago. We left the forest more or less. Looking around one can’t stop gazing.

We kept on walking pushed by the strong wind.
I was thinking that the route would be awful in the summer heat.

We went along the narrow paths, straight through the ruins and got that lovely feeling of being alive (the blood is racing, you are panting, your heart is pounding and sometimes your legs are trembling) but you know it is worth it … just by looking at the area! So majestic!
And today it is a day – a generous destiny gift …

On the way back we weren’t in a hurry. The contentment was obvious.
At the beginning of the track there was a river with a small waterfall. I was able to give it the necessary time.

We were off to Hisarya. We had to meet friends of ours and to continue our journey together.
Before meeting them we had some more time, so we strolled along the familiar alleys and streets.

Current photos of the baths ....

By travelling to Starosel we visited Staro Zhelezare to see ‘Kromlehat’ at last. This time it was dry and one could reach the place normally. Besides, the road to Novo Zhelezare where the object was situated was paved with new asphalt. As I had mentioned in previous travel notes – Tour 88, we were totally disappointed. There might not be a trace left from this interesting creation soon ….
The next morning, already in Starosel, met us fresh after the rain. While we were getting ready for breakfast, we could hear the raindrops falling on the ground. When we went out the sun was fighting for its place and thus at some point a huge, bright, double rainbow turned up. The rainbow disappeared until we started moving and thinking of the camera that wasn’t with us. The sun kept on racing with the clouds persistently getting stronger and made us follow if not the tracks (we had planned to), at least the asphalt road.
Almost all morning it was drizzling and the shining and the light game created incredible landscapes.

We left for ‘Chetinyovska mogila’.

We found out it was open again. We happened to be the first visitors on that day. Here is the renovated dome because of which the object was closed.

Our preliminary idea didn’t include rain but a walk up to those stones-sanctuaries,

 similar to ‘Garvanov kamak’, which I saw from ‘Chetinyovska mogila’.
A photo Roshava mogila on the left and Garvanov kamak on the  right
We stopped by to see the familiar ‘Horizont’ mound.
The meadow, the surrounding area and even the path were mined by cows that couldn’t be seen anywhere.
On leaving the temple, engrossed in twaddling, I stepped on the single mine on the road. ‘Who if not me?’ All the others entered ‘Sv. Spas’ temple and I stayed outside going round the meadow, rubbing my shoe sole in the wet grass bitterly and looking round not to tread on another surprise. It began raining as well and my soles had big grippers – ‘They can’t be cleaned!!’
When the others showed up Nikola took the shoe and started looking for a way to take away the heaped stench.

The rain was diminishing and suddenly a beautiful, colourful, double rainbow appeared in the sky. If someone was standing nearby they would see a shoe flying in the air and me running towards a more suitable place, where I could catch the most wonderful rainbow, which I had seen so far.

Although I was in a hurry, I was looking round not to tread on something again.
Already pleased with the photos and my clean shoe sole where there was no trace of what had happened, I was ready for feats.
We hadn’t planned other visit destinations during the day, so the boys decided to look for a mound that they saw on the map before ‘Chetinyovska’. 
The search turned into an off road track passing by fields. I relied on the landscapes.

Well, we found a mound but not the one we had been looking for. And there were plenty of mounds in the area ….

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