Groceries were down to the bare bones today. Since I had no work in the queue, I figured it would be the perfect day to see just how accessible Yablanitsa is. Google Maps told me I had a 6KM walk ahead of me and Apple Maps said 10KM! 12KM roundtrip would be just doable, but 20KM would be pushing it and I’d definitely investigate the taxi service Jenny told me about.
I set off with my backpack, once again pleased that I bought it for my trip. I loaded it with water, documentation (I was told to always have my passport on me as ID checks are common), and, of course, money, and set off.
It’s straight downhill into the village. I I didn’t look forward to that slog on the return trip!
Here’s the gate into the property. Duck when going through the door!
Street sign. Says, “Street Zdravets.”
Now at the bottom of my road at the intersection of the main road through the village.
Sign indicating that there is a monastery that way. Max and Jenny told me I have to go there. I will when I get more details.
Our little village square with the small shop where you can get essentials (where the brown overhang is).
Looking back up the main road.
A restaurant. I could read the menu, but my dictionary didn’t recognise much on it…
Heading out of town, I saw a car with a Czech plate. All cars in the EU appear to have a similar license plate, either white or yellow (I saw both in the UK), with the left side being blue with the symbol of the EU and a two-letter country code. I think you can legally drive a car plated in any EU country in any other EU country.
This rather nice looking property is for sale.
16,000 Euro sounds like a bargain…
The flora here is similar to back in Quebec. Cornflowers…
And these little bell things I like whose name I really should know.
The mountains up here remind me of driving to Durango.
Leaving the limits of Malak Izvor. I didn’t know it, but I was just shy of a third of the way to Yablanitsa by this point.
Unlike the UK, Bulgaria has stop signs. I had to turn left here.
Funny that there was no sign at the corner saying Yablanitsa thataway, but in the opposite direction, there was a sign for Malak Izvor.
I was surprised when I saw this sign, thinking I’d arrived, but I still had a good 2KM to go.
About 1KM from town, I man pulled over and offered me a ride. Max, Jenny, and Sarah all told me to accept such offers during the daytime as hitching is a very common thing to do around here and nothing untoward has ever happened. The local population is fairly small and people get to know each other. If I declined the lift, the odds were good I’d never get another offer. So I got in and said, “Yablanitsa ATM” and he said, “Sure” and then rattled off something. I stared at him and he smiled and said, “Malak Izor”? AH! “Da!” 😀
He dropped me off in front of the green bank (there’s also a blue bank, but Max told me to use the green one) and I thanked him.
Here’s the main square in Yablanitsa. For some reason, I put my camera away after and forgot to take more pictures!
After making a withdrawal, I had to find the supermarket. I wandered around a bit trying to get my bearings and then identified that the street the green ATM is on (the one you see in the photo above going left and right, not the one with the cars parked) is a main thoroughfare. I headed down it (left in the picture) looking for the supermarket and eventually spotting it. I wasn’t sure it was the store I’d been in with Max, but it said supermarket so I figured it would do even if it wasn’t, but it was.
I took my time shopping, managing to get everything on my list except chicken broth. My dictionary app proved to be useless (glad it was a free one) and I was happy I had access to Google translate to confirm what I guessed I was holding (like tomato sauce with mushrooms, *shudders*). I knew that the good butter was in the deli case, so I took a deep breath and went there, where I said, “Butter, please,” to the clerk. She nodded and said, “One?” holding up a finger for a good measure. “Yes, one. Thank you!” My first successful exchange in Bulgarian!
The till was less successful. I knew from my first trip that I would pay and then be asked for 0.25BGN deposit on my beer bottles. So I was all ready for that, but the cashier took my 0.25BGN from what I’d paid her. It took me a moment to understand that she was telling me, “I already took your bottle deposit from your change” and not “You still owe me for the bottle deposit.” Now that I know the deposit is 0.25BGN for two bottles, the next time I buy beer there I will put the 0.25 with them when I get to the till to show that I know I’m expected to pay a deposit.
I came out of the store and loaded up my backpack. I had too much for it unless I wanted to smoosh the bread, but I got all the heavy things in and only had some light things to carry separately.
That was the limit of the excitement I could handle for one day, so I decided to head home. As I did so, I passed a convenience store with an ice cream cooler outside. I grabbed a chocolate Magnum-style bar (chocolate ice cream covered with chocolate and peanuts on a stick). The price was listed as 1.45BGN, so I dug out 1.50 before going inside to pay. My treat was really good! 😀
The trip home was a bit of a slog since most of it was uphill. I really don’t mind walking to Yablanitsa, but I will definitely figure out how to arrange for a taxi back from now on. I’m told it’s only 6 to 8BGN (4.80 to 6.40CAD).
My trip only took me three hours so I should be able to cut that to two if I take a taxi back. Yablanitsa is definitely further than I’d been told it was, but is certainly close enough to feel accessible. I look forward to going to the market on Friday and having more time to browse at my leisure.