Entering the Village of Gradets
Gradets Travel Blog› entry 13 of 27 › view all entries
From Berievo we traveled alongside the Balkans, and continued on towards Sliven. I was fortunate enough that our road lead is directly through Sliven as I was born there, and havent been back since then. It a beautiful city protected by the Blue Cliffs of the Balkans. A gorgeous view in every direction.
We didnt get a chance to stop anywhere, as we were in a hurry to get to our next destenation. Gradets. Though I really wanted to pass by the hospital I was born in, just for kicks :-)
After going through Sliven, we headed stright through the mountain on a tiny winding road which eventually lead us to a tinie tiny little village of Gradets. The village is split in two by a shallow fast moving creek, and the whole village has numerous little bridges connecting it.
We crossed the creek in search of my great grandfathers home which has now been torn down, and a statue built on it. It was a home right in the center of the village. He was a butcher and gave all of his extra meat to the gypsies, so they wouldnt rob him.
As we drove towards the town center, we realized that this village is about 80% populated by gypsies. And everywhere you turn there are gipsies smiling at you from ear to ear :-)
Unlike the city gypsies in Sofia, or other larger cities, these gyspies are charming, and very down to earth.
As I was photographing beautiful structures, a horse carriage with a family of gypsies passed by. At that point I turned towards them, and the father told his son that he is being photographed, at which the boy started making faces. Later on, after they stopped the carriage, and the family went into the store, the boy stayed in the carriage and I went over and took at least 15 pictures of him.
Finally, my grandmother had finished speaking with everyone, and we headed out to Jeravna. But not without one last great shot.
As we were driving out, we noticed a boy around the age of 5 or 6 running down the street, pushing a flat inner tube of a tire, totally naked. He was so amused by this that he didnt even notice me until we had passed him, and thats where my favorite shot of my trip was made. An absolutely classic shot, of natural joy and fun.
From there the trip to Jeravna, the village I have been itching to go to in over a year, was quite quick and we reached within about 15 minutes.