Berievo Travel Blog› entry 12 of 27 › view all entries
This was my favorite part of the trip, as we got the chance to drive through the Balkans, on the old highway, and see the beautiful nature of my country. Also, I got to see my grandfather for the first time in over 15 years.
We drove for about 3 hours through the mountains as my grandfathers hideaway is in a tiny village in the middle of the Balkans. Although we did leave earlier than we expected, we did wake up quite late and did make a few pit stops along the way. So we reached Berievo around 9 pm.
Though the house was at the end of the village, and totally tucked away on a tiny street, and right behind the village cemetary.
As we pulled up, an army of dogs started barking at us from the other side of the fence, and we saw my grandfather coming up to the front gate to greet us.
My grandmother was falling asleep on the table, as she has been on the road long, and she had been working really hard all week to make sure the wedding was perfect, and excused herself as my grandfather finally convinced us that we have to spend the night and not keep driving.
Sitting and talking to him, I realized why I havent seen him in 15 years, and all of my animosity towards him as a grandfather was gone. He was such an important aspect to Bulgarian conservation. He is in a constant fight with everyone on conserving the forests, the beaches, and keeping the land clean and free of poluting factories near the forest.
He spent his life on-stage and in front of cameras and has become one of the most famous actors in Bulgarian history, and from there a strong oponent agains communism and a part of the major ecological conservation party EcoGlasnost. A glass-full of rakia later, a couple of hours, and many many stories. We went through the pictures we had brought him, and followed him to start preparing the food for his animals.
At this point it was about 3 am, and he was just starting a long process of cooking and cutting foods for him 18 cats and 6 dogs which he has collected over time as people threw them out. After a bruling fight with the cooking, as he kept forgetting the cooking pot on the stove and it kept overheating.
The house is kept in the same way that my grandfather bought it over 30 years ago. The house itself is 300 years old, and has a roof covered in stone slabs, the old wooden details, and the doorways have a hight of about a foot, where you have to jump over each one from going from room to room. My mother told me that this is because these rooms were previously used for putting wheat in, and with the raised doorways thats how they kept the moisture and rodents out and the wheat in.
Moving on...I was on the second floor in a bed that was I would say the width of a queen size bed, and the length of two beds, from one wall to another.
By the next morning I was up and my entire body was covered in large swells, I later learned that I was attacked by a type of termite which has a very nasty sting.
After a quick breakfast I set off to explore my grandfathers yard, which was gigantic, he had a whole full lot for his 5 chickens, and had a really funky table and benches alongside the fence of the cemetary. He says they are the quietest neighbors ever.
My grandfather ended up getting visitors, who came specifically to ask him about finding water, so he set off with the instructions. And after a quick instruction, we bid our farewells, and were on our way through the mountains again.
A memorable experience, and a great bonding experience. I will never forget seeing my grandfather that day, and look foward to my next trip to Bulgaria to visit him again.