Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shiroka Laka

Shiroka Laka is now one of my favorite Bulgarian towns. Will, Georgi, and I spent a day there on our recent swing through the Rhodopes; we were enchanted by its old-world atmosphere and enthralled by the stunning hiking available in the surrounding hills. The tiny village is composed of about 100 homes, virtually all of which are constructed in the Bulgarian Revival style of wood beams and jutting windows, often with stone foundations. Unlike the colorful houses of Koprivshtitsa, though, these are mostly white or cream color with dark wood accents, rendering them more aesthetically consistent with the mountainous environment. It's a thoroughly charming walk back in time, further enhanced by the fact that these houses are painstakingly preserved as such; there is even new building going on in the same style. Wood smoke and arch bridges complete the experience. On Monday, after a hike to a nearby ridge that brought us to an alpine pasture, we returned to town for dinner at a local restaurant. Sitting outside in the crisp mountain air, we enjoyed patatnik (a Rhodopean potato specialty), kachamak (a Rhodopean corn meal specialty), and other local dishes (bean stew, shopska salad). As the sun went down, we remarked about how there was nowhere else in the world that we could have had the combined outdoor-culinary experience that we had that day.

This was one of several stone arch bridges we saw in the Rhodopes.

The sun sets on a home built in typical Bulgarian Revival style.

Will and me outside the Ethnographic Museum.

The town church

Will enjoying our last few moments in Shiroka Laka, as we waited for our breakfast outside a restaurant

1 comment:

judy baker said...

I LOVE these hiking pictures. Makes me want to "do it all"! What fun you must have had.