A spectacle of colour…….
14th May 2016
At nine o’clock, we all sprang out of bed and left our tiny accommodation in the middle of the alpine forest, after some breakfast we decided to walk back to the monastery, a short distance from where we were. On the way, we saw some pieces of wood which would be good to collect for the fire later on in the day. We also stopped off at a restaurant for a cup of coffee where two gorgeous female puppy dogs slept. After half an hour, we entered the historic world UNESCO site called “Rila Monastery”.
On entering the heritage centre what struck me the most was the all the colours used in the frescos adorning every single Monastery wall, the paintings which showed pictures of the saints and bible passages were incredible, and the architecture was stunning. Mum asked whether this was similar to Russian achitechure, I told her that I wasn’t sure, but I think Russian/Soviet Union style was more brick, less pazazz and a lot larger then this.
Rila Monastery was built to house the followers and brotherhood who had chosen to make a pilgrimage to the Rila mountains to pay homage to the founder of the Monastery, a hermit who had chosen to live first alone and naked in a cave, then inside a tree trunk. He would meditate and pray and fast and search for enlightenment. St John of Rila began his quest for spiritual perfection here and a great number of monks chose to follow him. The monastery had to be built to house his great many followers. It was said that God had chosen the Rila Mountains as a perfect place for spiritual achievement and advancement.
As we wandered around the site , many of the artefacts like cauldrons, plates, spoons were still intact and were on display in the monastery’s museum.
Later that day, after having lunch near the entrance to the Monastery, we headed back to our accommodation. On the way back, we collected some twigs, sticks and large lumps of dry wood for our fire which we would light later on in the day. Our fire the previous night was super! It lasted us from 4 o’clock, till about midnight.
Once back with a large quantity of wood, Geoff set about cutting it and mum and I collected more from the forest.
As we gathered around the large fire, mum cooking, and Geoff and I watching the fire, the light blue sky suddenly, and quite frighteningly, turned an ominous shade of black. Thunder grumbled, quietly at first, then growled noisily and lightning flashed. Asena took off and hid under one of the beds in the hut!
There was no rain, which seemed strange….. But then the heavens opened. Hailstone bounced down! Soon the ground was white. Geoff had built up the fire before hastily retreating to the shelter of the porch and the smoke still bravely plumed through the timbers.
The hailstones thundered down, as we ate we listened to the thunder crashing in the elephant steel sky…..
Soon, the hail stopped, the fire licked back into life! I was getting down with my inner Bear Grylls and I took my metallic camping cup, filled it with a handful of hail, and put it on the fire so it would melt. It would then boil and I could make some coffee….
It was delicious, the best I coffee I had ever tasted-(but then again, most things taste better whilst outside)- After making one for Geoff too, I sat on the wet, soggy ground and watched the fire, lick away at the logs…..
Many seasons in one day!