We have been exploring! We have to remind our legs about the idea of walking, and wanted to get a feel for what we might be likely to encounter on our travels when we strike out into the Strandzha for our Big Charity Walk.
So on Mitko’s advice, we thought we’d try visiting the teeny tiny village of Mladezhko with its healing springs, beautiful forest walks – and caves!
It didn’t disappoint. The water was ice cold, plentiful and delicious, bubbling out of the taps and diverting into two manmade swimming pools. Although a bit algae-y at the moment, they should clean up a treat for health tourists who want to immerse themselves – literally.
Walking deeper into the forest we found occasional signs (I know – amazing!!) directing us to various look out towers, picnic areas and even a fortress. Wooden handrails have been erected all over the sometimes difficult terrain, and using these – and sticks picked up on last week’s walk – we managed to cover considerable ground.
Of course the signposts weren’t as informative as we’d have liked. There was more than one occasion where we encountered a fork in the pathway and …well, guessed which way to go. I had a compass, but with so many twists, turns, peaks and troughs – and no clues as to where you were headed anyway, (we have yet to find a map with any detail) that wasn’t quite so useful here.
There was also a cacophony of birdsong. The easily recogniseable nightingale, thrush and golden oriole, then some new ones which we are yet to decipher. Binoculars came in very handy, especially when we were on the lookout towers and on a level with the tops of so many trees. I think we might have seen a whinchat and/or some form of warbler.
The fortress was underwhelming; mainly due to the fact it was a pile of entirely unmarked white stones. The caves on the other hand were quite a feat to get to and the whole area around them had a strangely mystical vibe.
I told you the Strandzha gets to you. We can’t wait to go back into the forest…