"Convincing my friend" Top 5 Page for this destination Rila by Sininen

Rila Travel Guide: 61 reviews and 240 photos

A photo on the wall

As we were booking a tour to Istanbul from Sunny Beach in Bulgaria I saw absolutely gorgeous photo of Rila Monastery on the wall of the travel agency and knew immediately that I wanted to go there. Now all I had to to was the to convince my best friend that we just needed to go there. Sounds easy? Well, it wasn't because my friend is always thinking how things can go wrong while I believe that everything will go well though not always the way I have expected. Anyway the seed was sown and off we went to Istanbul and had great time there. When we came back I began to persuade my friend, because this need to visit Rila was too strong to resist. Her main concern was whether we would find accommodation. I soothed her and said that I had always found a place to sleep and that it would not be a problem. Guess have I been reminded of those words later on?!?! Anyway the decision was made and I think that the main reason why my friend accepted it was that we both loathed tourisy Sunny beach so much and couldn't bear to stay there more than we absolutely had to. We decided to take a bus to Sofia and from there to Rila. Thus far everything was easy.

Getting really pissed off in Sofia

We arrived in Sofia and started to ask people where a bus or train for Rila left. Most didn't speak a word of English which was just as many words as we knew Bulgarian! We were were pointed to the bus station where people advised us to go to the train station. We found it and went to the tourist office there and were told that we should take a train to some town which name begins with K and ends with novo but I cannot remember what it was called. We went to the ticket desk and got our tickets and began to look for the platform. It wasn't easy because everything was written in Cyrillic alphabet. The train would leave at 12.00 and the closer the time got the more annoyed we became. We asked people and they just shook their heads. We went to the ticket desk again and the lady showed the tables showing the departs and arrivals. We had seen them but they were no help to us. We then walked to the tourist office and when the man saw us to get closer he shut the door in front of us! We were angry to say the least. We then went to another ticket desk and got the same advice. At that moment we were boiling. We knew that we had missed the 12.00 train and would ahve to wait until 14.00 just because nobody wanted to help us. There and then I decided that Cyrillic alphabet would never stop me from going anywhere ever again. At home I took Russian lessons for two years and have also learnt Greek alphabet! Finally we found somebody who knew where our train left and we sat on our way to Rila.

Arrival in K

The young man who checked our tickets spoke some English and was eager to use it so every time he passed by he stopped for a few minutes to say a few words. One time he sat next to my friend and opened his jacket and was wearing nothing under it and said: It's so hot here! Fortunately (or not) it was not a long coat! We really found it so funny. He tried to convince us that we shouldn't go to K...novo that late but leave the train in the station before it. He even brought a friend who lived in that village, but we were not really sure how to take his advice. Was he trying to trick us or seriously concerned about us. The train arrived in K...novo and when we saw it we knew we should have listened to him! There was nothing there! It was getting dark as we walked from the station besides which some kind of mental institution was the only building there. At the distance we could hear thunder and saw lightnings to split the sky. We saw some houses not far from the main road and decided to go and ask if we could stay in one of them as we didn't want to be under the sky when the rain arrived. We walked and walked and the houses were much further than we had thought. We came across a house which was dark and we knocked on the door. No answer. We tried the door and it was open so we walked in. The house was abandoned and we decided to stay there. There was a bed on which we sat that night. It was filfty so we just couldn't sleep on it, but at least we stayed dry when the rain started! As I had promised my friend there would be accommodation though it was not exactly what I had in mind. :)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Mountains, monastery, history
  • Cons:People spoke only Bulgarian
  • Last visit to Rila: Aug 1994
  • Intro Updated Mar 11, 2006
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Reviews (6)

Comments (4)

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2007 at 1:48 PM

    What a WILD ride to Rila, glad you arrived safely lol The monastery and the surrounding nature area looked stunning. Think I’d pass on the abandoned house though. Gr8 pictures & informative tips.

  • DPando's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2006 at 6:31 AM

    a paradise beneath the mountains !! besos ..kittos

  • wandeljp's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2006 at 1:33 AM

    Happy birthday,Sini. What a great adventure you had there. I dream to go hiking around Rila and Vitosha (Sofia) Jean-Pierre,Belgium

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2006 at 12:16 PM

    Sorry to hear you had such bad 'adventures' in Bulgaria, hope they wouldn't disencourage you from another visit. Things are better now. I love Rila Monastery and the mountain, last summer I climbed the highest peak Mussala, beautiful views. Greetings


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