The inter-village bus is meandering along the newly renovated road. I did the trip many times two years ago when I was reconnecting with my roots, living in my grandparents’ village. Today I feel different, listening to nostalgic radio songs from the 90s, I know whatever I do and wherever I go, I will always return to this place. I am no longer chased by the shadows of guilt for not honouring my home with my presence.
Heading to Veliko Tarnovo, the nearest big town in the area, I am about to meet my friends – Zarko and Moan. I haven’t seen them in over a year or even longer. Feels good to know I will spend some time in their company. There is no doubt it will be funtastic. They are planning to show me the Blue Lake, part of the river Yantra flow. A place where we can swim and jump from cliffs, cool down in the August sun. That’s precisely what I need today.
I jump off the bus and start walking towards the old town. Moan lives there, on Rebels’ street. Love the name. He managed to find a place in an insane area of town. Not because of his 73-year-old neighbour watching TV with the windows open at 3 AM, waking up everybody in the vicinity with the false excited heavy breathing of hard-working porn actors. No, it’s just that he lives right inside the medieval heart of the old Bulgarian capital. Next to the well-known craftsman street Samovodska charshia.
As I step on the cobbled stones towards Moan’s place, I see him sitting on the doorstep. It’s like we parted yesterday and at the same time I feel the change in him, it’s a good one. We hug each other, and he invites me in. Here he has managed to transfer the energy from the old flat, upgrade it and apply it in the new environment. Something like the change I see in him.
I leave my stuff, and we head towards the outskirts of Veliko Turnovo on a bus. Zarko will join us on the way. He is coming on a bike. Eventually, we see him overtaking the bus with the speed of Zarko.
Two energy bars later we are on a shady forest path. While talking about how LSD can help people with PTSD we hear the distinct savage call of Zarko behind us, I greet him with my version of a wild cry. The crew is complete. After crazy but controlled bike breaks in the dirt inches from our feet, we hug Zarko and get flooded by his usual funny comments, screams, sighs, among all this activity he is also handing me one of his headphones, the sound of an authentic Bulgarian song spills towards the sensors of my Balkan roots. I close my eyes and smile.
Zarko has arrived, naturally the vibration changes. He is always one idea more excited than Moan, seems to have more impressions, reactions and is full of things he wants to say to us. No filter, we are his friends, I know he is happy.
Moan is on the other end of the spectrum. He loves to listen, he speaks rhythmically and rarely has anything reactive on his mind. Calm and zen-like a monk he does his best to master the art of being aware.
We take our clothes off by the fallen tree and jump into the lake. The water is cold and refreshing, and I start laughing. The three of us start swimming towards the cliffs. Zarko tells us where is suitable for jumping. I go to the other side and start trying a mini boulder move just above the water. It’s muddy and slippery but I manage to come out, I jump back and follow the boys. We find a 3-4m jump and start to play. We laugh and share a non-verbal agreement that what we do is the best possible thing we can engage with the current plane of quantum reality.
While I climb and explore a bit more the rock on the other side, the boys settle in the natural jacuzzi-like streams. I want to show them my new swimming style – the whale…ah, next time they are too far now.
I go to the other side and try to meditate, but instead, I soak up more of the place and its sounds and become increasingly aware of the intense happiness my friends have blessed me with by sharing this enchanted place where I can be a playful child in the warm Bulgarian sun.
If you like the sound of this adventure maybe you should join it! For more information check out: Veliko Turnovo Freestyle Hiking Adventures.