The door you closed to me

The Bulgarian countryside is very dramatic. Went to a fabulous church in the mountains today. The poetess had a key that did not work so had to go back to the village for the new key. Meanwhile I sat on a bench with an older Bulgarian man who works for a foundation, but was working high up in coca cola for years.

He regaled me with stories about the sixties and the seventies when he was in Leeds, he played the the Box Tops and the Monkees on his phone as we sat outside this 16 c monastery in the hills. Felt like I was in some indie movie. The church was fabulous. Went up a ladder made from tree trunks into the scaffolding to look closer at the frescoes. Bit unnerving. But everything pretty much untouched, just some water and smoke damage, and the years of course and a few more recent saint had their faces shot but stupid Russian / Bulgarian soldiers. But it was really something. An intimate experience impossible in a more developed place.

Also visited Kremikovsky monastery and saw the Kremikovsky metal factory from the road: smokestacks, grey hulks of machinery and concrete barracks, a city in itself, made even more eerie as the sky turned green and the lightning and hail assailed the small car on our return journey. Boris passed me his phone so I could watch the video of Willie DeVille and Vanessa Paradis singing Stand by Me, and comforted us with his singing along in the back seat.

Tomorrow I have to be on Sofia time, I’ve kept somewhere in between since I arrived, but I have to get to a bus by 9am to go to Rila monastery two hours away that should be pretty cool, and after that a 13 c church in the suburbs of Sofia.