It was a bittersweet morning today as we packed up and said bye to Stone and Compass in Stolat and its amazing hospitality. We savored our last breakfast by Chef Kolyo and headed out for the long ride to the city of Sozopol and the Black Sea. On the way, we stopped at the Shipka Monument in the Balkan mountains, making it our coldest and windiest part of our trip thus far. It serves as a memorial for those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka in 1877.
It was a long van ride with one van of the ride becoming known as the quiet nap van and the other as the karaoke party van! After we stopped for a light lunch, we continued driving and then finally made it to Sozopol. It would be an understatement to say that we were not disappointed with our view of the Black Sea. We took a walk through what is known as the old part of town along small cobblestone roads of seaside homes. After seeing listings for rentals and looking up the US conversions, some of us were convinced we want to move here! Our hotel sits atop the rocky side of the sea, but we were able to walk to the sandy side and dip our toes in.
The end of the night concluded with dinner at our hotel’s restaurant. As this is a more popular summer vacation destination, it seemed as if they were not expecting 18 of us to walk in (especially with what we found out was only a one chef night). Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed everything from risotto and baked brie to shrimp pasta, trout and sea wolf (a type of Bulgarian fish). We shared our highs and lows, with some making us laugh and others being emotionally heartfelt. Today is technically when our real vacation began to chill out and relax having finished fieldwork, but it is safe to say our group feels this entire trip with all its surprises has been unforgettable.