Another sweltering day in Vetrintsi, Bulgaria? I know, let’s go for a day trip to Tryavna, yay! So that’s what we did – after breakfast at Teddy’s house, our intrepid hostess and guide (guide-ess?) drove us through the scorching heat (the air-conditioning on her ever so European car blew it darnedest for us, but managed only to keep us from passing out) to Tryavna.
Teddy was proud to tell us how, when she served as a representative from Bulgaria to the European Council (Teddy, correct me if I get any of this wrong), she helped to get support for the renovation of Tryavna, to help make it into a destination. The town as it stands now is eminently charming, with streets full of shops and squat buildings covered with these dark slate roofs that I have never seen anywhere else in my life (if it’s not a regional thing, then maybe it’s a Bulgarian thing).
Everything starts in Tryavna with Capitan Diado Nikola Square, with its main tower.
Nearby is one of the town’s oldest monuments, the Archangel Mihael Church.
We left there and attacked some of the craft-shop-filled streets.
Usually, crafty stuff is more Therese’s ball of tea. But this time, I actually bought some stuff – two tee shirts with the ancient Bulgarian Glagolitic Alphabet on them (one for myself and one for one as a gift for one of my brothers).
As much as we were enjoying popping from shop to shop and staying in the shade as much as possible, the heat was still pretty merciless. So Therese and I found a table in the shade and had a soft drink to cool off. Teddy joined us minutes later and we headed to one of the Daskalov House, Tryavna’s museum of woodcarving.
The sculptures in the Daskalov’s verdant front yard were just appetizers for what lay inside of the museum (unfortunately, there was a no photographs policy inside). The great variety of excellent quality carved panels and wall hangings inside this museum made me wish that some of these pieces had been for sale like all we had just seen in the nearby craft shops. Not that I would’ve been able to afford any of these pieces, I am sure, but a guy can dream. In the meantime, it was cool to hear that in addition to being a museum, Daskalov House is still a working studio that gives classes in woodworking as well.
By the time we were done with the museum, it was time to do some serious resting and cooling off, and maybe even have some lunch, and for that we went to Mehana Zograf (mehana is Bulgarian for tavern, if I haven’t said that already), connected to a hotel of the same name. The outside seating was alongside a stream and there were wonderful breezes to be felt there.
For my lunch, I enjoyed a baked trout with lemon drizzled over it with some frites. If you are afraid of eating fish with bones, I encourage you not to be – I learned from an experienced fisherman friend of mine how to do it over a dinner in Florida years ago, but it is not that hard. Teddy and Therese seemed impressed, watching me eat my trout, how I lifted the meat away from the bones, so I guess it is not a universally-understood technique. Anyway, it can be done.
Having had a lovely time in Tryavna, it was time to return to Teddy’s farmhouse, living in hope that by the time we got there, it would be cooling off. Well, we could hope for cool weather, but hope was all we were going to get.