stop over in Shiroko Laka
lots of tourists
bus to Devin
Well, we are leaving Smoylan today. Just a little late. We have been told that although we cant get to the festival, we can stop off in Shiroko Laka for a few hours and catch another bus to Devin then onto Trigrad. This sounded like a plan, so we set out. The first bus was easy enough, and it dropped us right in the centre of Shiroko Laka.
Shiroko Laka is a pretty little town up in the hills, built in the Bulgarian Revival style. It was packed with people, and the small village of maybe a couple of hundred people, if that had swollen to a few thousand. Most of these were people heading back from Gela, and others were day trippers.
After dropping our bags at a friendly shop / information point, we stated walking around. Impressed by the houses, most of which are now guest houses, built on a couple of levels. Nowhere near as steep as Smoylan, and easy to navigate. Town itself took us all of about half an hour to see. On going back to where the buses stopped, we asked for the time of the next bus. This was a bit difficult, but were given a time. It was only a few hours away! So finding a cafe we settled in with a beer and some over priced food. Making it back, we grabbed the bags and waited. A bus came the other way, and nothing. Still nothing. After about 2 hours past the time, we asked again. Apparently we cannot say Devin properly, and they thought we wanted to go to Smoylan! With that sorted out, we tried to get a new time. They had no idea. Asking other people we got told there may or may not be a bus today! This is getting very frustrating to say the least! A bus did turn up, and it was even going to Devin. Although by now, we would have settled on anything!
The bus, as most trips in this area wound its way through picturesque mountain passes and valleys. The notable thing was that we worked out what the structures built beside the river are, or were. Passing similar ones on the road, we discovered that they were fish farms! There are other ones along this road that are still in use.
Arriving in Devin, we were dumped at the station as is the norm. Again, there is no information, but we eventually got some help in finding the right bus out to Trigrad. It just doesn’t leave until tomorrow. There is only one per day. This helps. We could have stayed on our bus and gotten within 12km or so, but with no idea on if there is accommodation there, or even another bus onwards, so we decided to stay in Devin for the night.
Devin is an old Spa town with many hot springs. This made it a bit difficult to find a place to stay within our price range. With a bit more help from the cafe at the bus station, we did find a place. So dragged our bags up there, and called it a night.