Not too many tourists venture themselves into inland south-eastern Bulgaria. They rather flock to the sunny coast and enjoy the hotels and cocktails with a warm Black Sea for their pleasure - it's not warm now though, as I have discovered.

So, before I took a dip in the freezing Black Sea and fell ill for a week, I spent some time in the region of the Strandzha Mountain where the Thracians that lived here more than two thousand years ago, only have a few burial stones to show for their existence and beliefs:


The Thracian Tombs were discovered a the end of the last century, and although some stones have tinted sides by paint applied 2500 years ago, you really have to use your imagination to guess what any of the burial site must've looked like. If you do want to get an idea, a place like Kanzanlak, near Buzludzha, is what you should go for. But walking around on this hill, horses rushing by, bees energetically guarding a tomb, and flowers of all colours, like a carpet to the highest spots, it is quite the experience.


The Srandzha region is a gorgeous, almost wild, part of the country and is very much uncolonised by buildings and hotels, which fill up the coast. If you have a (solid) car, and have the nerves of steel it takes to deal with Bulgarian drivers (who do not value life as much as getting where they're going, on time, it seems), I can only recommend a quiet and green escapade in these parts.

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