Veliko Tarnovo; Great Tarnovo

‘Being a mother,  taking care of them and watching them grow is the greatest happiness in this world.’-I have heard this opinion and more similar ones for years. To be honest, I can’t say I totally agree with it, however, I think, it is one of the important sources of woman happiness in the world. Being a mother demands lots of sacrifices on women, sometimes or most times women forget themselves, and they begin to live their one-time lives for their kids. I find it very amazing; it seems it is the natural feature of being a mother. This thought and similar ones were keeping me busy while waiting for my friends in the yard of the monastery in Veliko Tarnovo, historical capital of Second Bulgarian Empire situated on the Yantra River.

A couple days ago I made my second trip to this historical city with friends. I should have written about my first trip, but my time management has lost its value here, besides 18-hour train travel made me forget about most of the things I saw in Plovdiv, the second biggest city of Bulgaria. However, I think it is worth to write about Veliko Tarnovo and what I saw there.

We had a few free days, so it was a very good time for a next trip. It was almost three hours by train. In the train we met a Bulgarian woman who works  in that city, so she volunteered to be our guide. Of course, we accepted it with great pleasure; none of us had been there before.  It was very convenient; we would not wonder in the streets to find our ways, or we would not lose time with maps.  For me situation was a bit interesting; I have used to be followed; when I was working in Peace Corps as an LCF, I was the guide; I was the one who was putting an eye on everyone in our small trips, or deciding in my mind where to go and what to do. In that city roles changed and I began to follow somebody. For so  many times I found myself in front, as if I knew where to go. To guide or to be guided; in the first case you feel every level of responsibility, while in the second case it might be the opposite.

First place we went was an old street with small shops selling souvenirs, and other touristic things. They reminded me of the streets of Icherisheher; narrow streets and small one-floor houses. Those narrow streets led us to the Tsarevets (the fortress of the Second Bulgarian Empire). I have already mentioned in my previous posts that sometimes in Bulgaria I feel like I am travelling to the past in a time machine. I felt the same while walking up in that place. Instead of listening to our guide I tried to imagine emperor’s life; like whether he felt tired while walking up, whether he was aware that the decisions he had made didn’t just change his life but the lives of thousands of persons, and whether he ever got tired of being emperor. After quite a long way I found myself in front of the palace, and for a few minutes my imagination kept busy with imagining the lives of people who had lived there.  When
When I entered it turned out emperor used to love to see interesting paintings; you couldn’t find any plain space on the walls, they were all dressed with religious paintings.  Inside there was a notebook where people had written whatever they wanted; I did the same, and I also wrote whatever I wanted.

After fortress our nice and patient guide took us to one of the churches near the Yantra river. (I know I have began going to churches a lot, but what to do, I am living in a Christian country, and I am curious to see all the churches here) Not just the beautiful flowers in the yard of the church made me use my camera a lot, but also wells with stutentkis (coins). To tell the truth, I didn’t ask our guide anything about the wells half full with stutentkis, because my friends and I thought they were serving to realize a wish or wishes of some people, as they do in most countries. The other interesting thing, there were stutentkis not just in wells but in front of windows, or in the sinks that were put outside the church. I still wonder whether any of those stutentkis have completed their missions.

It was afternoon, and everybody already began to dream about what they would like to eat. Our guide led us to a small café, and I think everybody left that place with satisfaction. Here not chay (tea) but coffee follows meals. Although I am not a fan of either of them, but it has been a long time since I had a black tea. Small break helped us to go on, and some other Bulgarians joined us, and took us to Arbanasi, a small village near Veliko Tirnovo.

At university I have read in one of our teaching materials that naturalist claim this world is a machine which works by itself; nature has its own rules and it works according to those rules, nothing beyond. I would ask them to show me any machine that works by itself, they all need at least a push, so far, I have never seen any machine that works by itself. I remembered naturalist saying there, because in front of that gorgeous view I began thinking how that beauty can exist by itself.  I don’t know whenever I find myself in nature, that poor beauty strengthens my belief in God. I wish I could explain that beauty. Maybe it was rude of me, but I preferred to be alone with nature and God, so I mostly walked alone. For me, that was a real relaxation which brought me more hope to the better future which nobody knows whether it really exists or not. Instead of listening to people, I let my inner voice speak up, and also enjoyed listening to the voice of silence of the amazing nature. After a short, yet long walk in that village we came to the Monastry where I saw nuns and began thinking about what it means to be a nun and to be a mother, whether it is possible to really understand what lies beyond being a mother, and being a nun, and so many other things.

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