Blue skies over Bulgaria

all images & words copyrighted, all rights reserved ©JanGodownAnnino 

[Poetry Friday is collected at dear Laura’s WRITING THE WORLD FOR CHILDREN. Go, visit!} 

Not as depicted in fairy tales 


I step down along

narrow paved lane

truly a steep slope,

foothill of the Teteven Balkans


 a beauty blue, summer blue,

postcard blue sky is my roof

it deserves a salute, but eyes rivet

down at the footing 

less I twist ankle, break bone

5,600 miles away from home


and so moving shadow over the land

alerts me

 I stop, arch neck up


 air-floated leviathan

of grace and strength



feathered giant

creature soaring in a million

child stories

 thrill of a glorious day, I whisper

-keep winging on your elegant way-


wild wild wild stork

flies free without baby bundle


c.2019PetarTodorov, Ribarista, Bulgaria

The slope-day memories are part of our short summer family adventure, not a birding trip, so the surprise made the thrill more intense. I thank my fabulous son-in-law for this memory of a magnificent bird in flight I couldn’t tear my eyes from until as glided out of site in the Balkan mountains.

It is sweet to realize that less than one month ago, we returned home from afar. We traveled  5,600 miles away, journeying in three outstanding areas of Eastern Europe’s Bulgaria. Among stepping stones of Neolithic, Byzantine, Ottoman, Thracian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman people. (I may have missed a culture or two, in there…) Our biological clocks adjusted to the 10 hours of flight differences by refueling. Always-fresh, always-local veggies, bowls of pure Bulgarian yogurt, often homemade, considered by many to be the original yogurt of the world, fresh air, exciting archeological and ancient sites and most of all, wonderful people to meet, brought lovingly to our family by marriage. Here are a few images. I could spellbind you with a day-long travelogue!

A few snaps from Beautiful Bulgaria

Something of Plovdiv, named the EU’s Cultural Capitol of 2019 – ruins of stadium entrance, open air-three-story theater, Jewish temple menorah under reconstruction. The Cyrillic alphabet is a compelling cipher to me. My first-ever Arabic mosque minaret in an Arab region.

c.2019 Plovdiv at night, stadium entrance tunnel



c.2019 Plovdiv three-story open-air theater.









c.2019 Plovdiv ancient Jewish menorah floor tile under reconstruction
c.2019 Reading cryllic.
c.2019 Plovdiv Mosque minaret.










Something of Sophia – We felt as if we stepped into a scene from The Nutcracker Suite. Often the alphabet is translated. We sought out houses of worship and were pleased to be allowed past security, to experience the lovely Sophia Jewish Temple. We always looked for the national flower – roses – here, outside the 700 AD Christian Orthodox Church.  The underground village of Serdica is yielding its stories, while museum treasures include truly-golden pages of a 4th-5th century book and    young hairstyle I love, from a lass of ancient times. We never tired of the lovely red-tile roof views, this from our balcony at Sophia Place Hotel – glad to recommend it!  Fresh foods, including fresh-squeezed on-the-spot orange juice are the norm.

c.2019 Sophia “Nutcracker Suite”


c.2019 Learn “staff only” in Cryllic.


c.2019 Sophia Jewish Temple.









c.2019 Sophia. Young roses, old church.










c.2019 Sophia. Underground Serdica.


c.2019 Sophia. Gold pages,
4-5th Century.










c.2019 Sophia. Sweet Pigtails!


c.2019 Sophia. Mosaic of red-tile roofs.











c.2019 Sophia. Fresh O.J. available frequently.











Something of Rila – Ancient roadway, a monastery with architecture that is a work of art and a feeling as if I am walking into The Name of the Rose (Umberto Ecco) a favorite novel – all at the Rila Monastery at Rila Mountain.

c.2019 Rila. Ancient roadway.
c.2019 Rila. A stunning UNESCO World Heritage monastery.










c.2019 Rila. Step into my chamber…









A few fun scenes of family time. With more than 1,000 images between all of us, new family included, this is but a taste…

c.2019 A circle of bread, the newly marrieds, who gets the bigger piece?
c.2019 An entire afternoon of sweet & folkloric circle dances!
c.2019 Ribarista Folk Dancers with our lovely young couple.




All images and words ©JanGodownAnnino, 2019, all rights reserved. 



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22 responses to “Blue skies over Bulgaria”

  1. What a wonderful adventure to share with your family! I love your poem and how a shadow alerted you to the stork’s presence–that “air floated leviathan.” Thanks for sharing the beautiful photographs and a taste of your adventure.


  2. What a treasure you captured in your poem Jan, and what fun to capture your “leviathan” in a pic too! Thanks for the virtual visit, I had a marvelous time there… I look forward to going in person one day.

    Reminds me of the Teatro Romano in Merida, Spain that I was at so long ago. Thanks for sharing the pics Jan!


    • Hey, hey dear traveler! Many more great trails to you, too. I love it that in addition to watching nature, we share an interest in what the ancient folks have left us to ponder. Appreciations for your kind words – YOU are an expert with the camera!


  3. Wow! What an amazing trip…and how smart to focus on houses of worship to find symbols and bursts of culture. Your postcard blue sky is a perfect place to pen us a taste of your trip. 1,000 photos? Oh, my! Memories for a lifetime, I’m sure.


  4. I love your post, Jan, every bit. Love the scenes, that ancient road, the roses and brick tower, family time looks so special. I think storks are a sign of good fortune, clearly the good fortune of your trip! Thanks for letting us trail along with you for a while.


    • Hi Linda & thank you for the good-fortune idea of storks. I want to look up folklore, sayings about them, now that you spark this! We always connect, don’t we – I’m thinking of your noting the ancient road; other than family images, it is perhaps the most potent photograph for me. I looked down at it & thought of sandaled feet, the feet of poverty, bare feet, the hoofs that trod… gave me shivers. Appreciations so much for your taking in these images.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved your guided tour. Jan. What a beautiful family — all of you. Blessings on the happy couple merging their lives, their families, and their cultures. This gives me hope for a global future of peace and unity.


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