Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sozopol, The City of Salvation

Vacation on my mind

After long months of work and no play, I turned off all phone and computer devices, threw my camera over my shoulder and boarded a flight to Bulgaria, the country where I was born and raised, for a three week vacation and pictures for our hungry website, .

The flight was long—as long as a Delta Skyline account can take you on--Atlanta to Montreal, Montreal to Paris and Paris to Sofia. The highlights of this 24 hour ordeal were a delicious dinner with wine at Cabine M restaurant in the Montreal Airport, a visit to the forever mind blowing Notre-Dame De Paris and a lousy lunch at a nearby bistro in Paris, the loss of our entire luggage upon arriving in Sofia.

My grandparents house in Lozarevo
Not to be discouraged, we had light meal and drinks with relatives that night, a short night sleep, a do-nothing-think-nothing following day. On day two, while our lost luggage was  being mercilessly tossed from plane to plane in search for us, we went shopping for essential clothing, footwear and toiletries and packed our newly borrowed backpacks for a trip to Sozopol. Then, a brief stop at my grandparents' house in the village of Lozarevo where my mom spends her summers now; the name Lozarevo is a derivation of the Bulgarian word for vineyards. This summer has been extremely hot and dry and the grapes have high sugar contents; the wine is expected to be exceptionally divine. With my mother in the car, we drove to Sozopol where we had rented a house on the beach.
Sozopol is located on the south east coast of the Black Sea. It is the oldest city in Bulgaria. It was founded around 7th century B.C. by a Milesian colony led by the Greek philosopher Anaximander. They named it Apollonia for the Greek god Apollo. Under the Byzantine Empire, the town was renamed to Sozopolis--The City of Salavation.
Old Sozopol-Traditional wood house
Old Sozopol
Old Sozopol

Bulgaria abounds in remains of ancient civilizations, but here in Sozopol you literally have to dig a few inches into the dirt to start excavating. In June of this year, in the graveyard of a monastery in Sozopol, archeologists unearthed the skeletons of two 800 year old “vampires” whose chests were pierced with iron rods, so they would not able to rise from dead and terrorize the living. For all of you Hollywood location hunters, Sozopol may be your best bet for authentic zombie filming at very reasonable prices.  If on the other hand, you are looking to invest in a dramatic piece of land on the top of a cliff hanging over the Black Sea, do your research properly before you purchase because the city council will take the land from you for as little as a fraction of an ancient bone you may find in the dirt, which brings me to the church of St George where in a gold and silver casket lie relics of St John the Baptist. Close your eyes, say a prayer and make a wish.
The Church of St George which houses remains of St John The Baptist

The food is fresh and delicious, but, as in Paris, you need to know your restaurants. The wine is divine. If you are as lucky as I am to have a mother who at the age of 83 still produces her own, you have tasted ambrosia. The wine is of such fine quality that conversion to hydrophobia is quick and painless. Bulgaria has a great variety of grapes—Muscat Ottonel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Aligote, Pamid, Gamza, Binyat, Riesling, Ugni blanc, Traminer, Rkatziteli, Red Misket, to name a few. A word of caution: know your cellars before you commit to convert or ask me for more information on the subject.

The view of the Black Sea from our window
In the month of September the sun is still hot, the beach is full of vacationers, but not as overcrowded as it is during the summer months, and the air is filled with the scent and color of grapes and the throbbing anticipation of the grape harvest and the making of wine.
After ten days on this tiny heavenly place, I took one long last look at the Black Sea from our window and left for Sofia.

I was literally born and raised on “Main Street” in Sofia and some day will tell about it.
Right now, as I am back to Atlanta and back to work, I like to fill my thoughts with images of Sozopol; a comforting small town of salvation.

If you are looking for the three most and least expensive listings in Sozopol, send me a note. There is real estate for every budget.