It’s 7:55 a.m. and I’m sitting in the common room thinking of the days ahead. Bulgarian radio is on, and right now Offspring’s Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) is playing. I just finished eating breakfast—a half grapefruit and bowl of instant oatmeal—and now I have to pack my backpack for my trip to the monastery this morning.
|View from hostel's common room window|
Back in the States I saw a Rick Steves’ DVD called Surprising Bulgaria. It featured the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO heritage site, located about two hours away from where I am right now. It’s going to take some doing to get there on my own; outside of the usual group tour, that is. In about an hour I am to board tram number 5 outside the hostel, go nine stops to the bus station, then take a bus to the town of Rila. Yet another bus will bring me to the monastery.
I’m a little worried because my Spanish friends who rented a car and drove to the monastery a few days back told me the road is really bad, like potholes, windy mountains, and crazy drivers. They had a tire blow on a large stone just outside the monastery, but everyone was okay. Later I told my Italian roommates the Spanish friends’ story before they left in their rental car for the monastery yesterday. I didn't want to alarm them, but I thought they should know to be careful. I didn’t see them before I went to bed last night. I hope they’re okay.
Of course I still plan to go, because once I get something in my mind, it’s hard for me to change course. I can sometimes be inflexible this way. Plus, I’m sure it will be fine. The bus goes to the monastery every single day carrying tourists, and I haven’t heard of any tragedies. (I've asked.) Oh yeah, and just to prepare you, you won’t be hearing from me until at least Saturday, because there’s no wi-fi at the monastery.
Most people make the Rila Monastery a day trip from Sofia, but I’ve decided to stay there in order to reflect on some stuff. I booked three nights, which is the maximum one can stay. I heard there’s hot water now, and I may be getting one of the heated rooms. I read there’s a 5 p.m. curfew, which is fine, because frankly I need the quiet time.
And now it seems like an appropriate time to make a confession—though I think many of you have figured this out already. I haven’t made the kind of progress I intended to make on my book. I plan to have a long talk with myself about “getting serious” in between thinking about the meaning of life and my place in the universe. I think I'm going to be having some real breakthroughs.
Uh oh, time for coffee and a little Today Show. It's hard to believe I'm going to be without Charlie Sheen news for three full days.
More soon, I hope. I know, I shouldn't joke like that!