PISS 2000: Bulgaria - Day Three
Somewhere else dark and full of glass
Up early to welcome the coming day in a hailstorm with hail the size of cats and a lightening storm passing over us. The lightening took out the local nuclear power station, plunging us into darkness. A yelp went up from Bloomster, astride the throne, mid-stig.
Typical breakfast in darkness, luncheon meat and stale bread ! Yum. Drive-ski arrived on time, but Cyril ate slower than a three-toed sloth and delayed the departure of the overloaded cabbage bus for deepest Bulgaria.
We stopped in croft-south-central for treacle coffee and communist wagon-wheels for the grand sum of six pence ! Andy had a funny turn and took to marching across the local parade ground where he attempted to chat up a local tom. She offered her unpronounceable wares at the rate of 4 Lev (local currency) for 2 hours, but there was no time to take her up on her kind offer, so we dragged Andy back to the bus, which by now was stacked to bursting with red and green cabbages.
Drive-ski drove us off down valley to a large waterfall where we scrambled around taking pictures of the view.
We then took a stroll around the bottom of the cliff until Simon spotted a superb scramble to take us to the top. Kiril, CEO of Odessia-not, who had dressed in a women's swimming costume today, didn't look impressed, but Cyril just accepted we were bonkers and followed.
Easy scramble up chossy, flaky, muddy route, picking up thorn bushes on the way. Wandered along through a village entirely populated with scabby (and scary) dogs, where we chanced upon a local crofter with a wheel barrow load of gash. This was promptly emptied over the cliff who's base we had just walked around ! Kiril attempted to impress upon the man that this was a National Park (of some dubious description), but the man didn't seem impressed with the Sofia-type trying to tell him where he could throw his rubbish !
Continued the swagger through crofters-ville, rabid dogs biting at our heels, to the top of the waterfall where Simon donned his vintage German fieldglasses and spied on two young individuals indulging in some heavy petting. We all took a turn perving, but sadly there was no female nudity, so we got bored and wandered off. However, Cyril took numerous snaps of the young man, a few souvenirs for his personal collection I suspect…………………
Back on the road, we stopped in a little café next to the cave. Andy was refused service by the Norman Bates-like owner for daring to speak some Bulgarian, but a local nutter took pity on Andy and Simon, so chatted to them, improving their Bulgarian verb conjugation no end !
Soon the nonsense ended and we headed up to the cave. The huge entrance porch was very impressed, what with it being a large repository for broken glass and rusty nails, and we pushed on into the depths, glad to have knee pads as we crawled in passages liberally adorned with the aforementioned objects. The cave took on a serious air as the main river passage was traversed, with the entire group stood astride a huge metal pipe that snaked into the depths to drain the cave of its polluted water for drinking supplies !
Everyone but the three Tigers wimped out at the Lake of Death, but Simon, Andy and myself launched ourselves across the 100m long lake (according to Cyril) to the short and uninteresting cave (according to Cyril) beyond. Instead, we found the lake to be no longer than 10m and the cave beyond was at least a kilometre of huge stonking passage that ended in a large Vauclusian rising from under a blank wall. Extremely impressive………..
The cave was called Temhata, which translates as "the dark hole" - unusual as most holes are dark. Massive river, sumps, pipes to be crossed "au Chevalier" and the Bulgarian beards put to shame by Pendles finest aquatic crew. About 10m of swimming lead to about a mile of massive passage.