After staying in Melnik, a town that oozes tourism (but had none when we visited because of the Covid-19 pandemic), we are on our way to Plovdiv. We enjoy the views of the rolling hills with grapevines, and views towards Greece - the border is very close. We make a turn, and work our way back towards the mountains, following a road that meanders through a valley. After a while, we reach a junction, and mistakenly take a left. I soon see that this is not the correct way, but the road is narrow, turning almost impossible, and the village of Pirin is close anyway. When we make a final turn, it lies below us, nestled at the folds of the surrounding green mountains. When we park at the main square, we get surprised stares of the few people around. We start by walking up the stream that runs through the village.
We walk narrow streets, with traditional houses rising on both sides, often with wooden balconies, some built with mud. After the polished traditional buildings of Melnik, this feels like the real stuff. This is not groomed for tourists, these are houses most of which were built decades ago, by hand, as can be seen by the rickety construction methods used. A joyful Bulgarian lady happily poses for us, and when we cross a bridge, we get a better overview of Pirin. Much of it is built on both sides of the river, and some houses seem quite new. At the same time, we see many deaths announced on papers hanging from houses, and the people we see are invariably old. We wonder what future this village has - like so many isolated places nowadays: what can it offer its youth?
We make it back to the main square, and continue further down the river. Many people here grow their own vegetables in their gardens. We cross a bridge, take a path that goes a little higher, and meet more people. A couple of ladies are chatting, and gladly have their picture taken. Again, like so many times before - what a pity we cannot communicate with them! We walk down the road, until it inevitably meets the main square and we are back where we started. One car has an open backdoor, with clothes on display. The vendor is sitting a little bit away, under a parasol. This is the market of Pirin, with zero customers. We feel obliged to walk into the only shop and buy some yoghurt before we get ready to leave - very satisfied with our spontaneous visit to Pirin.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pirin (Bulgaria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pirin. Read more about this site.