Autumn nowadays is presented as a time of cosiness, bunches of yellow leaves and everything pumpkin-spiced, but if you are fed up with this saccharine representation of the season, there is a place to go where you can experience autumn in its raw beauty.
Even before the day trippers have started their descent to Byala Reka, or White River, their uneven melody precedes them. After a while the singers themselves appear, hikers whose tiredness testifies that they have seen much more than just the Byala Reka Eco-Path.
Travelling in the Bulgarian countryside in the summer is particularly fascinating, for it is then that sunflowers are in full bloom, creating a colourful cacophony with their yellow, orange and brown hues.
The Bulgarian southern Black Sea coast might be overdeveloped, but a few corners of pristine nature and immaculate beauty still survive amid the concrete, the lack of proper sewage systems, the hideous new buildings and the jam - packed beaches. Sinemorets, one of the last Bulgarian villages before the border with Turkey, is one of those places.
Endangered, rare and ephemeral, wild peonies are to be found in just a few locations across Bulgaria, but on Yaylata Plateau, if you have the luck to visit in late spring, you will find scores of them.
We all love snow in the city on the first day after it falls, while the air is still crisp and pristine white covers the dusty streets, the cars, the leafless trees. However, after its first day in Sofia, snow becomes just another urban annoyance. The compacted ice on the pavements. The impassable streets. The grey, yellow and black hues the snow assumes from the dirty city air. Not. Enjoyable. At. All.
Three major rivers flow through southern Bulgaria: the Maritsa, the Arda, and the Tundzha. Springing from the most prominent Bulgarian mountain ranges, they carve, wind and splash their way though ravines and canyons and across plains, passing by cities ancient and new, before they finally join together just after the border with Turkey and flow south until they reach the Aegean.