This year we decided to go to the Shipka Memorial for the very first time and of course we thought “Why not go there on the National day?”. Well, there’s actually a whole list of reasons why not to do that… 😀 I will summarize them and not get into too many details, as I don’t want this to turn into a whiny post.
So, here we go! Reason number one would be…
No traffic management. No organization. No nothing.
Imagine 100 000 people fiercely attempting to reach the same point (which in this case is a peak of a mountain!) and doing it at the same time. It’s like Opulchencite na Shipka (The Shipka Defenders) all over again.
The policemen that were stationed there would stop you on the way before entering the Shipka village and would say:
– Where to? To the monument?
– Yes, sir.
– Beware. *said like the GPS says it, but with a little mystery in it*
I love the good intentions, but some directions might have been more helpful. Cus’ 6-7 km from that point and about 7 km from the top, the cars started to get stuck. And that was only around 10 am. Later on, if you weren’t prepared to walk 12 km, you wouldn’t be able to reach the Shipka monument.
Wow! The culture shock!
Never have met that many Bulgarians who casually have put their car windows down and are listening to guess what – Byala Roza or Prituri se planinata. Nothing wrong about that, these are two great songs to represent our national folk music, but seriously?! 😀
Kebapcheta and ponichki
Ooh! I do love a nice and tasty kebapche, ponichki (donuts) not so much, but if you are gonna sell them right next to the stairs that lead to the monument, you might find a better way to do that.
On the way up, we heard two guys joking that the cloud that has covered the Shipka Memorial was probably a cloud from all the barbecues they have set up there. He-he, gotta appreciate the humor.
No extra trash cans also. You know what that means? When thousand of people eat kebapche and kiufte, and there are not enough trash bins? Next year it might be good if there would be an event to recruit volunteers which could help out during the day and after it.
Too many patriotic Bulgarians at one place
The patriots with the PK registration on their license plate, who think that if they show you the finger from their car (which has the Bulgarian flag at the back window), while driving in the lane that is for the cars moving in the opposite direction, ARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! They must be thinking, that the first who reach Shipka are the most patriotic ones?!
The lack of organization pretty much summarizes everything and most importantly – why many people failed to visit, despite their greatest desire. And by fail I mean that many people couldn’t actually reach the top, because they got stuck in the congested road, or had to walk 12 km just in one direction.
Go to Shipka during any of the other 364 days of the year
Because it is so worth it, and at the same time, there are like at least 100 other ways in which you can commemorate Bulgaria’s National Day, than to epic-fail at visiting the Shipka Memorial. 🙂
If you were to go any other day of the year, not only would you skip on the above-listed negative factors, but you would also maximize your experience by being able to do even more! Like:
- Enter the museum, which displays personal effects of the soldiers and volunteers, medals, photos, weapons and documents related to the battles fought over Shipka. One of the exhibits is a copy of the Samara Flag – the first battle flag of the Bulgarian Opalchentsi!
- Go to the highest platform of the Liberty Memorial and enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings.
- Climb and count the stairs yourself.
- Enjoy the beautiful surroundings without the crowds of people.
- Explore the whole National Shipka Park. There are 26 monuments, reconstructed battle positions, artillery batteries and dugouts of the defenders of Shipka Pass during the Russo-Turkish War from 1877 – 78.
- Pay your respects and honor those who have died for the Liberation of Bulgaria in a more decent and private way.
We will write an additional post on the National Shipka Park with more photos of the crazy beautiful area, tips and information about visiting. That’s it from us. Cheers and happy holidays! 🙂