In search of poppies, cherries and something more

Sometimes traveling is all about preparing to visit your favorite destination for months. Reading all the blogs about the place and pining the photos, planning every detail with excitement, and counting down the days until you go.

Sometimes is just getting in the car and hitting the road without a destination or direction. Stopping on the road if you see something interesting. Taking advantage of the lack of any plan and enjoying what’s happening at the very moment. Or what’s not.

So our last trip happened the second way – completely improvised and with unexpectedly good stops on the road. So let’s begin…

Drone shot over the mountain around the Ilindetsi village in Bulgaria

The random detours

We passed a billboard on the road, advertising some nice clay houses. We decided to turn to the village they were supposed to be in. Recently, we are happier and happier to have a high-clearance car because the roads are just full of potholes. Wherever there are roads at all.

So, we enter the village of Ilindentsi, we leave ourselves to the road to lead us. Okay, but the road gets narrower and starts to disappear. We head to Art Center – Ilindentsi, but we give up. The road does not want to take us there… We turn to the stone bridge – it is decorated with frescoes, like the nearby fountain, and this will be the closest thing to art we’ll experience on this road.

So far the search for clay houses is no success. We pass the village square, there are a few decorated wedding cars. Google Maps is supposed to help us, but we’re stuck in an even more non-existent way. A dog drags the body of a dead animal, garbage is everywhere.

We enter the gypsy neighborhood. The kind people there tell us that there is no way out of the village and we will have to turn around. We turn and catch a strange exit from the village, we did not come from there.

Drone selfie with a broken Fiat nearby the Ilindentsi

Look from above

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We are now in the country houses zone, stopping between the abandoned with roots deep in the ground Fiat Punto and some poppies, naughtily waving at us just behind a packed garbage can. There is no one. That means we can get the drone in the air.

We fly the drone to observe and film the village and the overhanging rocks from above. From its point of view, everything always looks better. It’s like we can fly over rocks, over the Cross of metal, above the modest rooftops of the village.

Ilindentsi is starting to appeal to us. A paraglider would be very cool to fly over there. The sun blows violently, it is going to rain. We take some selfies with the Fiat, with the valley beside the road, and we “close the propellers”.

In search of poppies

These few hidden poppies have made me more and more want a whole field of poppies. Somehow I’ve known it, subconsciously, to wear the red skirt, and if there’s a red poppy field, they’ll be great shots. We just have to find the field.

The goal of poppy searching we don’t follow at all. We still remember the impromptu lavender quest last year. However, if it is meant to happen, it would happen. Because there are a bunch of wild poppies right next to the cherry fields we’ll visit the next day.

Poppies are everywhere nearby Veljusa village, Strumica, Macedonia
Poppies are everywhere nearby Veljusa village, Strumica, Macedonia

We do not know if the exciting red color attracts me so or the fact that the poppies are so fleeting and temporary. The leaves of poppy can fall out of a slight gust of wind, let alone if you try to tear the flower off.

We are in Macedonia, and I push through all the thorns, daisies, and poppies (which are called something like cheeky ladies in Macedonian) to enjoy their beauty and take our time. Too many cheeky ladies in one place, idyllic.

Become rich or eat cherries?

Like every year, at the end of April and the beginning of May, we start feeling like eating cherries. It’s close to impossible to find them in Bulgaria at that time of the year, so prices are hitting the ceiling. Everyone jokes that eating cherries is a great luxury and only millionaires can afford it (some people think traveling is quite like this, too).

However, early varieties grow in Macedonia. And if you have access to some cherry fields, you do not have to be rich to eat cherries. You can even eat them directly from the tree because if you’re lucky, they will not be treated.

Cherries are so tasty if you eat them directly from the tree, nearby Veljusa village, Strumica, Macedonia
Cherries are so tasty if you eat them directly from the tree, nearby Veljusa village, Strumica, Macedonia

Well, we did eat, we even filled a box. This amount of cherries is equal to the value of a short expedition to Antarctica, but sometimes we listen to the stomach rather than to our travelers’ spirit. We hope nobody will kill us for those cherries, at least not before we have finished them.

And about the expedition – we will renew the fund as soon as the cherry season is over… 🍒🍒🍒

So, without a plan and with a few tiny obstacles, the weekend passed so quickly. Another characteristic of improvised trips. And we are so happy – not that we have hugged poppies and eaten cherries. It’s just we feel our souls light, we’re fueled with energy and inspiration.

And do not forget – we define how good a place is. The same applies to any random stop along the way. Travel is what we do, not what we will see and what we eat. It’s not that the latter doesn’t matter, but we are the chief responsible for the wonderful experiences.

Panoramic view over the Veljusa village, Strumica, Macedonia

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  1. […] Coast on the other side of the country in approximately 8 hours by road. The good part is that most small towns and villages are well-connected via buses or trains so you can explore the whole country without renting a car […]