Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria’s 7,000-year-old capital. Meet your guides and translators and transfer to Stolat and the serene setting of the center. A fully renovated traditional Bulgarian farmhouse sitting on 1500 acres with views of the Balkan Mountains. Reflect on your experiences, enjoy talk or games with your travel companions. Prepare your body for the week with a Yoga workshop and meet the other guests whilst enjoying a delicious outdoor meal.
DAY 2: YOGA AND CLIMBING
Greet the sunrise with fresh coffee or tea and a Yoga practice under the guidance of Donna Southwell. Then take breakfast in the garden or perhaps on one of the balconies. Later, travel to Usteto Iztok gorge overlooking Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Bulgaria's second empire. Here you will get the opportunity to learn or develop your rock climbing abilities under the watchful eye of an instructor. Alternatively begin to explore the town or perhaps simply lounge at the center in a hammock. Return to the center for dinner and an evening yoga workshop.
DAY 3: YOGA AND EMEN GORGE
After another morning Yoga practice and nourishing Bulgarian breakfast join us for a moderate hike through the impressive Emen Gorge, a huge limestone canyon framed by forests and caverns filled with rare protected bat species. The river running through the canyon pours from a shelf and creates a pool just the right depth for swimming… or to look at whilst eating lunch, you choose! After returning to the center, enjoy a Yoga posture development workshop before enjoying a delicious evening meal.
DAY 4: YOGA, CLIMBING AND HORSE RIDING
Start with a yoga practice in the cool air of the morning, and then enjoy breakfast. Today you have another opportunity to develop your rock climbing skills or instead you can travel to the Bedouin Bar, where you can enjoy a walk and swim in the clear river. You will also have the opportunity to explore the local countryside on an optional horse-riding excursion. Or of course, relax and soak up the peace at the beautiful, renovated farmhouse center. In the evening we will visit a local restaurant that specializes in contemporary Bulgarian cuisine.
DAY 5: YOGA, ISPOLIN PEAK ANS SHIPKA PASS HIKE
After practice and breakfast, join us in hiking through the Shipka pass and to the summit of Mount Ispolin (1524m). This peak has tremendous views south and west over the central Balkan Mountains. Including views of Mount Great Kademlia (2275m) and deep into the mountain sheltered sub-Balkan valleys behind which rise to the soft slopes of the Central Forest. A warm and revitalizing meal awaits your return as well as an evening yoga workshop.
DAY 6: YOGA, CLIMBING AND ETARA TOUR
After greeting the morning at practice and following breakfast today, you have the option of continuing your climbing development or stepping back in time; as you enter the gates of Etara, a living museum featuring a traditional craft marketplace. Waterwheels power machinery used for woodcarving, pottery, weaving, and silversmithing, among others. Try a traditional apple pastry from the bakery or Turkish coffee brewed over hot sand whilst you watch the artisans at work and shop for unique handcrafted items. In the evening enjoy a yoga workshop.
DAY 7: COUNTED YOGA, VELIKO TARNOVO TOUR AND HERITAGE BANQUET
On the morning of your penultimate day at the center you are invited to practice Ashtanga Yoga in the traditional Mysore counted style. Donna Southwell will count the breath and movements of the practice in Sanskrit whilst adjusting postures. After breakfast in the garden, you will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of Veliko Tarnovo. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Tarnovo, famed for its architecture, is located on the Yantra River and is the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The old part of the city is situated on the three hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora, rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. After the tour feel free to explore and pick up souvenirs. Finally, end the day with a traditional dinner at the center, complete with Bulgarian performers sharing music, song, and dance.
DAY 8: TRANSFER TO SOFIA AND TRAVEL HOME
Have one last morning coffee in the barn and enjoy the view before traveling back to Sofia for departure home.