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In the winter, it might all appear oh so shiny and perfect. Winter resorts are completely white, covered in beautiful snow, hotels looking brand-new and offering VIP treatment, happy tourist chatting, while waiting to get to the ski track.
Yet, what a great disappointment Bulgarian (mass) winter resorts are in the summer.
A short while ago, a group of my friends organized a trip. We were to visit several Rhodope villages and to enjoy the completely unspoilt and virginal nature there. At least this is what I imagined and my expectations were of a completely eco and rural vacation.
We left the Sofia sign behind, traveled while listening to music and smoking occasionally and simply enjoying the nice weather, the sunshine and the pleasant company.
Surpassing Asenovgrad, we finally entered the mountain. Huge cliffs, steep slopes, old pines that appear as if they have been there forever. I was getting to enjoy the trip more and more.
Going further into the heart of the Rhodopes, we reached Chepelare and headed to Pamporovo. The road from Pamporovo was to lead us into our rural exploration of traditional Bulgarian mountain village lifestyle.
Little did I know. In a few minutes my vacation was to be somehow ruined and my view of the virginity of Bulgarian mountain nature was to change forever.
Pamporovo in the summer is the ugliest site one can ever come across.
In the winter, the snow covers all ugliness, but without it, all is exposed.
Huge hotels and construction sites make this place feel like a large urban center, rather than a beautiful spot for rest up in the mountain.
Enormous holes have been dug, probably to host the foundations of the upcoming concrete monster that is to turn into a hotel. It felt as if entire hills had been taken down, together with the beautiful forest that covers them.
Construction worker, cranes, digging machinery… Hotels piled on top of each other, it seems like there is no space left to accommodate any further construction works.
And I started wondering. Has someone truly legalized this madness? Or have investors given the right person the exact amount of money, in order to get the permit and to start killing nature in its uniqueness?
Bulgaria’s biggest asset is its nature, the purity, the distinctness, the dark green shade of ancient forests. Is everything to turn into Sunny Beach and Golden Sands, before someone starts thinking and trying to preserve what God has already given? Probably it would be too late. And probably Bulgaria will lose it all. Because short-term profit is what matters now and no one seems to be thinking about the future.