Growing up in America, I was taught that during thunderstorms, to seek shelter. Don’t stand under trees. Don’t stand under anything metal.
In Veliko Tarnovo, that little juicy bit of warning was completely unheeded.
Abby, our new Italian friend and I had learned “Carmina Burana” was being performed at the Tsarevets fortress for 15 LV so we decided to go and get some culture.
It had been a beautiful and sunny day in the little mountain town. But, as we ate dinner, clouds began to spill over the mountains surrounding us.
Ominous black clouds.
“I am really excited to see the ballet,” Abby said. She had grown up seeing ballets and this experience was a unique opportunity to catch a performance under the open sky in a fortress that was hundreds of years old.
It had such a romantic allure.
We purchased our tickets at the gate to the fortress.
I looked over the mountains to the black clouds hovering above the peaks.
“What happens if it rains?” I asked the girl who handed us our tickets.
“If the performance is rescheduled, you can go tomorrow night or if it is canceled, you can get your money back.”
We began to walk up the stone path towards the fortress towering above us on the hill.
Then, I felt it.
A big, fat drop of rain.
We kept moving towards the hill.
Another drop. And another.
As soon as we reached the venue, for the second time in two weeks, the skies opened and let loose all of the water it had been storing.
Accompanied by wind, thunder and lightening.
We were on top of a hill. We were waiting for the show. We weren’t going to back down from the storm.
Instead, we looked for shelter. Under a tall metal umbrella crowded with people underneath.
This isn’t good. This isn’t safe.
But, we had no choice.
For 45 minutes, the storm wailed, pounding us with sideways rain, assaulting our ears with thunder over our heads and inching away at our lives as lightening struck around us.
Then, it stopped.
Maybe the show will go on.
An announcement came over the speakers in Bulgarian.
Nope. Not happening.
Everyone sighed as they moved from under the umbrella and began to inch their way back down the stone path towards town.
Thankfully, no thunderstorm.
The three of us walked back towards Nomad’s Hostel and decided to go and get some drinks.
We found a bar with a covered terrace overlooking the city, our hostel 160 steps below, and warmed up with some rakia.
I had never tasted the strong liquor before.
Instantly, it’s sweet flavor trickled down my throat, warming every part of me.
We sat for a couple of hours, sipping our drinks and chatting.
Then, exhaustion crept in and I went home to dry off and to sleep in our dorm room.
I crawled into bed and let the rakia and the sleep do their thing as I looked forward to the next day and exploring the charming town of Veliko Tarnovo.