“If September is warm and sunny, October is cold and cloudy.” says one Czech proverb. The same could be said about Shipka this year as dry and hot September was replaced by way more clouds in October and some proper rains finally came.
This unstoppable natural cycle of seasons influenced our activities significantly. Gardening, harvesting, necessary maintenance and preparations for the winter were among the major activities. However, we also welcomed two new volunteers and planned work to make Shipka a better place. See more below!
During October two new volunteers joined the Shipka Paradise. Let them introduce themselves:
I am 29 years old, from Spain. Graduated in Sports Science and currently studying Anthropology. I am curious about Bulgarian culture, learning about permaculture and ways to live responsibly within nature. I feel grateful to be part of this brilliant team and I am eager to contribute with everything I can and enjoy this wonderful experience that Erasmus+ grants us.
Hello, my name is Cécile, I’m 29 years old and I come from France. I work as a freelance graphic designer and artist: I paint murals, make illustrations and graphic creations. During the summer I left my flat in Paris to take my backpack, trying to live more with a nomadic way of life. I’ve organised artistic activities with children and youth in 2020 and now I would like to continue with these activities and travel at the same time. Moreover, I’m very interested in permaculture, gardening and self-reliance, and I would like to learn more about it. I’m also a photographer and during my experience here, I will update my photo journal here: www.pleinmilieu.com
Maintenance before winter
Winter can be harsh in Shipka. Low temperatures and lots of snow are part of the Shipka Paradise. Thus, roof reparation works continued on another shed so it can carry all the snow. Three days of hard work and deadline set by an incoming rain made it very tiring but also extremely rewarding when the new roof was finished exactly when clouds appeared above the mountains. See pictures. 🙂
As usual, one of the volunteers visited the Golden Apple school in Kazanlak every day. Here we did some fun and educative activities with the kids, like quilling, felting, paper mosaic and pantomime. One of the days the roles were reversed: the kids taught us some Bulgarian. For us, it was fun to be in primary school again for a day, and for the children, it was interesting to learn how to teach. This lesson was followed by an educative and fun permaculture session led by Tanya.
Work in the garden this month included the last sowing of the year (spinach, radish, dill and coriander) and some harvesting of the remaining vegetables and fruits (many many pears).
Some of us escaped autumn for a few days, to catch this year’s last sunrays at the seaside. We spent two nights camping at the wild beach Karadere near Byala. Unfortunately, we missed the annual beach clean-up organised by the organisation ‘Да спасим Карадере’ (‘Save Karadere’), which took place the week before.
Karadere is one of the few remaining wild beaches on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, free of infrastructure and big hotels for mass tourism. This had (and still has) to be fought for, though, as many parties take interest in trying to claim this beautiful piece of nature. The name ‘Save Karadere’ therefore refers to saving the beach and its surroundings from being spoiled by big enterprises’ profit-driven development plans. Moreover, they gather every year to clean up any trash in the area (all help is welcome). For those who are interested, this is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/karadere.save/media
Although we were not able to join this year’s clean-up, we still had a great time at the beach, as the pictures illustrate (and of course we collected any leftover trash that we came across)!
Other than that, there were a few other small things we did this month. For example, Maya and Tanya joined the singing group in Chitaliste, we put up a sign on the trash bin about the nearby compost, we helped Denitsa prepare her treasure hunt for kids of the school in Shipka, we were given a tour of the art gallery in Chitaliste by Tanya and Denitsa and a tour of the ethnographic museum by Rada, and we all joined our first lesson of Bulgarian with Bojidar.
October is over but November is coming. The month of autumn colours asks for walks and hikes. So don’t stay home and enjoy this amazing period of the year!