Exploring the secrets of Buzludzha
On my way to Romania from Burgas, I made sure I would go through a Soviet monument I had seen online, which looked to me like a flying saucer, Buzludzha. This is where I met with Eva and now have a story to remember.
Going towards the village of Shipka, you can find the first entrance, marked by a huge Soviet statue of Dimitar Blagoev, leader of the social party which, in 1891, formed the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. Later I would realize that this would be the best way to go back as well, as this is part of the hill that gets hit less by the snow. I took the time to visit the village of Shipka and see the Shipka Memorial Church.
After strolling around the village, I went back and took the road that gets you to the monument. I really wanted to go inside the monument, as I had seen some pictures and looked really good. The monument looks peculiar from the moment you start to see it. It resembles a flying saucer, sitting atop a random peak. It sits at 1432m high. There was snow along the way but not too much. I didn't want to spend too much time there because I would be travelling to Bucharest and didn't want to travel after nightfall.
I left the car at a point where it didn't look too safe to go on because of the snow and hiked about a km to reach the monument. The hike was somewhat steep and the snow made it a bit more difficult. At some points, the floor was icy, which made it slippery. I was a bit worried about how dangerous would it be to go back through this slippery road, but the urge of wanting to see the monument kept me on track.
As soon as I reached the entrance, to my disappointment, I realized that the whole place has been sealed so you could not enter. They had put iron bar doors all around which were welded together. I could not believe it. I wanted so much to get inside and I couldn't. The welding looked very old, so I figured that maybe if I used a rock or something I might be able to get inside. I tried to do that but was without any luck. I saw inside that there was a second set of doors welded together, so I figured I was trying in vain. I walked around the building to try and find another way in and I even thought of really dangerous ways to get inside. Giving it some thought though, I understood that they wouldn't work anyway, so I didn't try them. At one point, the floor looked like glass and I thought to myself: "Maybe that's ice". Just before completing my thought, I was already laying on the hard floor. To my luck, I wasn't injured or hurt.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way in and I got really disappointed and frustrated, so after some time, I decided to go back to my car. As I started to descend I saw someone coming from afar. It was actually a beautiful blonde girl, coming in alone. I thought I should ask her if she knew a way in. Her name was Eva and she said she was also a visitor, coming from Austria. She was also a bit disappointed when I told her I couldn't find a way in myself, but nevertheless, we decided to go around one more time and have a better look. After walking around the building for one more time, Eva spotted a hole in the ground, just big enough to fit one person. A rope was tied around an iron bar on the ground and was thrown inside the hole. The rope looked safe enough to support a person, but the hole was black and you couldn't see how deep it was. So, naturally, we thought we should try this one out. I think the fact that we were two made the decision easier, as we knew that if something happened to the one going in first, the other could call someone for help.
Eva, being lighter, supported herself to see if she could reach the floor easily, which fortunately she did. So she came back up and I went in first. The depth of the hole was something like 1,5m. At that depth, there was a landing that went inside a room, where the electrical switchgear of the building was. The switchgear had an iron grid frame around it and a not-so-secure piece of wood connected the frame to the window landing. I tried the wood and figured it was most probably going to hold my weight (I also probably wanted to look brave to Eva too), so I reached the iron frame. I used this as scaffolding and reached the floor of the room.
After going through a labyrinth of several rooms, serving as warehouses, mechanical infrastructure and so on, we managed to reach the main auditorium. This was really awesome. The cylindrical wall all around was decorated with a beautiful mosaic and the roof was falling apart at some points, letting the snow in, which created an eerie overall picture.
We explored a little more and strolled in the corridor around the auditorium, taking some pictures, since I now had a model. After a while, we decided to take the road back, so that we wouldn't be driving during the night. Eva had parked her car from the other side which was much closer to the monument, so she took me in and drove me to mine. We decided to go back taking the other way from the one I took, which was a very bad choice. The road had too much snow, so eventually, I had to use my snow chains. It took us quite some time but finally, we reached the main road and took our separate ways. Eva and I had taken one mosaic tile each from the floor of the auditorium and said that if we were to meet again we would bring our tiles together.