I am sad to say that our Bulgarian adventure is drawing to a close. The children are busily packing their cases and trying to find additional space for all of their souvenirs and tomorrow morning we will head to the airport and back home.
Our final day of the project here in Sofia saw us up bright and early to catch a bus to the mountains. It was a wonderful experience to watch the world pass by out of the window as the hustle and bustle of the city have way to a broad plain with farms dotted here and there. Before long we began to climb into the mountains amongst deep forests.
Our destination, Koprivshtitsa, is a stunning traditional town full of a higgledy piggledy of Beautiful timber framed buildings clinging to the hillside. Koprivshtitsa is Bulgaria’s only city-Museum; an architectural reserve of historical significance (can you tell that I am paraphrasing from the Bulgarian tourist board website?). Formally a thriving agricultural centre it was birthplace of a number of national heroes and the Bulgarian Revival. It was here that the first shots of the Easter Uprising were fired in the nineteenth century which marked the beginning of the end of five hundred years of Ottoman rule in Bulgaria.
We toured the town with a very informative guide who gave us all a fabulous history lesson about the rich and varied past of this amazing country. Children and staff alike enjoyed exploring the winding cobbled streets - an amazing contrast to the bustling and cosmopolitan city of Sofia. After a lunch in a traditional Bulgarian inn, there was just time for a spot of shopping for souvenirs and mementoes before heading back to the bus.
This evening we have had a great final meal with our partners. At various times in the morning, each group will make their ways back to Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Romania and England with memories to last a lifetime.
We have enjoyed a truly superb week in Bulgaria. Our children have all been amazing throughout - full of interest and enthusiasm and thrilled to join in with their new friends from all corners of our continent. Erasmus+ has provided us all - both pupils and staff - with so many new experiences and lessons that simply cannot be replicated in a classroom.
I would just like to finish with a few thankyous. Firstly to Rositsa (I spelled it correctly tonight!). Our hostess with the mostess has kept us all entertained with a fantastic programme and worked long and hard to ensure that we have had such a wonderful experience. Next to the staff and children of our host school who have made us all so welcome and have been fine ambassadors of Bulgarian hospitality. To the staff and pupils from Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Romania we thank you also for helping to make this experience so special and look forward to welcoming you to Appleby.
I can’t sign off the blog without also thanking Team England. Your children have been an absolute delight. They have kept us entertained throughout the week and have been a credit to our school and our country. Thanks to Mrs Clifford who has been great company and a surrogate mum to all of your children. Finally thankyou to Marilyn, our project co-ordinator who not only helped to make all this possible but who has looked after us all throughout. She will arrive home in Appleby tomorrow evening and on Sunday will be shooting down to Manchester airport to meet our Little Explorers who will be joining us in school next week. No sooner has she said goodbye to them, she will be jetting off to Portugal with Mrs Brown and Mrs Parkin and then to Romania with Mr Caygill and Mrs Johnston. I simply do not know where she gets the energy!