While composing the shot of this window of a yet one more abandoned house near the small town of Ардино I realized the stones that I stumbled across have something strange about them. A closer inspection revealed they were actually tombstones.

Hamlet of Латинка - peeling off layers of history. This panel overlooks the school. During communist rule propaganda slogans were extensively used in every possible or impossible way. Say a lie a hundred times and it becomes truth. At least three different colours of paint were discernable, suggesting that the slogan was changed many times. Obviously the idea was to soak schoolkids' minds with the ideas of communism. The last tree words in blue are: "...the economy, science and culture". The last thing done to the panel is whitewashing it... probably it annoyed too much somebody.

Morning light at the village of Латинка. Roofs are always first to fall.

We spent a good part of the first day of our trek travelling by bus from София to Кърджали and then from Кърджали to the village of Дъждовница we took a taxi. After a couple of hours walk we got to a key point where we had to cross Кърджали water reservoir by boat. Luckily the guy at Боровица rest-house agreed to take us to the other side of the dam, where we reached our first planned destination - the remains of Патмос fortress. This dew soaked web shot was taken on the following morning close to our bivouac at the fortress. The fortress itself is hardly worth a mention - only the foundations have survived the elements.

Village of Русалско. Lots of abandoned buildings crumble.

Abandoned paradise near the hamlet of Дядовци.

Beautiful forest close to to the village of Русалско.

Probably the most magical place of the whole trek - the ghost hamlet of Латинка. We set up our tents right in the middle of one of the hamlets of Латинка. A shepherd told us that as many as five thousand people used to live in this and the nearby villages. Now that figure is dwindled a hunderdfold to mere fifty. All buildings are abandoned completely and seemingly at the same time, as if some catastrophic event sparked a mass exodus. The building on this picture was correctly identified as school by one friend. Facing it was another building but we had no clue what that may be. "Ah, that one used to be a mosque." said the shepherd. He also explained there were no money for both a minaret and a pub. The imam at the time was obviously a decent guy. When pressed by the youngsters he agreed on the money being spent on the building of a pub instead of a mosque. "God can hear you wherever you are." reasoned the shepherd. This night we all expected to hear the ghost imam's payers!

The Devil's bridge, build 15th century AC over Арда river on an old Roman way.

A secret in the forest - the eagle's rocks near the town of Ардино. Now this is old - tracian artefacts. I think (what the historians believe is) these alcoves (about a metre high) were made to put statues of deities in.

The second inhabitant of Дойранци. (See previous slide.)

This man and his wife are the last inhabitants of the hamlet of Дойранци, living there only in the summer. The hamlet consists of about a dozen stone houses, all in an awful state. The guy hardly spoke any Bulgarian. Къджали and the surrounding villages are predominantly Muslim with strong cultural influence from neighbouring Turkey.

Village of Русалско's minaret. This village even had a basic store. We could not resist a bottle of not so cold beer.