We spent last month in Bulgaria. I spent most of that time working on book covers and getting organized – it seems like a long time ago but it was only last month I finally finished my PhD and we flew pretty much straight here.
Plovdiv is a charming, comfortable little town, then we spent a week exploring the mountains and history. My novel Orpheum is set in Bulgaria, so we wanted to see the ancient Thracian ruins, the Devil’s cave (where Orpheus is set to have gone into Hell to save his love), and some other sites where Orpheus and Dionysus were worshiped. Now we’re in Sofia, finishing up our trip.
At Perperikon, I learned a great story about the creation of amethyst (so I bought one):
The name Amethyst derives from the Greek word ametusthos, meaning “not intoxicated,” and comes from an ancient legend. The wine god Bacchus, angry over an insult and determined to avenge himself decreed the first person he should meet would be devoured by his tigers. The unfortunate mortal happened to be a beautiful maiden named Amethyst on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. As the ferocious beasts sprang, she sought the protection of the goddess and was saved by being turned into a clear, white crystal. Bacchus, regretting his cruelty, poured the juice of his grapes over the stone as an offering, giving the gem its lovely purple hue.
We also spent a week in this amazing writing retreat – an apartment we rented in the Southern Rhodope mountains. Not easy to get to, but worth it. I hope to finish part 2 of Orpheum this year!