National Geographic : 1932 Aug
BULGARIA, IARM LAND WITHOUT A IFARMHOUSE rnotograpn Dy Maynard Uwen Will1ams THE BULGARIAN SMITH TAKES NO CHANCES Near the bottom of the valley leading up to Rila Monastery, the author found this ox securely trussed up and patiently awaiting the end of the shoeing. parked beside the long furrows, were mak ing a picnic of spring plowing, we drove toward Mount Rila, twenty of whose peaks are 9,000 feet high, and less famous but locally popular Pirin. The base for excursions in the Pirin is a tiny village which would appeal to any one in search of a rest-and to very few others; yet I there found a full-fledged American citizen who is content to remain. "America is the best country in the world. They certainly treated me fine. Believe me, mister, I'm going to see that my passport don't expire. But I'm not go ing back yet. "I lived in America 15 years. I made money. I had a fine chance to work. But everyone knew by my talk that I was not born in America. "Then came hard times, and many men were out of work. I had planned to come back to Bulgaria for a visit anyway, but when I saw that I decided to stay longer. "In America I didn't really belong; but here I am the man who has been to Amer- ica and who can read English. Maybe you think this is a hick town, but here every body knows me and likes me. So, until things get better, I'm going to wait here. This town doesn't know what money is. I'll bet I couldn't spend twenty cents here in one day to save my life. All times are hard times in a village, but it is a good life just the same." A VISIT TO RILA MONASTERY We drove on to Razlog, where the chief subject around the cafe tables was the Lindbergh baby, and in the morning con tinued to Rila Monastery, situated in a beautiful site far up a sheltered valley such peace and beauty as one finds on Mount Athos, in Greece (see Color Plates IX, XI, and XII). None of the antifeminism of Mount Athos exists at Rila. Not only is a special suite reserved for King Boris and Queen Ioanna, but in summer women and chil dren fill the courtyard and live in the mon astery itself.