There are scattered castles and ruins hidden throughout the rocky outcroppings of Thrace. Chunks of marble repurposed into not so recent buildings, a millstone lying abandoned in a field. Millenia ago the mysterious Thracians manned now abandoned castles in the the region, and one of the more impressive is Lyutitsa. A hike down worn roadways, past hillsides full of grapes and a silent monastery reveals a vantage point reaching into Greece and beyond. Commanding views would have protected nearby settlements and limited enemy raiding parties. After a vigorous afternoon surveying the rolling slopes we returned to Ivaylovgrad to craft banitsa from the aforementioned pumpkin. Flaky pastry layered with a thin topping of sweet pumpkin is a regional delicacy not found elsewhere and at a more delicious pumpkin pie. The sweet layers were the perfect way to refuel after a long day’s hike.
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