We passed through the small village of Shipka early on Wednesday morning. There really isn’t much there besides the Nativity Memorial Church, which is part of the Shipka Monastery. However, this beautiful church alone is well worth the visit. It’s onion-shaped golden domes can be seen from miles away and are even more stunning up close. The church exterior is vividly colored and the interior, while more muted, is just as colorful. Again, we were the only people on the property (save for a worker or two) and enjoyed the solitude by walking around the grounds (where we heard and then spotted a woodpecker–quite exciting for me!) and then by spending lots of time inside the quiet church. Out of all the churches and monasteries that I have visited in Bulgaria–and there are lots–this one was by far my favorite. It is a bit on the gaudy side, but in that totally eye catching and memorable way. To remember our visit, I picked up two small icons. Not only did I want to help support the church, but I love Orthodox icons. I had never bought any previously; this incredible gorgeous building compelled me to, however. I envision them sitting with all my other toursit-y tchotchkes (not that I think these are tacky) on a dedicated shelf or bookcase in my house one day.