If anyone's interested, I've posted a report (in three parts) over in the Trip Reports forum.
Here are direct links to Teresa's wonderful report:
Teresa’s report is excellent and fairly well matches our experience on the last tour of the 2015 season. This is an excellent tour and offered more and wonderful back door type experiences in the given time than any other RS’s tour we’ve booked.
A few stray comments to reinforce or provide a different perspective. The stay at the Rila Monastery was very special including the unique call to services. The early morning services were for me, quite boring, but certainly worth attending for a few minutes. You have much stamina if you stand for the entire service. Our room was fine, plain and included a toilet and hot shower. Very restful sleep.
All smoke everywhere. Repeat. Some of our hotel rooms reeked of smoke (cleaning staff surely smoke in rooms while working). A call to the receptionist at one hotel confirmed the room was officially in the non-smoking category despite the strong odor of smoke and the ashtray on the table…was told that it was only for trash.
The salads were wonderful, made with fresh ingredients. Many dishes were delicious…others seemed to lack flavor. For coffee snobs, some of the coffee at the hotels was dreadful. Slightly different advice about some tap water was given and we followed it using bottled water.
A 4am taxi from the hotel to the airport, large enough to properly handle four persons and luggage, was 11.73 leva (about $6.75USD).
Wow, Bruce. I must've lucked out with my hotel rooms. None of them smelled like smoke (and only one room had an ashtray), but my room in Nesebar did have a slightly funky smell. Glad I didn't get the smoky rooms because I would've been very grumpy. I'm sorry that you did. :(
Totally agree with you on the number of backdoor experiences in the amount of time.
@Bruce - too bad they don't use some of that world-renowned rose oil to remedy the smoke situation in hotel rooms. For what it's worth, I experienced the same on my travels in Bosnia - I just got used to it and it was fine after a while.
I'm jealous of anyone who has had the fresh Bulgarian shopska salad - sounds delicious!