Bulgaria, again

Most of you had probably never heard of Bulgaria, so much so, that I am sure finding it on the map would have been  challenging. This is not a jab at your worldly knowledge, just a fact I have faced in my 15 or so years of life away.

– Where are you from?
–  Bulgaria
– Ooooooh – smile and pause for quick brainstorm – Bul..ga..ria!

Or, very rarely:

– Where are you from?
– Bulgaria.
– Yeah? I have been there when I was backpacking through Europe.

It is understandable. We are about as interesting as all the “stans” and “beijans” of former USSR and we were pretty much one of them – safely tucked in the chill of the heavy Russian wing, marinating in communism and ugly buildings. 45 years of our history that mangled 1300 years of culture, development and European presence. The effects were  so bad that to this day we are struggling to shake off the scraps of the iron curtain that litter both our land and our minds.

Last time I was here I found it challenging. It was summer, the beach was fun and my best friend was getting married, yet the country was making me sad.

This time its one of the coldest winters on record, there is no special occasion, we are somewhat tired and dealing with boring every day issues and I am finding myself smiling as I walk the streets of my city.  I guess I will write more about this later, when feelings settle.

 

 

It may be butt-freezing out there, but the extraordinary warm welcome I have received has made this winter one of the warmest for me. Within a day we had shoes, coats, pants, hats and friendly smiles all around. I have so many people I need to catch up with, gatherings for different occasions, some even in my honor can you believe it.

I know every nation likes to brag, but I can assure you that few can match up to the hospitality of Bulgarian people. If any.

For now I am working on finding us an apartment to bunker in for at least a month before setting off around the country, hopefully in our own car.

And we are enjoying the white stuff all around.

 

And there is a whole lot of it ;)