Most of you had probably never heard of Bulgaria, so much so, that I am sure finding it on the map would have beenÂ 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?
– Ooooooh – smile and pause for quick brainstorm – Bul..ga..ria!
Or, very rarely:
– Where are you from?
– 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 wereÂ 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.Â 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 ;)
A misconception! If you would ask anyone over 25 years from the former GDR, they would know Bulgaria very well – after all, it was among the more exotic countries we could visit inside the boundaries of the Iron Curtain. The Black Sea, the Rila Monastery and the gorgeous mountains were famed throughout the GDR, and even today it is a popular (because cheap) last minute destination.
Reportedly I was even conceived in Bulgaria on my parents’ honeymoon ;-)
So – have fun eating and settling in, and even more exploring the beautiful countryside!
How nice for your kids to have so much extended family around. You are giving me the warm and fuzzies (:
Oh that photo of the food is making me hungry!
And I love that last photo of the red building with the snow covered cars ;-)
Jenny, haha, yes, we were the exotic destination in the Iron Curtain cage. I love that you were conceived while your parents were enjoying Bulgaria. I knew there is a connection there ;)
Liz, that is the great part, these people are not my family, at all. I have a mother here and that is about it.
Nina, come on over, I will make you a full table like that. I will even have a bed for you shortly.
Oh that would be tempting if it wasn’t for that snow! if you were to be there in the summer then I would be very tempted ;-)
Bulgaria has been one of the places I actually wanted to visit. Always intrigued with Central/Eastern Europe more than anywhere else in the world (okay lets just say Europe for now). Visited Albania last year, never expected to see absolutely friendly people. Am glad to know the same about Bulgaria. Now, here’s hoping.
Welcome, Amer. I hope I get a chance to find a few great spots around Bulgaria when we set off for you to try in the future. Do you have any tips for us in this region? I cant wait to explore
Congratulations to all of you on your 365 days travelling. Have thoroughly enjoyed all your blog posts. Thank you