Travel around the world and you certainly find some surprises. While my round the world trip is a slow motion adventure, I have to admit that Bulgaria is one of my favorite surprises.
Before I start talking about my own adventures, it’s more than worthwhile to introduce you to some of the great resources that exist here. Spend a little time reading these articles and you will see why Bulgaria is far more interesting than you might have imagined.
This article on Eccentric Bulgaria perhaps isn’t fair to all of the people of this country, but certainly it paints a picture of what part of the national psyche is like. This is a country that likes to pickle and display the hearts of it’s national heroes, even when they have bullet holes in them.
In Haskovo during this past Orthodox Easter, thousands of citizens spent the holiday in tents. Some even slept in their cars. The reason was not some weird local custom, but people’s belief in the predictions of astrologist Emil Leshtanski. Shortly before the holiday, he foretold an earthquake as devastating as the one in L’Aquila. When the promised cataclysm did not happen, Haskovo’s citizens threatened to take legal action against Leshtanski.
But it’s not just the oddness of Bulgaria that has enchanted me. The warmth and beauty of the people and landscape (even though it is in fact very cold at the moment) has really made me happy to be here.
Have a look at Great Places in Bulgaria and you will see that this is a country of mountains, waterfalls, monasteries, beaches, nature, and beautiful ancient cities.
And then there is Bulgarian folk music. I’m an instant fan. Like Turkish Art House music, it touches my soul in ways that I would never expect.
As a funny side note. I want to tell you all that I never know what the hell is going to happen in this life. I don’t know what I will do, but I trust that if I pay attention, the right decision will become obvious. In this case, after I made the decision to come to Bulgaria (and I had really no idea why I made that decision, it just felt right) I requested a couch in Sofia. I got no reply so I posted in Last Minute Couch Requests and a nice guy offered to host me. When I looked at his website, what was it called Vagabond.bg! Later, sitting in a restaurant with friends before my train from Istanbul to Sofia left, a Mexican song came on just as I was telling the story of the Bulgarian vagabond hosting me. The lyrics of the song …Vagabond, Vagabond, Vagabond. I’ve no idea what the song was, but there it was. And since arriving in Bulgaria, I’m in the flow and I’m certain that it’s where I am meant to be at this moment.
And just in case you want more information, here is the Sofia Travel Guide, history of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, and a great free resource for learning Bulgarian language.