Monthly Archives: May 2015

10 Fun Facts for the Bulgaria Curious

  1. Bulgaria has been known since antiquity for its soothing and healing mineral baths. There are hundreds, some say over 1000, mineral springs and spas galore.
  2. Bulgarians are literally world-class pessimists, even when living the good life drinking expressos for hours in cafés and visiting their country cottages on the weekends and holidays.
  3. The world-class ski slopes of Bansko, Bulgaria host the Ski World Cup Races. Lindsey Vonn won in 2009 and 2012 in Bansko.
  4. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church leadership helped save the Bulgarian Jewish population from being sent to the concentration camps.
  5. Bulgarian wine is famous. Sir Winston Churchill reportedly ordered 500 liters of Bulgaria’s Melnik wine every year. Import your own or ask your local store.
  6. Балкан (Balkan) refers to the central mountain range running west to east so it’s no surprise that Bulgaria has great rock climbing opportunities throughout the country.
  7. Guerilla artists have been using the enormous Sofia monument to the Soviet army as a protest vehicle. Among other statements, they’ve memorialized the 1968 Prague Spring, the current state of affairs in Ukraine, and generally thumbed their collective creative noses at Russia.
  8. Ancient Thrace, where Orpheus sang, is today’s southeastern Bulgaria. Archeologists continue to uncover their tombs and treasures.
  9. Bulgaria maintains a tradition of mummery in towns and villages nationwide. Кукери (kukeri) wear elaborate costumes and re-enact ancient rituals to scare away evil spirits.
  10. The Bulgarians created the Cyrillic alphabet. So important do Bulgarians consider their alphabet that they celebrate its creation as part of Day of the Alphabet, Culture and Education each May 24.

To Bulgaria and Back

One Great Country You Need to Know More About

When I first met my Bulgarian artist refugee future husband in St. Louis, I had no idea that the word “family” in that old cliché “You don’t just marry the person, you marry his whole family” was woefully insufficient. In fact, I was to marry the entire country of Bulgaria, a country that, sad to report, I had at that time no clear idea where in Europe it was located.

From East Bloc to E.U.

I first visited the People’s Republic of Bulgaria alone when it was too risky for my then fiancé to return. We got married there when the shelves were bare. We vacationed at the Black Sea when American television shows were blaring in every sidewalk restaurant in Sozopol. We lived there during total economic and political collapse. My daughter was born there. We recently lived there with both children for two memorably wonderful years. I’m quite sure we’ll do it again.

Shake Your Head “Да

So I have a certain point of view about, lots of opinions on, and an enduring interest in Bulgaria. I speak its language, I read its history, I eat its food, I sleep with a Bulgarian every night (the same one)—now that’s commitment!

Share a Bulgarian Story—Имало едно време…

Whether you are Bulgarian curious about a sometime expat’s observations or a not-Bulgarian curious about the country, I hope you’ll find something to interest and entertain you here. Whether you ever travel or live in Bulgaria for real or just want to do it vicariously, please share your thoughts. Bulgaria is a Balkan country with no war or famine or natural disaster, but it has its own compelling stories. I have mine to tell. Please tell yours too.