Bridget

Beautiful Bulgaria.

In nature, Off the beaten track. on May 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

Two of my three weeks away were spent in the beautiful country of Bulgaria. A place of beautiful nature, unspoilt countryside, Christian Orthodox churches filled with beautiful icons like the one above which is in St. George’s monastery in Pomorie and so much more….

An abundance of produce which grows easily in the long hot Summers. The Winters there are short and sharp. Every house has a garden and lots of fruit trees. Plums, Peaches, Grapes and Walnuts seem to grow everywhere. Tomatoes here taste like nowhere else…so sweet and delicious.

The land here is open…no fences. The animals are taken out to graze daily by a shepherd who gets paid a fixed amount for each animal in his care. At night the Cows, Goats and Sheep are milked and kept in the yards behind the houses. It’s lovely morning and evening to hear the bells the animals wear tinkling in the distance before you see them.It’s a long day for the shepherd…7.30 in the morning to 7 in the evening. Each shepherd has 3 or 4 dogs to protect and herd the flock.

There are about 5,000 pairs of Storks in Bulgaria. Their arrival at the end of March is seen as an indication of the beginning of Spring. Bulgarians have great fondness and respect for Storks…they are associated with good luck and fertility.

Nests are never interfered with and it be considered very bad luck to kill a Stork. They have a great fondness for nesting on top of electricity poles. To protect the birds and stop them causing power outages special nesting platforms have been placed on top of the poles.

Small villages are dotted throughout the countryside. Always the same…stone and brick houses with red tile roofs. Most of the houses were built in the 50s by the Communist Government. Sadly many of the houses are now needing repairs but rural poverty means that the living conditions are less than we in the west would find acceptable. Bulgaria is now an independent republic.

Every town has a fruit and veg market. This one in the town of Elhovo is held twice weekly. The stalls are run by locals selling fresh local produce. Cherries were in season when we were there…so delicious. I bought a kilo for 6 leva. A lev is worth about 50 cent. Also on sale is the traditional drink Rakia. Made from Plums or Grapes it packs a punch but is delicious as a hot drink with honey. A brought home a couple of bottles for medicianal use in the Winter. No pleasure of course!!! The local honey is gorgeous too. Raw and unpasteurised…straight from the hives…just as Nature intended. I suppose that’s what I like most about Bulgaria…it is still pure and unspoilt…a bit like Ireland was 40 or so years ago.

Click on pics to enlarge.

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  1. My closest friend moved to Bulgaria a few years ago. I’ve wanted to visit her since but your post made me REALLY want to go there.

    I’m glad you got to go!

  2. Yes also in sri lanka and other parts of asia i have seen the posters a way of sharing the news

  3. Were you as shocked as I am by the stork nests in the wires??!!! What a wonderful trip! Will comment more after reading part 2!

  4. Storks on platforms! Seems like a fairy tale. Interesting that it reminded you of Ireland 40 years ago and you sited that as a good thing. I visited Ireland a few times in the mid seventies and found the contrast between the comfortable life of the UK and the poverty I walked past in the Irish countryside (and the streets of Dublin) disconcerting and worrying. I was glad for Ireland when it hit the good times . . . .

    • I’m afraid the good times have changed the mentality of a lot of Irish people. When money comes in the door other things seem to exit. Spirituality, respect for others and a money above all ideal is not what I wish for my country.

      • I completely agree Bridget! I grew up in Dublin in the 70’s but in a middle-class environment so I don’t remember any impoverishment. Living in Rural Ireland during the 60’s the impoverishment was normal. we didn’t really think about it. In fact my family were very wealthy and I hated spending time at home but would spend most of my time with my poorer friends!!! I preferred their togetherness!! Their lives were simpler and more family-oriented.
        I was shocked when I returned to Ireland to live four years ago. Where had it gone??? I felt like I was in Europe somewhere. It was horrible. It felt like Ireland had lost her ‘root’ and was no longer grounded!!! In her desire to escape from poverty into wealth they had indeed left behind many good qualities. I was ripped off mercilessly and the waste was unbearable!!! Money does indeed change people. As a child I lived with money and to me it made us selfish and uncaring and I did not want to live like that. So I lived a poor life as soon as I left school and learned to live on nothing!!! Great training for living in Egypt!!!

  5. Very cool. I’ve heard very, very little of Bulgaria but it looks nifty. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    Michael

  6. Thanks for the visual trip to a place I’m not likely to get to anytime soon! Good to learn more about places I don’t know nearly enough about!

    Karla

  7. Makes me want to go! Thanks for sharing your trip and photos, Bridget!

  8. What a lovely and inspiring trip. I’m glad for the rebirth of summer outdoor markets and appreciation of local produce in our own parts of the world– it is a kind of circle.

  9. Hi it looks amazing. I nearly went there 3yrs ago for our honeymoon but couldn’t get a last minit deal so ended up in Turkey a place we now love and go back to yearly although this year we are going to Egypt. The place we were looking at in bulgaria was sunny beach I don’t know if you were anywhere near there. I love old villiages and see and eat the foods they eat. I also would not go to a country that has the euro I prefer to use the old fashioned currency which is much cheaper and you get far more for your money.

    • I would’nt recommend Sunny Beach. It is a horrible built up, money-grabbing resort. Same as thousands of others the world over. Just a little down the coast is a little place called Sarrafevo where we stayed for a few days. Beautiful and not many tourists. I prefer to be off the beaten track.

  10. Friends of mine visit regularly and say its a wonderful country, but I realised I kno wso little about it. I loved the description of the sheep and goats and the sound they make coming home at night. And the thought of fresh cherries, I think they are my favourite fruit – when they are good nothing else touches them

  11. Sounds like an amazing place. Those cherries sound good, my favourite fruit. I remember on trips to Yugoslavia my parents trying the plum brandy, slivovice. I think it was so strong any flavour was lost as your taste buds were annihilated.

  12. That looked like an exciting trip. Does it ‘feel’ impoverished or just look it?
    Jane x

    • That’s a difficult one. Impoverished…by our standards maybe…but people have a lot of skills and attitudes that sadly we in the more affluent west have lost.

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