Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Home from Istanbul

Sultanahmet Square

Hello there!

I’m home from five lovely days and four hot nights (our hotel room was positively sweltering) in Istanbul. My friend and I took a night bus there and back from Bulgaria and it was interesting to say the least!
Whirling DervishView of the Blue Mosque from our hotelBasilica Cisterns

It was an incredible trip and I can’t wait to share more about it with you all.

For now, however, a few snapshots will have to do. My friend is only in Bulgaria for a few more days and we have a lot of ground to cover!

Gorgeous sunset over the Sea of MarmaraInterior of Hagia SophiaRays of Sun at Hagia Sophia

Hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

Talk to you soon!

W.

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Fun Times Ahead

Whew! It feels like my mom just left and we already have another guest arriving from the states!

K, my friend/boss (and fellow Utah girl) flies into Sofia tomorrow afternoon. We’ve got some fun things planned for her 2-week visit.

On Saturday Vince, K, and myself are heading down to spend the night in Plovdiv. A group of about 20 Denali peeps are getting together for food, drinks, and good company. I am sure the horo will be danced at some point as well; most likely post-drinks! I haven’t seen everyone since leaving Alaska at the end of September, so it should be a good time.

Then Sunday Vince will head back to Sofia while K. and I catch a night bus (slightly scary prospect) to Istanbul. We’re meeting another friend in the city for 4 days of adventures, including consuming a ridiculous amount of baklava and Turkish coffee! I’ve been to Istanbul before but only for a day on our first Med. cruise. It was actually one of the biggest surprises of the trip; completely different than I had envisioned. And the Grand Bazaar? I am still trying to wrap my mind around it!

I am really excited to be able to see some things I missed last time around; such as the cisterns, spice market, and maybe even a whirling dervish show!

After that it’s exploring Sofia and maybe a weekend trip to Rila or Koprivshtitsa (if we can talk Vince into being our chauffeur!).

It’ll probably be a little quiet around these parts for the next few weeks as I play hostess, but I’ll be back soon enough!

W.

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Vienna Christmas Markets: Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz

We ventured out to Vienna’s city hall, Rathaus, after it got dark one evening to check out the largest Christmas Market in the city. The Wiener Christkindlmarkt was beyond packed but it was very festive and I am glad we got to see and experience it.

The market sits between the city hall building and the theater. The city hall is a beautiful building and setting and there are thousands of Christmas lights surrounding it and a huge illuminated tree in front, making it even more romantic.Wiener ChristkindlmarktVienna's Rathaus (city hall)Angel Christmas lightsRathaus Christmas Market

We decided to give the beer punsch a try this time around. It had whole berries in it and I liked it a lot more than the gluhwein we had at Schonbrunn palace. The mug was much more fun and Christmas-y as well. All in all, though, it’s just not my thing! Give me a mug of hot chocolate, and I’m good!

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Tonight…

This is how we roll on a Saturday night…

Appetizer plate (courtesy of Vince and his mad culinary skills), beer (grapefruit for me-giving it a try, dark for him), and a movie (Argo).

Can’t think of a better way to spend the night.

IMG_0298

Hope you are having a great weekend!

W.

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Scenes from Vienna’s Naschmarkt

Whew! Another holiday season has come and gone. I’m happy to be home in Sofia and back to day-to-day life; which includes sharing my adventures and experiences with you all!

I hope your holidays were wonderful and you were able to celebrate with those you love most.

Vince and I were so happy to have my mom come from Utah to visit us here in Bulgaria. She is officially our first visitor from the states and definitely not our last (a friend is actually coming in just a few weeks!). We kicked off her visit by spending 3 jam-packed days in Vienna to get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a lovely city and we had a great time wandering the Christmas Markets, window shopping, eating good food, and exploring such an iconic European destination so rich in history and culture.

And Christmas is definitely the perfect time to visit. The city practically oozes festive charm.

Right across from our hostel in the 6th District was an open-air market called the Naschmarkt.

Naschmarkt, ViennaVintage glass ornaments and drawer pullsChristmas centerpieces

The large market was filled to the brim with food and drink carts, tables of antiques, gifts, flowers, clothing, and Christmas goodies. We had to wander through multiple times as it was set up right next to the metro station closest to where we were staying. It was all I could do to not go home with dozens of vintage trinkets and Christmas decorations. Alas, we were on a budget and I was too overwhelmed by the vast selection anyway.

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2012: A Year in Review

2012_blog

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close. This year has been very eventful indeed and saw me moving from America to Bulgaria, confronting life (and a fair amount of culture shock) as a new expat, exploring my new home, venturing back to Denali, Alaska for a third summer working for Princess Cruises; time spent at home in Utah with friends and family, another leap across the pond to Bulgaria, and reveling in a ridiculous amount of incredible travels.

While part of me is sad to see such a jam-packed year pass, the rest of me is looking forward to the BIG changes and adventures that 2013 holds. There is already a lot in the works and Vince and I are excited for everything to come.

As I reflect back on 2012 and all that I have experienced, I wanted to share some of the highlights from this year that made their way into blog posts.

(It’s a long one guys!)

January:

February:

March:

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The Eagle Has Landed… But is Taking Off Again Shortly!

She’s here!

My mom made it to Sofia in one piece.

We’ve just spent the last few hours catching up and unpacking her stuff.

We don’t have much time to relax, however, because we’re all off to Vienna in a few hours to kick off the holidays by wandering Christmas Markets, drinking mulled wine, buying festive gifts, and eating Sacher Torte!

Next week our Bulgarian adventures begin. I can’t wait to show her around my new home and introduce her to the in-laws.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and are spending it with the ones you love.

W.

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