Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Shiroka Laka’s Pesponedelnik (Kukeri) Festival 2013

We’ve only been back in Smolyan for a few days and already we are traveling up a storm! On Saturday we drove out to our village house to pick up some potatoes and bottled goods and see how the property fared over the winter (it was looking good and there wasn’t even a hint of snow left!) We then went to visit family (our adorable 14-month-old grand-nephew, Konstantin) nearby before taking a longer route back to Smolyan.

Sunday we went to the 2013 Pesponedelnik Festival in the village of Shiroka Laka. We went last year as well and knew that we had to try and make it back this year because we enjoyed it so much. I’ve said it before, but I absolutely adore Shiroka Laka. This little village is beyond charming on an ordinary day; add a lively festival with Kukeri’s, unique shopping, and yummy food and I am there!Shiroka Laka Pesponedelnik Festival 2013Shiroka Laka Pesponedelnik Festival 2013Shiroka Laka's main squareMe with some kukeri

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Pernik Surva Festival 2013

22nd Suva/Kukeri Festival in Pernik, Bulgaria

Last weekend Vince and I drove about 40 minutes outside of Sofia to the nearby town of Pernik.

Each year the city plays host to the largest Surva Festival in not only Bulgaria but all of Eastern Europe (according to the event’s website). Kukeri/Mummer groups from all over Europe attend the event and parade through the city center in their costumes and masks before performing a short routine before a panel of judges.

Kukeri Festival--Pernik, BulgariaParticipants of all ages

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Shiroka Laka’s Pesponedelnik 2012 (Kukeri Festival)

Every year, on the first Sunday in March, one of the largest Kukeri festivals in Bulgaria is held in the lovely little village of Shiroka Laka.

I already adore the village, so when I found out that they had a festival and that I would be here when it was held, I knew right away that we would be going.

And I am SO glad that we did! It was truly one of the weirdest but most amazing things I have ever seen.

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Coming Up Tomorrow…

Vince and I attended Shiroka Laka’s Kukeri Festival today.

It. Was. AWESOME!!!

Saw some of the weirdest and coolest things. Oh, and ate fresh donuts.

I am already looking forward to next year’s festival!

Here are a few pics to give you a taste of the post that is going up tomorrow:

Pesponedelnik in Shiroka Laka 2012 (Kukeri Festival)


Scary Kukeri!


Yes. That is a man dressed like a woman. And Yes. That is a man dressed as a priest smokin' a ciggie!


Come back tomorrow for lots more pics and a couple of videos too!


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Spring-like Weather and Plans for March

The gorgeous spring-like weather today in Smolyan has me itching to get out of the apartment. Unfortunately, I’m a bit swamped with work, so I am forced to live vicariously through the many kids playing in the snow outside our living room window as well as the older folks milling about talking and going on walks while taking advantage of the sunshine.

Even with sunny and warm weather predicted for the next week or so, I think everyone here knows how unreliable the forecast can be. Gotta enjoy it while we still can.

Signs of spring are all over, however, and I could not be happier. I have yet to buy any martenitsi, but I will soon enough.The hard part is going to be picking out which red and white pretties I really want. There are so many to choose from that I usually end up getting too overwhelmed and leave the task of buying them for another day.

Vince and I are excitedly planning our travels for next month. I’ll be leaving at the end of March for a month-long visit home in Utah, then it’s another summer working in Alaska. Which means, by the time I get back in late-fall, Bulgaria will yet again be in the grips of cold and snow. March better wow me with warm weather, blue skies, and colorful scenery. Or else… 😉

One of the best things about living in Bulgaria is the many festivals and events held throughout the year. Luckily, there are quite a few in March and I hope we can hit up a few of them. We are definitely attending Shiroka Laka’s Kukeri festival, known as Pesponedelnik, the first weekend in March. I’d also love to go to the Sofia International Film Festival. The movie Avé looks really good, but I have no idea how to go about getting tickets. If you do, please comment and let me know!

Other travel plans {hopefully} include Koprivshitsa, Veliko Tarnovo, and possibly a visit to somewhere on the Black Sea coast.

We had originally planned on a short trip to either Turkey or Greece, but I’d rather spend our time and money seeing more of Bulgaria.

I thought we would have been able to travel around more than we have this winter. When I was here in 2009, it barely snowed at all and we were constantly out on adventures. Fickle weather. Pfff.

Anywho, here’s to the arrival of spring and more explorations of my new home country!


P.S. My Twitter is hoppin’ lately. I’m thinking about renaming my link in the sidebar, Whit’s Twits. Ha ha.

You should meet me over there!