Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Eating Our Way Across Bulgaria

On our recent road trip, my husband and I made it a point to experience {devour} some of the culinary delights Bulgaria has to offer.

Trying new foods is one of the best parts of traveling; and while I love Smolyan, it certainly isn’t the gourmet capital of Bulgaria. So I was eagerly anticipating the foods we would eat while we were away.

Luckily, we were not disappointed!

A few of the highlights:

• Fig ice cream in Hisarya. Probably the best ice cream I have ever had.

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Road Trip Round Up: Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo, to put it mildly, is pure magic. It has that medieval, old-world European vibe that I adore, with a historic old town and vibrant new town.

This one-time capital of Bulgaria is situated on three hills: Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora. The Yantra River sleepily winds its way through the city on its way to the Danube.

We arrived in the city late in the afternoon and decided to head straight to Tsarevets–the most commanding and symbolic spot in the city. On top of the hill sits an ancient fortress by the same name, as well as the ruins of over 400 structures, and a modern day church built on the site of an early Christian church.

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Road Tripping Bulgaria

Vince and I set out on our road trip across Bulgaria today. The hotel when we are staying at in Hisarya has internet, so I thought I would take advantage and get a quick post up.

Our first stop today was in Plovdiv to get the lock on the hatchback of our car fixed. All the salt, sand, and dirt from these Bulgarian roads really does a number on moving parts!

Next we stopped by Vince’s school so that he could sign his diploma. My man officially has his Masters (and is only one exam away from another!). We will likely be returning to Plovdiv near the end of the month for his graduation party.

We gradually made our way to Koprivshtitsa–home to the most preserved examples of traditional Bulgarian architecture. The town was lovely. We toured 3 of the houses which are open to visitors and explored the cemetery where some local heroes are buried. We both left vowing to return one day when the weather is warm.

We are staying in Hisarya tonight as I have a friend from Utah who is here on The World Race. We went out to dinner with her entire group. It was great fun getting to see her and meet her traveling companions. I have to give it to them, 11 countries in 11 months. Wow!

We are going to explore more of the city tomorrow so that we can see the amazing Roman ruins by the light of day. We’ll be in Veliko Tarnovo tomorrow night and Burgas for the next few nights after that. I am so looking forward to seeing the Black Sea for the first time.

Lots more info and pictures in the coming days!

W.


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Sofia to Smolyan in 60 Seconds

On our recent drive back to Smolyan from Sofia, I thought I’d take some photos to occupy the time.

I got the idea to take enough photos to put together into a rapid-speed video showing the entire drive home.

I think it turned out pretty well, and if nothing else, it definitely made the 3 hour drive home pass a little quicker!

I would like to make more videos in the future. I love writing, but sometimes words can’t do the justice that a video can.

 

 

What do you think?

W.


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Winter Travel Plans in Bulgaria

As you may know, I am moving to Bulgaria in just over 3 weeks.

CAN I GET AN AMEN!

In addition to my packing anxieties (which I always get, no matter where I am going), I have been thinking a lot lately about where I want to travel with Ventsi when I get to BG.

After 3 long years of pent-up travel dreams, I am practically bursting at the seams with plans to explore Bulgaria.

Granted, I will only be in Bulgaria until the end of March- at which time I will be heading back to Utah for a visit before spending another summer working in Alaska (that’s the plan for now, anyway) – so time is going to be an issue.

Sure, I’ll be back in BG for good in the fall, but darn it, I am going to make the most of the first few months in my new home!

So… That’s 3 months to pack in as many adventures as my husband, his car, and our budget can handle.

Having explored quite a bit of Southern BG on my previous trip, this time around we will be venturing further from home (Smolyan).

The roads in Bulgaria are sketchy even when they aren’t covered in snow. For the sake of Vince’e little VW Polo, I am hoping for a mild winter and somewhat decent road conditions. Safe roads=happy travels!

My definite must-see cities this winter include:

  • Sofia–Bulgaria’s capital and largest city. On my previous visit, I only got to see the inside of the airport and the blur of buildings as Vince sped in and out of the city – he’s not the biggest fan of Sofia for some reason. I am hoping to change that!
  • Koprivshtitsa–Home to some of the finest and most well-preserved examples of traditional Bulgarian architecture.
  • Veliko Tarnovo–“City of the Tsars,” and once the capital of Bulgaria. Packed with history. Can’t wait!
  • Arbanassi–Well known for its historical monuments and 17-18th century churches.
  • Kardzhali and Perperikon–Once Thracian strong-holds, and now home to their ruins. Also well-known for its strong Turkish influence due to its strategic location along Ottoman trade routes.
  • Melnik–Smallest town in Bulgaria known for its archaeological sites and wine-making. We will probably only make our way here if we end up going to Greece.

Who knows where else we will wander. I am game for anything and everything! Just wish we had the gas and hotel money to match my enthusiasm!

Any suggestions on where else we should go? Must-see spots in BG during the winter? Anything listed above that we should skip and see in summer instead?

As always, I’d love to hear some feedback.

W.


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2010-Travels with Ventsi

Thought I’d finally put up a some info. and pics of V’s visits to Utah this summer.

When he visited in May we didn’t do a whole lot.

He did muster up the courage, however, to meet most of the members of my family. Which was a major feat!

We did go out to the Great Salt Lake, went to a movie, lunch with friends from Alaska, drove up to Park City, drove around the University of Utah, and just generally relaxed with each other.

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake 2

Handsome man!

View of Salt Lake City

His visit in September was a quite a bit more eventful. Continue reading