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: Nessebar, Burgas, and Sozopol

My first attempt at a retro-postcard design in Photoshop!

Here are the previous posts in the series, if you want to take a look (and why wouldn’t you?!):

I’ve had such great comments and feedback on this series so far. I truly enjoy sharing my travels and photography with others. So thanks, ya’ll!

Now on to the gorgeousness that is the Bulgarian Black Sea coast!

Our first stop was Nessebar (Несебър), a small island connected to the mainland by an isthmus. This picturesque little spot on the sea was charming as could be. I’ve heard the place is completely packed in the summer months, but it was pretty much just Vince, myself, and a few locals here and there. That’s really how all of our stops were–deserted, quiet, and calm. I would love to head back to all of our stops during the summer months, but I am so happy that I was able to experience them without the crowds of tourists. I feel they are their more authentic selves in the off season.

Nessebar is a photographers paradise–small and easily navigable on foot, sun drenched fishing boats float lazily in the sea, the sound of seagulls ever present, and medieval churches stand strong amongst the newer structures.

I could have lazed about on the island for hours. Instead, we walked around a bit, drove the entire perimeter of the island, and I snapped photos throughout.

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Sun, Sea, and Snacks in Sozopol

Today we explored Sozopol, the oldest Bulgarian settlement on the Black Sea and hopping seaside destination in the summer (not so hopping in mid-March). The weather was amazing, so we stopped by a hotel/restaurant (one of the few open this time of year) right next to the sea to enjoy the sun and amazing views of the water over some dessert and warm drinks.

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Big Plans

This Sunday, my in-laws are throwing a big get together with my Father-in-Law’s side of the family here at our apartment.

We are expecting about 20 people total. I am pretty nervous as everyone is coming to meet me. That’s a lot of pressure!

We already got together with my Mother-in-Law’s side of the family about a month ago, so that’s good. Baby steps to meeting me new (massive) family is the way to go.

Vince and his parents have been planning the menu for weeks. He even asked me if I brought a dress with me to wear. HA! NO! My nice jeans and a black top will have to suffice.

We went out today to get all the groceries. About 6 stops and lots of money later, we came home with everything we need. We’ve got 4 kinds of cheese, 5 salami, lots of finger foods, basically half of a cow and a couple whole chickens, tons of vegetables, and enough alcohol to stock a small bar. This is going to be one rockin’ Sunday lunch. Bulgarian’s sure know how to throw a shindig!

On Monday (hopefully not any worse for wear from Sunday’s events), we are going to be packing and preparing for our cross-country (ish) road trip.

We are leaving Smolyan on Tuesday and will end up in Burgas sometime over the weekend, where we’ll spend a few days exploring the Black Sea coast. I am trying to ignore the control-freak trip planner inside of me as Vince wants the trip to be more spontaneous. It does have its advantages, as we can spend as much time or as little time in each place, depending on how much we like it.

In between, we will be staying the night  in  Hisarya (where I will be meeting up with a great friend, J., from Utah who is in BG on The World Race), visiting Koprivshtitsa, Sopot, Karlovo, Kalofer, Shipka, Gabrovo/Etara, Veliko Tarnonvo (over night), and Kazanlak.

Once we get to Burgas, we are hoping to have enough time to branch out and explore Nessebar and Sozopol as well. March probably isn’t the best time to go to enjoy the sea, but it means less crowds, which is always nice.

On the way home, we hope to stop and spend the night in Plovdiv. We have some friends who want to meet up before I leave at the end of the month. Weirdly enough, both of them will be in Alaska this summer, so I will get to see them in a few months anyway!

I have been looking forward to traveling since I got here in December. Originally, we had hoped to visit Greece or Turkey, but the massive amounts of snow we got this winter prevented venturing very far from home. Now that it has warmed up, we decided to just see more of Bulgaria, which is fine by me!

My time in Bulgaria is quickly coming to an end. I am happy to be meeting new family and seeing more of the country before I leave for the states. I am really torn up about having to leave Vince, but I just keep reminding myself that it will be our last time apart and I will be back in the fall.

Big plans for this month in Bulgaria! Going out with a bang!

W.