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Every morning, I’m up early, not through choice but because my spaniel Twix seems to have a built in alarm clock ! 6am and he’s awake, which in turn, as far as he’s concerned, means I have to be too ! So the morning ritual begins, let dogs out, put kettle on, feed the chickens and pick up the dog mess in the garden ! Glamorous I know !
Anyway on with the point of this blog, chickens ! We acquired 10 chickens by mistake in April, (misunderstanding in communication with our neighbour ) and as they were only around 6/8 weeks old, we hadn’t a clue as to how many were cockerels. Turns out we had 5 ! Beautiful as they were and as much as I enjoyed hearing them practice their cocker-doodle-dooing every 5 minutes, they were fighting and attacking my hens. Didn’t know, never having chickens before, just how aggressive they can be. Well this particular morning they we being extremely aggressive, so much so, one of my hens was getting a right bashing. Nothing for it but to get rid of 4 of my cockerels. Not a decision I made lightly but one that had to be done I’m afraid.
As Andy or I had never killed a chicken before, we had to ask our neighbours for help. To be honest I didn’t want to be a part of it but my neighbour left me no choice as she insisted I help her catch them, not Andy, me !
Our 5 hens and the remaining cockerel were put inside and the remaining, doomed cockerels were put in the run were my neighbour ( 80 years old ) and myself preceded to catch them. Easier said than done ! They were certainly not going to go quietly ! It took about 10 minutes and a few scratches to finally round them up, then we all set off to our neighbours where the dreaded deed was done.
It was very quick and humanely done but, for me, still not a pleasant encounter. I tried hard not to look but as I was holding 2 of them it was difficult not to get the odd glimps. I felt pretty bad as I was the one that took care of them every day but it had to be done.
Once the worse was over, we all sat on little stools whilst we plucked the feathers. Andy didn’t quite get it right and ended up pulling half the skin off !
Our neighbour did all the gutting etc, not the easiest job, but she did it with expertise and I was quite impressed ( also glad I didn’t have to do it as it was pretty rank !). Every part of the birds were saved and bagged up in their own individual bags ready for the freezer. My face must have been a picture as my neighbour included the head and feet in the bags, I’m afraid there was no way I wanted a chicken head to end up on my plate ! They also gave us all the intestines etc for us to feed to dogs but I’m afraid that was definitely not going to happen either. Those parts were eventually disposed off discreetly so as not to offend our neighbours.
When we eventually finished we tried to give our lovely neighbours one of the chickens as a thank you but they refused and thought we were crazy ! The following day I made them some jam, a cake and gave a bucket of plums as a way of thanking them which seemed to make them happy.
As much as I didn’t feel good about killing our cockerels, we did enjoy our day with our neighbours, not just because we enjoy their company but because we always leave with a little more knowledge and understanding of everyday life in Bulgaria .
As for my frozen chickens, well it took a lot for me to eat one but I did and it was tasty but I think, in future , I’ll just stick to eating their eggs ! 🙂

One Year On !

So it’s been one year ( actually one year and three weeks ),since we arrived in Bulgaria and what a year it’s been. After a lot of discussions and plenty of soul searching, we have come to the conclusion that it’s time to go back to the UK !!! ……………Just joking 🙂
A year ago we arrived in a country we had never visited, to a house we had only seen pictures of, unable to speak or understand the language and to a new lifestyle that was going to be completely opposite to how we lived in the UK. One word that could sum it all up….. crazy !
People say, that when you relocate to another country, you should at least give it a full year before deciding if you have made the right choice. I couldn’t agree more. This past year has been a mixture of roller coaster emotions, a few tears, good times and bad and plenty of soul searching. There have been moments where I have struggled, mostly because I could no longer see my kids on a regular basis. I struggled with the winter, not because of the cold, more due to cabin fever, I loathe being stuck inside for days on end.
Despite the odd struggles, we have fallen in love with Bulgaria. Not only is the country beautiful but we have found the people warm, generous and extremely helpful. We have lovely neighbours that have welcomed us with open arms and we have met a lovely English couple who have helped us so much and have become close friends. We love the village life, so peaceful and stress free and we’ve learnt a lot . Not only about how to grow our own veg but how to recycle everything. It’s amazing what you can do or make ( with a little imagination ) with things you find in the garden or house.
Everything we are doing to the house or garden, we are doing ourselves. It’s been difficult and stressful at times and a huge learning curve but there’s an enormous satisfaction and a sense of achievement whenever we complete a job.
Since being here, our lifestyle has completely changed,for the better I might add. If we’re not working on the house, we are outdoors working in the garden enjoying the weather which has improved our health tremendously. Andy has been asthmatic all his life, every month in the UK, he would go through four salbutamol inhalers and two seretide inhalers. Since being here he only uses one salbutamol every 6-8 weeks and no longer takes the seretide, plus he’s lost over 4 stone in weight ( which has obviously helped his asthma ). I have also lost a little weight and I feel a lot fitter, mainly due to all the work we’ve been doing and eating healthier due to us growing a lot of our own veg.
The language barrier can be difficult at times and have caused us problems at times, like the other week when we were having a conversation with our neighbour ( more of a game of charades really ), trying to explain our plans for the garden. We were telling them we planned to have chickens next year, they asked how many, we said 10. Our neighbour proceeded to have a half hour conversation about chickens, which we struggled to understand exactly what she was saying other than the few words ‘chicken, 10, shop and telephone ‘. Well the following week she came round to tell us we had to go and collect our chickens from a shop! Yes it turns out she ordered 10 chickens for us ! So the day was spent running around like ‘ headless chickens’ trying to sort out a place for the chickens and a secure run! Now, I hasten to say, we try to be careful in what we say 🙂 . We are slowly learning the language but it is a struggle, mostly for me, Andy seems to pick it up easier but I’m sure we’ll get to grips with it in time.
So here we are, one year on and all that’s left to really say is what an amazing year we’ve had. Would we change it for the world…no. Do we have any regrets…..no. Would we consider going back to live in the UK….never!
Bulgaria is now our home 🙂

A Stupid Idea !

I know that when people read this that they are going to think how stupid we are and to be honest, they will be right.
As we had been stuck in our village for nearly two weeks because of the snow, getting low on supplies and cabin fever was setting in ( more with me than Andy ), we decided to go for a long walk. Ok that doesn’t sound too bad or stupid, except we decided to walk to the nearest town, 13km away ! Yes a 26km round trip in the snow! Now your probably thinking we don’t have any shops in our village, we do, five to be precise. So now your thinking, so why walk 13km? The answer to that is the town, Dimovo, is bigger, more shops, more choice…..oh and we are mad.
We set off just after 10am, wrapped up like Michelin men, layers of clothing, hats, scarves and snow boots. It was snowing slightly but only very light,fine snow and it was -3c, so not really too cold. It took us 20 minutes just to get out of our village, as it’s quite a big village, although it did feel longer. The roads were thick with snow and ice even though the snow plough had been out every day. We would have taken a bus but i think due to the roads, they hadn’t been running for a few days. Still, the walk would do us good, even though it would take us hours.
The scenery around us was beautiful, very picture postcard. Although the snow causes so many problems, there is still something magical about it. I couldn’t resist taking a few photos along the way.

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We hadn’t walked far out of our village, when I got a slight sharp pain on the top, inside of my leg, near the groin area, an old problem I’ve had in the past. It was nothing sever, just a sharp tugging feeling every time I took a step. Andy kept suggesting turning back, but me being the stubborn sort, I refused, said it was only hurting a little and I was fine. As we kept walking the pain grew worse but still I refused to turn back. It was one of the biggest and most stupid decisions I had ever made! Part of me wanted to turn back but another part wanted to do it, kind of a challenge really. In the past I’ve walked long distances, hour upon hour, but of course, never in thick snow.
We’d walked about 5km when my other leg started hurting in the same way and I couldn’t understand why. Yes, you guessed it, I still wouldn’t turn back!
About half way, there is a bridge over a river, a police car was heading our way in the opposite direction. When it stopped along side us, I thought they were going to ask if we were ok as we were, more or less, walking in the middle of nowhere. How silly of me to think that they were concerned in any way! They asked us for our identity cards, where we were going and if we were walking there, ( no we are bloody flying……fools! ). If nothing else at least we gave them something to laugh about.
After the bridge, there was a fairly steep climb and that’s when it really started to hurt my legs. Andy suggested I walk up it backwards and in all honesty it did help. It would have been a comical sight to see for anyone that drove past us, except we turned around every time a car was approaching, just so we didn’t look silly, ( a bit late for that! ).After about just over two hours walking we finally made it to the main road (E79), only 2.5km to go, except by this time I was in agony. Every step had become a battle. So much so, I had to stop every 30 seconds. Poor Andy was getting worried, he knew I was in a lot of pain but other than offer to carry me, ( which would have probably ended in a worse disaster ), there was nothing else he could of done except keep telling me ‘ not much further ‘. It took us just over an hour to walk that last 2.5km and every step was hell ! The pain was so intense I just wanted to cry. Worst thing of all was I knew I couldn’t walk back. It took us 3 1/2 hours to walk 13km.
I’d seen a couple of taxis pass us by, so we decided to get a taxi back, how naive were we ?We made it to a shop that we had been to before, as I knew the young woman could speak a little English. After purchasing some groceries, (although not everything that we needed, as I wasn’t in the frame of mind to shop, I just wanted to get home), I asked the woman if we could get a taxi or phone for one, well she just laughed ‘ no taxis here’. The only way we might have been able to get a taxi is if we called for one in Vidin, well that was miles away and would cost a fortune. So that’s when I panicked. I couldn’t walk and we needed to get home! In the end we had no option but to phone our friends to pick us up. They were shopping in Vidin at the time but were just about to leave and they didn’t hesitate to agree to come pick us up. I was so relieved and grateful, especially as they had to travel 36km just to rescue us. It was just over an hour by the time they got to us, by that time we were both frozen. I couldn’t apologise more to our friends, ( our heroes 🙂 ), after all it was my stubbornness and stupidity that got us into this mess, worse still, we weren’t the only ones they had rescued, as they had just rescued another couple who had been stranded and had to drop them off first before coming to pick us up!
It was such a relief to get home into the warmth and safety. After a nice hot shower and some hot food, we settled down for the evening in front of the fire. Andy was aching and I was still in pain, so much so, I just couldn’t get comfortable. By 7.30pm we were worn out so decided to go to bed. It hurt just climbing into bed and although it was great just to be able to rest my legs, it wasn’t long before I was in agony again. Every time I tried to turn over, it was torture. In the end I couldn’t stand it any longer so I got up and sat on the sofa until eventually I was so tired, I fell asleep. It’s still painful to walk but I’m hoping by tomorrow, my legs will feel better. I suppose i got my just deserts.
Moral of this story, don’t venture too far away from home, especially in the snow and more importantly never be a stupid as me !!!!!

P.S. To my Mum and family, don’t worry I’m fine 🙂

Selling Your Property in Bulgaria

New Year ….  New Start? …… New Home?

With the New Year celebrations now behind us, many people the world over start looking towards the New Year with anticipation.  Many will have made New Year’s Resolutions, and for some the countdown will begin to an event that they have been looking forward to for quite some time.

For us this time last year we were counting down to starting our new lives in Bulgaria.  We had been consistently planning, packing, and double checking every last little detail to ensure that we would be ready for the big move.

Now for us, we had been looking online for quite a long time for a property to purchase before we settled on our new home in Bulgaria.   But this got us to thinking, if you were selling a house in Bulgaria, how do you manage to get the maximum exposure to the main markets?

I looked into this a lot and it soon became apparent that the main property purchasers in Bulgaria, (aside from Bulgarians) were the Europeans, (lead by the British and Irish) and the Russians.  Now most people in Europe understand basic English (just like when I was at school I was taught basic French and German), so marketing your property in English is quite easy, but Russian, I’ll be honest I don’t know that many Russian words and Google Translate does have its limitations.

When we were trawling the internet, (and we did this for nearly 4 years), looking for Houses For Sale in Bulgaria and it soon became apparent that on some sites, some properties had been for sale for years without movement and yet some were sold surprisingly quickly.

When you are in the UK and selling a property, you design, furnish, and present the property to appeal to as larger audience as possible, but in general you are aware as to who your potential buyer might be.  But when you are selling your property in Bulgaria, how do you market your property to appeal to, as larger audience as possible?  Especially when that audience is international and each country of prospective buyers have their own generic requirements and ideals.

The short answer is you can’t (without experience or prior knowledge), but there are ways and means to help maximise your property to appeal to as larger mass market audience as possible.  This is where an agent with experience of all the relevant markets is advantageous, as they will be able to guide you and advise you throughout the selling process, to achieve maximum exposure.

We have scoured the web to bring you what we think to be, some experienced expert advice from a market leader expressed in a well presented video.

Below is the short but comprehensive video explaining the Bulgarian Property Market and, some great advice on what prospective foreign buyers are looking for.

 

The video is actually an interview with a Managing Director of one of Bulgaria’s Leading Property Specialists, and offers advice and information from their perspective, which I personally find invaluable, as it is these people, who are on the front line (so to speak) and deal with potential purchasers on a daily basis.

If you want to see further information regarding NewEstate then please click here.

A Family Christmas :)

About 7 weeks ago we were in Kaufland doing our weekly shop when I cam across the Christmas decorations. At first I was excited, it was soon to be Christmas and our first one in Bulgaria, my excitement soon turned into sadness, when the realisation that it would be my first Christmas away from my kids ( now adults ). The tears started to form, so I quickly turned away from the decorations and I continued with the shopping, trying to distract my mind from thinking about Christmas. A week later my son phoned and told me he was thinking of getting my family to chip in for a flight for Andy and me so that we could spend Christmas in the UK with the family. I was overwhelmed by the generous thought but I had to decline as we have dogs and we had no one to look after them. Andy overheard the conversation and suggested I go and he would stay behind to look after the dogs. I was torn between wanting to spend Christmas with my family and not wanting to leave Andy alone. After a lot of discussion I accepted my sons kind offer.
Over the following weeks leading to my departure I found myself going through several mixed emotions, happy that I would get to see my family, guilty for leaving Andy behind, nervous about going back to the UK and anxious about flying on my own. By the time my departure day arrived I was all over the place, emotionally .
I had asked our friend Derek if he would drive me to Craiova airport as we didn’t have winter tyres and didn’t want to take the chance in the van, he was kind enough to agree as long as Andy went with him. I chose to fly from Craiova Airport, Romania as it was nearer to where we live than Sofia and to test it out for when my family come over next year. ( it’s only 2 hours drive as apposed to 3 1/2 ). The journey went quite smoothly and the only hold up was at the Romanian border. The sign posting to the airport was almost non existent and after a few wrong turns we finally found it.
The airport is very small but modern and there were a lot more people there than I thought there would be considering there was only 3 flights going out that evening. After checking in my baggage ( there is only 4 check-in desks in the whole airport), which didn’t take long, I said my goodbyes and headed to security. That also didn’t take very long and was very well organised. Then it was an hour long wait till boarding . What can I say about the boarding, well, in one word, chaos! You would think we were waiting for a 75% sale at Harrods the way everyone was pushing and shoving at the check-in desk and then as soon as the doors opened to the Tarmac where our plane was, everyone started running, you’d think they were a pack of animals fighting over a morsel of meat!
The flight went well apart from the landing was a little scary due the strong winds at Luton and it was a relief to finally arrive as it was the first time in 20 years that I had flown on my own. My son and his girlfriend came to collect me and it was wonderful to see him again and to finally meet his girlfriend. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we arrived at my daughters, which is where I was staying for a few days. It had been a long day but it was worth it just to see my kids.
The next 2 days was spent sharing my time with my children and shopping, oh how I’ve missed Primark! ( yes, I know, how sad am I? ). We did a bit of Christmas shopping, had coffee, went to lunch and spent our time catching up and it was lovely. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was handing over my money! Just having coffee was almost £10 for the 3 of us,( ok it was at Costa Coffee ), all I kept thinking is how many more coffees I could get for that price in Bulgaria haha.
On Christmas Eve, my daughter drove me to my Mums as I was staying there for the night before heading to my brothers house for Christmas Day. It was lovely to see my Mum again as it had been 6 months since I last saw her. It was a nice evening, we had a delicious meal,( my mum is a fantastic cook ), and spent the evening talking until 4 in the morning! ( my fault, I just wouldn’t shut up ). Christmas Day was spent at my brother Marks house but the food was cooked by my sister Donna and I have to say she excelled herself, it was absolutely delicious. Dessert was made by my Mum and that too was scrumptious, there was a lot of rather full belles! The only sad part about the day was that my daughter couldn’t be there, she is a carer in an old peoples home, so she had to work and of course Andy, my wonderful hubby, who sacrificed his Christmas so I could spend it with my family. Aside from that, it was an amazing day had by all.
I spent the night at my sisters house with her and her boys. It was great to catch up again even though we were all shattered. In the morning my daughter came straight from a 12 hour shift to pick me up. We stayed for breakfast and left 4 hours later, us women can talk for England! It was then back to my daughters for my last 2 days. I got to meet my daughters boyfriend, have dinner with my son and his girlfriend and spend a few hours with my friend Carol, who I have missed so much. The week just flew by so quickly and it was hard trying to fit everything in, in such a short space of time, but I’m so grateful to my son and Mum for giving me the opportunity to spend one more Christmas with my Family.

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It was finally time to fly back and part of me wanted to stay and the other part of me couldn’t wait to go back home. I didn’t get home as soon as I thought I would. It was about half an hour or so till we were due to land when the Captain announced ‘ due to dense fog, we are unable to land in Craiova. We have been instructed to divert to Bucharest airport! ‘ ‘WHAT? are you joking ?’!. Yes as you can imagine I was slightly panicking especially when I found out Bucharest was over 200 mms away !). Just before we were about to land the Captain came on the speaker to inform us we were about to land, thank us for our understanding and to tell us it was 4c in Bucharest. ‘Like I a gave a dam what the temperature was!!’ That was it , no other information. I was starting to worry as to what was going to happen next and as I couldn’t speak the language it made the situation worse. I finally found out from one of the passengers that we were getting transferred to Craiova by bus but we might have to wait 1-2 hours for the bus. Obviously the first thing I did was to contact Andy except I couldn’t get through. I realised he didn’t have a signal but I kept trying, to no avail. And yes, you guessed it, I panicked! The next idea was to post my dilemma on Facebook, which resulted in all my family in the UK trying to get a message to Andy. Good old facebook, it worked and I was able to breathe again, knowing that he knew the situation.
Two coaches finally arrived an hour later and as usual I was pushed and shoved by the other passengers trying to get a seat. We had to put our own cases in the hold, which was no mean feat, but when I eventually got mine on I was told there was no more seats. So back I went to get my case off quickly before the driver drove off with it. There were only about 20 of us left and we had to wait for another coach to arrive, which took another half an hour, by that time i was frozen to the bone. It took about 3 1/2 hours to reach Craiova and I was so relieved to get there. We were finally on our way home but I’m afraid of the extremely dense fog, it took us twice as long to get home ( 3 hours ). 4am and at last we were home. 18 1/2 hours door to door, I could have gone to Singapore in that time, but at least we made it home safely.
Despite the traveling, I had an fantastic Christmas, one I will remember for a very long time 🙂

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Fires From Hell !

There is nothing nicer than sitting round a cosy log fire on a cold winter day, unless you live in my house! We have 2 fires, one in the living room and one in the kitchen. Now the fire in the living room is great, it’s front loading and most of the time easy to light, except for today!
It’s 5am and I’ve woken up in need of the ‘ ladies room ‘, I notice the fire is almost out, so as it’s so cold, I try to rescue it. It’s pitch black and as our winter bedroom is just off the living room, I can’t put the light on as it would wake Andy. So here I am, on my hands and knees, with only the light of my phone, trying to get the fire going. The dogs think it’s time to get up, so they are running around the room with excitement. Dogs paws and Lino just don’t go together, it’s like sitting in the room with tap dancers! I’m trying to fumble around in the dark for paper and kindling whilst trying to keep the dogs quiet, not my idea of fun at that time of the morning. It takes me nearly an hour to get the fire going, yes nearly an hour! ( Advice to self, never try to rescue a fire with only the smallest of embers left, just start afresh!)
The fires have, not only become a challenge but an obsession with me. There is an art to lighting fires as well as keeping them ticking over at night, an art that I haven’t quite mastered. I’ve almost mastered the art as far as the living room fire is concerned except for keeping it ticking overnight is a bit ‘ hit and miss’ but the petchka in the kitchen is another story. There have been times where I just want to get a lump hammer to it!
It’s only a cheap top loader and when I can get it lit properly it really belts out the heat but what a bloody nightmare to light! I have tried so many different techniques, I should be an expert by now, but can I get it to light first time, NO!!! It usually takes me 3 attempts, by the time I’ve finally cracked it, I’m frozen to the core and the air is blue. When I do manage to get them both lit it’s a full time job to keep them tendered, either that or I’ve just become obsessed! ( probably the latter ).
Anyway, the moral of this story is, don’t be a cheapskate like us, always buy a decent fire……… I know what I want for Christmas next year 🙂

The Start Of Winter

Well it’s now been 7 months since we arrived in Bulgaria. We’ve had plenty of gorgeous, hot sunny days, a few spectacular thunderstorms and one freaky hailstorm in the midst of summer but now the winter has closed in and it’s time to go into semi-hibernation. It’s been a bit of a mad rush to get the house as water tight and winter ready but we’ve done the best we can. Windows are covered in polythene inside and out, wood is chopped, water pipes are insulated and fires are up and running. In the last few weeks we have had 3 water leaks all from the same pipe connection and Sod’s law it had to be behind the shower! What a nightmare that was as our shower is a full glass enclosure and weights a ton, so moving it wasn’t the easiest task. The last leak was the worse, as it flooded so bad that the Lino was floating! In a way we were lucky as our bathroom floor is slightly lower than the bedroom floor and caught it just as it was about to seep into our bedroom but it took us an hour to bale out the water and 4 days for our bathroom to dry out. We managed to work out why the pipe kept coming out of the connection so, fingers crossed, no more leak…….for now anyway.
The weather has now turned cold, -6c is the lowest so far but I know it will get colder. I’ve got myself into a routine in the morning now. I don’t need an alarm clock because my scatty spaniel Twix, wakes me every morning at 7 and there’s no chance of a lie in as he paws my arm constantly until I get out of bed! First is sorting out the dogs, then light the fires followed by a nice cup of tea. When the rooms have warmed up a bit, then it’s time to get dressed into my work clothes. This usually consists of jogging pants, t-shirt, sloppy jumper and an old coat ( it’s a little bit cold outside ). I certainly won’t be winning any awards for glamour that’s for sure! There’s not much opportunity to get my glad rags on as it’s mostly been work, work, work on the house and garden. By the end of the day my nails are coated with mud or cement instead of nail polish, foundation has been replaced with dust, there’s no pretty ribbon in my hair, it’s now either sprinkled with sawdust or streaked with paint and my hands could be used as sandpaper, as they are rough,instead of soft and smooth. While i wait for Andy who is also busy ( busy snoring his head off! ) I collect more wood from our barn and clear up the dog mess, ( I know your all jealous of my glamorous life haha). When Andy joins the land of the living and after 2 mugs of coffee, we then spend our days working on the house. As it’s winter and there’s not a lot we can do outside we have decided our winter project is to change our big bedroom into a kitchen, as the kitchen we have now just isn’t working for me. The only trouble is we had to clear the furniture out of our bedroom but don’t really have anywhere to store them out of the way, so now our house is chaotic. There’s chest of draws and side tables in the living room, the bed is in the back room ( which is already bursting at the seams) and we have to leave the 2 double wardrobes in the bedroom that we are changing into the kitchen, ( total nightmare). I can honestly say my house is a mess, almost as bad as it was when we first moved in. The weather hasn’t helped as we have had quite a bit of rain recently, so the garden has been like a quagmire. Not only is my house a mess but with the dogs and ourselves in and out several times a day, there’s mud prints all over the floor (both my brush and mop are starting to wear away !).
I’m not a big fan of winter and I know it’s going to get a lot colder but the one thing I do like about winter is snow! The other day we had our first day of snow, a foot of it. There is no denying it, it really is very pretty. We had been watching the weather forecast so we were expecting it and I must admit, I was like a kid, I was so excited and couldn’t wait for it to snow. It was so funny watching the dogs playing in it and every time my spaniel came in, he had big balls of snow hanging from his hair, hilarious watching him trying to pull them off!
So here we are, 7 months in and we are entering, what I believe is the hardest part of our journey, winter. I’m not looking forward to the extreme cold, or spending so much time indoors and I’m sure I will go a little stir crazy, (Andy will cope with it better than me, I think) but on a positive note I am looking forward to more snow and to building our new kitchen 🙂 ………

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Bulgaria Through The Lens

As we are becoming more accustomed to Bulgaria, we are starting to understand more and more about this beautiful country.  So far due to us renovating our house we have not had the opportunity to travel around this wonderful country, so we have been looking online and via Facebook for information.

One such site we came across is Andrey Andreev Photography, this website quite clearly shows the variety and beauty of Bulgaria, and provides us with inspiration for next year to travel around and visit some of these amazing places.

Please note, photo’s are shown in much better quality on the Andrey Andreev Photography website.

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

Plovdiv – for a while

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

So, the beginning was at Plovdiv rail station at five in the morning. It was full moon and in Plovdiv everybody was sleeping. Nothing grabbed our attention from the beginning and we got away from the sleeping city with a vague idea to visit Kosovo village. I had not heard of this small village before and that made me even more enthusiastic.

Kosovo

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.comKosovo greeted us nestled in the Rhodope Mountains – a beautiful and attractive place. Perhaps I would never come here if I had to make arrangements and preparations in advance, but the unexpected decision proved to be very enjoyable. Well, of course, I’d rather prefer it was winter and having to go with donkey to this beautiful area of Bulgaria, but in this case neither donkey nor snow was present. But we were surprised by the great hospitability.

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

Much can be said about Rhodope Mountains and people there. I haven’t met any inhospitable Rhodopean people. This is probably because I am very cheeky and I ignore the failures. At the beginning of the walk the first person we met invited us to see the view through the windows of his house. Maybe everyone is friendly because they want to show us their home …

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

And yet nothing can replace a walk along the paths between old abandoned houses. You go back to the past, when people used to breed livestock, getting up at 4am. So probably they used to go to bed with the chickens, not with “Desperate Housewives.” But I do not know whether the abundance of shows on television makes us richer than them.

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

The idea of ​​watermelon slipped somewhat unexpectedly in our minds and also in our conversations … Well, actually I know who slipped it, but not to blame now … anyways, the mountain it’s a nice place to eat watermelon. In Kosovo there are two restaurants and the more luxury one is Hadjiiskata house. They were also hospitable in their own way and although watermelon was not in the menu, it was what we had for dessert. Many watermelons are now in one paragraph and I do not want to miss to mention patatnik as I didn’t miss enjoying it. Patatnik is a tasty meal from potatoes and Bulgarian cheese, you should try it.

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

It was not a romantic story, but it was a story about a nice, cold watermelon and a tasty patatnik. For a man it’s quite romantic. In the village of Kosovo you can make up your own stories and create your own romance. Wonderful old stone buildings, the coolness of the mountains and a nice thought of cold watermelon – this is a good start for a Saturday. And the village is the perfect place to spend a weekend with a good company.

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev www.andrey-andreev.com

But back to the beginning – Mark Twain. He always impressed me with clear thought and good ideas. And in this case with his bull’s eye. The problem with this idea is that even if I like my company, my company starts to know me as well. Well, too bad, but we will look for new ones! But I hadn’t been with so nice company for a long time, for which I am very grateful, and despite the many kilometres travelled to reach this place, Kosovo, am sincerely happy about my Saturday … and that was the goal.

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