Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bumbling along...

....through Bulgaria!

Ask somebody what they think of when you mention Bulgaria and you'll get varied answers (excluding those who just give you a quizzical, somewhat blank look)--my favorite being "Is that where Bulgur wheat comes from?"  There's more to this country than Olympic weight-lifting cheats or the classic Bulgarian "heavy" in every Cold War spy novel!

When you're trundling across Bulgaria in a bus, you'll get a variety of comments, apparently depending on where you're from:

"This looks like west Texas." (It was hot and dry that day in the southwest.)
"This looks just like Kansas." (Fields and fields of blooming sunflowers.)
"This looks like it could be Indiana." (Cornfields.)
"We could be in Kentucky right now." (More cornfields.)

It's pretty obvious Bulgaria is an agricultural country--field after field of sunflowers, corn, and most surprisingly--roses. While we didn't actually see them blooming (that's in June, I'm told), it's not often you see something you think of as a fancy garden plant grown on an industrial scale! Bulgarians are justly proud of their roses; we were told all about them over the span of, say, hours.  (There's a lot of miles to cover--there's time.) We were highly encouraged to purchase rose scented lotions and perfumes--kind of with the assumption that you'd have to be out of your mind not to want rose scented everything. After a pit-stop, our bus full of sweaty tourists started smelling better and better.... Mr. P, with an expression of growing contentment, commented that it made him think of his Grandma. Apparently he wasn't the only one; everybody seemed rather pleased to be there!  Hmmm... maybe this was the Guide's diabolical plan all along?!  Now if she had brought out a plate of warm cookies....


Chances are, if you see a monument in Bulgaria,
it's commemorating a battle with the Turks.
Chances are, the Turks won.
Typical Soviet architecture in Eastern Europe.
Where a Soviet star or hammer & sickle once resided...
there is nothing.
Depending on your point of view,
this might be considered an architectural improvement.

A church in Vidin, Bulgaria.
You'd mind your P's & Q's walking through
that door, wouldn't you?!

Beautiful Bulgaria

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

                                  ---Mark Twain

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