Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Easter, Bulgarian-style!

I happened to be around while my couchsurfing hosts were heading to their old village for the Easter weekend. So they invited me to go with them. (Of course, right? You just invite random strangers to go with you on holidays, right? Bulgaria, Couchsurfing, and this fine family are so kind.)
Stoyanka, Petar, and Vesi

Their village (where Petar's parents live) is called Morava. Here is how it looks.

Morava is small and shrinking. Very pretty. I guess everyone is moving to the cities, so the population is aging and dying. On the other hand, property is cheap! You can get the former biggest house in the village and its land for 7000 American bones. I guess the English fellow who moved in next to Petar's parents has figured this out. Also, Hemingway was here once.
(train station reconstructed to film a movie about Hemingway)

Root cellar. This is when it's empty. So many jars.

We went to Svishtov also, where Petar went to school. Svishtov, a small town on the Danube, is a site of many Bulgarian firsts. It's nice.

Oh and there's Roman ruins too.

So, Easter! Celebrations? Churchgoing? Nah. I guess Bulgaria is pretty atheist these days, and this family is no exception. We did a little gardening, touristing around Svishtov, reading books, looking for mushrooms, eating all sorts of good things and drinking Rakia (fruit brandy/schnapps). Low key time but super interesting. Petar and Stoyanka, if you're reading, thanks again for taking me!

At one point, they showed me a family tree, on a couple sheets of paper. But that was not the full tree; it only went back a couple generations. "Do you want to see the full tree?" SUPER YES:

On the way back, we stopped by Veliko Tarnovo, the old capital from the 1100's-1300's, before the Ottomans moved in.

And that is why I've been off the internet for four days! Okay, tomorrow I'm flying to Munich, to try this motorcycle-buying thing over again.

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