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 mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures

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mike&tanya
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PostSubject: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

I intend to work my way through our various trips by year, and i will put places that you might find interesting in capitals, all of which can be looked up on internet to get much more detail.
2004
When i first met tanya in London, I like most people did not know much about Bulgaria. My first visit was in October (2 months after we got married) to visit her Tanya,s parents, who live in a village called Kliment which is close to the towns of Sopot - Karlova. We flew into Sofia Airport and were met by 2 of her close friends, the plan was to stop over night and go the the embassy the next morning before traveling on to the village. Unfortunatly no one told us that we had to get there before 10.00am otherwise they will not deal with you, and yes you guessed it we got there 10.20am. This meant another day in Sofia, I thought thats ok we will do a bit of sight-seeing (silly me), I was with 3 good looking fashion concsious woman so I got dragged up and down the up-market clothing shops for most of the day. We stayed another night in a very nice hotel in the foothills just outside of the city, and managed to get the paperwork sorted the next morning and get on our way to the village.
I got a very nice surprise on arrival in the village, the surrounding scenery was quite outstanding, being surrounded by lowwooded hills on one side that seem to go on forever, and acroos the valley much higher more rugged hills above Karlova, I never get tired of looking at this. I got a very warm welcome from Tanya,s parents and some of the neighbors, and enjoyed looking around the there property, which consisted of a traditionally built mud block bungalow, with a massive barn and a big plot of land full of all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees. There was also 13 sheep, a donkey, cats and a dog, it seems that during the communist times Tanya,s dad was a well respected shepherd until he retired
We spent a few days in and around the village and SOPOT - KARLOVA (they are almost joined together and I think of them as twin towns),and then went onto what was to become the first of many sight-seeing trips over the years. We went to SHIPKA-MONESTERY (very nice), which has a beautiful gold coloured domed roof and like all monestery,s full of brightly coloured icons and murals. From there we went onto an open air museum called ETAR (well worth a visit) which is full of original buildings dating back through the centuries and also demonstrations of Bulgarian culture and crafts. We then went onto a town called GABROVA which has a museum of humour (it was ok).
At the end of our holiday we were taken to Sofia Airport by a friend from the village, and on the way called into a very well preserved town called KOPRIVSTITSA, which although our time was limited , what i saw was very nice and I intend to go back and have a better look one day.

That it I hope you enjoy this installment and I will add more soon.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:19 pm

I hope that they are both ok, really enjoy their posts and photo's. T
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:34 pm

Thanks for all of the concerns, I have been a bit pre-occupied with some health issues and the general lack of work, but i still have a couple of years worth of bulgarian travels left, and I promise that i will write them up very soon

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Pleased to hear your both not too bad and I look forward to reading more when your upto it
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:12 pm

Same here keep looking up and I'm sure things will get better and I hope your health returns soon
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:18 pm

s s

Thanks Guys

You take care of yourself and each other and when you are ready we will all look forward to hearing from you.

Oddy s

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:01 pm

Just wondered how you are now? I hope your health is getting back to normal and your feeling a little better and we can all look forward to more of your adventures, hope you both had a good Christmas and hope to hear more from you soon
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:09 am

Hope you both well and enjoyed Christmas and that Mike is feeling better
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:14 pm

Thanks for all of the kind thoughts, this really is a nice forum to be on, any here goes with the next installment, its a bit long but I hope you enjoy.
2008.
This year i got a little greedy and had 1 month in the summer followed by just over a week over the Xmas/New year.
The summer trip started with a 3 day visit to the Bansko area, we were collected at the airport by Tina and Spiro in our car and drove to Old Bansko, we found a small hotel near the village square. The next morning after a breakfast, we checked out the old town, and then drove up the mountain to the ski lifts for the usual load of photo`s and for me to check out the ski area. Just as in Pomporova its difficult to visualize the skiing area with no snow on it but it looked promising. We then drove to our next planned stop which was a little out of town, to a four star complex called Hotel Katarino, its very nice with all that you would expect from a 4 star complex including a nice indoor swimming pool, but to be honest the outdoor one was a little disappointing. We spent 3 nights here, and during the day explored the local area, the highlight being a visit to THE RILA MONESTERY, which is beautiful and I would recomend anyone to go there. After this we had a long and tiring drive to our apartment in Pomorie.

POMORIE.
We spent about a week and a half in Pomorie, some of which was spent installing air conditioning and a new bedroom suite, but we did find time to visit the usual haunts ie;
Nessebar, Sozopol &
Sunny beach (where Tina`s brother hires out golf carts, so we spent a couple of hours terrorizing the holiday makers along the front in one of them). We also managed to get back the the "
castle"
near Sozopol, it had moved on a hell of a lot but was still nowhere near finished (probably another couple of years yet). We also spent a fair bit of time covering ourselves with mud on the Black beach (and of course washing it off once it had dried). I had a bonus one day as another friend turned up on his jet ski , so I had a blast up and down the coast on that which was great fun.

KLIMENT
We had a nice drive to the village where i was met with the usual bear hugs from Tany`s mother, and I had my first look at the long perimeter wall that our friendly gypsy builder built for at the end of the prevous summer (Tanya had been there during the construction but I had already flown home). He had done a very good job built in the traditional style with cavaties for the winter wood (although her mum refuses to put wood in it , she says it looks to nice) with a sloping tiled top,it looks amazing and her parents are over the moon with it.
The problem now is that the 100+ year old wooden gates looked out of place and were falling apart, so they were the next to go. We ordered a very nice pair of metal gates, as its very difficult to get properly seasoned wooden ones that dont distort and split. We then set about ripping out the old ones and building the surround, this envolved me mixing up cement for 3 x 70+ year old Bulgarians (the gypsy ,her father and a neighbor), and they nearly killed me trying to keep up with them. The ironic thing is i could have payed someone next to nothing to do it for me, but at least every time i look at it I think of my input.Whilst we were working there was a wedding in the village and the precession came past us which was nice to see, of course we had to have a drink with them as they passed.We did find time to visit a few friends and have a couple of meals out before i flew home, leaving Tanya there as her son and his wife were coming out to spend some time with her.

KLIMENT XMAS
I kept hearing about the Bulgarian Xmas so decided to combine 4/5 days in the vilage with 3 days of skiing in Bansko. As soon as Tanya`s parents heard we were coming they bought a pig to fatten up for dinner. We arranged for Tina, Spiro and there son Mitko to join us on Xmas day . On the morning of Xmas day the thing that I had not been looking forward to happened. Dont get me wrong I am a great believer in traditions and would not want to change anything but I planned to go for a walk while the deed was done. Unfortunatly Tanya`s brother in law was late, and everyone was getting impatient so i had to join in, I won`t go into detail but lets just say that I dont want to repeat it in a hurry. Once the deed was done it was my job to keep everyone including myself topped up with hot sweet rakia (which is very nice) and eat the small peices of meat that was being cooked on and open fire.
Later Tina and family arrived bearing drink and more food and we had a very nice time eating and drinking too much with various visitors coming and going. Later in the evening it started to snow so we had i small snow ball fight, we spent the next day in the village, then packed up Spiro`s car and headed for Bansko.

BANSKO NEW YEAR

We had a bit of a problem finding our pre-booked apartments (called White Peaks) as every new complex is called white something no one new one complex from another as they all look and sound the same. But after driving around most of New Bansko we eventually found it. We walked into the centre to organize the equipment and lift passes for the next 3 days ( I took my own boots as I hate rental ones). We got up early the next morning, but obvously not early enough as the Que was already very long ( I have skied in a lot of different resorts in various countries, but never had to que as long as in Bansko).Unless they go ahead and build the second main lift ( which they have talked about for a long while) I can see Bansko grinding to a halt, as they have built way too many apartments, some not finished ,lots empty, if they all sell and fill up I hate to think what it will be like without that second lift.
Anyway once you are up the mountain its not too bad and ther is some beautiful scenery, as all of the others were fairly new to skiing I stayed with them for most of the time, but as an experienced skiier I think 3 days would have been enough for me as its farly limited but fun. We had booked the New years meal in the restuarant of our complex but it lacked atmosphere, and in hind sight it would have been better to have gone to the older part of town in one of the more traditional restuarants. We flew home on the 1st Jan having had a great time.

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:56 pm

Hello both its looks like you had a busy time but enjoyed it, I understand your concerns about the pig but like you say its tradition, it sounds as though you both had a great and traditional Bulgarian Christmas which is something a lot of people would love to take part in but on the other side there are those who prefer the English Christmas even in Bulgaria which I find strange but each to their own. I have loved reading this update and I'm hoping your well again and fully recovered from your illness,. Thank you very much for sharing this with us I'm positive others will also find it of great interest .

T
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:24 am

Fascinating read and what a wonderful memory you will have of all this, some of the things you have done is what only some of us would dream of I applaud you both and I only wished I had the same energy that you 2 seem to have, I also know what your saying about the ritual of the killing and I wouldn't be able to watch or take part either so its nothing to be ashamed of although I'm sure there will be some who think if you live in Bulgaria you should live like a Bulgarian ? but I say live and let live ! brilliant log of information about your travels T T
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:02 am



Thanks for the updated guys very good,well done! g g

Oddy H

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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:24 am

What a lovely blog and a lot of what I have read I can relate to because I have visited some of the places mentioned however you had the advantage of having a Bulgarian wife with you which must make a huge difference when traveling around Bulgaria since most of the problems us ex-pats encounter is the language barrier, thanks for the share and I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventures in the not to distant future
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:03 pm

Another very good journal of your travels if only more people would embrace Bulgaria and its beauty like you have and spend more time getting around and looking at what is on offer I'm sure they would all be rushing to get here, Its a pity in this day and age that most are only interested in saving money and living just as they did in the UK or other countries but I suppose it takes all sorts to make the world go round. s
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:13 am

A very satisfying read and with so much passion I love the way you seem to be able to adapt yourself to all the situations you find yourself in especially the pig one I must admit its not something I like to see but living in Bulgaria its all part of the life but I do wonder how much longer this will be allowed to continue once the EU get involved, anyway looking forward to more from you both take care
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PostSubject: Re: mike& tanya,s Bulgarian adventures   Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:04 pm

Another great update from you and your dear wife thank you so much it was a real please to read and so inspiring
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