WHAT I HAVE LEARNT... AFTER FIVE YEARS IN BULGARIA

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT... AFTER FIVE YEARS IN BULGARIA

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:27

It really is possible to have breakfast in Kosovo and have lunch in Istanbul

jane keating.jpg

"How about a fresh before we go to the fitness?" sounds like perfectly good English.

I find myself saying "I really love the nature here."

Hiking in the mountains must be the secret of health and longevity ‒ we sometimes feel we're the youngest (and slowest) people on the trail, as octogenarians power past us.

It is possible to eat tomato and cucumber for breakfast.

It is also possible to spend three or four hours over a meal and it is OK not to order the whole meal in one go. Unless you like having chips with your starter.

Two sittings in an evening is a barbaric Western restaurant habit.

Bulgarian red wine just keeps getting better and better.

Never judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance. Misshapen pink tomatoes no Western supermarket would consider stocking can be the best thing you've ever eaten.

What I consider to be leaving a safe distance between me and the car in front is perceived by Bulgarian drivers as ample space to squeeze into.

Bulgarians really use their crash barriers.

I get a kick out of telling people "We had breakfast in Kosovo and lunch in Istanbul." (One is a village near Asenovgrad and the other – a great Turkish restaurant mid-way between Sofia and Plovdiv)

Lime trees in early summer smell wonderful.

No home should be without a chushkopek**.

Chushkopek

Chushkopek

What I'd like to know...

How do the bee keepers direct their bees so they don't mix up the lime/acacia/herb honey?

Where do some young women find room for all their internal organs?

What is the origin of pizza with ketchup and mayo?

 

*Jane Keating spent five years in Bulgaria (2005-2010) and she worked with Vagabond from Day One (back in 2006). Sadly for us, Jane is leaving for her native Ireland now, but she will continue to work for this magazine as a "distant" editor from there. Slán leat, Jane!

**The chushkopek is the great Bulgarian invention, comparable in significance to pizza in Italy, onion soup in France and, well, fish and chips in Britain. It is a home appliance to bake peppers in. It comes in several varieties: a single chushkopek (one pepper at a time), a double-barrelled one and even a four-barrelled one. An intriguing variety is the three-barrelled chushkopek, popularly referred to as a "Mercedes" because viewed from above it resembles the Daimler-Chrysler threepointed star.

Issue 47-48

Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

0 comments

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

Bay Ganyo in translation
WHO WAS ALEKO KONSTANTINOV?
In Vagabond we sometimes write about people whose activities or inactivity have shaped Bulgaria's past and present. Most of these are politicians or revolutionaries.

vanga monument
RUSSIA BRINGS ON... VANGA
The future does not look bright according to Vanga, the notorious blind clairvoyant who died in 1996 but is still being a darling of tabloids internationally, especially in Russia.

The 23rd infantry battalion of Shipka positioned north of Bitola, Macedonia, during the Great War
FINDING ANTIP KOEV OBUSHTAROV
In early 2021 veteran Kazanlak-based photographer Alexander Ivanov went to the Shipka community culture house called Svetlina, founded in 1861, to inspect "some negatives" that had been gathering the dust in cardboard boxes.

soviet army monument sofia ukraine
MONUMENTAL WOES
One of the attractions of the Bulgarian capital, the 1950s monument to the Red Army, may fascinate visitors wanting to take in a remnant of the Cold War, but many locals consider it contentious.

panelki neighbourhood bulgaria
PREFAB SOCIETY
With the mountains for a backdrop and amid large green spaces, uniform apartment blocks line up like Legos. Along the dual carriageway, 7km from the centre of Sofia, the underground comes above ground: Mladost Station.

boyan the magus
WHO WERE THE BOGOMILS?
What do you do when the events of the day overwhelm you? When you feel that you have lost control of your own life? You might overeat, rant on social media or buy stuff you do not need. You might call your shrink.

Monument to Hristo Botev in his native Kalofer
WHO WAS HRISTO BOTEV?
Every 2 June, at exactly noon, the civil defence systems all over Bulgaria are switched on. The sirens wail for a minute. A minute when many people stop whatever they are doing and stand still.

st george day bulgaria
DAY OF ST GEORGE BULGARIAN STYLE
Bulgarians celebrate St George's Day, or Gergyovden, with enormous enthusiasm, both officially and in private.

Shopska salad is the ultimate rakiya companion
HOW TO ENJOY RAKIYA
The easiest way for a foreigner to raise a Bulgarian brow concerns a sacrosanct pillar of national identity: rakiya, the spirit that Bulgarians drink at weddings, funerals, for lunch, at protracted dinners; because they are sad or joyful, and somet

151020-28446.jpg
SOFIA'S PARTY HOUSE
"Where is the parliament?" A couple of months ago anyone asking this question in Sofia would have been pointed to a butter-yellow neoclassical building at one end of the Yellow Brick Road.

Boyko Borisov_0.jpg
BLAST FROM THE PAST*
Bulgaria's courts have been given the chance to write legal history as former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov is suing Yordan Tsonev, the MP for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, over Tsonev's referral to him as a mutra.

bulgaria underworld.jpg
WHAT IS A MUTRA?
Mutra is one of those short and easy-to-pronounce Bulgarian words that is also relatively easy to translate.