Issue 183-184

DR NELI DJURKOVA: THE SECRET OF A BEAUTIFUL SMILE

When beautiful and healthy smile is concerned, Dr Neli Djurkova is one of the best specialists around to ask for advice and help. She is the second postgraduate from Bulgaria to study and graduate in the prestigious Faculty of Dental Medicine at the Tel Aviv University, Israel. Now she is mother of three and one of the leading orthodontists in Bulgaria. Dr Djurkova has rich experience in invisible orthodontic treatment and is one of the four Platinum Elite Invisalign Providers in Bulgaria. She works not only in Plovdiv, but also Veliko Tarnovo.

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BIG MACEDONIAN QUESTION

The "Macedonian Question" is one of those Balkan conundrums that even outsiders with more than just passing knowledge of the history and geography of the region can have trouble understanding. Because the troubles, the controversies and the historical and present-day injustices have accumulated to mind-boggling proportions it is impossible to detail them in a single magazine article. Here are some of the main points.

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DARK TALES IN BELENE

Belene is a backwater of a town on the Bulgarian bank of the River Danube. It is inhabited by less than 8,000 people. Yet, for more than one reason, its name is known to all Bulgarians.

To some, it is the location of a planned nuclear power plant whose failure to materialise illustrates how corruption and incompetence in post-Communist Bulgaria can ruin what was to become a major power engineering project. To others, it is synonymous with the most atrocious crimes of the former Communist regime.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Dudes, you are not gods.

Toshko Yordanov, MP for There Is Such a People, to GERB who wanted a longer vacation in December and January on religious grounds

Fulfilling all of our goals in the set timeframe will be hard, but we all realise that you can eat an elephant a bite at a time.

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov

I will ban the State Railway bosses from using government cars. Let them travel by train.

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QUIRKY ROCKS OF BULGARIA

The ability to spot visual patterns in seemingly chaotic landscapes, preferring false positives to false negatives, has been cruciвal for the survival of the human race. For thousands of years, those who lived long enough to pass on their genes to the next generation were the ones able to spot a lion hidden in a bush. Even when there was no lion at all.

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BULGARIA'S FIRST CAPITALS

If power and the economy were gravity, the gravitational centre of modern Bulgaria would be Sofia, where the population and the important agencies of the state, economy and culture are located. If we go back to the Middle Ages, when Bulgaria was still young, the country's centre of gravity would be elsewhere – in the northeast, close to the city of Shumen. There, the remains of Bulgaria's first capitals, Pliska and Preslav, still survive – next to an astonishing piece of medieval art, the Madara Horseman.

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VAGABOND'S INTERNATIONAL WALK OF FAME

You went to LA, okay. You think you've seen it all – and walked over it: the pinkish stars on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard with names of actors, musicians and celebrities, many of whom long forgotten, but immortalised in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You vied with the Chinese and the Koreans for a better selfie spot, and yes – you've stumped on Donald Trump's star from the days he was only a reality show performer.

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WE'VE GOT MAIL

As a long-term subscriber to Vagabond it is my pleasure to introduce to you my latest book, Why I Love Bulgaria that was published a month ago by Kibea publishers in Sofia. Until the beginning of this year I lived in Bulgaria. The beautiful stories about Bulgaria in Vagabond have influenced me very much. So have your stunning photographs to which my book makes a powerful reference.

Wishing you continued success with Vagabond

Professor Hans Wissema,

The Hague 

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GIFTS! MORE GIFTS!

To give or to receive presents? Some people prefer the former, others – the latter, yet others love to do both. What unites them all is that regardless of the occasion, the tradition fills the hearts of everyone involved with joy, happiness and warmth. It charges us with hope for the future, inspires us to immerse ourselves in a better and trouble-free version of the world, helps us to forget the challenges, to let ourselves to the moment of pure pleasure and to stretch it, day after day, for months on end.

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