Issue 170 https://vagabond.bg/ en MANAGEMENT 2.0 https://vagabond.bg/management-20-2883 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">MANAGEMENT 2.0</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 12:39</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>How do you manage a team of top professionals, and how do you make the right decisions to respond to their needs? Well, you don't!</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Vladimir%20Natchev.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Vladimir%20Natchev.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Vladimir Natchev.jpg " title="Vladimir Natchev, Country Head" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">photography by Nelly Tomova; EPAM Bulgaria</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>As with most disruptive ideas, this concept is as straightforward as it is hard to implement. Together with the EPAM Bulgaria team, we took the challenge to turn it into a reality.</p> <p>We started with the idea of boundaries. We took the time to contemplate boundaries in our team: to understand them, to discuss them, even to define some of them... until we were finally able to see beyond them. We called this the "OneTeam!" initiative, and it was the beginning of an inspiring journey pushing us to become a better team every day.</p> <p>Today, "OneTeam!" is an open community, and everyone from the team can join—either as a long-term member helping to drive the process and to shape the initiative further, or temporarily with a focus on a concrete idea or question. Some of the ideas evolve further in dedicated working groups, while others are quickly resolved or sometimes parked at the level of the core team.</p> <p>"OneTeam!" has taught us to work together and serves as a great tool to drive meaningful decisions in everyday life of our team. But what turned out to be even more valuable is the process of getting there. While developing the Initiative, we learned to interact more openly and to take advantage of everyone else's experience.</p> <p>Eventually, we discovered new ways to resolve business problems through our community and unlocked a whole new category of ideas.</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Steering Wheel</strong></h4> <img alt="Diana Zaneva" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Diana%20Zaneva.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Diana Zaneva, Project Manager</em></p> <p>Core Team? "OneTeam!"? Say that again? That was my reaction when I first heard about the idea. So many questions and not that many answers, but I still remember that inner voice screaming "say YES!".</p> <p>Different people with different expectations, all gathered around One Idea, "OneTeam!" The organization of our work evolved naturally only after a couple of meetings of the Core Team and when the idea was spread across the company, many colleagues engaged in the idea and joined the different working groups. Currently, the Core Team provides high level of responsibility and acts like a steering committee giving support and directions when needed. It is the foundation we can build on and together we can rise up to any challenge.</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Communication Culture</strong></h4> <img alt="Simeon Kisyov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Simeon%20Kisyov.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Simeon Kisyov, Senior Agile Coach</em></p> <p>Even before COVID-19 the nature of our complex business, when faced with a number of projects running simultaneously, predisposes people to work in silos. For a number of years, EPAM Bulgaria has been introducing a number of initiatives to mitigate the isolation, including regular events, such as "Lunch &amp; Learn," town halls, workshops for sharing good practices, and others. With the pandemic changing the workplace normality over the year, the "OneTeam!" initiative was timely to inspire and create a common communication culture among the different parties and participants in the office. For months, our teammates have been launching different initiatives related to improving the communication culture, from experience sharing to keeping spirits and morale high for everybody—with the majority of EPAMers participating online.</p> <p>Several months into the Initiative, we are seeing great results: high levels of communication, collaboration and engagement. Communication has improved—our teammates are better informed, and everyone is more open to sharing. Having taken part in some of the activities, I am fascinated by the energy, motivation, and self-organization of our teams. We are determined to keep the flow of information and best practice sharing going. Well done EPAMers, keep up the good work!</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Idea Generator</strong></h4> <img alt="Maria Zharova" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Maria%20Zharova.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Maria Zharova, Marketing Manager </em></p> <p>Right from the very start "OneTeam!" has proven itself as a real think tank. In a creative group environment, there exists an opportunity to not only come up with great ideas, but also find a group of like-minded individuals to support you in making it real.</p> <p>A good example of this is the Drive-in Conf format, which was born in a very informal discussion inside EPAM's office kitchen. From that conversation grew an exciting event format. The event itself combines a full drive-in cinematic experience with talks by world-renowned speakers. Visitors have been able to enjoy high-quality talks from the comfort and safety of their own cars. It was so successful that we had several editions in Sofia, Burgas and Prague.</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Teams Collaboration and Communities</strong></h4> <img alt="Emo Boyanov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Emo%20Boyanov.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Emo Boyanov, Lead Software Engineer</em> </p> <p>Probably the most challenging aspect of the Initiative was growing engagement. Initially, we weren't sure if some of the things we were planning would be interesting enough to get our team mates engaged, but it was very refreshing to see that people were actually interested and liked what was organized. For the past 6 months, we have managed to organize several informal tech talks where people from different teams shared practical knowledge and experience. After all, we tackle similar complex problems in our day to day work—even if we are working with different technologies, the solutions we develop are very similar. These informal talks also help our less experienced engineers gain valuable technical knowledge as well as provide them with the opportunity to improve their presentation skills. The collaboration among the teams is key. It enables everyone to see the bigger picture. Our Initiative efforts are not limited to informal tech talks and knowledge sharing, we are working on creating new opportunities for information sharing, from creating various newsletters to supporting speakers and launching a new design thinking course. The important thing is to keep the momentum going and turn the new Initiative into a tradition. With small, incremental steps we have managed to build something meaningful which we hope to grow in to the future. Actually, I can't wait to see what we have in store for 2021.</p> <p>At the end of the day, it's pretty cool to see that people are given the opportunity to propose changes and to share ideas. It's up to all of us to make our work environment a better place. As the saying goes—"Be the change you want to see in the world," or in our case, "Be the change you want to see in your company."</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Design Thinking</strong></h4> <img alt="Tanya Dineva" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Tanya%20Dineva.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Tanya Dineva, Senior Business Analyst</em></p> <p>These days, we are all living in a dynamic and exceptionally rapidly changing environment. Every day, each of us faces different problems, challenges and difficulties both in their personal or professional life. Have you ever wondered how you face and solve them?</p> <p>The idea to conduct a Design Thinking course was born during the "Hotspot by the Sea" event, organized by the Joy Division of "OneTeam!," where teams can work together remotely from a base at the seaside. Some of us shared the experience of using Design Thinking work processes in practice. We discussed some of the advantages of using human-centered techniques for solving problems in a creative and innovative way and how this may result in an inspired and sometimes surprising outcome. At that time the idea to conduct a Design Thinking training was distant, unreal and a little crazy. By just sharing the "crazy idea" we received a lot of support from the "OneTeam!" Initiative and now the course planning is underway. The exciting part is that this is not going to be the standard type of Design Thinking training course. It will push the boundaries and opportunities and will be practice-oriented. Our hope is that it will be an exciting journey for all of course participants because it is already a journey of excitement for us.</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Joy Division</strong></h4> <img alt="Toni Petrova" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Toni%20Petrova.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Toni Petrova, Senior Software Engineer</em></p> <p>At the point I got involved, "OneTeam!" was still a wild idea, intended to make about 200 people—with different views, tech stacks and interests—feel part of one united team. But as we all know, wild ideas are actually the thing worth pursuing. "OneTeam!" brought forward the value of togetherness, which is very important to me, as I often find motivation from the amazing professionals I work with every day at EPAM.</p> <p>"Joy Division" focuses on the fun part of working life. It aims to bring people together through their shared passions, hobbies or challenges; all while having fun. The "Joy Division" began with a brainstorming session. We made sure all ideas were welcomed and every one's voice was heard. We then prioritized the output into a list of action items. But there were quite a few challenges—the fact that everything needs to be online, the fact that there is no "one fits all" initiative and also that our colleagues were not yet familiar with the "OneTeam!" concept. This required us to think outside of the box and come up with ways to get people interested and involved in something more than their day-to-day work. To date, we have successfully rolled out a handful of fun events; including a hike to Cherni Vrah, a plank challenge, Hotspot by the Sea (where teams can work together remotely from a base in Burgas), and a CS:GO tournament. Also, we have added a few on-going events, like the EPAM Lexicon, an initiative giving us an insight of who our colleagues are outside of work. Everything is targeted at the people of EPAM, so we always involve new members and gather ideas from the community. This inclusive approach is truly inspiring. It makes me feel confident that ideas brought forth will be successful.</p> <p>The "Joy Division" is constantly working on new and exciting things, like Arduino workshops, new sport challenges and different online meetups. Our wish for the new year is to be able to gather offline and unlock new possibilities to bring "joy" in to our work environment.</p> <h4 class="text-align-center"><strong>Video Games as a Way to Promote Teamwork</strong></h4> <img alt="Kris Petrov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/Kris%20Petrov.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Kris Petrov, Senior Software Engineer </em></p> <p>In the recent years, gaming has grown significantly in terms of sophistication, complexity, and popularity. Gamification promotes a number of teamwork qualities, including leadership, effective communication, collaboration, and team bonding. After all, online team gaming and being a member of a development team have the same core idea—working together to achieve a common goal.</p> <p>As a member of the "OneTeam!" Joy Division, I proposed a tournament for one of the most popular video games today— Counter-Strike. Of course, there were many challenges that had to be considered—how are we going to organize it and how will we create equally-skilled/matched teams?</p> <p>Eventually all of those "how's" were resolved. We created a number of "skill determination" matches to help evaluate player performance and skill sets and from that assessment we created several equally matched teams. Then the teams competed against one another and the top 4 advanced to the semifinals then through to the finals. We had prizes for all of our participants, and the top teams received a special reward as well.</p> <p>This tournament created a team comradery that promoted positive feelings. It helped alleviate stress, created an opportunity for team members to meet new colleagues, and opened lines of communication—creating an effective team-building engagement. To date, this has been one of the most popular Joy Division events and will be a template we use as we drive forward to create many more online team-building activities.</p> <img alt="EPAM team" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/Management%202.0/EPAM%20team.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p class="text-align-center"><em>EPAM team</em></p> <p>"One Team!" has proven itself as a successful initiative in many aspects: as a valuable tool to drive meaningful decisions, to promote open communication, to generate ideas and sometimes simply to have fun. By overcoming boundaries, we have gained a new understanding of how our team works and we are improving ourselves and our processes every day.</p> <p>If you are interested in joining EPAM Bulgaria's team and becoming a part of "OneTeam!," you can see the available opportunities at <u><a href="https://www.epam.com/careers/job-listings?country=Bulgaria&amp;city=Sofia">EPAM's career web site</a></u>. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/advertorials/business" hreflang="en">BUSINESS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title">Comments</h2> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-74" about="/comment/74" typeof="schema:Comment" class="comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden new-indicator" data-comment-timestamp="1606820231"></span> <header> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0" class="profile"> </article> </header> <div class="comment__content-container"> <nav class="comment__links"><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=74&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="NvzHI8mCmAY-PRa7XWN9Oy4WN1Rid5mbUhOs3Xa84K4"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> <div class="comment__meta"> <span>Submitted by <span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Anonymous (not verified)</span></span> Tue, 12/01/2020 - 12:55 <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2020-12-01T10:55:59+00:00" class="rdf-meta hidden"></span> </span> </div> <h3 property="schema:name" datatype="" class="title"><a href="/comment/74#comment-74" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Well done team EPAM!</a></h3> <div class="comment__content"> <div property="schema:text" class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Well done team EPAM!</p> </div> </div> </div> </article> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2883&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="A6_jhFx6PPq0VKjzRxFGT0i1hNRNc7ZVOGd06nyak-E"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 10:39:27 +0000 DimanaT 2883 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/management-20-2883#comments THE DANUBE https://vagabond.bg/danube-2880 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">THE DANUBE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:45</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Sail one of Europe's greatest rivers and discover its least known part, the Bulgarian bank</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/radetzky%20steamer.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/radetzky%20steamer.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="radetzky steamer.jpg " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">A copy of the Radetzky, the Austrian vessel diverted by Hristo Botev and his revolutionaries to the Bulgarian bank in 1876, is now permanently docked at Kozloduy. It is a part of the National Museum of History</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Hiding in plain sight is one of the best ways to avoid attention. There is a region in Bulgaria that has achieved that, although not quite intentionally. The Danube region is a treasure trove for visitors, yet few travellers venture along the 470-kilometre stretch from Vidin to Silistra that defines the greater part of Bulgaria's border with Romania. This is in sharp contrast to the popularity of the Danube as a tourist destination in Central Europe.</p> <p>The on/off relationship of Bulgarians with the Danube started when their ancestors, the early Bulgarians and Slavs, who saw it for the first time, in the 5th-7th centuries. Back then, the river delineated Byzantium's porous northern border, a twisting and often turbulent frontier between what was considered civilisation and barbarity. For these people, the Danube was an obstacle they had to cross to reach the fertile lands and wealthy cities of the empire. However, once Bulgaria was founded south of the Danube, in 681, they soon reevaluated their connection to the river, and it became a route for expansion towards Central Europe. This did not last long, however, because the early Bulgarians were lured by the riches towards the south, where the heart of Byzantium lay. Focused on winning over Constantinople, they turned their back on the Danube and gradually withdrew from its northern bank. The river became a border again; this time the Bulgarians were the ones who had to defend it from the incursions of peoples such as the Pechenegs, the medieval Russians, and the Tatars.</p> <p>Ironically, the powers of Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, who successfully subjugated Bulgaria for centuries, attacked from the cherished south. During the Ottoman invasion the Danube even became a lifeline for the besieged Bulgarians. The last Bulgarian strongholds to fall under the invaders were those along the river, and the forces of the European states who tried to stop the Ottoman push westwards travelled along the Danube in their doomed attempts to turn the tide of history.</p> <p><img alt="danube source" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/danube%20source.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The traditional source of the Danube is in Donaueschingen, in the German Black Forest</em></p> <p>For centuries, the Ottomans dominated the Danube's middle and lower course. When their empire started to contract, after their 1688 defeat at Vienna, the impact of the river in that region, and on the Bulgarians, increased. Russian troops crossed over it during the Tsar's numerous wars with the Sultan. On withdrawing, they would be followed by thousands of Bulgarians afraid of Ottoman reprisals. This was how Bulgarian communities north of the Danube, in Banat (now Serbia and Romania) and Bessarabia (now Ukraine), appeared. In the 19th century Bulgarian political emigres plotted uprisings against the Ottomans from the relative security of the lands north of the river.</p> <p>The Russian army crossed the Danube one final time in the 19th century, in 1877. The war that ensued resulted in the restoration of the Bulgarian state, in 1878. Seventy years later, in September 1944, the Soviet Army entered Bulgaria at Silistra, on the Danube, heralding yet another deep political change – the turning of the nation into a Communist state and the USSR's most trusted ally.</p> <p>The Danube was not solely connected to war. The route that had linked communities in Central and Eastern Europe with the wider world for millennia became, in the mid-19th century, the conduit through which European political ideas, innovations and fashions permeated into the Bulgarian lands. The latest trends in theatre and classical music arrived, along with newspapers and street lightning. These altered both the minds of the inhabitants and the appearance of their towns.</p> <p><img alt="vienna danube" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/vienna%20danube.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The Danube canal in central Vienna with the Urania Observatory, built in 1909, in the background</em></p> <p>Post-1878, the Danube remained an economically and culturally active region that gave birth to some of Bulgaria's most prominent personalities. Exchanges with Central Europe continued, from trade to ideas to finance. Under Communism, the economy of the Bulgarian Danubian towns continued to thrive, this time under the planned economy, with intense traffic to and from the "brotherly" East bloc nations of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and of course the USSR. However, as the river also led to both sworn and potential enemies, such as NATO-member West Germany, the capitalist shopwindow of Austria and the renegade Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia of Tito, the role of the Danube as a link to the wider world began to disappear.</p> <p>Life along the Bulgarian stretch of the Danube took a turn for the worse after the collapse of Communism, in 1989. The unpretentious but reliable markets of the Comecon countries were no more, and many factories could not compete on the newly emerged free market. Thousands of people lost their jobs and moved to Sofia – or emigrated, leaving the Danube region struggling economically: depressed and underpopulated.</p> <p>Today, Bulgarian towns and villages along the Danube are mostly quiet and far from the tourist buzz upriver. Few, if any, passenger boats stop at their ports. On the river banks, abandoned factories, and elegant turn-of-the-century public buildings and houses crumble to dust under the blazing summer sun and the freezing winter winds that blow all the way from Ukraine. Beaten down by a life of disappointment and seemingly endless failure, the ageing population congregates in dismal cafés which stock up on cheap beer and liquor but do not sell ice cream outside of summer as no-one would buy it.</p> <p><img alt="bratislava" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/bratislava.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Perhaps unwittingly, Communism had an odd preoccupation with UFOs as this bridge in Bratislava illustrates. Everyone in the Slovak capital now refers to it as the UFO Bridge</em></p> <p>Let not this bleak picture – and the notorious mosquitoes that infest the Danube in summertime – dissuade you from visiting the Bulgarian part of the river. For this is a landscape of vibrant wildlife, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and intriguing places scattered along 470 kilometres of a majestic river that has carved its place into European – and Bulgarian – consciousness for millennia. If you are really lucky, you might even stumble upon a hotel or restaurant that offers accommodation and food of quality that is hard to find even in Sofia – at much lower prices.</p> <p>To understand the Bulgarian Danube better, you need to get a glimpse of its entirety and its variety. As a wise Greek once said, you cannot step into the same river twice.</p> <p>The Danube has already travelled a long way before it reaches Bulgaria. We cannot tell with certainty exactly how many kilometres it has covered as, contrary to popular belief, no one is really sure from where the Danube springs. A beautiful stone pool in a palatial garden at Donaueschingen, in the German Schwarzwald, is the place you see in most photos on the Internet, but geographers have debated for years over the question on how to define the source of a river. If we consider factors such as the length of a river's longest tributary, then the Danube's true beginnings are not in that pool, but at the place where the Breg, its primary headstream, rises. Another possible beginning is the confluence of the Breg and another rivulet, the Brigach.</p> <p><img alt="devin castle" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/devin%20castle.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Devin Castle sits on an over 200-metre-high rock overlooking the confluence of the Danube and the River Morava, just inside Slovak territory on what used to be the border between Austria and the East bloc. Under Communism the castle was open to the public but the area just below it was off- limits with heavy fortifications and barbed wire to prevent would-be refugees from swimming across to freedom in the West. After the 1989 collapse of Communism the area was demilitarised</em></p> <p>The Danube's path through German and then Austrian territory is mostly eastwards. A boundary to civilisation in Antiquity, when the frontier between the Roman Empire and the Barbarians ran along its course, the river is dotted with towns that started life as Roman forts and grew into influential trading centres and strongholds of local potentates in the Middle Ages. Their long and often turbulent past has given birth to elegant Gothic churches, Baroque town squares and palaces, and fortified monasteries, and to a rich layer of culture. In Passau, Germany, where the Inn and the Ilz join the Danube in a particularly picturesque way, medieval minstrels composed the the Song of the Nibelungs, an epic about love, loss, betrayal and revenge, which also includes a journey along the river all the way to Hungary.</p> <p>Vienna, for its part, is the place where the ultimate musical piece dedicated to the river, the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II, was performed for the first time to a rather unresponsive audience, in 1867. The city that for centuries was the heart of the continent still feels grandiose, with the polished and carefully exploited glory of its imperial past, Art Deco architecture, coffee-drinking culture, and museums that proudly exhibit art which until not that long ago was perceived as decadent. It is rather disappointing, then, that in spite of its Danube-themed waltz Vienna does not make the most of its river frontage. The Danube here divides into four channels, and the one that passes by the old city centre faces what is the city's most garish tourist site, the Prater amusement park.</p> <p>To find a city that fully embraces the Danube as a part of its identity you need to travel a long way downstream, past the modernist Most SNP bridge aka Flying Saucer Bridge in Bratislava, the Slovakian capital, and through the Instagram-perfect banks of the Danube Bend where, at Visegrád, four ambitious former East bloc countries – Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia, meet to decide their common EU and NATO policies.</p> <p><img alt="budapest" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/budapest%20franz%20joseph%20bridge.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The Franz Joseph Bridge in Budapest, now called Liberty Bridge</em></p> <p>Until 1873, Budapest was two cities divided by the Danube. Even now the two sides of the Hungarian capital, right-bank Buda and left-bank Pest preserve their differences. The former is more or less residential, notwithstanding the obvious tourist sites by the Gothic Matthias Cathedral and the views from the arches of the Fisherman's Bastion, while the latter encapsulates city life in a network of grand boulevards and stately buildings, crowned by the neo-Gothic Parliament building. The Chain Bridge has connected the two since 1849. In the following decades, more bridges spanned the river and their reconstruction after the damage of the Second World War became a symbol of Hungary's revival.</p> <p>After Budapest, all the cities the Danube passes by might appear drab and uninteresting by comparison, but this does great disservice to places such as Novi Sad and Belgrade, both in Serbia. With its elegant Baroque town centre and massive fortress, Novi Sad is the last bastion of Central Europe before the Danube gets subsumed into the Balkans. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is a city in flux, where Ottoman heritage coexists with 19th and early 20th century attempts at Europeanisation, brutalist Socialist Yugoslavia construction, traces of the 1999 NATO raids and a restaurant and nightlife scene few places on the continent can beat.</p> <p><img alt="iron gates gorge" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/iron%20gates%20gorge.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>In the past travellers on the Danube feared the Iron Gates Gorge. Today they cannot get enough of its vistas</em></p> <p>Soon after Belgrade the Danube carves its way through mountains, creating one of the most picturesque parts of its course: the Đerdap, or Iron Gates Gorge. For millennia this narrow route, full of underground rocks and violent whirlpools, made for a treacherous and dangerous boat trip. In the 1960s, Yugoslavia and Romania built a dam that tamed the area forever. Meandering roads now pass along both banks. The Serbian one leads to the haunted ruins of Golubac Fortress and a modern museum to the prehistoric culture that thrived at Lepenski Vir about 10,000 years ago.</p> <p><img alt="decebalus monument" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/decebalus%20monument.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A Romanian patriotic businessman funded the monument to Decebalus (AD 87-106), the last king of Dacia, who fought three wars against the Roman Empire</em></p> <p>On the Romanian bank, a 55-metre relief carved in the rocks Mount-Rushmore-style gazes over the Danube. It depicts Decebalus, the leader of the Dacians who opposed the Roman conquest led by Emperor Trajan. Both the Dacians and the Romans are now considered to be ancestors of modern Romanians.</p> <p>About 100 kilometres after the Danube frees itself from the concrete grip of the Iron Gates Dam, the Timok joins it from the south. This is where the Bulgarian part of the river begins.</p> <p><img alt="timok" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/timok.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Here Bulgaria begins: The River Timok joins the Danube</em></p> <p>The first point of interest is downstream, where the Danube makes a sweeping turn to the south. Vidin is a relatively small city now, at the centre of the EU's most economically deprived region. It has yet to figure out how to profit from the recently constructed bridge over the Danube to Romania, but this was not always so. Vidin was for millennia a coveted spot on the river, as is evident from its fortress. Established by the Romans over the remains of a Celtic settlement, it has been claimed by the Byzantines, the Bulgarians, the Hungarians and the Ottomans, who gave it its last facelift. Its sturdy ramparts preserve a selection of monuments and buildings left behind by the diverse nations, faiths and political powers that have inhabited or controlled Vidin. An Ottoman mosque, a library and a barracks rub walls with a couple of churches, fin de siècle houses, shabby Communist-era blocks of apartments and a couple of post-1989 residential buildings that spectacularly fail in their effort to offer "luxury living." Graffiti-covered skate ramps rust at the foot of a towering Communist-era monument dedicated to the fallen in the "fight against fascism," while locals walk their dogs and jog along the pleasant river promenade, oblivious to the swarms of mosquitoes over their heads.</p> <p><img alt="Vidin fortress" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/fortress%20vidin.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The story about how Vidin's fortress came to be is arguably the Balkans most feminist legend. It attributes the fort's construction to an aristocratic woman, Baba Vida, who never married but ruled wisely over the region. Her younger sisters did not fare as well, they both married bad men who wasted their dowries</em></p> <p>One particular building stands out, the neo-Gothic synagogue of Vidin or, more correctly, what remains of it. When it was built, in 1894, it was the largest in Bulgaria, the creation of a vibrant community that lived in a well-to-do town. Jews are no more in Vidin. They emigrated to Israel in the late 1940s, and their synagogue was largely abandoned and left to the elements. The fate of their cemetery, just outside the town, was similar.</p> <p><img alt="synagogue Vidin" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/synagogue%20vidin.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Vidin's synagogue was once a major town building featuring on numerous postcards. It has been abandoned for decades</em></p> <p>The traveller along the Bulgarian Danube often encounters evidence of former glory and present decay. One of the most haunting sites is located downriver from Vidin. When the Romans ruled over the region, Ratiaria was a major city that commanded an elevation over the river, until it was destroyed by the Avars in 568. Centuries later, a village appeared by the ruins, its name a reiteration of Ratiaria – Archar. So far, so typical for the history of Danube settlements that appear, disappear and reappear on the same spot as historical epochs change. But the story of Ratiaria is sadder. After 1989, the ancient ruins were left unprotected and people from Archar village, struggling to earn some cash in a time of closing factories and rising unemployment, took to treasure-hunting. Since then they have combed through Ratiaria for anything of value – statuettes, inscriptions, jewellery, coins, to sell to Bulgarian and international collectors, feeding Bulgaria's notorious trade in illegal artefacts.</p> <p><img alt="roman ruins" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/roman%20ruins.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Elaborate columns that once adorned Ratiaria are preserved in central Archar, a hint of the archaeological wealth and historical knowledge destroyed by treasure hunters</em></p> <p>At Archar, the traveller for the first time comes face to face with the lack of proper infrastructure along the Danube. Here you have to make the first of many detours inland that include driving on potholed roads through villages and towns overlooked by the ribbon-cutting politicians the year round.</p> <p><img alt="sunset over the danube" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/sunset%20over%20danube.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Marvellous sunsets over the Danube are Lom's saving grace</em></p> <p>In this desperate landscape the next place of interest, Kozloduy, comes as a surprise. The town's prosperity, as evidenced by its neat streets, manicured gardens and well-surfaced pavements is due to a single thing: here is Bulgaria's (so far) only nuclear power plant. Since the 1970s, the mammoth structure humming near Kozloduy has produced electricity for local and international use, and has created well-paid jobs. Today, only two of its six reactors are operational; the rest were closed down as they employed the same compromised technology as the power plant at Chernobyl.</p> <p><img alt="kozloduy" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/nuclear%20power%20plant%20kozloduy.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The nuclear power plant at Kozloduy is a source of local pride and boosts the region's median wages</em></p> <p>The reason Kozloduy is worth visiting, however, has nothing to do with nuclear power engineering. In 1876, the poet and revolutionary, Hristo Botev, landed near the town with a group of armed men. Botev hoped to inspire the locals to rise up against the Ottomans. He failed. The Bulgarians did not join his rebellion, and within days Botev and most of his men were killed in skirmishes with the Ottomans. After Liberation in 1878, their landing site became a park, complete with a monument and a replica of the Radetzky, the Austro-Hungarian steamer that Botev very politely hijacked to cross from the Romanian to the Bulgarian bank of the Danube. The Radetzky is still moored on the Danube and can be visited. It is now a part of the National Museum of History.</p> <p>At first glance the village of Gigen, close to where the Iskar joins the Danube, does not seem to merit the bumpy drive, but near it lie the ruins of one of the most enjoyable ancient sites in Bulgaria. At its height, the Roman city of Ulpia Oescus had a population of 100,000 and was deemed so important for the empire that a wooden bridge over the Danube was built there in the early 4th century. Emperor Constantine himself attended the inauguration.</p> <p><img alt="roman ruins" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/roman%20ruins%20ulpia%20oescus.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The ruins of Ulpia Oescus are arguably Bulgaria's ultimate archaeological experience</em></p> <p>These are now just memories reduced to rubble by the Barbarians who eventually crossed the Danube. Unlike Ratiaria, Ulpia Oescus has been largely undisturbed by treasure-hunters and archaeologists still work there. For the casual visitor, Ulpia Oescus is marvellously untamed: stone columns, reliefs and other architectural elements are scattered in picturesque disarray delineating the location of long-abandoned streets and public buildings. Together with the wild undergrowth and the vaguely Mediterranean atmosphere around, at Ulpia Oescus it is easy to feel like the discoverer of a long-forgotten civilisation. Linger long enough, and you might start to wonder whether Ulpia Oescus is not a metaphor for the whole Bulgarian Danube.</p> <p>At Nikopol, to the east, this feeling will grow stronger. The name of the town has changed little from its Latin origins, "Victory City." Several important battles were fought there, including one that featured crusaders. Today Nikopol is anything but victorious. Spread along a narrow ravine that ends at the Danube, the town is poor and desolate, its sad streets dotted with little-known sites of interest: a toy-like medieval church leaning dangerously over the ravine, an ancient Roman sarcophagus repurposed by the Ottomans as a public water fountain, a vandalised monument to the Russian troops who landed at Nikopol in 1877.</p> <p>The towns and places so far on the Bulgarian Danube have been largely defined by their ancient, medieval, Ottoman and early 20th century past. Belene, too, claims Roman origins, but its past and present are dominated by another period in Bulgarian history: Communism.</p> <p><img alt="belene political prison" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/communits%20political%20prison%20belene.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Remains of the Belene political prison. Its location on the island was chosen as it borders Communist Romania</em></p> <p>In 1949, soon after Bulgaria turned from monarchy to a "people's republic," the most notorious political prison of the new regime was established at Belene, on the Isle of Persin. The prison was shut down in 1953, after Stalin's death and the subsequent relaxation. Three years later it reopened following the orders of Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, who feared that the 1956 Hungarian Revolution would inspire organised local opposition in Bulgaria. Belene prison continued to function until 1959. It would reopen again in 1985 to house those protesting against the forcible Bulgarisation campaign of the country's Turkish minority.</p> <p>Today, there is still a regular prison on Persin Isle.</p> <p><img alt="person isle entry" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/entry%20to%20belene%20island.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A pontoon bridge is the isle's only land connection to the outside world</em></p> <p>Just by the gates to the prison stands the Nativity of the Holiest Mother of God Roman Catholic church, built in 1860. The local parish has existed since the 17th century, and its most famous leader was Bishop Evgeniy Bosilkov. In 1952, he was sentenced to death and executed by the Communists on trumped-up charges, and in 1998 he was beatified by the pope. A small chapel next to the church is dedicated to him and preserves his blood-stained shirt.</p> <p><img alt="belene nuclear power plant" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/nuclear%20powerplant%20belene.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Entrance to the yet unbuilt Belene Nuclear Power Plant</em></p> <p>And then, there is the nuclear power plant. Actually, the plant has yet to materialise, but its construction has been on and off for the past 30-odd years, while the costs have spiralled out of control. The only bit of the project that was built was a residential compound for the future workers at the power plant. The unfinished apartment blocks still stand on the outskirts of Belene, their empty concrete rooms gaping with their missing windows at the vast Danubian sky.</p> <p><img alt="nature reserve belene" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/nature%20reserve%20belene.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Persin Isle nature protected area is a heaven for birdwatchers</em></p> <p>Belene's dark past and unfulfilled dreams of an industrial future are in sharp contrast to the little-known fact that the swamps on Persin Isle are a protected wildlife area: a haven (pun not intended) for various water-fowl.</p> <p>After Belene, Svishtov is a breath of fresh air. Its centre, adorned by some fin-de-siècle houses and an 18th century clocktower, is livelier than you might expect for a place of such a size on the Bulgarian Danube because of the students at the Academy of Economics, this nation's first business school. Plaques and statues to prominent Svishtovers, such as the author of the national anthem, are scattered all over. The town's most famous son was the satirical writer, Aleko Konstantinov, whose antihero Bay Ganyo epitomises the worst and, arguably, some of the best traits of the national character. Konstantinov's family house is a museum where, besides covers of the many translations of Bay Ganyo, you will see a macabre exhibit: the writer's embalmed heart. It was pierced by the bullets that killed him in 1897, when he was caught up in an assassination attempt aimed at another man.</p> <p><img alt="clocktower svishtov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/clocktower%20svishtov.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Svishtov's clocktower has measured time in the town since 1763</em></p> <p>East of the town are the remains of Svishtov's Roman predecessor, Novae. For some reason, the ancient ruins were "restored and socialised" with exposed concrete and stainless steel. Even more puzzlingly, they are the popular venue for an annual historical reenactment event.</p> <p>Opposite Novae's modern ruins, facing the Danube, is the leafy and pleasant Monuments Park dedicated to the Russian army whose landing at Svishtov, in 1877, marked the beginning of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War. The name of the park comes from the memorials to those troops. It is in every guidebook and tourist website about the region, but few people are aware that there is another monument to foreign soldiers in Svishtov. Located in a neighbourhood of prefabricated apartment blocks, it is dedicated, unexpectedly, to French POWs who died of cholera during the Great War. Until recently, the remains of over 200 French troops lay in a dedicated military cemetery. In the 2000s, they were reburied in the French military cemetery in Sofia, but the monument remained in Svishtov.</p> <p><img alt="monument svishtov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/monument%20svishtov.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The grandest construction in Svishtov's Monuments Park, a 24-metre- high concrete arch with reliefs of Russian soldiers, was inaugurated in 1979</em></p> <p>To reach Ruse, Bulgaria's largest city on the Danube, you need to make another detour inland. Ruse flourished as the largest Roman port on this part of the river and under the Ottomans became a major trading centre. Few traces now remain from those times. Instead, Ruse took its influences from Central Europe. Early 20th century buildings line its central streets in numbers unseen elsewhere in Bulgaria, along with mementos from a multicultural past: a Catholic cathedral, an Armenian church, a former Ashkenazi synagogue turned Sephardic culture centre, a former Sephardic synagogue turned Protestant church, two mosques.</p> <p><img alt="history museum ruse" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/history%20museum%20ruse.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Ruse's History Museum is in the first administrative building erected in Bulgaria after Liberation in 1878. It was designed for the regional administration in 1882 by Austrian architect Friedrich Grünanger. The tale that it was meant to be a palace for the first Bulgarian prince, Alexander of Battenberg, is fictitious</em></p> <p>The Ruse cityscape began to take its current form in the 1850s, when a progressive Ottoman governor and increased river traffic and contacts with Europe brought in scores of foreigners and ignited in locals a taste for innovation from modern farming techniques and beer brewing to street signs and telegraph communications, from railway construction to modern printing. After 1878, Ruse kept its momentum for a while and became the powerhouse of the modern Bulgarian economy. Much of the money made in the new factories, banks and insurance companies was spent on private and public construction and the adoption of a European lifestyle, in the areas of fashion, home decoration, cinema, and automobiles (imported from Germany).</p> <p><img alt="ruse port" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/ruse%20port.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Ruse started as a major Roman harbour. It remains Bulgaria's largest port on the Danube</em></p> <p>The atmosphere of those times can still be sensed in parts of central Ruse, although in many places it struggles under the pressure of post-1944 prefabricated apartment blocks and post-1989 "modernisation" with its appetite for vinyl window-frames and air conditioning units tacked onto historical buildings. Many of Ruse's beautiful old houses are now abandoned and slowly disintegrating. Until recently this was the fate of the family house of the writer Elias Canetti, Bulgaria's only claim to Nobel fame. A Jew, he left Ruse as a six-year-old. He did not speak Bulgarian, but he provided some mesmerising descriptions of his native town in his emblematic The Tongue Set Free.</p> <p>Ruse is also the home of the Stalinist Friendship Bridge, until recently – the only land connection between Bulgaria and Romania over the Danube. Bulgaria and Romania jointly built the structure for railway and vehicle traffic in the 1950s, hence the name. Five-pointed stars still adorn its wrought-iron lampposts, but travellers rarely notice them, as traffic on and around the bridge is notoriously jammed and the potholes in the road do not help.</p> <p><img alt="friendship bridge" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/friendship%20bridge.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The Friendship Bridge remains a vital transit connection between Bulgaria and Romania</em></p> <p>To the stranger, Tutrakan might be of (slight) interest because of its tongue-twisting name. However, the sound of the name Tutrakan in September 1916 was enough for German Kaiser Wilhelm to throw a champagne party. Why? Because Bulgaria, a German ally, had taken the heavily fortified Tutrakan Fort against all odds, and had significantly reduced Romanian and Russian pressure on the eastern front.</p> <p>Yes, for a time the Danube east of Tutrakan, along with the Dobrudzha region, belonged to Romania, the result of the disastrous Second Balkan War that Bulgaria fought with all of its neighbours. This is why, during the Great War, the Bulgarians were more than eager to win back Tutrakan. They won the battle, with Ottoman and German support, but Bulgaria still lost the war. The 1919 Treaty of Neuilly gave the whole of Dobrudzha, Tutrakan included, back to Romania.</p> <p><img alt="military cemetery tutrakan" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/military%20cemetery%20tutrakan.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Monument to the fallen in the 1916 Tutrakan siege</em></p> <p>In the 1920s, on a height south of Tutrakan, the Romanian authorities created a military cemetery to the fallen of the 1916 siege. This cemetery is well maintained today, and its centrepiece is an obelisk with the words "Honour and glory to those who knew how to die heroically for their fatherland," written in Bulgarian, Romanian, Ottoman Turkish and German.</p> <p>Tutrakan itself is far from exciting, but if you have not yet tried some Danube carp or catfish, your best chance are the fish restaurants in the humble traditional part of the town.</p> <p><img alt="tutrakan" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/tutrakan.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Central Tutrakan preserves some nice early-20th century buildings</em></p> <p>Tutrakan and the next town, Silistra, were returned to Bulgaria in 1940, after Hitler convinced his ally Romania that this was a reasonable price to pay for having Bulgaria join the Axis. Ironically, this saved the Jews who lived in Silistra from the Holocaust, as Bulgaria deported to extermination camps only the Jews from the newly-acquired territories of Aegean Thrace and Vardar Macedonia, but not those in the rest of the country.</p> <p>Today, only a couple of Jews live in Silistra. The Jewish cemetery, on the border with Romania, is overgrown and the synagogue has become a Protestant church. Still, Silistra is a place of Jewish pilgrimage from all over the world. People flock here to pray at the symbolic grave of Rabbi Eliezer Papo. A prominent ethics scholar, he was the head of the local Sephardic community during the 1828-1829 Russo-Turkish War. When the frontline reached Silistra, a cholera outbreak threatened the town. Rabbi Papo had the brave idea of imposing a quarantine. He saved the town, but he lost his own life to the disease. His grave became a place of reverence to all Silistrians, but with time and new construction it was forgotten and disappeared. The symbolic grave was built after 1989.</p> <p><img alt="silistra" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/silistra.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Excavated ruins of an early-medieval church and fortification walls in Silistra's riverside garden, just off the point when the Danube leaves Bulgaria and becomes a thoroughly Romanian river</em></p> <p>Just like Vidin, and unlike so many other Bulgarian towns on the Danube, Silistra has a pleasant riverside garden. Among the greenery and the modern sculptures lurk the remains of ancient and medieval Silistra – a basilica and some elaborate fortification walls. Sadly, much more was lost in the 2000s, when new developments sprang up in this part of the city. The most impressive ancient monument in Silistra is at a remove from the centre: a late-Antiquity tomb covered with lively frescoes of the deceased, his wife, his servants and... his trousers.</p> <p>The second best preserved fortress on the Bulgarian Danube, after that in Vidin, is a short drive from there. It was constructed in the mid-19th century by a German engineer and soon after found itself besieged by Russian forces during the Crimean War. Today it houses an exhibition of historical weapons and uniforms, plus busts of some Communist dictators.</p> <p><img alt="ancient roman tomb silistra" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/ancient%20roman%20tomb%20silistra.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Silistra tomb's frescoes depict vivid and charming details of 4th century lifestyle. It was never used as intended. Its owner probably fled Silistra fearing one of the Barbarian raids from across the Danube that ravaged the region at the time</em></p> <p>Before leaving the Bulgarian Danube for good, do backtrack for a couple of kilometres to the west to see Lake Srebarna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site frequented by rare local and migratory birds.</p> <p>The Bulgarian part of the Danube ends at Silistra. From then on the river flows mostly through rather unexciting flatlands. At Cernavoda begins the artificial canal that, since the mid-20th century, has diverted river traffic to the major maritime port of Constanta, thus significantly shortening the distance to the Black Sea. What is a boon for shipping became the ruination of Braila and Galaţi downstream. Once, dozens of ships from all over the world docked there, but today they are no more. The deserted buildings in the historical centres of Braila and Galaţi are now the only thing that remains of the former glory of these formerly busy and cosmopolitan ports.</p> <p>The Danube meets the Black Sea through an extensive delta that consists of three main canals and thousands of waterways divided by swamps, marshes and isolated patches of stable ground. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region is mostly left to wildlife and farming and fishing communities, who, due to lack of proper roads, travel by boat.</p> <p><img alt="cemetery sulina" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/cemetery%20sulina.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Disused hearse at Sulina cemetery</em></p> <p>You can do the same at Tulcea, where the road ends, to reach a fascinating, ghostly place just before the Black Sea coast. Sulina is now little more than two streets and a handful of houses. However, in the 19th century, it was under the authority of the international Danube Commission, which regulated traffic along the Danube, and as such attracted vessels and people from all the corners of the continent. British, French, Germans, Russians, Greeks, Turks and others called Sulina home. After the commission stopped work before the Second World War and the Cernavoda canal opened, Sulina was largely abandoned. What remains of its once cosmopolitan community is an atmospheric Victorian cemetery by the Danube.</p> <p>From Sulina, it is a short boat trip to the choppy waters of the Black Sea, which mark the end of a journey of thousands of kilometres and countless adventures along one of Europe's greatest rivers. </p> <p><img alt="danube meets the black sea" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/journey%20on%20the%20danube/danube%20meets%20the%20black%20sea.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>After 2,850 km the Danube finally meets the Black Sea in Romania-Ukraine</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION" target="_blank"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine, with the generous support of the <a href="http://www.us4bg.org/?hl=en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinionsexpressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and its partners</strong></p><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/250" hreflang="en">The Danube</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/280" hreflang="en">Bulgarian history</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">Bulgarian architecture</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/223" hreflang="en">Communist Bulgaria</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/232" hreflang="en">Roman heritage</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/277" hreflang="en">Ottoman heritage</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2880&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="PpkGmBfurkXML47lU5quwCWsIDvtCxmWywSs-Hbr34Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:45:01 +0000 DimanaT 2880 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/danube-2880#comments ROB DIXON https://vagabond.bg/rob-dixon-2881 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">ROB DIXON</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">interview and photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:43</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>UK's new ambassador on Brexit, climate change and backpacking in covid times</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Rob%20Dixon.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Rob%20Dixon.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Rob Dixon.jpg " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">UK Ambassador to Bulgaria Rob Dixon</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Dr Rob Dixon arrived in Bulgaria in August 2020. Prior to that he served as deputy director for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and as Deputy Head of Mission in Tel Aviv. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Wales Aberystwyth. He is married to Dòra Blazsek-Dixon, and they have one son. Originally from Birmingham, he was born in 1974 and enjoys outdoor sports, travel, history and reading.</p> <p><em><strong>Were your initial impressions of Bulgaria when you arrived here a few months ago at odds with what you had expected?</strong></em></p> <p>I had the privilege of studying Bulgarian for nearly 12 months prior to coming here, and, although that was disrupted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and I couldn’t spend time in Plovdiv like my two predecessors, I had a good sense of what Sofia and Bulgaria would be like on arrival.</p> <p>We have had a really warm welcome and Sofia has surpassed all our expectations. I am acutely conscious, though, that Sofia is not Bulgaria, and I am the British Ambassador to the whole of Bulgaria. That is why, when travel was possible, I made a priority to get out. My first visit outside the capital was to Svishtov where I presented the Duke of Edinburgh's Award alongside President Radev. I also visited Varna, Plovdiv, and, with my family, I have explored some of the beautiful countryside outside of Sofia. I cannot wait to do more!</p> <p><img alt="The ambassador with President Rumen Radev during his accreditation ceremony" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/rob%20dixon/The%20ambassador%20with%20President%20Rumen%20Radev%20during%20his%20accreditation%20ceremony.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The ambassador with President Rumen Radev during his accreditation ceremony</em></p> <p><em><strong>Apart from your immediate duties as ambassador, is there anything else that you are particularly interested in whilst in Bulgaria?</strong></em></p> <p>I think it is pretty clear that I have arrived in extraordinary times, so my ability to do many of the things that we used to consider normal – explore restaurants, museums, theatres, and travel – has been sadly limited.</p> <p>Nevertheless, if the Covid-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is the importance of our own mental wellbeing to have interests, passions and pastimes outside of work. For me, that’s a combination of spending time with my young family, doing sports and reading, but also getting outside of the city into what is an incredibly beautiful country.</p> <p>As an ageing backpacker-turned-diplomat, I am passionate about trying to get under the skin of a country, to understand it, explain it and hopefully build meaningful partnerships between people. As a diplomat, it is a chance to deploy my passion for history, the architecture and learning about the literature of a country. I am busy continuing to learn Bulgarian. I want to do that because I think it helps you get a really good understanding of the culture and the people.</p> <p><em><strong>Imagine some friends come to visit you from the UK. Three things you would advise them to do?</strong></em></p> <p>My experience has been limited so far, I have to be honest, because of the extraordinary times in which I have arrived, but I would absolutely recommend to people to go to the Rila Monastery, to Veliko Tarnovo and to get to the seaside in the summer.</p> <p><img alt="With participants in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award during his visit to Svishtov" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/rob%20dixon/With%20participants%20in%20the%20Duke%20of%20Edinburgh's%20Award%20during%20his%20visit%20to%20Svishtov.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>With participants in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award during his visit to Svishtov</em></p> <p>I know that the absence of British tourists this year has hit the Bulgarian economy hard, and I look forward to the time when we are able to see British holidaymakers return in real numbers. But I also think Bulgaria has an enormous amount to offer beyond that which most British tourists get to see. Bulgaria is way more than fantastic ski resorts and a beautiful coastline. I would love to see more British tourists out and about exploring other parts of the country, and I hope that both myself and my family will be able to experience some of that.</p> <p><em><strong>And three things you would you advise them to be careful about?</strong></em></p> <p>Everybody has told me how bad the traffic is in Sofia. Actually, the honest truth is that, having lived and worked in the Middle East, it’s not that bad, but there is some adjustment. But I know in winter air quality isn’t great. I think this is a timely reminder of the importance of dealing with environmental pollution and protecting our air quality. Environmental issues are one of my top priorities ahead of the UK-hosted conference on Climate Change, COP26 next November. It so important that we protect our fragile environment especially given the extraordinary natural environment Bulgaria has been blessed with.</p> <p>I think my advice to people coming to Sofia would be: get out there and enjoy it. Obviously, in Covid-19 times, be sensible about the way in which you do that but there still are some fantastic places to see. Bulgaria is very special and there is huge amount for people to do and experience.</p> <p><img alt="Rob Dixon" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/rob%20dixon/Rob%20Dixon%202.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p><em><strong>In your opinion, does Bulgaria stand out in any way against the background of its Balkan neighbours? And in a wider context against the background of its partners in the EU?</strong></em></p> <p>In a way, this is one of the reasons why I was so attracted to coming to Bulgaria to be British ambassador. This is a relationship that really matters for both the UK and for Bulgaria in a very real sense.</p> <p>There are large numbers of Bulgarians living in the UK, and significant numbers of Brits who have chosen to make Bulgaria their home. I can absolutely see why that is the case.</p> <p>The relationship between our countries matters for our security, our well-being and for our prosperity. This is a long-standing partnership between two countries who probably have more contact now than at any time in our past, at a very real, human level. I am looking forward to taking that to the next level as we approach the end of the UK's Transition Period, building an equal partnership that really delivers for the UK and Bulgaria.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you have an opinion on the "Macedonian Question" the way it is being portrayed in Bulgaria?</strong></em></p> <p>I recognise that some of this is sensitive and difficult territory for our friends and partners in Bulgaria and in North Macedonia. The UK has travelled a long way with Bulgaria on its Euro-Atlantic journey – since the changes in the early 1990s and as one of the foremost advocates of Bulgarian membership of both NATO and the EU.</p> <p>In the same vein, we see the huge strategic significance in ensuring that Western Balkans countries, including North Macedonia, have that same Euro-Atlantic destiny as well.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you have an idea how Bulgaria's relationship with the UK will change as of 1 January 2021?</strong></em></p> <p>I am really glad you have asked this question. It is a moment of change but I think also huge opportunity in our long-standing partnership.</p> <p>Right now I am focused on supporting our nationals, whether that is the nearly 200,000 Bulgarians in the UK, or the 15,000 Brits who live in Bulgaria, through the process of change that will happen as the UK approaches the end of the transition period.</p> <p>But it is also really important that we now look beyond the end of the transition period and focus on the fundamentals of a key relationship built on shared interests: as NATO members, as strong law enforcement partners – and look to develop further a partnership which has seen real growth in terms of jobs and investment over the last few years. As well working relationship to champion a continued close alignment of our values.</p> <p>What I am absolutely looking forward to is building on all the great work that has come before and now taking the partnership to the next level, delivering for both Brits and Bulgarians in a very real sense – whether that is in terms of security, jobs, on the environment or, indeed, in defending our shared values. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/interviews" hreflang="en">BULGARIA INTERVIEWS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2881&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="cSrJh61G4HKkyh-ILVskFtHXYySpCWIefv8EyEyYO-s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:43:53 +0000 DimanaT 2881 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/rob-dixon-2881#comments ARBEIT MACHT FREI https://vagabond.bg/arbeit-macht-frei-2879 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">ARBEIT MACHT FREI</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:42</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>As millions of Americans have come to understand, things can become pretty unpredictable whenever outgoing President Donald Trump is left alone with his smartphone.</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Joke%20of%20the%20month%20170.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/Joke%20of%20the%20month%20170.jpg" width="1000" height="377" alt="Joke of the month 170.jpg " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The tweeting machine is set in motion, slamming anyone the president for reasons that will probably remain a mystery forever considers a "hater" and a "loser."</p> <p>The situation in Boyko Borisov's Bulgaria is essentially the same. There is a notable exception, however. As Twitter has not really caught on in this country its most powerful man and leader for over 11 years uses as his chief means of communication with the laity his smartphone – not to tweet but to get himself televised while driving around his Land Cruiser, "inspecting" asphalt roads in the process of being constructed.</p> <p>In the annals of revelatory Boyko Borisov's videoed drives, his November outing in the company of this country's top medics, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov and the chief of Sofia's Pirogov emergency hospital Professor Asen Baltov, was particularly outstanding. In the midst of the severe Covid-19 crisis when sick people are being turned away from hospitals, general practitioners refuse to treat patients except by phone, it takes up to 10 hours for ambulances to arrive to pick up suffocating people and key medicines are in short supply in the pharmacies, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov immersed himself in unabashed self-praise for the "excellence" of the roads he considers his chief achievement while being prime minister. "Look at that," he repeatedly told the top medics. "Isn't it a beauty?"</p> <p>The doctors nodded from the backseat and grudgingly agreed. Professor Baltov tried to explain doctors were treating 1,900 patients at the same time, but was interrupted by the prime minister: "Look, Baltov, aren't those road markings just superb?!"</p> <p>You should heal people and send them back to the production lines as soon as possible, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov went on to say, because work makes you free. Yup, that's correct. Arbeit macht frei.</p> <p>Some Facebook progressives were quick to slam what they saw as the Bulgarian prime minister's uncouth usage of extreme Nazi terminology, but the general public remained unperturbed. Boyko Borisov's preternatural gift for populism and self-aggrandisement, often at the expense of others, friends and foes alike, continues to toy with this country's attention just as it has since the 2000s when the man emerged on the public scene. Against this background covfefe looks like a very insignificant piece of cake indeed. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/261" hreflang="en">Boyko Borisov</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/joke-of-the-month" hreflang="en">JOKE OF THE MONTH</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2879&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="mbcGKKhJP_sTNq-aLh_SGTclmaAE9iUjZbbuV8YCyYM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:42:03 +0000 DimanaT 2879 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/arbeit-macht-frei-2879#comments THE BULGARIAN ACTRESS, MARIA BAKALOVA, STARRED IN WHICH 2020 MOVIE? https://vagabond.bg/bulgarian-actress-maria-bakalova-starred-which-2020-movie-2878 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">THE BULGARIAN ACTRESS, MARIA BAKALOVA, STARRED IN WHICH 2020 MOVIE?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:35</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Think you know Bulgaria and the Bulgarians? Take our test to doublecheck</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/maria%20bakalova.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/maria%20bakalova.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="maria bakalova.jpg " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">© Instagram: mariabakalovaofficial/</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>1. The Bulgarian actress, Maria Bakalova, starred in which 2020 movie?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Cuties</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Mr Jones</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Borat Subsequent Moviefilm</p> <p><strong>2. Bulgaria's only narrow-gauge train goes through which winter resort?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Pamporovo</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Bansko</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Borovets</p> <p><strong>3. Bulgarians eat carp for which December feast?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Christmas</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> St Nicholas Day</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> St Stephen Day</p> <p><strong>4. Where is the Creators of the Bulgarian State monument?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Shumen</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Burgas</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Sliven</p> <p><strong>5. Which city is a centre of heavy industry?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Petrich</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Popovo</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Pernik</p> <p><strong>6. Under Communism, Bulgaria produced its own brand of...</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Helicopters</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Computers</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Passenger aircraft</p> <p><strong>7. The earliest gold treasure in the world was found near...</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Varna</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Sofia</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Plovdiv</p> <p><strong>8. Bulgaria's shortest border is with...</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Turkey</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Serbia</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> North Macedonia </p> <p><strong>9. Which town is located among sand pyramids?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Devin</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Bratsigovo</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Melnik </p> <p><em>The correct answers to the questions: </em></p> <p><strong>1. </strong>– C; <strong>2.</strong> – B; <strong>3.</strong> – B; <strong>4.</strong> – A;<strong> 5.</strong> – C; <strong>6.</strong> – B; <strong>7.</strong> – A; <strong>8.</strong> – C; <strong>9.</strong> – C.</p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/bulgaria-s-monthly-quiz" hreflang="en">BULGARIA&#039;S MONTHLY QUIZ</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2878&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="zz6W_IfPK7gVLcyYbb2LHwbYl6SdU3av0LIZQjdYVJ4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:35:51 +0000 DimanaT 2878 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/bulgarian-actress-maria-bakalova-starred-which-2020-movie-2878#comments QUOTE-UNQUOTE https://vagabond.bg/quote-unquote-2877 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:34</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>Our refusal to resign was for the good of the people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Prime Minister <strong>Boyko Borisov</strong></p> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>I am so powerful I can stand in for a snow plough.</p> </blockquote> <p>Heavyweight boxer <strong>Kubrat Pulev</strong> before his 12 December match with Anthony Joshua</p> <blockquote> <p>In short, I am a patriotic Christian Socialist.</p> </blockquote> <p>Chief Prosecutor <strong>Ivan Geshev</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>The (North) Macedonians' megalomania is a proof of their Bulgarian origin.</p> </blockquote> <p>Professor of history <strong>Andrey Pantev </strong></p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/261" hreflang="en">Boyko Borisov</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/quote-unquote" hreflang="en">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2877&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="3tu5bNFUt5GcGXb5QW5ZZVNzfLT-uRHn-aEfeTZEHFQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:34:12 +0000 DimanaT 2877 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/quote-unquote-2877#comments WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU? https://vagabond.bg/where-bulgaria-are-you-2876 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:31</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>You are inside the caldera of an extinct volcano where natural hot water springs said to possess healing qualities attract bathing suit-clothed men and women year round.</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-11/where%20in%20bulgaria%20are%20you%20170.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/where%20in%20bulgaria%20are%20you%20170.jpg" width="1000" height="664" alt="where in bulgaria are you 170.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">© Anthony Georgieff</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>A few yards from the muddy waters a small village house stands. This is where Vanga, the blind clairvoyant and one of Bulgaria's best-known 20th century phenomena, used to live. She died in the 1990s, but Bulgarians continue to quote predictions she may or not have made about anything from football to the sinking of Russian submarines and US presidents, among many others. The area is now widely considered to be one of Bulgaria's top vortexes. One of its telltale signs is the flock of helmeted guineafowls roaming about. Vanga used to love them, and so do the thousands of visitors who come here for spiritual, tourist or recreational purposes.</p> <p><strong>Where in Bulgaria are you? </strong></p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/where-in-bulgaria" hreflang="en">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2876&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="vSPWUAOV-JJu3qLZnFm41jBrPsK_JFxJVXF7rJstwFg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:31:22 +0000 DimanaT 2876 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/where-bulgaria-are-you-2876#comments TOO FAR FOR COMFORT https://vagabond.bg/too-far-comfort-2875 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">TOO FAR FOR COMFORT</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Ekaterina Petrova</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:29</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>An essay written within the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation's recent workshop Close to Home: Writing Personal Nonfiction Drawn from Life with Evan James</h3> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>"Are all Bulgarians as touchy-feely as you?" The question had never occurred to me, until my friend Jenny asked me a few weeks after we met during our freshman year of college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This was the first time I thought about personal space explicitly, even though I'd probably experienced it on a sensory level throughout my whole life. I was coming from a high school in Kuwait, which, although American in name, spirit, and language of instruction, was actually a hard-to-disentangle jumble of cultures, customs, greeting habits, and levels of touchiness. In Bulgaria, where I usually spent summer and winter vacations, friends tended to hug and kiss each other regularly, while strangers often stood a little too close for my own personal comfort. In the States, the tables seemed to have turned: many of the Americans I was meeting in college seemed to favor saying hello by waving at one another awkwardly while maintaining a distance of a few feet, and it was my tendency to stand a little too close that soon became a running joke among my new friends.</p> <p>A few weeks later in anthropology class, we learned about a social experiment that examined cultural differences in social and professional interactions. It dawned on me that I was behaving quite similarly to the South American businessmen from the study who, in their zeal and excitement during negotiations, would unwittingly keep taking steps forward, while their North American counterparts would keep stepping backward until their backs were against a wall.</p> <p>Personal space, and by extension physical touch, is sometimes thought of as a kind of language, which – much like spoken language – we learn and then use to communicate our emotions, thoughts, and needs. As someone who's had a lifelong interest in languages and makes their living by deciphering meaning in one language and attempting to transfer it into another one, I'm especially intrigued by this comparison. And it seems to me that many things that are true of "regular" languages are even truer of the language of touch. Despite assumptions to the contrary, I don't believe that we can ever truly "master" a language, whether we're born into it or acquire it later in life. This is even more so the case with the language of touch, which seems like something that's continuously learned, reflected on, and (re)negotiated. With every language, including the language of touch, knowing all the rules and conventions certainly helps, but it doesn't guarantee that you'll never break them, either on purpose or in what may be an innocent mistake.</p> <p>Since those early college days, I've become much more aware of people's varying preferences when it comes to their personal space and I make a conscious effort to respect them. I'd like to think that becoming a translator has had some bearing on my ability to interpret nonverbal signals when interacting with people, so that I don't behave in ways that make them feel uncomfortable. And yet, my enthusiasm sometimes still gets the better of me and I find myself standing too close to someone I've just met and waving around my arms a little too energetically. Over the years – inadvertently – I've literally cornered friends while talking to them at parties, squeezed myself into elevators packed with strangers, and, on one occasion, even doubled up in a revolving door with a woman who had just interviewed me for a job. In these and many other instances, I can only hope that my relatively small stature and the fact I'm a woman has saved from me coming off as a total creep.</p> <p>But there have also been plenty of times when I've found myself on the other side of the equation.</p> <p>Once, I was sitting in a Brooklyn bar with Nicole Miceli, a tiny but fierce friend originally from Staten Island. Nicole was one of the best people to tell stories to, as she seemed to genuinely love hearing them. We were sipping our gin and tonics, and I was telling her some story that I don't even vaguely remember now, but which must've been gripping enough, as she listened intensely and occasionally interrupted me to exclaim, in her New York accent, "Get outta here!" Every "get outta here" was accompanied by a wide-eyed dropping of the jaw and a friendly but forceful push against the side of my leg. Until she finally shoved so hard that I fell off my barstool. We weren't even drunk.</p> <p>Living in New York City, in general, could be a challenge when it came to personal space. Riding the packed subway – bodies pressed against bodies, other people's breath on the back of my neck, arms intertwined as everyone tried to hold on to the pole – did occasionally feel exhilarating, but more often than that it made me feel like a squeezed lemon on the verge of a nervous breakdown.</p> <p>Later, when I was in my early thirties, I spent a few years living in the south of France. There, as if the mere fact of having to kiss people when first being introduced to them weren't enough, one is expected to kiss them not once, not twice, but three times, on alternating cheeks. <em>Noblesse oblige</em>. Of course, there was something to be said for the immediate sense of intimacy and camaraderie that this kissing of complete strangers gave rise to. But sometimes, it got to be too much, especially when it came to people I knew I probably wouldn't become friends with. So, on more than one occasion, my boyfriend and I would be strolling down the street, he'd recognize some acquaintance of his and head over to greet them, and I'd walk off in the other direction, pretending we weren't together, so that I wouldn't have to kiss some random person that I'd never see again.</p> <p>These days, of course, everything is different.</p> <p>In the spring, when the global pandemic was declared and everyone had to start social distancing, I thought that all these years of being aware of how personal space can oscillate, adjusting how I handle it according to different people, places, and situations, and sometimes even playing around with it, would have equipped me to deal with this "new reality" and helped me adapt to it more easily.</p> <p>But it hasn't, not really. In many ways, out of the countless challenges of this "new reality," I've found the lack of physical closeness one of the hardest to deal with. Though I find it unpleasant and it makes it hard to breathe, I got used to wearing a facemask in public places. I got used to coming home and immediately rushing into the bathroom to scrub my hands with scalding water and soap for 20 seconds. I got used to wiping my phone down with rubbing alcohol, teaching a class on Zoom, being unable to go to my favorite yoga studio, and waiting in line outside the supermarket. I even got used to not traveling, which for someone who has been on the move constantly pretty much all their life, has been no easy feat.</p> <p>But not touching, hugging, or kissing friends, family, and loved ones – even strangers, if I'm being honest – has been pretty crushing. It's kind of amazing, and perhaps quite revealing, that I first heard the French phrase <em>crève-cœur</em> and learned what it means not during my three-year sojourn in France, nor during the disintegration of my relationship with my French boyfriend, which eventually put an end to that sojourn, but only a couple of weeks ago, while listening to President Macron's address to the nation, in which he asked people to abstain from getting together with friends and family, "même si c'est un crève-cœur." Even if it causes heartbreak.</p> <p>As I write this, Bulgaria is preparing to go into another lockdown, which is likely to last until spring, so I'm bracing myself for a long fall and miserable winter of social distancing and no physical contact. Thankfully, the numbers weren't so bad during the summer, so the measures were temporarily relaxed and it was possible to go out and get together with friends I hadn't seen for months. In spite of recommendations against it, we would hug tightly when saying hello and goodbye, and sometimes, unable to help ourselves, even in the middle of sitting together. It felt as though we were trying to stock up on physical touch, just like you have to build up reserves of Vitamin D in the summer, which are then supposed to carry you through the winter.</p> <p>I don't have a clear idea of how it's all going to unfold. I don't think anybody does. I do know that I'll have to find other ways – other languages – to feel close to the people I love. I'm trying to be grateful for the small blessings. Lockdown has actually made it easier to stay in (virtual, if not physical) touch with friends in faraway places – something I've never been very good about. It's allowed me to spend more time with my mom, though I've been keeping more of a physical distance from her than usual. It's given me the chance to sit down and look through old photo albums and remember friendships and journeys I haven't thought about in a long time. It's provided an opportunity to start making my way though friends' books, manuscripts, translations, and other creative projects, to which I wasn't able to give the attention they deserved before.</p> <p>Still, none of these activities can ever fully compensate for the real thing, so I very much hope that we'll be able to touch one another again before too long. And I'm not alone in this, apparently: according to several studies, most people mention "hugging my loved ones" as one of the first things they want to do once the pandemic is over.</p> <p>In the meantime, as I figure things out, it looks like my mom's poor cats are going to have to bear the brunt as the sole recipients of all my physical affection, which has nowhere else to go now. By the end of the lockdown in the spring, the sight of me with my arms outstretched was enough to send the two of them running away to hide in unreachable corners. But they're both British Shorthairs, a breed that's also known as the Cheshire Cat. So for the time being I guess they'll have to grin and bear it. </p> <p><strong>Ekaterina Petrova</strong> <em>is a literary translator and nonfiction writer. She holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa, an MSc in European Politics from the London School of Economics, and a BA in International Studies and German Studies from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Currently based in Sofia, she has also spent time living, studying, and/or working in Kuwait, New York, Berlin, Cuba, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and the south of France. </em></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Close to Home workshop</strong><em> is part of the Alone Together, the virtual edition of CapitaLiterature in 2020, implemented with the support of the Embassy of the United States to Bulgaria and Sofia Municipality's Cultural Calendar.</em></p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="uk-panel"><img class="uk-align-left uk-margin-remove-adjacent" alt="EK_Logo.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/images/stories/V135-136/EK_Logo.jpg" title="ELIZABETH KOS­TOVA FOUNDATION" width="50%" /> THE <a href="http://ekf.bg/" target="_blank" title="ELIZABETH KOS­TOVA FOUNDATION">ELIZABETH KOS­TOVA FOUNDATION</a> and VAGABOND, Bulgaria's English Monthly, cooperate in order to enrich the English language with translations of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Every year we give you the chance to read the work of a dozen young and sometimes not-so-young Bulgarian writers that the EKF considers original, refreshing and valuable. Some of them have been translated in English for the first time. The EKF has decided to make the selection of authors' work and to ensure they get first-class English translation, and we at VAGABOND are only too happy to get them published in a quality magazine. Enjoy our fiction pages.</div> </div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/107" hreflang="en">Elizabeth Kostova Foundation</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/culture/creative-non-fiction" hreflang="en">CREATIVE NON-FICTION</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2875&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="LLEW9VXt8PWRwNPP2iGre5CkJZCSli5SCCnsr0tjhMs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:29:22 +0000 DimanaT 2875 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/too-far-comfort-2875#comments MY INTERIOR IS MY HAPPINESS https://vagabond.bg/my-interior-my-happiness-2874 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">MY INTERIOR IS MY HAPPINESS</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:20</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>2020 forced us to see our home and office with fresh eyes, and to crave for their upgrade. Here is how to do this in the best way possible</h3> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Unexpected circumstances not only turn our lives inside out, but also make us see them with new eyes. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to stay at home for longer than usual, to move the office in the kitchen and the classroom in the living room. Consequently, it stimulated us to realise how important the space that we inhabit was.</p> <p>This is why this year's current interior trends are not only about colour schemes and different styles. They go further to explore the basic understanding for what a well organised, healthy, comfortable and modern interior should look like.</p> <p>More space and direct access of sunlight and fresh air; close and fast contact with nature; natural materials; antibacterial surfaces; designated areas for each member of the household with amenities for work and study at home; furniture and accessories that create the feel of cosiness, tranquility and relaxation – all these define the contemporary interior in 2021.</p> <p>Earth tones understandably dominate the colour trends for the following year because of their soothing effect. Blue will also attract fans in 2021 with the feel of space its light tones bring and the luring depth of its dark nuances when in an accent piece. Light wood is a leading trend because of its visual peacefulness and its connection to nature. This is also the reason for the popularity of natural elements, such as beautifully weathered tree trunks or interestingly shaped stones used as artistic elements in contemporary interior.</p> <p>It is hardly a surprise that 2020 was the year when minimalism's trendiness started to decline. Pushed by circumstances to stay at home, too many of us realised that they felt psychologically better when surrounded by a multitude of charming objects and textures and colours that inspire the feel of cosiness, rather than in minimalistic clean spaces in cold grey and white tones. This is also the reason for the triumphal return of styles rich in details, inspiration and cosiness, such as traditional, vintage, shabby chic, rustic. For its part the impossibility to travel to distant destinations, combined with the crave for discovery, caused an interest in interiors with exotic accents.</p> <p>House plants are flourishing (pun intended) not only because of the freshness of their green hues, but also because for many urban residents they are the easiest way to get in touch with nature.</p> <p>Trends often self-contradict and can confuse an inexperienced person who is only aware that they want a comfortable and cosy home or office. The safest way to achieve such a space is to seek help from an interior designer who has proven their professionalism through the years.</p> <p>A good interior designer should be able to create new shapes and volumes and to select well colours and textures, Stoyan Pashov from the specialised studio <strong>Synergy Design</strong> (<em>Sofia, 24A Simeonov­sko Shose Blvd, phone: 0889 72 72 31,<u> <a href="mailto:synergy8design@gmail.com">synergy8design@gmail.com</a></u>, <a href="synergy-designbg.com"><u>www.synergy-designbg.com</u></a>; FB: <u><a href="https://www.facebook.com/DesignTachoStoianPashov2012/">Synergy Design</a></u></em>) not only believes in this principle, but also applies it in his practice. When he finishes working on a project, the most important reward for his work is the happy feeling for new life and the experience of a new dimension of beauty by his clients. This is where Stoyan Pashov finds a source of neverending inspiration.</p> <p>How does an interior become a space that is not only modern and comfortable, but also commanding a style that is immune to the changes of time? Miglena Vladova has searched for the answer since 2008. The results are memorable private and public interiors that impress with their intelligent solutions, topicality, attention to details and the clients' individuality, and eternal style. The founder of <strong>PMP projects studio</strong> (<em>phone: 0886 683 738, <u><a href="http://www.pmpprojects.com">www.pmpprojects.com</a></u></em>) has significant experience in working with small and large interiors and customers, and her enthusiasm to look for the best creative solution is endless. For the best effect, the studio offers full services – from architecture measurement to preparation of design options and concept with photorealistic 3D visuals to planning the furniture, the floors, the ceilings and the lightning. The studio will also select for you offers by manufacturers and suppliers of materials, furniture, and equipment. When custom-made furniture or bespoke interior details are concerned PMP projects will design the projects to the tiniest detail.</p> <p>The good interior designer works professionally no matter where in the world they reside, and the contact with different cultures inevitably enriches the palette of their solutions. Such a professional is interior architect Irina Konstantinova-Bontemps, the creator of the France-based <strong>Atelier GoodTime</strong> studio for interior design (<u><a href="https://www.ateliergoodtime.com/en/"><em>www.ateliergoodtime.com</em></a></u>). The sensitivity towards each client's individuality is leading in Irina's work and the solutions that she offers consider factors such as the customer's lifestyle, personal preferences and budget. The designer approaches each project she works on, be it residential, commercial or hotel interior, or furniture design, with a feel for the specificities of the particular space and its environment, for the details, the materials and the project's concept. The resulting interiors possess spirit, soul and impressive elegance.</p> <p>Exclusive tastes and desires require the help of experts in creation of extraordinary interiors, such as the professionals at <strong>Buda's Interior &amp; Design</strong> (<em>Plovdiv, 35 Kuklensko Shose Blvd, phone: +359 884 288 018, sales.budasinterior@gmail.com</em>). The studio specialises in creation of interiors with furniture that embodies quality and luxury lifestyle. The portfolio of satisfied clients of Buda's Interior &amp; Design includes the happy residents of elegant houses and apartments, and the owners of remarkable hotels, restaurants, offices and office buildings. The studio's exclusive offers are tailored for the particular project and the final result is simultaneously impressive and functional.</p> <p>The year-long experience, combined with unfading aim to novelties, current trends and optimised solutions are among the qualities of good interior designers, like the professionals at <strong>Art Design studio</strong> <em>(phones:+359 894 641 700, +359 885 853 350, <u><a href="http://artdesign.bg">www.artdesign.bg</a></u></em>). The founder of Art Design, Stefan Botev, and young architect Zlatan Zlatev put first the client's requirements and needs, and create interiors with their own character from the idea to the materialisation. Art Design offers complete services for full architectural design, interior design of private and public spaces, luxury solutions, product design, reorganisation of indoor and outdoor spaces, realisation of interiors and exteriors designed by the studio, author's supervision. Art Design guarantees that the end result will be excellent – a proof for this are the many clients who trusted it. Among them are Pamporovo Resort, Albena Resort, Pierre Cardin, Apolon Group, Tempo Sport, Tempo Casual, Picadilli Bar &amp; Diner in Ruse and JUKEBOX in Svishtov.</p> <p>The job, passion and vocation of a good interior designer is to turn ideas into a reality. Standing on the border between the ideal of spotless concept and the need to solve purely practical problems, they design or rely on manufacturers of top-class furniture, accessories, coverings, paints, textiles, equipment.</p> <p><strong>Radop Contract</strong> (<a href="http://www.radop.com">www.radop.com</a>) presents on the Bulgarian market leading Italian manufacturers of home and office furniture. The company relies on a high level of professionalism and innovation that leads it towards the challenges of tomorrow. The firm's 25 years of history match the budding life of a next generation. Now Radop Contract is ready to take on the road of change with project development to explore the new links between the traditional model and the freer version of the habitat. The contractor's satisfaction and stability in a dynamic world are the two key themes that lead to the future. This is why Radop Contract has become a true "project partner," as today it is no longer enough to be just an excellent designer and executor, and irreplaceable supplier. The client should be accompanied at each stage of the service – from the project evaluation to the post-sale satisfaction.</p> <p>Design, manufacture, transportation, assembly – the professionals at <strong>Pantadesign studio</strong> (<em>Sofia, 104 Besarabia St, phone: +359 896 621 526, <a href="http://www.pantadesign.com">www.pantadesign.com</a></em>) skilfully manage all stages of furniture creation in order to guarantee impeccable result from the idea to the realisation. Pantadesign offers complete solutions for interior design and furniture design and production for the home, the office, the public and the commercial space. When working on a project, the studio's professionals aim at achieving the golden mean between hipness, individuality and comfort. This is why they maintain an active, creative connection with the client throughout the design process. Browsing through the catalogue of finished Pantadesign projects is a true pleasure because of their intelligent attitude to textures and surfaces, the creative treatment of colours and the attention to details. Inhabiting a space created by the studio, for its part, is a materialised dream for anyone who values quality interior and comfort.</p> <p>When it is of materials by the best manufacturers and is designed and made by proven professionals, MDF and chipboard furniture has endless possibilities for practical, comfortable and stylish interior. This also defines the work of <strong>Mebel BG</strong> (<em>Sofia, 210 Lomsko Shose Blvd, phone: 0878 157 555, FB: <u><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Мебел-БГ-525439814197981/">Мебел-БГ</a></u></em>). The talent of the Bulgarian company to offer always fresh interior projects for the home, the office and the public space is the result of years of experience, the skill to listen to the clients and the partnership with renowned manufacturers of materials in a wide range of colours. Wherever in Bulgaria are you located, Mebel BG professionals will visit you on the spot, will offer a project that matches in the best possible way the space and your desire and budget, and will produce and assemble it flawlessly and within the deadlines.</p> <p>Even the best interior project will remain nothing more than a beautiful idea without comfortable, stylish and modern furniture to turn it into a reality. For more than 25 years, the Romanian manufacturer of upholstered furniture <strong>Mobiladalin</strong> (<a href="https://www.mobiladalin.bg"><em>www.mobiladalin.bg</em></a>) has created remarkable collections of sofas, chairs, armchairs, mattresses and tables. They combine the aim to full comfort with the balance between the traditions of old Romanian furniture and the latest international trends. This is why each Mobiladalin product is a true masterpiece. The various combinations of colours, materials and styles allow us to furnish our home or office in our own, unique way. Mobiladalin's designers are aware how important touch is for the feel of comfort and pay special attention to upholstery. At the same time they take care to create furniture with long life and of impeccable quality. This is why it is hardly a surprise that Mobiladalin is among the leaders of Romanian manufacturers of upholstered furniture and has stores all over Europe. The company's furniture is also in Bulgaria, with official stores in Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv and Ruse.</p> <p>What materials to use for walls and floors covering? The question is far from insignificant, as our choice will influence not only the interior's aesthetics, but also the extent to which the space is healthy and comfortable for inhabitation, and is sparing the environment. Knowing excellently both contemporary requirements towards interior design and the different materials and their characteristics, the Greek company <strong>KOURASANIT</strong> (<em>Sofia, 79-81 GS Rakovski St, <u><a href="https://www.kourasanit.com/en">www.kourasanit.com</a></u></em>) offers innovative coatings, paints and hydrophobic mortars for walls and floors. The products of KOURASANIT are made of natural, artificial or recycled materials in a variety of colours and textures – from earth to mosaics to pebbles. They are a true discovery for everyone who is searching for modern style and individuality, contact with nature and eco-friendly solutions. With the products of KOURASANIT you will easily transform any interior into a unique space of harmony and aesthetics.</p> <p>Stylish colours in surprising combinations; fine and impressive textures; amazing effects: the walls and floors solutions by <strong>SD Ceramica</strong> (<u><a href="http://www.sdceramica.com">www.sdceramica.com</a></u>) are the materialised dream of everyone who wants to inhabit a unique interior space. The company imports ceramics, large sized stoneware, marble, stone, decorative cement and concrete, and solutions for colours and textures by some of the best international manufacturers. Imagination is the only thing restricting you in use of SD Ceramica products. You are after a provocative interior solution for an accent wall or a reliable covering of large space? You crave the elegant luxury of lined marble? You aim to create the overall feel of splendour, rebelliousness, cosiness, or unbridled creativity? Open the SD Ceramica catalogue and you will find the answer to all of your questions.</p> <p>Unique: this is the shortest and best description of the lamps and other home accessories of made of concrete by the Bulgarian brand <strong>BARAKATA</strong> (<em>FB: <u><a href="https://www.facebook.com/barakatastudio/">Бараката</a></u></em>). The bold solutions by brand creator Milena Dushanova reveal the endless variations provided by modelling concrete and industrial design. The lamps, cups, ashtrays and sculptures by BARAKATA are the living evidence that concrete is neither dull nor always grey. Each object by the brand has its own creative charge and signature, and brings individuality to the interior. Milena Dushanova's creations are not just interior accessories, but objects of art that inevitably attract the gaze, add soul to the space and impress the visitors.</p> <p>The importance of good, undisturbed sleep cannot be underestimated for one's health and quality of life. For more than 20 years <strong>TED</strong> (<u><a href="https://ted.bg"><em>www.ted.bg</em></a></u>), a Bulgarian company, has made this possible. The company develops innovative and durable mattresses, beds, sleep systems, and bed accessories with trademark quality and comfort. The TED products are ergonomic, fit a wide spectrum of individual preferences, and the use of natural materials is a priority. This is why for years TED has been the favourite brand of fans of excellent quality at reasonable prices.</p> <p>The carpet can make or break an interior. When you opt for a <strong>Hemus</strong> creation (<em>Velingrad, 8 Banska St, phone: 0887 932 240, nadya.parpulova@gmail.com, <u><a href="http://hemus-bg.com">www.hemus-bg.com</a></u></em>) you can be absolutely sure that the first will happen. For 15 years now the Bulgarian manufacturer has zealously preserved and enthusiastically developed the forgotten tradition of handmade carpet-weaving. Under the hands of the skilled artisans appear marvellous carpets in traditional, Persian or European style of natural fine wool, cotton and dyes. Hemus carpets can be also custom-made, after the client's design, and their prices are more than reasonable for their end quality. This is why it is hardly a coincidence that many foreign embassies at Bulgaria partner with Hemus when they aim to create a classical, luxury, impressive ambiance in their residences.</p> <p>Inhabiting an interior that fits best our desires, tastes and needs can be achieved with yet another easy and even pleasant step – by following the best professionals in the field. This strategy provides an endless source of inspiration, information about the latest novelties and help to find the studio, designer or manufacturer that would materialisе our ideas in the best possible way.</p> <p>Dibla is the biggest online platform for interior and product design in Bulgaria. After years of experience in working with professionals and businesses in the design field, the team developed some of most popular events in the industry. <strong>DIBLA DESIGN AWARDS</strong> is undeniably the most important among them. The annual concourse gathers the elite of interior designers working on the domestic market. The best projects are highlighted and applauded by everyone interested in or related to interior design. The upcoming edition of the event will be recognized for its brand new concept – the award ceremony on 21 January 2021 will be live-streamed online on <u><a href="http://dibla-awards.com"><em>www.dibla-awards.com</em></a></u>. The expected huge audience will broaden the horizons for Dibla's current and future clients, partners, and friends. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/347" hreflang="en">interior design</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/advertorials/property" hreflang="en">PROPERTY</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2874&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="pl9xj4DEGuiKhfkH9UW02s8GylQ_j1zhtbeewFZCqZk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:20:18 +0000 DimanaT 2874 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/my-interior-my-happiness-2874#comments SHARED LOVE https://vagabond.bg/shared-love-2873 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">SHARED LOVE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:37</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>The perfect 2020 Christmas gift is the one who warms the heart regardless of the distances</h3> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The Christmas and New Year's celebrations in 2020 will be as never before. Unlike other years, this December we will forget about the ease with which we planned trips, meetings with friends, parties and family gatherings. But this should not discourage us. The Covid-19 pandemic stimulated us to reconsider our life and priorities and to realise how important for us were our loved ones, families and friends. The global cataclysm reminded us to concentrate on the small things in life and to cherish them.</p> <p>This is why the 2020 Christmas holiday season passes under the sign not of lavishness but of care, community spirit, self-reflection and rearrangement of life priorities. In 2020 we rediscovered how important are for us the people we loved, and we started to pay bigger attention to wholesome communication with them, be it face to face or long distance.</p> <p>In 2020 Christmas presents became something more than a standard and slightly boring purchase and exchange of objects. This winter we realised how important each of them was for the receivers, what charge of happiness, warmth and care they contained. For many of us Christmas presents will also be the only way for a physical connection – albeit a long-distance one – with someone we love but we cannot be with.</p> <p>The presents of Christmas'2020 are a personal message and a charm for love, health, happiness. The best of them mirror the character and the tastes of the receiver and make their life more pleasant, calm and beautiful. The quantity of gifts is a non-issue. Instead, quality is more important. It is in the eternal beauty of jewellery of natural stones and pearls, in the gentle skin care provided by natural cosmetics, in the good book or subscription for an online course that open a window to life, knowledge and happiness.</p> <p>The good Christmas'2020 gift does not compromise with quality as it is the best manifestation of the care and love we feel to someone. This is coupled with the ability to choose, purchase, and receive (or send) the present online, and to spare the health of all involved in the process. Thus each stage of presents' selection and giving in 2020 is charged with care, love and desire to spread light and happiness at a moment of challenges. Because this is the true meaning of Christmas – gifts are just its most charming expression. </p> <h4><strong>Say it with Yuno Pearls: The only Bulgarian brand for natural pearls</strong></h4> <p>Born in the arms of the gentlest of elements, water, pearls are a delicate sign for love, exquisite adornment and timeless style. Yuno Pearls (<u><a href="https://yunopearls.com"><em>www.yunopearls.com</em></a></u>) reveals to us their amazing richness – from designer's and classical necklaces to earrings, bracelets, brooches and special collections with pearls in a variety of types, colours, sizes and combinations.</p> <p><img alt="white pearl pendant" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/yunopearls/4%20%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%83%D0%BB%D0%BA%D0%B0%20%D1%81%20%D0%B1%D1%8F%D0%BB%D0%B0%20%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BB%D0%B0%2C%20%206-7%D0%BC%D0%BC.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Pendant with a 6-7 mm white pearl</em></p> <p><img alt="pink gold earrings" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/yunopearls/4%20%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%B5%D1%86%D0%B8%20%D1%81%20%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B8%20%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BB%D0%B8%2C%205%20-6%D0%BC%D0%BC%20%D1%81%20%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B7%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BE%20%D0%B7%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BE.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Pink gold earrings with 5-6 mm white pearls</em></p> <p><img alt="silver bracelet" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/yunopearls/4%20%D1%81%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D1%8A%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D1%81%20%D0%B4%D0%B2%D0%B5%20%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BB%D0%B8%206-7%D0%BC%D0%BC%2C%20%D1%81%20%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B8.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Silver bracelet with 6-7 mm and 9 mm pearls and zirconiums</em></p> <p> </p> <h4><strong>The new Autumn/Winter 2020 Collection by COEUR DE LION: The shine of eternal beauty </strong></h4> <p>Fine aventurine, shimmering sodalite, glittering haematite, gentle lepidolite, and jet-black onyx define the Autumn/Winter 2020 collection by COEUR DE LION. Combined with 316L stainless steel and sparkling Swarovski® crystals, they make each of the brand's necklaces and bracelests unique, a true masterpiece handmade in Germany.</p> <p><img alt="Coeur de lion Autumn/Winter2020/2021" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/coeur%20de%20lion/VB170_Remco.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Timelessness is signature for COEUR DE LION jewellery. The brand is not about fast fashion. Instead, it celebrates the beauty of timeless form in all of its glorious facets. As a result, women all over the world love COEUR DE LION for the elegant lines, extraordinary colours and top-quality workmanship. </p> <p>Find the latest addition to your COEUR DE LION collection on <em><a href="https://remco.bg">www.remco.bg</a></em> and in Sofia, at 29 Alabin St and 7 Solunska St.</p> <h4><strong>DR. SCHELLER ARGAN &amp; AMARANT Anti-wrinkle AHA night serum: Total rejuvenation</strong></h4> <p><img alt="Dr Scheller Argan and Amarant Anti-wrinkle AHA night serum" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/taota/4051424559939_DRS%20Eti_Argan%20Amaranth_Anti-Falten_AHA%20Nachtserum_15ml_i190795_7_int.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Effective, but sparing exfoliation is key for having glowing facial skin. The DR. SCHELLER ARGAN &amp; AMARANT (<em><a href="https://taota.com">www.taota.com</a></em>) anti-wrinkle AHA night serum achieves this amazingly well. With its combination of fruit acids and extracts of argan and amaranth seeds, and liquorice root, the serum removes dead cells, smooths the skin, creates a glowing complexion, hydrates, improves collagen production, and firms. The ideal solution for mature skin which was nominated in the Facial Skincare category and won the prize for German Innovation Award 2020. </p> <h4><strong>Hristina Natural Cosmetics: Gift sets for children and adults</strong></h4> <p><img alt="more than gold gifts" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/hristina%20cosmetics/product_2732.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Quality natural cosmetics are always an excellent solution when we wander what gifts to choose. This is even more relevant when the present is a special set, like the current seasonal offers by Hristina Cosmetics (<em><a href="http://kozmetikahristina.com">www.kozmetikahristina.com</a></em>). The <u><a href="http://kozmetikahristina.com/product/1295/poveche-ot-zlato.html">More Than Gold</a></u> gift set (code: GIFTSETGOLD) is a gorgeous selection of a shower gel, a body lotion and a hydrating face cream with gold.</p> <p><img alt="gift for mama and baby" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/hristina%20cosmetics/Baby_product_3094.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>The <u><a href="http://kozmetikahristina.com/product/1394/podarak-za-mama-i-bebe.html">Gift for Mama and Baby</a></u> (code: BABYGIFTSET) set provides the needed daily care in winter. Whatever we choose from the rich product catalogue on <em><a href="http://kozmetikahristina.com">www.kozmetikahristina.com</a></em>, we know that we will give joy, health and beauty. </p> <h4><strong>Gentle care with Wooden Spoon body butter that smells of Christmas</strong></h4> <p><img alt="christmas body butter" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/wooden%20spoon/christmas%20time.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>For the cold winter months the Bulgarian brand Wooden Spoon (<em><a href="https://woodenspoon.eu/en/">www.woodenspoon.eu</a></em>) has created a puffy body butter with warm cinnamon and the mesmerising aroma of freshly roasted orange zest. Its 100% natural butters melt when they touch the skin and nourish, protect and hydrate it. The butter provides clean, honest and effective beauty care without water, artificial aromas, paraffin and other problematic ingredients.</p> <h4>Hand cream IROHA HER[B] by Iroha Nature: Hemp oil for softness and regeneration</h4> <p><img alt="hemp hand cream" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/170/ads/iroha%20nature/HEMP%20hand%20cream%201.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>With its rich content in vitamins А, С and Е and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids the oil of Cannabis Stativa has the remarkable capability to nourish the skin and to hydrate it in depth. That is why we choose the hemp oil hand cream IROHA HER[B] by Iroha Nature (<em><u><a href="https://www.iroha.bg">www.iroha.bg</a></u>, <u><a href="https://hempcosmetics.bg">www.hempcosmetics.bg</a></u>, FB: <u><a href="https://www.facebook.com/irohabulgaria/">Iroha Nature-Bulgaria</a></u>, Instagram: <u><a href="https://www.instagram.com/irohanature/?hl=en">irohanature.bg</a></u></em>) as the best solution to restore our hands' skin during winter's harsh conditions. Hemp oil has a proven antioxidant and anti-aging effect, and the cream's formula is specifically developed to make our skin elastic and to soften the cuticles.</p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-170" hreflang="en">Issue 170</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/346" hreflang="en">shopping</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/advertorials/beauty-fashion" hreflang="en">BEAUTY &amp; FASHION</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2873&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="hJqNPC_y25-w1tUit9gqB-bMWjH3oQhOY8bjJ5U3WJY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 30 Nov 2020 08:37:10 +0000 DimanaT 2873 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/shared-love-2873#comments