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

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

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:27

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

jane keating.jpg

Jane Keating

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

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

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

It is possible to eat tomato and cucumber for breakfast.

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

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

Bulgarian red wine just keeps getting better and better.

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

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

Bulgarians really use their crash barriers.

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

Lime trees in early summer smell wonderful.

No home should be without a chushkopek**.

Chushkopek

Chushkopek

What I'd like to know...

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

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

What is the origin of pizza with ketchup and mayo?

 

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

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

Issue 47-48
0 comments

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
6 + 13 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Discover More

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

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

Magdalina Stancheva.jpg
WHO WAS MAGDALINA STANCHEVA?
Walking around Central Sofia is like walking nowhere else, notwithstanding the incredibly uneven pavements.

SCHOLARS AND RADICALS
When a Bulgarian TV crew came to our village in northeastern Bulgaria to shoot a beer advert they wanted British people in the film, so we appeared as ourselves.
Lt John Dudley Crouchley, 1944.jpg
LONG ROAD HOME FOR LT CROUCHLEY
During most of the Second World War, Bulgaria and the United States were enemies. In 1943-1944 Allied aircrafts bombed major Bulgarian cities.

WHAT'S YOUR AUNT TO YOUR NEPHEW ANYWAY?
Happy families may be alike, unhappy families may be unhappy in their own way, but in Bulgaria all these come with a twist: a plethora of hard-to-pronounce names for every maternal and paternal aunt, uncle and in-law that can possibly exist.
french soldiers monument svishtov.jpg
FRANCE IN BULGARIA
Sofia is awash with English signs and logos, but here and there a French name pops up: a central street is called Léandre le Gay, schools are named Alphonse de Lamartine and Victor Hugo, a metro station is known as Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

buzludzha.jpg
WHAT TO DO WITH BULGARIA'S FLYING SAUCER?
During the past 20 years Bulgaria has gained notoriety with an unusual tourist attraction. No, it is not the Kazanlak roses, not the mushrooming "medieval" fortresses being erected from scratch with EU money.

stambolov monument.jpg
WHO WAS STEFAN STAMBOLOV?
Bulgaria's news cycle nowadays consists largely of real and imaginary scandals that grab the public attention for a while before being buried under a heap of new scandals.

koprivshtitsa rebelion bridge.jpg
BRIDGES OF FREEDOM
History sometimes moves in mysterious ways, as indicated by the story of the role two bridges played in two revolutions, a century and an ocean apart.

casablanka10.jpg
CASABLANCA'S BULGARIAN CONNECTION
No doubt your wanderlust will not be satisfied until you visit Casablanca, the bustling city of 3.8-plus million on the Atlantic coast that dominates the Kingdom of Morocco.

pirogov hospital.jpg
WHO WAS NIKOLAY PIROGOV?
It belongs to the largest emergency hospital in the country.