The tables are filling with people as we walk from the museum and church into the village’s central square. We learn that our group of nine is invited to eat with the secretary of the cultural house and her family! Long tables are set up along the edges of the street and in front of the buildings. The September day is delightful with blue sky and white clouds, clean valley air, 70 degrees and laughter filling the air. More
Tag Archives: Europe
Grapes are an integral part of life in Bulgaria, from ancient times to the present, as we shall see in the rural life of Goranovtsi Village, Part II.
In Part I our small tour group explores the Hristo Botev Cultural House, Goranovtsi, Bulgaria, enjoying a warm and friendly welcome from its secretary, president and others. Iva, our translator, is kept busy relaying information about the weaving, folk costumes and daily living items. Alex, our guide, distributes hand-woven shoulder bags as gifts from the cultural house people. More
Driving through Bulgaria’s hilly countryside in our small tour bus, one fine September morning, Alex (our tour guide) says to us (via Iva our translator), “We have a special treat for you today. The village we are going to is celebrating its name day with a feast and dancing. We are invited as guests of the Hristo Botev Cultural House!” More
Ancient history first drew us to explore Bulgaria and then we found much more. Thracian kings once ruled this land of mountains, valleys, rivers and the western Black Sea shore where archaeologists say European civilization began! The oldest man-made gold object in the world, dated about 4,500 B.C., was found near Varna on the Black Sea. Inland, Stara Zagora has a museum built over the clay remains of a duplex house dated 5,500 B.C. In the Valley of the Kings and Roses are tombs, some with exquisite paintings, made of rock and covered in dirt. Nearby museums display beautiful gold and silver objects from the tombs. More
Driving in beautiful Sicily is a challenge. The scenery is distracting — temples on top of hills, wild flowers everywhere, trees bright with lemons and oranges and roads along the Mediterranean. But directional signs? Well, that is a story! There are five choices: right, wrong, ambiguous, missing or can’t pick them out from the other twenty on the same post as you go past. “I can’t stop,” says Del, “there is traffic.” “Well I can’t see it.” So we go on, turn around and try it again. We did a lot of that. More
Useful little donkeys, wildflowers beneath olive orchards, roses at the end of vineyard rows, these are snapped through the bus or car window with our cameras set to “action” or “sport” mode. The picture quality is not always sharp, but it helps capture the flavor of what we see. Other images remain in our mind’s eye, influencing our total picture of the country.
At the end of the day we pass a man walking home with his donkey loaded with sticks for the fire that heats his home. (Please click on the pictures to enlarge them.) More
Hot mineral springs in Bulgaria have attracted people for thousands of years. The Thracians (the early people of Bulgaria), Romans and Ottomans have enjoyed their healing and relaxing properties for millennia. We think that people called them holy springs because of their curative aspects.
Many people find spa and balneology treatments beneficial and they are available in Bulgaria from Sofia to the Black Sea where there are special health centers. There are over 1,600 springs, hot and cold, with various minerals. Some spas work with curative mud. Aroma therapy using mountain herbs and flowers is very relaxing in a mountain setting. More
Travel connects people and countries in many different ways. Recently we have been picking Michigan blueberries with friends and that got me to thinking about the many places we have picked or eaten blueberries, a plant that can be tame and tall or wild and small.
It grows five feet tall, pampered and irrigated in a sunny patch surrounded by woods near us where I took my small children to pick 40 years ago. In the cool, early morning the dew glistened on the violet berries and the birds sang from the woods. My two year old son liked to pick just the ones as big as the end of his thumb, which he promptly ate. He found these by walking under the arching branches. My 4-year-old daughter, hair in pigtails, diligently tried to fill her plastic milk jug tied about her waist, but she and I popped quite a few berries into our mouths, too. I baked the remaining berries into pies. More
Emphasizing a different word each time you read the title will help you understand what I felt when I looked at my plate of spaghetti. Were those little eyeballs? And tendrils of what? “How am I going to eat this?” I was hungry, too, well, not so much after I looked at the plate. Across the table, Del had a robust plate of spaghetti with meat sauce.
Lilacs, the scent of lilacs fills the air; lilac bushes line the roads. As we drive slowly through a small village I roll down the car window and lilac scent comes in. Little donkeys are staked out to eat grass. Children play outside the schools, some still walk home for lunch prepared by mothers or grandmothers.