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
Tag Archives: Europe
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.
In 5,000 B.C. the scene was tall forests, limestone canyons, a big spring with drinking water, a navigable river flowing into a larger river and then a sea; this was the area called Sboryanovo in northeast Bulgaria.
About 700 B.C. the Getae tribe, “Children of the Sun,” lived here. They farmed, built a stone wall around their sun worshiping sanctuary, practiced their religion, built a fortress and traded goods by using the Krapinets River going to the Danube River and into the Black Sea.
On a warm September evening our small travel group was sitting outside at a long table in the central Bulgarian town of Kazanlak. We had just finished a delicious meal.
It started with rakia, a fruit brandy, giant salads of many types, and then main courses and good Bulgarian wines. Del and I don’t drink alcohol, but people seemed to enjoy the beverages. Rather full, we didn’t want much more, but neither did we want the fun day to end. More
In the Iliad, Homer wrote about the Thracian warriors from the north with “the biggest and handsomest horses I ever saw, whiter than snow and swifter than the winds, and a chariot finely wrought with silver and gold.” This was written about the 8th century BC. Horses were very important to the Thracians. Then and now a mounted horseman is a symbol of power. More