Images from the Bulgarian village of Lyutibrod

So I spent a day in a village in the northwest of Bulgaria, near the town of Vratsa. This is a very poor part of the country where people live quite close to the edge, and is probably one of the poorest regions in the European Union. But it is also breathtakingly beautiful, and it is in this part of the country that many people maintain an allegiance to leftist ideals. I am always humbled and honored to be a guest here.

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It's a little late, but I put my Martenitza on today

I was cleaning through some drawers last weekend and found a nice stash of Bulgarian martenitzi to wear in advance of the “Baba Marta” holiday on March 1. Adds a nice dash of color!

From Wikipedia:

“A Martenitsa is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and usually in the form of two dolls, a male and a female. Martenitsi are worn from Baba Marta Day (March 1) until the wearer first sees a storkswallow, or blossoming tree (or until late March). The name of the holiday means "Grandma March" in Bulgarian and the holiday and the wearing of Martenitsi are a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the spring, which according to Bulgarian folklore begins in March.”

Cyrillic typewriters

In my research on the Bulgarian typewriter factory in Plovdiv, I stumbled across a couple of earlier models. The German Erika is probably from the 1920s, and I bought it and brought it home with me to the United States to add to my growing typewriter collection.  It needs a good clean up, but otherwise it works like a charm.

A beautiful day with friends in Lyuti Brod in northwest Bulgaria.

I spent Sunday with my Bulgarian friends in the village of Lyuti Brod, which is close to the place where the great poet, Hristo Botev, was killed by the Turks on the 2nd of June, 1876.  Every year, the village hosts a special historical reenactment of the battle.  

Sofia, Bulgaria

Since Bulgaria holds the rotating presidency of the European Council, the center of Sofia looks gorgeous, especially the the areas around the National Palace of Culture where the Council is meeting.  In over 20 years of visiting Sofia, I've never seen this area look so nice.  

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A beautiful May evening in Sofia.

A beautiful May evening in Sofia.