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.
I found this photo from the summer of 1999 in Sofia. It is scary to think that two whole decades have gone by so fast.
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!
“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 stork, swallow, 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.”
This is one of the Bulgarian covers of a sexual education book that was translated from the German and first published in Bulgaria in 1979.
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.
Some scenes from Plovdiv. The first image shows that Plovdiv was once the sister city of a place called Leningrad.
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.