Blogs from Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria, Europe


Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province June 26th 2019

BULGARIA HIGHLIGHTS On my second day in Bulgaria, I went to Vasil Levsky school in Kolarovo to meet Vilma. I taught English in this school in the Peace Corps in 2000 and 2001. Vilma taught English and was my mentor. I forgot that school was still in session but only half days for wrapping up final exams. Some of the teachers were in the staff room; it felt like I had never left. They had flowers for me. Many teachers were new, but there were a few from my Peace Corps days. The directora, or principal, was there; it was her retirement day. She was a bit subdued. I can only imagine what it is like to retire from her job after so many years. On Vilma’s lunch break, we walked around the village center. She ... read more

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province June 25th 2019

RETURN TO BULGARIA When I got off the bus in Thessaloniki I needed an internet connection to contact the host of my Airbnb. I wandered around trying to discover a way to do this. I saw an ad for a computer café on the wall in the terminal, but it turned out to be defunct. Then I met Abdul. He was from Tunisia and spoke English, Turkish and French. He was trying to get to France. He had obtained temporary papers from the Greek police, and had thirty days to find a place to live and a job, and fill out a form for a work visa. Abdul asked what I needed and I explained. He told me where there was open Wi-Fi. We chatted awhile. Then Abdul helped me carry my luggage to a taxi ... read more

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Bansko September 22nd 2018

De multe ori suntem tentati sa ajungem cat mai aproape si o destinatie ar fi Bansko, Bulgaria. Poate ar fi mai avantajos sa ajungi undeva iarna, dar daca nu esti iubitor de sporturile de iarna, ce faci? Pur si simplu o viziteti, ca noi curiosi de inca un oras al Bulgariei. Arata ca o destinatie de munte de pe la noi, dar parca mai bine intretinuta in cabanele/hotelurile imense si in extrasezon parasite. Am gasit cazare la hotelul Gazei, care intre timp si-a modificat parcarea, adica nu mai exista desi pe booking scria ca este, dar nu au updatat informatia mergand pe principiul 'lasa ca ne descurcam noi cumva, sa ajunga ei la mine'. Si chiar asa a fost. Hotelul este situat in centrul vechi pietruit, greu de acces cu trolere. Camera a fost destul de ... read more

HE SAID... Today we were travelling north from Bansko to Gorno Draglishte. Having spent the morning trekking in the mist-covered Pirin Mountains, we returned to our hotel in Bansko, checked out in the mid-afternoon and travelled a short distance by minibus to our homestay in the tiny village of Gorno Draglishte. When we pulled up outside our guesthouse, the dining room and courtyard area was full of people. This was our host family’s home, and people had gathered for a christening. We grabbed our room key, found our room (after navigating a maze of stairs, hallways and doors), dropped our packs and headed out for a brief orientation walk through the village. The place was tiny, and we were the only tourists, so everyone knew who we were. The village only had a couple of streets, ... read more
mountian views
streets of draglishte
farming plots

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Bansko June 23rd 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling southwest from Plovdiv to Bansko. With a long trip to Bansko ahead, and a detour into a bear sanctuary on the way, we opted for an early breakfast in the tiny hotel dining area. I had muesli, yoghurt, prunes, toast, ham, cheese, fresh strawberry jam and tea. We checked out of our very comfortable hotel, threw our packs into the back of a minibus and made our way out of Plovdiv. It wasn’t long before we were driving along a bumpy potholed road that I think was a fairly major highway, with flat agricultural fields stretching to the Rhodope Mountains to the south. About 20 kilometres before Bansko we detoured up a steep and winding dirt track to the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary, otherwise known as the Dancing Bears Park. This ... read more
serda, belitsa bear sanctuary
charlie, belitsa bear sanctuary
bobby, belitsa bear sanctuary

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Belitsa June 21st 2018

Bulgaria day 6: A whistlestop tour with bears Neve let it be said that we are not adaptable....or we change our decide... Last night we left it too late to go to bed early for the 4am start we had planned so this morning we, wait for it, had a lie in! No alarms at all! Well we did climb a mountain yesterday so come on, give us a bit of leeway. The plan for today had been to go to a bear park and take a trip on the narrow gauge railway. Both could be close (depending on what station we board at) to each other but both are over a two hour drive. We looked at other things to do that didn’t include climbing another mountain and they are all hours away so ... read more

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Belitsa June 21st 2018

The cruel practice of forcing bears to dance for entertainment was banned in Bulgaria in 1998 and now the rescued bears need somewhere to live. Thus the badly named 'Dancing Bear Park' started in Belitsa. The bears no longer have to dance, but instead have huge enclosures in thick forest where they can please themselves. They can't go back in the wild because they don't know how to look after themselves and would not get on with the 450-600 wild bears still living in the national parks. Because of the mountains, everywhere is a long drive away, so we decided to make it more of a 'photographic, leisurely drive', like a Sunday afternoon drive only on a Thursday morning. The majority of the journey was thick forests of fir trees or snowy mountains in the distance. ... read more
tank at Raduil
Rescue bear park at Belitsa.
Rescued bear at Belitsa.

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province June 8th 2017

3rd to 7thJune Kromodovo near Melnik, Bulgaria Before we left Greece we stocked up with food (mainly Kalamata olives) and filled up with petrol and headed north towards the Bulgarian border. It’s the first time we have had to stop at a border and show passports. We then had to find somewhere that sold a vignette allowing us to drive on Bulgarian roads. The road is the main artery connecting Romania, Bulgaria and Greece so is used by huge freight lorries which seemed to have parked up haphazardly just past border control. We pulled up behind one lorry at a wooden hut type building that looked like it sold vignettes but on discovering it didn’t, the lorry pulled away catching the roof and edge of the cabin with its trailed and shaking the whole thing with ... read more
Inside the Kardopulov House
View of Kardopulov House
the sand pyramids

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province July 5th 2015

Bulgarian Dog Food or was it a brown bear. Unwittingly I fed a dog last night. Maybe it was a pack of dogs or jackals. - or wolves or bears. We have discovered that dogs are a particular facet of Bulgarian life. Or more correctly, all night canine barking is a dominating in your ear hole feature of the nocturnal Bulgarian shindig. They seem to get wound up about 2 or 3 am and bark bark bark until dawn. In the still of night the sound carries. So one dog will wake all the others in the neighbourhood. Now its not unusual for a dog to bark at someone walking past its particular patch of turf. But he barking normally subsides when the visitor has passed by. Bulgarian dogs are different. Bulgarian dogs seem to be ... read more
Bukgarian dog food (2)
bears blood bulgaria-10508007

Europe » Bulgaria » Blagoevgrad Province » Bansko March 8th 2015

UNMIK, the UN Mission in Kosovo, runs these weekend tours to various places in the region. I signed up for the one for Bansko, Bulgaria - a ski resort town. I don't ski, but there is plenty of stuff to do in Bansko anyway. We left Pristina at around 3:50pm by bu s. I tried taking pictures of the beautiful mountains of Kosovo, but it was through the bus window so they're not very good. WEhad no problems on the border to Macedonia. However, on the border to Bulgaria, we wound up having to wait for a very long time to get through. It felt like hours, but I don't really know how long it was. Then it was snowing heavily, so we had to drive really slow. About 18 km away from Bansko, we became ... read more
Scene From My Hotel Room
The Main Shopping Street

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