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Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

In amongst everything else that I was doing, I decided to take a little time and make my own Easter eggs this year.

I had dyed them with Hristina’s help on previous occasions so I headed into Yambol to buy the dyes so I could see what I could create.  Well, I got a little carried away and went slightly past just dying the eggs. I found packets of stick on pretty things as well as the dye and so to work I went…

Don’t they look terrific ! I had guests arriving on the Easter Sunday so decided to have traditional eggs for them as well as the bog standard chocolate ones

Only little ones, as you can see.  So far Bulgaria doesn’t seem to have become obsessed with eggs as big as houses so I could only find packets of small ones in the supermarket…which is good.  The longer this country can hold off against the destruction of their traditions the better, I reckon.

I had the house looking pretty damned good, even if I say so myself and on Easter Sunday I met up with my friend Dimitor (of the taxi) and headed down to Burgas to pick up my incoming guests. The bus duly arrived and usually Burgas is the termination of that bus run from Istanbul to Bulgaria.  No one seemed to be getting off at all though and I suddenly felt a little concerned about the whereabouts of three Aussies on their first trip to BG.

As the bus looked like it was going to disappear I decided I’d best take action and got on board and just yelled out ‘are there any Australians on this bus?’.

And sure enough, a face I hadn’t seen since around the mid 1960s and a face that hasn’t changed one little bit since then, suddenly came into view. This woman, Anne, had contacted me early this year about coming to see Bulgaria.  She ended up coming with two friends as well and when I saw the other woman, Yvonne, I realised I knew her as well, so it was more like a re-acquainting rather than a ‘getting to know’ visit.

Anyway, I retrieved them from the bus, which was a good thing because I found out that the Nisikli bus service has now extended to go on to Romania.  I think they would have got a little surprise if they’d got off the bus there !!

Dimitor loaded them into his taxi and off we went to Miladinovtsi. I spent a couple of days showing them around but my time was restricted as I had this man coming…again

My old mate Peter Watson on his second visit to my home.

It was great to see him and also to see his son Justin, who was just a boy the last time I saw him, a boy who has grown into a really nice and very handsome young man. And also his partner, Dianne who I’d only met briefly in Australia when I was back there and whom it was very nice to get to know a little better.

I’m very fond of Watto and it was lovely to be able to spend a little time with him, albeit just a few days.

While he was here my other guests hired a car and headed off to Veliko Turnovo for a few nights, which was really good of them as it gave me the chance to spend some relaxing and quality time with Watto and Di.

Unfortunately, on his last night here, my Gina took a nasty turn.  We came home and she was looking dreadful and panting. When she refused food and a walk I knew all was not well. I watched her for a couple of hours and could see her deteriorating so I rang Yanko.  He told me to bring her in and it’s a good thing I did.  Pete came with me, which was very kind of him considering he had to be up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus. Anyway, the old girl was running a temperature of 40.2 degrees, dangerously high, and was looking more and more hang dog. The other vet, Marin, took some blood samples and she is showing an enzyme that’s not too good. We decided to treat the infection first and see how she progressed. She had anti fever drugs, antibiotics and pain killers, as she was clearly in pain.

By the next morning there was a vast improvement but I returned to the vet as they had requested, so they could have another look.  She seems to be fine now and is eating and enjoying her walks so I just have to watch her and see if she remains happy and healthy…  I know her years of brutal treatment can’t have been good for her body and maybe it will shorten her life, but the thought of losing her is almost more than I can bear.  I am trying not to think about that possibility, at least in the near future

All too soon I was putting Watto and Di on the bus and my other guests returned for their last few nights with me.

I took them down to Sozopol for a day and we were lucky enough to get some good weather though the wind was very cold….not quite summer yet.  We were walking around the village and came across an archeological dig.  It was fascinating and I had enough Bulgarian to ask what it was…a medieval church and they were finding plenty, including a full skeleton which had been cleaned back but not removed from the soil yet !!   And where was my camera ? Miladinovtsi !!  I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten it.  Anyway, there it was…a full skeleton with what looked like a bashed in skull.  Murder perhaps ???  It really was amazing to see it and to wonder just how long it had been there and who it might belong too. I’ve tried to find out more on the internet but haven’t been able to find anything in English…damn my bad Bulgarian !!

And so we returned to the house and had a relaxing evening in while the guests planned their next move, which was heading to Sofia and spending some time there.  I squeezed them into a taxi early Sunday morning and confess to returning to my bed until about 11am. The weather was miserable and I just felt like a BIG sleep, so I did…loved it.

It was my last rest before the hard labour started in the garden and boy, have I achieved a lot, but that’s for another day as the weather is nice again so I’m heading back into the yard…things to do, plants to plant, holes to dig, weeds to pull and paths to find…

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I’ve just had a couple of days of Mr Sun and I’ve got a shedload of work done in the garden, but he’s disappeared again in a huge thunder and lightening storm last night so it’s back to the web page today.

So after the great day I had here in the village on the Friday, come the Sunday it was time to head off to General Insovo. The day dawned clear and sunny, so a perfect day for a Festival in the park.

Once again there were hundreds and hundreds of people there to watch and dozens and dozens of participants and by days end, this park was bursting at the seams.

There was colour, flowers, fantastic local costumes and the Easter decoration that I had last seen on a table in Mila, this time surrounded by a few Easter tradition friends

This whole day is about Easter, displaying your village folklore talents and a lot of colour and motion.  It’s like a moving sea of wonderful sights in front of you.

I spent the day just wandering around soaking up the atmosphere and getting the best shots I could in a crowded situation.

Some of the headdresses were just fantastic !


As were the waistcoats


There were musicians dotted about the place tuning up their instruments for their performance

and this man had an absolutely beautiful voice…it stopped me in my tracks when he started singing.

There was also a lot of children this time. There aren’t a lot of children left in many of the villages as the younger people have upped stumps and gone to bigger towns and cities for work and education. This year there just seemed to be lots of kids there keeping the traditions going…and they were just gorgeous

These girls were heading out on the the stage area…check out their competition behind them checking them out ! Hey, this is serious business with a  definite competitive edge and clearly, it starts young 🙂

They even took time for a last minute rehearsal.

The women’s costumes were wonderful and a few of the men looked pretty spiffing as well

    

and, of course, the rugged, butch Bulgarian men didn’t let me down….there was many a flower tucked behind many an ear.

And in amongst all the noise and hustle and bustle I found two young girls having a quiet and thoughtful moment

      Both so very beautiful and so very calm in amongst all the hubbub…

And once again I had the privilege of experiencing another moment of Bulgarian culture with all the  beauty, tradition, music and colour that comes with it.

Next stop…Easter and guests. I’ve been busy, which is nice.

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