Back from Bulgaria

by luckyperro

I got back last week from a fabulous trip to Sofia for my friend Nicole’s wedding to Nikola (yes, you read that right–their names are Nicole and Nikola).  Nicole is serving at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, where she met Nikola.  It was so fun to be there for their wedding, explore Sofia, and hang out with new and old friends.  I’m dividing my Bulgaria recap into a few parts, because I have so many photos.  Image

March 1 was an auspicious date to arrive in Bulgaria.  This is the day when Bulgarians traditionally celebrate the transition to spring by giving each other martenitsa.  I was given one at the airport in Sofia and this made me inordinately happy, because I have wanted one ever since I spotted them on the wrists of Bulgarian Fulbrighters at a conference in Berlin back in 2002.  Seriously.  I don’t know why I found this little bit of folklore so compelling, but I did.  The first few days of March you can buy martenitsa all over town, so I brought some back for friends and family.  Now I have four, and I can’t take them off until I spot a stork or a flowering tree (but in DC, that should be about two weeks).  You could also spot martenitsa on buildings, cakes and even cookies.

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(I don’t know what’s going on here.)

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I picked these up at a cute and tasty shop called 100 Grams of Sweets, which had other delicious pastries.

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But, first things first.  I spent the first afternoon I arrived in Sofia wandering around enjoying the beautiful sunny weather.  I was looking for a tea house, actually, but was jetlagged and disoriented and literally walking in circles.  (I did finally find the tea house on Monday.)  But I saw the Russian church and the Ivan Vazov national theater and some musicians playing in the square.

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Then I headed to a delicious and wine-filled traditional Bulgarian dinner with Nicole, Nikola, their families and other out-of-town visitors at Manastirska Magernitsa.  Here is a video of what that was like:

Then, not surprisingly, I slept for a solid 12 hours.  More to come!