Friday, October 5

More about Bulgaria

We weren't really able to do a lot of sightseeing this time. Our trip was just actually 10 days and it involved the celebration of my Father in law's 70th birthday, preparing for it and meeting relatives. However this trip was a bit more stressful than usual. I got sick probably because of too much stress with the custom's control.
Background - Before coming to Bulgaria we checked with the embassy here in Germany about necessary visas and all. In my past trips to Bulgaria I have always had a visa. Well maybe times have changed. True enough it did, because of Bulgaria's entry into the European Union, wives/husbands of its citizens won't need any visa irregardless of their own nationality. So that means I would save about €65 plus for visa fee. That's a good deal for me.
Upon check in, the attendant didn't say anything about Visas. She didn't even check my passport. The V just showed our marriage certificate and all went smoothly.
Upon boarding: we needed to hand in boarding tickets and passports
Clerk: (hardly looks at Vlado's passport, mine however is scrutiningly controlled, every page, every sort of word) Where's her visa? (doesn't talk or even look at me -hello I'm here)
The V: Consulate said we don't need that for her.
Clerk: What!!?That can't be. (calls someone on the phone. apparently nobody on the other line.Clerk tries to look at her papers, she might have the solution to this puzzle.)
The V. meanwhile shows the marriage certificate to her
Clerk: Grunts and kept on looking at her stack of papers "I hate this when I have to do all this work and the check in people don't do their work!!! (
Finally, Clerk founds something in her papers.) Ok, she can go (still not addressing me directly) but she's allowed only in the airport for 5 days.
Me: Super puzzled look, what?
The V shoves me to go in and at this moment I was thinking about Tom Hank's movie in the Terminal where he actually played a bulgarian (although not mentioned in the movie, his language was bulgarian mostly) who can't leave the airport. This time I would be in Bulgarian soil but would be like Tom Hanks, how ironic.
Me: (talking to Vlado) What, did you hear that? !!!????!!!Q§$%"%
The V: No, I didn't hear anything, forget that stupid cow (dumme Kuh - in german the cows are a bit stupid, I really wonder why, I don't think their stupid, more like lazy and relaxed)
Me: Ok ( meanwhile imagining a 5 day vacation in the airport)
Next Scene, Custom's, Sofia Airport
All people have to go through here so you can imagine the long lines and the anxious faces of the people wanting to get rid of this bureaucracy and meet either their tour operators and families at the other side.
Border Police: (Barely looks at Vlado's passport, scrutinizing mine every page, every word) Talks to Vlado in Bulgarian.. blah, blah, blah....
The V: Blah, blah, blah, and shows the marriage contract
Border Police: Blah blah. (calls another police)
Me: (getting dagger looks from the people behind the line)
Another Police: Blah, blah, blah
The V.: Blah, blah while showing the marriage contract again.
Me: (oh my, smiling the whole time, so as not to look like a fugitive, meanwhile still getting dagger looks from the line of people)
Border Police 1 to boarder Police 2: blah, blah, blah
The V: blah, blah
Me: (already melting from the dirty looks)
Finally the Police blah blahs Vlado again and I was released from that supposed to be 5 day vacation in Sofia Airport.
If you think this story is finish, tune in again for my next post. There is indeed a Part 2.

Anyway, here are some more things I would like to share with you about Bulgaria. Bulgaria has really nice, colorful pottery. They have all kinds of shape and sizes. Cups, plates, pitchers. Name it you can have it. The only problem is bringing them home. They can be quite bulky.

Bulgaria's religion is Orthodox Catholic. Theirs is based on Greek Orthodox actually, although it is called Bulgarian Orthodox. Here are some of the souvenirs that has something to do with the icons. If you take a closer look at the paintings, they are really wonderful and beautiful, irregardless of the religious motif.
I love this Puppeteer, he is actually doing a folk show. The puppets are wearing traditional costumes and dancing to the folk songs.
Bulgarians love Paprikas. September is a month for Paprika, during our walks in the city and neighborhood, we can always smell Paprikas being baked. They are so aromatic and so flavorful. The Bulgarians eat them for salads, appetizers, main meals, for their breads, for spices. Actually just about for everything. They also eat them in all its form, whole, powdered, paste, baked, fried, cooked, etc. etc. I'm sure there's more than 1001 ways to eat Paprikas. They also come in so many forms but the best ones for me are the red ones. Just like this picture.
I will be posting more about the Baked Paprikas. It is indeed a very exciting experience for me when I first baked my own Churski in one of the famous Bulgarian ways of preparing it. (The V should correct me on this one in case I mispelled it:)

Watermelons galore! They are so sweet and so good although in this picture, they may not look so beautiful. They're the sweetest, especially after getting one for free :) Buy 1, Take 1. Being asian is still very special in this land. The people are very friendly and amazed with my different looks.
Bulgaria has lots of cats. They are everywhere just like in Tuscany, they either belong to the locals or just on their own. What strikes me though with the cats here are that they are mostly in groups. Cats are known to be independent and more on their own.

Another interesting thing I have seen in this country is the way they annouce the death/anniversary/ birthday of their dead loves ones. They don't do it in newspapers (according to The V. my source) But rather this way. You walk in the neighborhood, shopping streets, etc. and you see such announcemnts. It's probably the places where this particular person used to live or spend her days. Well that would be all for now. I think my post is quite long this time. You can also take a look at my fellow Cybercruiser's Blog, Renny about his last trip to Bulgaria. Check Renny's entry here and more about his adventure with the bulgarian food here. Thanks again Renny for sharing that with me.


RennyBA said...

Thank you for taking us with - what a lovely guided tour in Bulgaria and Sofia.

You know I've been there (thanks for plugging me) and this was like going down the memory lane for me. I can see some of the same places and almost smell the atmosphere.

Thanks also for you reseach and for sharing some of the interesting facts with us!

sueisfine said...

interesting read & chain of events...what a nightmare at the customs!

Toni said...

Hi Renny and Sue, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Yup that custom's issue is such a pain in the neck. I'm glad it's over. It's one of the reasons why I'm applying now for a german passport. I may never look german in my life but that piece of paper will make it easier for me, especially travelling around the European Union.

A. said...

That sounds like quite a scary experience at border control :( Still, all's well that ends well. Those paprikas are amazing. I look forward to some recipes!