June 2015 archive

We’re in Greece!

When my best friend Jenner and her boyfriend Dan started planning a little holiday around Greece they decided to invite Matt and I to come meet them in Thessaloniki. Since Thessaloniki is one of my favorite cities and Jenner is my favorite girl, the answer was a no brainer, YES! We arrived a couple days before the met date and set up camp by the sea in a smaller holiday town called Peraia.

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We arrived in the country on June 28th, just as Greece’s debt crisis reached its peak. It was said that the following day the banks would close, ATM machine transactions would be limited to 60 euros and no one knew if Visa pos terminals would work in stores. Though I didn’t see any signs of panic or worry on peoples faces there was a undeniable sense of confusion and uncertainty throughout. That night we filled up our gas tank (thankfully one of the gas stations excepted our Visa) and tried to take money out but all the machines were depleted of cash.   

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Stuck without any euros in our pocket, we headed into town to check out the scene. First stop, a folk festival with dancing, music, big BBQs full of food and lots of plastic tables and chairs filled with people having a good time. The smell of the pork souvlakis roasting over hot coals was mouth watering, we couldn’t help ourselves but drool next to the food stand! A friendly man noticed us right away and bought us each a stick with bread!! Hallelujah!

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Next, we strolled along the busy seaside walkway holding hands, happy we were back in Greece. A vendor selling fresh doughnuts dipped in local honey saw our expressions as we walked pass and offered us a doughnut and a little chat. Wow, how lucky are we?

It was getting late. Along our travels we asked dozens of people and shop owners if they knew of any banks which still had money but Peraia is a small seashore town with only 4 banks. I guess we’d have to figure something out (as in, what will we eat?) the following day. Only minutes after returning to our camper a man knocks on our door. It was Pascal, a super friendly guy we had talked to earlier at a local restaurant. He came with a huge bag of food: tomato and cucumber salad,  a heaping portion of Pastitsio, chicken with lemony Greek potatoes, bread, Tyrokafteri and Cokes. We couldn’t believe it! The Greeks are warm and lovely people, I just love being here! Opa!   

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We are back in the camper for another adventure.

Meeting our good friends Jenner and Dan in Thessaloniki, Greece in a couple days. Perfect opportunity to visit cool Bulgarian cities, towns and attractions along the way. Below is a picture of my home office on wheels.

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First stop the Bulgarian Aviation Museum.

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Soyuz-33 spacecraft reentry capsule.

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Perfect Smoked Salmon Salad.

Boiled new potatoes, smoked salmon, hot peppers, garlic/dill and yogurt sauce, crispy salmon skin, homemade pickled mustard seeds, yellow beans, red onion marinated in lemon juice, capers, beet / bok choy and rocket leaves from my garden and fresh eggs from our friend’s chickens.DSC06852

Hanging out in Kazanlak, Bulgaria.

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The man on the right acted as our Polish/Bulgarian translator while Matt relayed the Polish into English for me.

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This man showed us a bunch of photos of himself from his trip to NYC in 1989.

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This is a craft Bulgarian basketball hoop.

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Kazanlak Rose Festival, Bulgaria.

“The Rose Festival is one of the most remarkable events in Bulgaria, dedicated to beauty and flowers, to spring and the fragrance of the priceless Kazanlak rose.”

On Friday morning Matt and I packed up the camper and headed West to check out this event for ourselves!

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Our 3 day vacation went flawlessly. We parked under a church right at the entrance of the festival (for free), met so many people from around the world (huge bus loads of South Koreans, Americans, Polacks, etc.), went dancing until 7AM, ate the most amazing food over fascinating conversations, watched traditional folk dancing and singing, walked 15 km around the city everyday, drank with the locals sitting on apartment stoops, shopped at an outdoor market and watched old TV shows and partied in our camper.  

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Bulgaria produces about 70% of all rose oil in the world.

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A friendly looking grandmother watching the show.

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