Archive of ‘Bulgaria’ category

Sofia Christmas Market Adventure 2017

I spent my birthday in Sofia, one of my favorite cities in the world. My birthday celebrations started on the plane where I was seated alone in the emergency row with more leg and arm room I knew what to do with. We rented another wonderfully decorated and cozy  Airbnb on the top floor of a 70 year old building. For my big day, I ate 5 star sushi for lunch at the Radisson with a huge Singapore Sling to wash it down, watched a live football match at the arena, visited our friends at Beera for craft beers, drank hot wine at the Christmas market while watching a super lively concert, went shopping after said wine and bought a bunch of things I probably don’t need and finished the day off with a mini dance party and Skype with friends (which I don’t remember). Perfect holiday.

Girl party! No boys allowed!

Every year I try to do something fun with my little Russian neighbours, this year I threw a “Girl Party” in my tiny apartment. We baked cupcakes (12 people in a 450 sq/ft area with the oven blasting in 30 degree weather), made icing from scratch and decorated everything with candies and fruits. We listened to jazzy music while we cooked (their choice) and played girly dance music while we waiting for the cakes to cool. Post cupcakes I taught the girls how to play Pictionary and everyone thought it was “sooooo coool” that I let them use erasable markers to scribble on the window instead of using regular paper. These girls are truly amazing, I couldn’t believe how sweet and polite everyone was, I just loved having them over! Next year I’m organizing a lantern festival, I’m already excited!

Girl Party!

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Stotinki sneaking in a cuddle with Margo.

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The marshmallow tripled in size in the oven.

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Bragging to friend in Russia and Poland.

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The powdered food colouring dyes everything, Sasha might have a blue mouth for the rest of her life. P.S. How cute are these girls!!!

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Margo!

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The frosting got a bit messy.

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Diana sporting this year’s shade of neon green.

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I respect Dasha’s attention to detail and fierce concentration.

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The cupcakes were really darn good.

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I think they had fun.

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We played a medium level (all in English) Pictionary game without any problems or language barriers.

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My favorite drawing was Olivia’s masterpiece, the flamingo! Ha ha we laughed so hard!

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I chose a vanilla cupcake filled with sprinkles and gummy bears topped with rainbow icing. Perfect party with my fantastic friends!

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Zheravna Bulgaria for Valentine’s day.

We spent Valentine’s day in a cute little village called Zheravna in central Eastern Bulgaria. This village is known for its historical wooden houses (between 200-300 years old) surrounded by stone walls and cobblestone alleys. We where there during the “off season” which meant we were the only tourists in town.

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View from our room.

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Homemade Polish milk caramels.

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UP CLOSE!

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Yoga on a pirate ship.

Spring is here and the sun rises much earlier (around 6 am) which is wonderful but that also means my stupid cat starts meowing and dancing on my head so I wake up and play with her. Some mornings I wear earplugs and eye covers but she sits on my chest and paws at the eye cover, snapping it back in my face over and over (while meowing progressively louder). Who raised this monster!?! Why do I live in a loft? Why don’t we have a room with a door that locks? Why can’t she be like the other cat?

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Anyways! This morning I got this super crazy idea to actually wake up, put some clothes on and do yoga on the beach. Yoga? Who am I? I usually go to the beach and drink morning beers.

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Not one person on the beach, I got the whole pirate ship to myself! I obviously don’t have a yoga mat so my exercises were done directly on the wet, splintery wooden planks, paying extra attention not to fall through the broken and missing ones.

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Overall it wasn’t so bad, I MIGHT try this again one day. P.S. I came home a couple hours later and Matt and both cats were all cuddled together snoring loudly, no one noticed I left. 

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St-Patrick’s day fun.

This photo was taken at 1 PM in the only Irish pub open at this time of year. The bar was packed with Matt, the bartender and I…not exactly what I’m used to on this day but we made the best of it. I brought my own green food colouring just in case the Bulgarians didn’t have any.

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Abandoned waterslide close to our house.

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Good spot to watch the sun set over the Black Sea.

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Matt didn’t appreciate my singing/yelling through the plastic tube.

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We’re back home and safe!

Our London trip was a great success, we accomplished everything we wanted to do with a few extra adventures. I have many more pictures to post and stories to tell but first I must unpack, pet the cats and somehow whip up a Christmas party.

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A few phone photos from my girl weekend in Sofia with Krassi, Eli and Maya.

I had such a wonderful time with these ladies! We visited about a thousand shopping malls, walked around town in the beautifully sunny weather, I made homemade pesto pasta for everyone, we drank wine, ate macarons and laughed our heads off.

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View from Bulgaria Mall.

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View from Maya’s aunt’s apartment.

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25 degree weather in the middle of November!

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Eli and Krassi at a TERRIBLE restaurant.

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Eli!

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Quick lunch in Plovdiv on the way back.

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My favorite pizza and beef Carpaccio.

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Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part one.

We officially have a “Sofia system”, meaning, we know where and how to have the most amount of fun in Bulgaria’s capital in the shortest amount of time. First, we try and arrive late in the afternoon on a Friday to pay the least amount of parking at our special secure spot (it costs a bank breaking $4 a day to park here, a travesty) close to everything (weekends are free). Our parking spot is close to the outdoor market, next to a metro station, near two supermarkets, easily walkable to the center and right in front of the world’s best pizza by the slice hut. After a few sips of champagne and one or two slices of heavenly pizza we grab our camera and head towards the action.

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The outdoor market gets really busy on the weekends, locals come and buy fresh produce in preparation for their end of week parties with family and friends. Below is a long line up for a potato vendor. Though all the stalls sell potatoes, this one was especially popular this day.

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Not everyone likes getting their picture taken at work.

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Typical fall vegetables. I love the green tomatoes, people pickle them in vinegar and serve them with homemade booze called rakia (rakia is the national drink and tastes like jet fuel, we avoid it at all cost).

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At the end of the outdoor market a lady sells the most succulent French fries. The potatoes are sweet, almost vanilla flavored and I’m pretty sure they are fried in goose fat. OMG! Seriously, these are the best fries in the world.

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Next, I like shopping in the only Chinese store (that I know of) in Bulgaria. This trip I picked up a tub of Chinese style miso, spicy dried chilies with toasted sesame, a plum sauce and shrimp crackers. It’s really a challenge buying strange ingredients when the labels are written in Chinese and Bulgarian but I don’t mind coming home with a few surprises.  

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A young Bulgarian girl who really wanted us to take her picture.

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Sofia is a strange place, such beauty mixed in with sadness. You can see impressively ornate Austro-Hungarian buildings and parliaments beside derelict abandoned homes, brand new flagship Mercedes zooming by old men begging for change, 6 foot tall supermodels dripping in jewelry walking past  children with no shoes. None of it makes sense. 

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Another house used to live here.

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Next on our tour, sushi and drunken walking…

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Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part Two.

Matt and I hate appointments, the responsibly of being at a certain place at a certain time is far too taxing on us, we like to live minute by minute when we travel. One of our favorite things to do in Sofia is pig out on sushi and rose wine and we discovered that by reserving online we can get 20% off the entire bill! So it was set in stone, 6pm at Happy Sushi, we had to be there rain or shine (how could we handle all this stress!).

 

We stopped at a cool underground pub along the way and chatted with a group of Austrian men who vacation together in a new country every year to drink beer and get away from their wives (I hear the wives have their own outings). I just love Europe and how easy it is to travel around here.

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I’m telling a fascinating story here…I’m pretty sure I’m drunk.

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Yup, drunk.

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5:55pm, yay we made it!

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I don’t have any sushi photos but believe me it was delicious!

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We stopped at the indoor market before it closed and stocked up on snacking sausages. Smokey, ooey gooey homemade sausages, drool!

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We slowly made our way back to the camper and drank some more wine, ate snacks and watched a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain before falling asleep.

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Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part three.

Another thing we like to do in Sofia is explore the residential areas (Matt calls them ‘suburbia’). Mazes of communist era block buildings with courtyards and playgrounds with old men playing cards and drinking coffee and rakia. 

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Once in a while you can find little cafes, Bulgarians are crazy about cafes. 

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All streets lead to Vitosha street, the main pedestrian road lined with shops and cafes.

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Next post will be about our magical train ride. Many pictures to come….

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I’m missing my Russian neighbours!

Here are a few photos from our last BBQ party of the season. 

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Stripes were all the rage this summer.

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My beautiful sister in-law Agata!

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Little Max on the left.

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Elizabeth and her men.

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Prepping 40 kilograms of meat.

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Agata started the dance party with the chicken dance.

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Princess Margot!

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Day trip to Veliko Tarnovo with Martin, Janna, Elizabeth and Max.

Janna and Martin looking fabulous.

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My favorite neighbours Max and Elizabeth.

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Max is terrified of heights.

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Local beer.

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Ninja turtle.

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Beautiful restaurant with lousy food. This is my mushy salad…the bacon is the only edible part.

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Matt’s watery soup.

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Soggy deep-fried frog legs.

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Veliko Tarnovo is so pretty!

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Hanging out at my favorite Veliko Tarno restaurant overlooking the valley.

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Bread with pears and prosciutto.

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Oxtail and mushrooms.

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Lamb and beef meatballs.

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Pesto chicken.

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