Showing posts with label Bulgaria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bulgaria. Show all posts

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Pictures Of Plovdiv

These prints were from the visit we made to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, back in 2009.  We recently got them framed at Moldeco, and they did their usual great job.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bulgarian Souvenirs

Since they're all to the people we gave them to, I can now show you the souvenirs we picked up in Bulgaria. Everything here, altogether, was very inexpensive. I kept the books. My companion kept the copper bowl.

By far, the most expensive thing we bought was this copper bowl. It's fairly large, and I just fell in love with it. It'll get used, too.

These are just some little things. The wooden bottle on its side has rose oil inside. Attar of roses is a major Bulgarian export. Who knew? The barrel can opener just feels good in your hand when you use it. It went to my husband.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dinner in Plovdiv

This restaurant is a two minute walk from the hotel, across a park. We went there the first night we got in - after our twelve hour harrowing drive from Varna. We were exhausted and hungry, and this place welcomed us even though it was late in the evening. These pictures were taken on our second visit, on our last night in Bulgaria. Yes, it was that good.

By the way, if you go to the Balkans - the Cyrillic parts - memorize that top word. It's pronounced "restaurant".

Here's a picture of the building itself, past the sign. There are fountains and pools and tables all over the front are, and a very pretty garden. It was a bit chilly when we went, so the area wasn't open to sit outside.

And this is a picture of the menu. It's all in Bulgarian, but there are somewhat cryptic English translations below. Most restaurants in large cities in the Balkans have English translations on their menus. They may or may not be correct.

This was our main course, and it was wonderful! It's grilled chicken and vegetables with lemon, served in a wok-like dish. They called it chicken in a pot in English (I told you their translations are a bit off!). Everything had a hint of paprika that went wonderfully with the lemon.

My first course was chicken soup. It was served in its own tureen, complete with ladle. Lots of actual chunks of chicken in a mildly spiced broth. When we took a picture of it, the owner saw what we were doing and gave us free shortbread cookies because we liked the food so much! They were good, too. The check, by the way, was about 25 lev for both of us, translating to about 12.50 euro or less than $20. Overall, don't fear the food in Bulgaria. Most of it's very good. There's only on restaurant we went to where the service and food were subpar. It was a pizza place in Varna.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Favorite Bulgarian City

I really fell in love with Plovdiv. You've probably never heard of it, but it's about an hour or so southeast of Sofia. Skip Sofia. Go to Plovdiv. The architecture is amazing, there's plenty of stash to shop for, and it's the only place in Bulgaria we saw where everyone smiles back. Anyway, this top picture is of the Ethnographic Museum. It's chock full of beautiful things, and the building itself is pretty spectacular. All of it was hand painted.

Here's an example of what's inside the Ethnographic Museum. It's a mural of icons. I just thought it was really pretty. For more pictures of the Ethnological Museum and its contents, go here.
Here is a picture of one of Plovdiv's public fountains at night. It's right in front of the headquarters of the local orchestra. I just liked the novelty of it. The weather we had was near perfect, not too hot, not too cold, and not rainy.

This picture is of part of the exterior of the Saints Constantine and Elena church in Plovdiv's Old Town. Both inside and out, the church is covered in hand painted frescoes. They're gorgeous. While we were visiting, there was a baptism going on inside.

I have no idea who the guy is under the pigeon, but it was just sitting there perfectly pleased. There are a bunch of statues and busts in the very wooded public park at the foot of the main shopping road/area downtown.

This mosque was the most prominent we saw in Bulgaria. It's in a central square right next to the ruins of an old Roman amphitheater and the main shopping area. The outer area is really detailed wood carvings.
Anyway, I -loved- Plovdiv and feel we didn't spend enough time there. I'd really like to go back. As my companion loads up more pictures, I'll share a few more with you.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Last of the Stash

This is the last of my stash purchases. I got more Alize yarn, including bright cotton and bright bamboo. I just loved the colors. The blue mohair will be done up into another afghan. I wonder if the company has any plans to export to the US. I'd buy it.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Varna Stash

Sometimes you just turn around and a shop is there. That's what happened several times in Bulgaria with us. The shop I bought this stuff from in Varna was - get this- in the pedestrian underway to cross the road in front of the cathedral. It was a tiny hole in the wall and stocked with trims and yarn, no fabric. In Bulgaria, it's either a trim and yarn shop or a fabric only shop, no mixing! I couldn't even find pins in the fabric shops.

The two skeins of yarn are a local brand and eyelash. I just liked the color and they feel silky smooth. The trims were dirt cheap. I really like the dyed lace on top the best.

I even bought some beads. My companion said that every time I walk into one of these shops in poorer countries, I pay the shop's rent for the week or month. I think he's silly. All the shop keepers were friendly and helpful, even when I didn't speak Bulgarian and they didn't speak English.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Plovdiv Cross Stitch

I bought two cross stitch kits from the yarn shop in Plovdiv. They're from a Polish company called Ariadna. The fabric's pregridded, and you can see from the designs that they're completely stitched. Price was exceedingly small. I'll start working on one soon to see if I like the way it stitches up.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Worst Road EVAR

These pictures are of the -good- part of the trip from Varna to Plovdiv. We did all the prudent things - we had a map. We printed off directions from google. Everything should have gone smoothly, right? Nope. We got lost. Actually, we took the right road ... it was just a goat track. So. Here's the good part: we stopped for lunch just north of Shumen at this place. The owner didn't speak a word of English and we didn't speak any Bulgarian. From deciphering the menu written totally in Cyrillic, I was able to order us chicken soup and shop salad for lunch, along with diet coke and bread. It was excellent!
Here's a picture of the soup. It was obviously homemade and very full of bits of chicken.

This is a typical shop salad plus a few extras - the local feta-type cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes. There were olives and onions in this one too. We ate the whole thing. This salad is normally served without dressing.

As you can see, the owner keeps this restaurant in the middle of no where in immaculate shape. The local shepherd was enjoying a midafternoon beer, his flock across the road, while we were eating. Anyway, we'd gone too far on this road and we were on the way to Romania instead of Bulgaria when we passed here. We turned around just after and got onto the "right" road. BIG mistake. I was driving, my first time driving in the Balkans (another story there), and we ended up on a road that was washed out in one direction and full of potholes in the other. Lucky for us, we were supposed to take the pothole direction - over a several thousand foot mountain behind a logging truck on basically a one lane, two way dirt track. I drove it all, though, and my companion didn't complain about my driving once. It was still scary! No photos of the road - we were so busy driving and trying to stay un-wrecked that pictures just didn't cross our minds.
What was supposed to be a six hour drive took almost double that. I'm just glad that we got a good lunch and a warm welcome at the hotel in Plovdiv when we got there. Never, ever take Route 7 in Bulgaria. It's a nightmare.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bulgaria's Stone Forest

About ten miles west of Varna, just off the highway back to Sofia, there's a natural geological formation. We visited it, and here are some pictures. It's the Stone Forest, and it's a national heritage spot in Bulgaria.

Even though there's sand underfoot in these pictures, the surrounding area is tree-dotted meadow. The "forest" runs about three kilometers by half a kilometer and a road straddles it. They say these rock formations were made just like stalactites and stalagmites and then the cave just fell in and eroded around them while they stayed in place.

The guide/money collector (entrance was less than two euros each) gave us a New Age spiel about the energy of the rocks and their spiritual healing power. Needless to say, we didn't fall for that. We did, however, take lots of pictures of lizards and flowers. Those aren't on flickr yet, though. Anyway, if you get to the Varna area, do visit. It's impressive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yarn from Sofia

My first yarn shop in Bulgaria introduced me to a brand I've never heard of before - Alize. I bought its mohair blend, which I'm turning into an afghan. It's got great loft and a very luxurious feel. What's better is the price was about $4 a skein ... for mohair ...
The smaller balls are all perle cotton. They were about a euro each. I really like the colors, but haven't used them yet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trims from Plovdiv

I found a needlework shop in Plovdiv! It had cross stitch supplies and a whole bunch of trims, walls of them. The prices were mismarked, so I didn't buy as much as I should have. This is what I did buy, though. A meter of each - and the total cost under ten euros!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stash from Plovdiv, Part 2

I bought a -lot- of fabric in Plovdiv. This set of pictures is the result of my second shop's raiding. Most of the laces are beaded.

This shop had a lot of really nice lace at a very reasonable price, so I stocked up.

I thought the white was interesting with the lace inserts.

The gold is heavily beaded and the flowers are beautiful.

This black didn't turn out well in the photo, but it's taffeta with gold-edged taffeta ribbon roses on it. Looks really nice.

Had to put this lace on black so you can see it. It's gorgeous.

The Last of Varna

Here are my last pictures of Varna. This top picture was taken from a hilltop just outside Golden Sands, north of Varna on the coast. Golden Sands is a very crowded all inclusive place. The sea looks better in this picture than on previous days, though.

Here's the Cathedral of the Assumption. Our hotel in Varna was just behind it. It's very pretty inside, but I like the way it looks lit up outside at night better.

And this interesting building houses the Bulgarian Navy Band. It's a light blue in the day, but they really make a show of it at night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stash From Plovdiv, Part 1

Okay, so I went a little bit crazy with fabric buying in Plovdiv. But we found LOTS of fabric stores! This is the set of fabric I bought from the first fabric store - and it was very reasonably priced. Most of the fabrics were under 3 euros/meter.

These next pictures are all close ups of the fabrics. The blue and peach florals are going to be great for motifs; some of the flowers are three dimensional.
Three stretch laces are also here - all of them under 2 euros/meter. I also liked the overall lace floral in the upper left here. I think it'll make a great store of motifs.

More of Varna

When you first drive in to any Bulgarian city, you see row upon row of high rise apartment blocks. Sofia has them. Plovdiv has them, but not nearly as many. And Varna has several miles of them.

They were built during the communist era, and you can see from these pictures taken with my camera phone from the car how dilapidated they look. For large numbers of Bulgarians, this is a step up from the rural huts of the villages. All of the cities are in the process of building new, better housing. It's needed. I thought it was important to show these and not just the pretty places.

We drove home to Pristina yesterday. I'll be here just over another week before returning to the States.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Outside the Cities

We drove outside Varna on our second day there and stumbled upon a monastery. We decided to visit, thinking it'd be a collection of buildings. Needless to say, it wasn't. This first picture is a bit of mural that was taken off the monastery wall during its rediscovery.

The place is called Aladzha; it's north of Varna and south of Golden Sands, about a mile from the coast. You can see it's all wild around it from this picture. In fact, it's in the middle of a nature reserve.
And here is the monastery itself. Yep, it was carved into the hillside in the 13th and 14th centuries. Despite my fear of heights, I went all the way to the top.

This was one of the monastery's bigger chambers - the refectory. Yes, the ceiling's that low and yes, it's open to the air.

And here's a picture out from about halfway up the monastery. Really pretty parkland surrounds it and it'd be a pleasant place for a picnic. Unfortunately, my companion did not take a picture of the scary stairs up the side of the hill, so I can't show you how brave I was.