Saturday, 25 October 2014

SHARING THE LOVE FOR BULGARIA

                          
GUEST POST FROM MARIA
Maria is a travel blogger from Bulgaria. She blogs at Travelling Buzz where she is trying to prove it is possible to keep a full time job and to get short travel breaks to dream destinations. She also focuses on budget trips and experiences. Follow her journey!



You won’t believe how beautiful Bulgaria is... 
                                                                                                 …unless you see it with your eyes.    
I love talking to foreigners about Bulgaria. You know why? Because almost every single thing I say about this small but charming country in Eastern Europe surprise them in a good way. I think this is because most of the travellers have not heard anything about Bulgaria. Or even if they did, it was a bad thing.
Let me tell you that: Bulgaria is beautiful and young (in spirit) and full of energy! Recently I spoke with one American guy visiting Bulgaria by chance. He told me what surprised him the most was the fact that everything was so green here. Another friend of mine, also a foreigner, told me that people here looks really happy. Well, guys, the country is really going to surprise you with its beauty and charismatic appearance.

Let me show you some of the iconic places in Bulgaria which you definitely have to check out when you visit. There is something for every taste.

NATURE

1. The Seven Rila Lakes
There are many sights in Bulgaria that can make you admire the perfection of nature. A great example of that are the 7 lakes which lie in the highest Bulgarian and Balkan mountain – Rila. It may be really hard and tiring to get there but the view is worth it.






2. The Belogradchik Rocks

The Belogradchik Rocks are another must see sight in Bulgaria. These strangely shaped rock formations are associated with interesting legends. One of them says there was once a girl known for her raving beauty who stopped by a near spring to drink water. But then a dervish attacked her and she started running to the rocks. Suddenly a bear came in front of the girl and she fell on her knees not knowing what to do and how to escape. Then a thunder hit the ground and the three of them – the girl, the dervish and the bear stood in stone.

3. “Skoka” Waterfall
There are many waterfalls in Bulgaria. The highest one in the country as well as on the Balkans is “Raiskoto Praskalo” (Heavenly Spray) in the Balkan Mountain. The one on the picture is located near Teteven and is called “Skoka” (The Jump).















HISTORY

4. Plovdiv
Bulgaria is one of the oldest countries in Europe. As of that fact, there are many places that looks like they are still living a 100 years ago. Let’s take Plovdiv for instance. This is the second largest city in the country and is one of the oldest in the world. An ancient Roman architecture can be still seen in the old town. The most famous is the Ancient Theatre.





5. Tsarevets
Tsarevets is a medieval stronghold in Veliko Tarnovo. It served as a primary fortress, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces.









TRADITIONS

6. Nestinarstvo
By Apokalipto via Wikimedia Commons

Nestinarstvo is a ritual involving barefoot dance on smouldering embers. It is performed because of a unique mixture of orthodox beliefs and older traditions.








7. Kukeri

Kukeri is another interesting Bulgarian ritual. It is performed in order to scare away evil spirits. Costumed men with large bells attached to their belts walk and dance through the village in order to bring good harvest, wealth and health to people.







8. Martenitsa

On the first day of March Bulgarians give each other white and red adornment. It symbolize health and it is believed that if you wear it you will make the winter pass faster and bring spring. It is worn until the first time a person sees a stork, swallow or blossomed tree like on the picture.





9. Sofia – growing but never aging
And finally – Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The city is trying to remain its ancient spirit but is also trying to “catch up” with the present. And that’s what makes it so charming. A nice and interesting mixture of epochs and people will make you want to take the first ride to Bulgaria.




But don’t get your hopes up. Bulgaria can be tough. Low salaries, corruption… But if you think further, this is not the only place that have these problems. The right way to experience the country is backpacking, away from the buzz and problems and enjoying the wild nature and beautiful sights without skipping the cultural experience.

The cheapest flights in Europe