Monday, 27 June 2011

Elena a Great Place to Visit

I can't believe I forgot the camera, DOH!!!!!!! On Sunday we decided to go to the car boot at a (what we thought was local) camp site. I have been wanting to go for over a year & finally we had an opening. Bev & Norman came to pick us up & as we drove off I realised I had left it along with my mob at home, still thinks I, we are just up the road! Wrong!!! We went to the campsite we thought was Camping VT & the moment of dread when a guy who does not speak English (first indication) stares at us then gesticulates when I am repeating car boot, Car boot, with a questioning lifting of my arms (as the Bulgarians do) &after guessing well no cars in sight means no car boot, Intelligent me, Bugger! After trying to find out if there is another near by I managed to understand this was the only place around, so phoned Pete & Claire for directions. Well we went the right way but still managed to get lost & went way past where we should have :( I was very disappointed but we went as far as Elena, another place I had wanted to visit for about 6 yrs. We saw, what we took as a hotel, umbrellas high up & decided this could provide coffee. Bev being very observant saw some steps & up we all climbed, hundreds of them, well it felt like hundreds :D Thankfully it was a cafe & we managed to get a reviving cup. Even though it looked like a hotel bar & outside was a very nice above ground pool with umbrellas, it was infact under a block of flats! That's Bulgaria for you :D & one of the peculiarities I love about this country, the normal rules do not apply here D Anyway we spent what was left of the day in Elena which was lovely & we definitely be going back again to spend a longer time there.
 The belfry of the patron, "Nativity of Mary"virgin birth church -town of elena
Nigel & I found a little Orthodox church "The Nativity of  the Virgin" church, after walking through a little bell tower, which is a separate building. Walking through the old open doorway leads into a lovely church yard with one of the best kept headstones I have seen. The stones all had china cameo's embedded into them with photo's of the deceased. Some held whole families others husband & wives, a really lovely tradition which no doubt keeps these people's memories alive. The church was being looked after by a family, Baba, grandaughter & dad, who was potting flowers, & as people came in to worship we looked around the very well cared for building with its perfectly clean interior. The paintings were vibrant & enchanting the carer's friendly with bright smiles. It was also the first little church I have seen with a huge pulpit high in the heavens made out of beautifully carved wood reminiscent of the wood carvings in Bali. The upper level had vaulted arched ceilings, a magnificent architecture. There were also lots of really old huge leather bound books maybe prayer books & or Bibles, difficult to tell as I didn't want to handle them too much they were soooo old, wonderful. I didn't light a candle for my brother as I don't believe in praying for the dead, once gone it's too late to change your mind & no amount of someone else praying for your soul is going to change that.
Nigel was by now very hungry so we found a little pizza & grill below a hotel on the main drag. The service was very good & even though the waitress didn't speak English & the menu was in Cyrillic with no photo's we managed with the little knowledge I have of the alphabet to order a really tasty pizza & off course a shopska salad with no onions along with coffee's & very nice it was too. We had noticed an open doorway to a garden behind it & Nigel had seen a huge bust of a preisty man, as he puts it. He also noticed people coming & going so after we went to investigate a little out of the way garden & all its secrets it held.
File:Ilarion Makariopolski House.jpg
The memorial house of Ilarion Makariopolski
This house is well worth a walk round, perfectly preserved & sparsely furnished as it would have been, each room in its own original setting. The fire places amazing, the rooms huge & the windows letting in so much light. A wonderful balcony where you can imagine them sitting drinking cafe in the hot summers day then having their siesta with the breeze cooling them. Loved this house. There is a small museum in what was the basement with photo's & manuscripts. Also an area with religious paintings with Jesus & Mary actually looking how they probably did with dark skin black eyes big ugly noses etc not the long blond hair & blue eyes people are fed!!!! Well worth the time spent here a lovely peaceful atmosphere & a beautiful example of a typical Bulgarian revival house :D
Across the road to the house is a cafe that does ice cream Sunday’s, off course we had to try one just so I could let you know, yep well worth the 2 lev yum!
So even though we didn't get to the car boot we had a really enjoyable day & will be going back just as soon as we can.

The mountain town of Elena has a unique museum set up on 2 Doino Gramatik Street.
Throughout time, the house became the birthplace of three great Bulgarians. Ilarion Makariopolski was a fighter for Orthodox Church independence in Bulgaria. His brother Nikola Mihailovski became the leader of the Bulgarian National Movement during the revival period. Nikola’s son, Stoyan Mihailovski, in turn became a poet.
The house brags both a rich collection and outstanding architecture. Made of wood and stone, work on it ended in 1710. Two staircases lead to the second floor, one covered and one open-air.
Napreduk (progress) library club was founded in one of the rooms in 1863.
Taken from

Friday, 24 June 2011

Summer's Arrived, Hot Hot Hot, Voda, Voda, Voda

Well this blog is going to be lacking in photos as my camera has broken :( It seems we are in yet another phase of loss, technical loss. Our microwave has just stopped working, for no apparent reason, then my camera's screen has been damaged while in my bag :(:(:( the second in less than a year & this netbook is on its last legs :(:( I don't know what we will do if we lose this as it's a lifeline & we need it for work :/ I am praying it will be ok as we can't replace it!
Look at Nigels white legs :) we are both loads browner now!
The weather is scorching hot. This year has been slow to get going, but then, wallop straight into summer heat! We enjoy months of beautiful sunshine here in Bulgaria. Yes we do have thunder storms & downpours but after June its usually short lived & cools us down for an hour or so but in August we have no rain at all & the temps are stupidly high! August is a month spent in the pool :)

My mum bought us the best present ever, a swing which turns into a hammock bed. It's wonderful & is now a place for siesta :) It's soooo comfortable. The pool is coming into its own yet again & so is Nigel :) he likes to go naked when he is not working & is relaxing by or in the pool cooling off :D One day he will get burnt on that lilo!!!
Last years chilli rista's, well one of them
The veggies are doing well, although Kami has killed a couple of my chilli plants by digging holes by them. Tomatoes are fruiting & everything needs voda (water) so every evening at sundown the watering starts, this takes a good hour or more. This week I have been, & am still, weeding all the veg plots. The beetroots were looking very sad for themselves Nige has been strimming & brush cutting everywhere else. The weeds go mental after a bit of rain & then the heat & our whole property gets swallowed up, so now we have adopted a new strategy. Where we were clearing the weeds we are now strimming which actually has encouraged grass to grow!!! Where there was no grass we now have some, which is spreading :) OK so its not brill grass more like weed grass but it will do & actually the gardens are looking great, so is the pool area. We were going to put a pebble flooring (for want of a better word)  in the pool area but finances have not allowed for that as yet, soooo I am going to try & create a rockery in the middle of the "grass" area, so this year it will at least look loads better. At some point (hopefully in Aug) the barn roof has to be taken down & re roofed, before it collapses so I intend to appreciate what I have before it gets worse, as it may not get better till next year :)
The fruit tree's are coming & going. Our Rainier tree's have finished fruiting & the Morrello are now ready. I have just today discovered a Morrello tree that I didn't know I had :D I went down the bottom of the "paddock" to check on the tree's & low & behold deep red orbs were flashing at me! Now I love the Morrello tree as I can do so much with them & none go to waste unlike the Rainier cherry. To say I am delighted is an understatement :D Its only a youngish tree which is probably why we have not found it before & this maybe the first fruiting from it. The big Morrello tree is having a bad fruiting year but has also given me a couple of new tree's so I should be well away in a couple of years hahaha. The ruts from the plough are quite difficult to navigate. I followed, so far, a track that Sophie has made when she goes visiting her doggie friends & then it was well health & safety! Stupidly I didn't think & went in my cossie with a sarong & flip flops, not sensible attire. I was bitten by all sorts on my feet, arms & back. I won't be doing that again, it will be jeans boots & a tee shirt in future!
The Plum tree's are doing very nicely than you :) & are now just ripening on the tree's. This means that I/we will have to check down there every day for the ripe plums & that a very busy time is coming up for me! These are the most gorgeous sweet little plums, round in shape & juicy. We have a couple of red tree's & a white tree. Oh my goodness the white one's are to die for!!!!! I will be making plenty of the most gorgeous jam, I still have some from last year as we have so many. I will also be canning some & off course eating them as they are :D
While I was down there I checked over the pear tree's, alas we only have one tree in fruit the others are bare again :( I may have to have them chopped down & plant some new ones, shame! There is, as far as I can see only one apple in fruit too but that is ok as we have a ginormous tree u at the house here & I really don't need any more. The tree in the "paddock" is a small red apple & Nigel's favourite, sweet & delicious I have to admit as a person who does not like eating apples they are very nice. We also have a couple of tree's fruiting that I have no idea what they are, I think the birds must have given them to us ") I am looking forward to finding out & hope that there may be an apricot & a peach, please!!! We have had to cut down one of our peach tree's & the other I am too scared to check. It's a big ole tree which last year was full of fruit but the fruit was hard & pitted so no good at all, I am betting its the same which is why I can't look.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Great days of summer, Veggies & Dereliction

Its been a 3 weeks now since my mum abandoned us for good ole blighty :( Its been quite quiet & we miss her. Lots been going on in the garden though but the weather has been playing up a bit :(
We have had better weather than most, I don't know why but storms pass us by most of the time & we get less rain too. Still that said we have had a bit of rain recently & a couple of storms of no consequence really. Apart from last week when we had a torrential down pour reminiscent of being in Bali! It then went as quick as it came & cleared up back to beautiful sunshine & high 20c's. The weather this time of year can be mixed with real blistering heat & storms as its the cross over. This last few days were in the 35' & 38c in the shade, the week before was a mix of heat & storms.
The back ploughed up field now has not only our tomatoes but over 100 pepper plants, Egg plants, Melons, Courgette/Marrow (same diff), Potatoes & Nigel has just planted the Cucumber, Pumpkin, Butternut Squash & Water Melons. By the kitchen I have planted out the Chillie's & in the front we have Lettuce, Rocket, Beetroot, Runner beans, some Chives & Spinach.
With so much rain & sun the weeds have gone mental & I need to get out & hoe it all but the ground is too wet. I have to wait now till the end of the week, when we have full sun & very hot again.
Nigel has been a busy. He has helped with a friends electrics, helped with concreting a base for a swimming pool, been renovating a derelict room which will be a kitchen, done some plastering here in our new loo, been making me shelves & general hard graft in the garden. There is always so much to do here it never ends. I have put my foot down & said while he has no paid work I want him to take Wednesdays off so we can go to Polski Trambesh market together & have the day just enjoying ourselves. We had a day with Beverley & Norman last week, which was lovely. We mooched around the market then got all our fruit & veggies in, had lunch then came back here where I cooked dinner for us all. It was a boiling hot day so we ate outside it was a fun day!  Bev & I went off to Razgrad on Thursday for a girly day. The weather was boiling hot but we walked around looking in all the shops & then managed to have a rather nice Shopska salad (I didn't want to ruin my good work). Saturday we all went to Popovo for their village celebration weekend so another nice day with Nigel :D We walked all round the market there & found a place that were doing BBQ pork, by then Nigel was starved & I was tyring to stop him having doughnuts as I would have folded in my resolve. Well I have to say I was well impressed with the food we had it with a shopska salad & a rather large toasted roll, filled up nicely we opted for a Mr whippy style ice cream, half choc half vanilla for dessert. Yep I can it's all in the sin's :D On the way back Nigel got his doughnuts but walked behind me so out of my sight out of my mind & then at Bevs they had cake (Bev makes a rather delicious victoria sandwich) & I went without, soooooo Woohoo to me :D
This last week I have been home brewing. Its just come to the end of strawberry season here & into cherry season so I have made my first batch of cherry brandy, strawberry liqueur & cherry juice concentrate. I have bottled two ltrs of Elderflower & Lemon cordial & I have to say it is bloody gorgeous!!!! I won't know about the alcohol for another 3 months :(  I will be making more of the Elderberry & made more cherry brandy as Nigel harvested our cherry trees. I also have a batch of Visinata fermenting away, well it will be Visinata when I add the Vodka in two weeks. At the moment the cherries are fermenting in the sugar.  My Morrello cherry tree which is normally full to bursting is pretty empty of fruit, there's not enough to harvest, so I will be buying them this year :(:(:( the great thing is that in season there is a glut of all fruits & veg so it really is soooo cheap to buy!
I love Bulgaria in all seasons but summer is where it is at!!! The temps are very high, but to have so much sunshine is a major blessing. We all know sunshine is good for us & every Brit I have met says they have felt healthier since moving here. I find it facinating that a country that gets so cold in the winter gets so hot in the summer!
On the downside Nigel went to check out the damage done to one of our houses & also our friends 2 houses (these are all together) & the photo's are heartbreaking!!!!!! This was a gorgeous house when we bought it, needed all the usual done to it but a really lovely place with a nice bit of land. Now its nothing but rubble :(:( I am not sure what to do, I have some fantastical ideas for the future but how sad is this.......

RIP our little Blue house :(:(:(

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Month of May With Mum, Party Party Party! Malko History Lesson

First stop after picking up from airport, a nice cup of tea :)
Then it was a first try at our new Mackie D's in VT. We were all very disappointed! The food was luke warm verging on cold (which is how Bulgarian's eat their food) & just tasted off somehow, not off gone off just not nice!
At long last my mum made it over to stay with us, no mean feat as she has been really poorly for the last 6 yrs & at almost 87 has a need for new knees. My mum is fantastic, she has baffled not only her family, friends & all who know her but the doctors & specialists over the last yrs :D Anyway more of mum in her own blog at some point.
The weather started off badly when mum arrived, we were very concerned, but then Bulgaria welcomed her back with gorgeous days full of sunshine & very little rain or storms, they tend to pass us by :D Mum has been here many times but only to the coast so this was her first foray to the interior. Glad to say she LOVES it & can't get over the beauty & how green it is.
We had a great month but as happens here for some reason time goes so quickly, really, I mean it gallops by much faster than it ever did in the UK? One month is the equivalent to one UK week, it's very weird, so before we knew it we were driving back to Sofia airport with a heavy heart :(
There was lots of social events for us this month so mum got to meet all our closest friends from five different countries. We were able to do a little sight seeing & had a few meals out as well as a few parties, but the very best time of all were just me & my mum in the garden reading books & sunbathing :D Mum read four novels while she was here so very relaxed! I can't wait for her return hopefully for her birthday in August!
In the time mum was here flowers have come & gone & Bulgaria has come to life where there was none. This includes the grape vines which when she arrived were bare & before she left were covered in bunches of small grapes :D The Iris's were just green leaves then they gave a wonderful display & when mum went the peony's Orange Lillie's & roses were all out to say goodbye. Mum even got to witness the ploughing up of the back field & the planting of out tomatoes, squashes & veggies. So far this year we were well behind but have planted said toms, beetroot, lettuce, rocket, bean bushes, chives, pumpkin, chilli peppers, butternut squash, water melon, melon, pumpkin, courgette/marrow, cucumber & peppers. Probs already are a lot of stuff is being eaten. The bean bushes are disappearing & the chives have disappeared! we will have to see what survives but I would imagine its caterpillars? The tomatoes, chill, peppers, egg plants & corgettes are doing really well as are the grapes but only one cherry tree is showing good fruit one tree's fruit is dying as we watch, & my morrello is showing almost bare :( next year we will have to spray them all unfortunately!
Mum was amazed at the amount of different fruit trees we have & was very surprised with the size of our property, she was tickled to see the tractor plowing up the back :D
I am so pleased she got here to see how it really is because however much we tell people or try to explain how we live & what life is like here people just can't understand it till they see it & experience it for themselves.
Yovo & Pavlinka have been waiting for years to meet my mum so they lined up a meal at theirs for their celebration of St Georges day. This is a day also celebrated by all with the name George or Giorgiev (their surname) & on this day you will see the towns full of people eating & drinking with family & friends & the parks will be host to lots of families enjoying the holiday.
Elena, rabbit ears & Galya, white hair, are our Russian friends everyone else was Bulgarian & all treated mum like a queen.
We also took mum to meet our friends Beverley & Norman. The first time was while Nigel went off to do a bit of electrical work on their house they are renovating in Kostandents. While the boys were working hard we went into Popovo for coffee & a bit of shopping :D Then back to Bev's for dinner & play time for the new addition s to their family.....
These were meant to be ducklings but turned out to be Geese :D Cute as though!
Mum was well chuffed to see our local Stork complete with partner & entourage of small birds who do the housekeeping for them. No babies as yet though.
The tortoises have been very active since mum arrived & it was lovely to see her amazed at them. The speed they walk & the fact they run too :D It seems as soon as they warmed up from their hibernation they have been bonking constantly especially in the hot sun. It tickled mum to see them. Meeting & holding our two year old baby was something I think she will never forget!

The Queen Mum :)
That 70's Party.......
Norman celebrated his 70th while mum was here so we all went out for a meal in Veliko Tarnovo. Bev & Norm had never been before as they live in another area so it was special & we all had a very good time at the "Happy Man" then moved next door to the new Ego for drinks after. Norman has kissed the blarney stone, being Irish, & always has us in stitches, so much laughter, fun & story telling was had by all :D This was a lovely pre celebration as the main event was a 70's themed party on the following Saturday.
Welcome to the house of fun.......
The dancing Bulgarian chef
The good ole boat song! Memories of the friday club when I was 15 :)
The next party was for Yovo's brother over in Pechinovo. We met the georgievs over Polski Trambesh for drinks before going over & it was the first time she had met Svetlana. They all loved mum, I think also they can't get over that she came all that way on her own at her age :)
Love these people they look very stern but are really teddy bears :D
 The Bulgarians seem to have a holiday for everything & more, so I was able to take mum to the village Alphabet holiday concert. We have a theatre in Vinograd which holds all sorts of concerts. We have even had famous pop folk singers here complete with false boobs, lips, cheeks, lipo sucked to an inch of their lives & botoxed up to the hilt! The concert started with singing by children & then the teachers etc but the best bit was the dancing by the kids, brilliant! I was so pleased mum got to experience the real folk which is taught to all children & kept alive by all adults! I love the fact that everyone knows all the songs & dances & if you ask any Bulgarian about their past they know the lot! All the names dates & battles are imprinted in their memory!
The theatre was full & everyone was cheering & whistleling their appreciation after each set. I love the way they all come together to support each other & the little children were very professional & VERY good. No shyness here! I was struck by the difference to things children put on in the UK & how they are shy & not sure what they are doing. Here the children (all ages) loved being part of the show. I wondered is it because there are no expectations loaded on them just a time to enjoy themselves? The audience joined in for what they considered special songs & off course for the anthem. We had a great time & felt very uplifted when we left :)
We held a BBQ with Bulgarian, English, Polish & Russian friends. Proud to say us English were in the minority :) I don't think its right when we move here but only seek out brit friends, how wrong is that! I have met many an ex pat who do not have Bulgarian friends & don't socialise outside of the brits they have met on facebook! Now I don't pooh pooh having expat friends on FB but still prefer to mix with locals after all this is why we moved here!!!!! In fact the English friends we have, we have met through FB & after sorting out the nutters (yes many, many out there) we have a nice little group but I always mix our parties & I know Yovo loves meeting Foreign people. There are a few more English people on FB that I would like to meet & I hope one day we will add to our friends but we are also adding more & more Bulgarian & Russian friends as we go :):):)
Chef Nigel, boozing??????
 We had been out for a few meals in Veliko Tarnovo & had had coffee so mum could view Tsaravets but there were many things I wanted to show her & as Bev & Norman hadn't been there, just the once for a meal, we all spent the day after the BBQ sightseeing around VT.
First stop the local potters. I had already taken mum there as its my favourite place to browse & I wanted to show Bev. I love supporting local Bulgarians & these are lovely people. The pottery is made on the premises & sold in the garden area. I spend my time looking at all the different dishes & have recently had bought for me a wonderful hanging basket full of petunias. The flowers are in a plain pot with scalloped top which is then inside a traditionally painted larger pot which hangs & a smallish casserole pot. Bev found a large garden pot full of begonias which is on a stand & now looks quite regal on one of her balconies. I purchased two small painted pots with dishes with a small succulent in each one has handles, my new fav possessions. I would love to show photo's but my camera is broken but if you are ever in this area please seek it out & buy a little something to help support them, they have little things from 1 lev :) My mum purchased quite a few items & received a medium pot containing a chilli plant inside,  I now own this ;) 
I was very keen to show them our local monastery. Its very high up & is in the process of being renovated. We went there with my son & his friend 2 years ago & could not get into the church but found it all very fascinating. This time it was open & the beauty of some of the fresco's have been revealed after being covered by soot from the wood burning heating. It was difficult terrain for my mum but there was plenty of help with Nigel & Norman lifting her up & down steps. the views are spectacular & on another day it would have been fantastic but this day was overcaste & showery so much was hidden but the beauty of the area & the church were well worth the effort & pain mum went through to see it (her poor knees).
You do have to pay to go in the church but it is a minimal payment of a couple of lev's & well worth it.
Buliding started 1834 & finished 1861
"The wheel of life" on the facade of the church
We lit candles in memory of my brother Tony
Here you can see some of the paintings that have been restored
Some of the residential buildings
Residential buildings destroyed by rock fall, Norman is wondering.....
The weather had cleared nicely so it was over to Arbanasi for a spot of lunch & a well deserved cup of tea . Yep told you it was a sightseeing day, all very touristy :D.
I love Arbanasi its a restored village, there is a long history for it but it eventually became a settlement of rich merchants. The houses are huge fully walled gardens & beautiful wood architecture. Many houses look like mini monastery's & in fact there are many churches & monastery's in this little village & some houses you can also look around, all at a price obviously. Progress has seen Arbanasi almost fully restored but with this progress has seen it turned into a tourist destination with hotels & restaurants outnumbering residences, all very sad! When you go for lunch you will see many coaches full of Italian, Dutch, German, Russian etc. There are some lovely little cafe/restaurants here though all authentic & a hotel we would recommend for a meal is Villa Izvora. Its in a lovely setting & for 5 lev you can use their swimming pool for the day sun bathing etc, they do gorgeous roast lamb :D Just ask anyone & they will direct you. All that said & sadness on what has happened to Arbanasi I still adore it, Nigel doesn't like it as he see's just a tourist destination but it not over run with people so it doesn't put me off. Unfortunately its hilly & cobbly so no one saw much of it but we had a good rest & soaked up the atmosphere while eating outside :)
After lunch it was off to Veliko Turnovo, or Turnovgrad (town of Turnovo)the first Bulgarian capital. I love, love, love this town. It's why we moved to this area. It has everything & is steeped in thousands of years of history. VT is very cosmopolitan too & has developed a wonderful cafe culture amongst its historic roads & buildings. I dare you not to fall in love with it!!! It is reminiscent of Italy with its houses built on slopes leading down to the river, surrounded by mountainous rocks with ancient caves where once people dwelt. i could go on & on, as is my want ;D
Our first stop on our mini sightseeing trip to VT was a coffee break while we took in the views & sights of Tsaravets. Situated at the foot of Tsaravets hill is a newish restaurant where you can take in the scenery of Tsaravets castle, Trapezita hill & the churches in Assens quarter. Its lovely here again a bit touristy but not over run (yet). there was no way mum would be able to make it around the sights here so this is a perfect spot for people to get a sense of the past. It was then on to the fully operational church, that am ashamed to say I do not know the name of.
It's a beauty & situated just up from Tsaravets castle. I wanted mum to see a church which wasn't just a restored building but one that is open for worship all day every day, no payment to get in. While we were there she got to see the rituals people do & even though mum is an atheist or an agnostic I'm still not sure, she loved it & felt peaceful :) It took it out of her getting up & down the steps but yet again worth it, I hope.
Next stop, yep another cafe/restaurant. Another favourite of ours. We have spent many hours here eating & drinking while people watching & my fav shop is here too :)
It's situated at the top of Georgi Sava Rakovski Street, once called Samovodene Marketplace. Its a cobbled street of shops with many craftsmen creating their wares while you can watch (& buy). Blacksmiths, Coppersmiths, gunsmiths, potters, confectioners, sausage makers , rug makers an antique shop & a religious painting shop.  near by is the "Monkey House" so called because it has a monkey sitting on the facade!
Its a special street one we have stayed in before (before we moved in). My friend & agent has a wonderful old merchant house i this street which she has renovated & lets out short term. It is situated right opposite the copper man & we were awoke every morning EARLY by his banging :D He makes gorgeous vessels of all types. sadly we couldn't get mum up there but again she soaked up the atmosphere & had a nice rest, then managed to see a couple of shops. My favourite shop there is full of expensive pottery & wonderful paintings. I own a set of mugs from here but there are many things I want but finances do not allow at this present time :(  I needed a tea pot as my hands have become so weak that I cannot lift the one we had. Unfortunately I couldn't justify spending to get one I really wanted from here but found a lovely traditionally decorated pottery one a couple of doors down for 11 leva bargain :) 
By the time we had finished I could see everyone was tired so guess what we did next? Yep over to Ego's for dinner :D:D:D Inside looking out over the river Yantra from up high on the slopes of the hills that VT is built on, lovely!!!!!
That was the end of our month as mum went home a couple of days later. We had a great time & I know she loved it here. I just hope she makes it back again soon. Love you mum xxxxxx
Wow this took a looooong time to finish!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Playing catchup! The month of April 2011

After days & weeks of looking for the preverbial elusive Stork & finally seeing one with great joy, a few days later we came across a field of about 50/60 of the blooming things!!!!! They were all very relaxed pottering around munching seeds as a tractor was going about its springtime routine. I tried very hard to get a good photo but alas these will have to do :)
Yes I know my camera leaves a lot to be desired :(
Well I am still at war with the brick & plaster dust, it's a never ending battle & really getting on my nerves. I must remember there is more to life than cleaning but it's a problem in the kitchen :(
Up till a week ago we were still lighting the fire! the weather is all over the place a couple of days lovely then a few days misserable & not warming up properly. Most days its warmer out than in & the fire needs to be lit. We have had a glorious week of weather, boiling hot & I have a lovely tan along with getting quite a bit done in the garden, but now...... Rain, rain, rain & its forcast for the next week & a half!
Good news for us in the villages here, shopping has just got a whole lot easier, cheaper & more pleasurable.

In Veliko Tarnovo the world of capitalism has caught up with us & transported us into the ever encroaching real world with a brand new sparkling all glowing & hypnotising MacDonalds :(:(:(:( & :D:D:D:D
Its a double edged sword I don't want it here in my part of the world, was great without it as I love Bulgarian, BUTTTTTT,  I will make full use of it when we are at Praktika etc & will add it to my list of Macki D's I have partaken of around the world. I am actually looking forward to seeing the unusual dish they have for this country. In Australia they have an Aussie burger with beetroot in, Uk would never get away with a Brit burger good for Oz I say!!!!! Bali has chilli covered fried chicken & spicy rice Mmmmm. We used to buy meals then take them to the little children & babies begging in the traffic its very cheap & its a real treat to eat something let alone a special treat. Switzerland is just plain bloody expensive & in South Africa you get to feed the displaced with your leftovers, thats if you are heartless enough to not buy them a meal & as its sooooooo cheap shame on you!!!!
So what will Bulgaria give us????? Well it is open 24 hours & has a drive through along with outside eating off course
In Gorna we now have our own Lidle open. this has just made shopping easier & cheaper as we can now do all our shop in one town instead of two saving money on petrol & it saves lots of visits to the new Mackie D's lol.
So consumerism is catching up with us, some will say it's progress but we came here to get away from all that rubbish, lets hope it slows downs now, please!!!!

I have been busy socialising & entertaining since my last blog, in between sunbathing & weeding :) & enjoying the Bulgarian countryside. It's amazing how the scenery changes so rapidly once the sun pops it's head out & the rain waters the land. The country is now clothed in greens with white, pink & red blossom everywhere, very beautiful.
Cherry blossom on one of our tree's
Traditional Easter eggs
Easter came & went with another lovely time with the family Giorgiev's & egg wars with the traditionally dyed eggs, no choc rubbish here :( We all lost to Yovo yet again ! I reckon his is made of concrete :D You have to hit your apponents egg without breaking yours, its very funny :D
Nigel is busy renovating a derelict room which houses the water pump & waste pipes & making it into a downstairs loo, thankfully its big enough to separate into two & will be very convenient hahahaha. My mum arrives here for a month in a few days & we need it finished by then also he is putting up a hand rail for her so she can get up & down the stairs ok.
I can't wait to see my mummy, its been a very long 18 months & I am soooo looking forward to spending time with her!
So some photo's from the last month.............

Simeon who gave me the best home brewed Rakia ever, yum!!!
The view from my friends outside loo :D