Buzludzha: A crumbling remnant of Bulgarian communism

The struggle of some post-communist states to preserve the communist-era monuments is a symbol of communism itself. The unsustainable grandiosity, the hypocrisy inherent in the “classless” societies, and the impoverishment of the masses get captured in the decay of communist relics. It’s the social commentary of time and economics. Across Bulgaria, it can be seen […]

A friendly goodbye from Bulgaria

Traveling through Bulgaria is interesting because, in addition to no things working quite as they should, guidebooks are futile attempts to capture what is and what does not exist anymore. In Veliko Tarnovo, the monuments were still there, but hunting down the restaurants that Lonely Planet recommended were trickier. Except that pizza place. The pizza […]

Plovdiv: Glimpses of central Bulgaria and the oldest city in Europe

I recall Bulgaria as a mosaic of snapshots. Old men in parks betting 1 lev on each chess game. A pimp walking through the cafe at 11 p.m. to drum up business. Protests on the first day parliament sits. Glimpses of horse-drawn carts on a long bus ride across the country. The middle-aged couple on the […]

Rila Monastery: Frescoes and a Stray Dog

The Rila Monastery, founded in the 10th century, is one of the most popular tourist sights in Bulgaria. I spent little time in the church itself. Monks covered the exterior walls in bright frescoes depicting saints, the life of Christ, heaven, hell, demons torturing the sinful, etc. All that good stuff. Like most things in Bulgaria, reaching […]

A Stop in Sofia, Bulgaria

I would not take my parents to Sofia. They struggle enough with D.C. or, for that matter, Columbus, Ohio. Sofia is inaccessible. Sidewalks claw at your feet with hidden angles and general malice. Cyrillic looks intimidating. The language divide demands that the day become a game of charades. The museums aren’t intriguing. Speaking with Bulgarians […]