It’s me, your typical study abroad student, with another blog post about my adventures. I know it’s been a while since my last update…
But you can’t blame me for being busy exploring the world.
This time, as you can probably tell from the title, I traveled to Bulgaria. If I had to summarize the weekend in few words, I would choose: Car naps, scarf weather, and, cats, cats, cats.
Okay, so that was more than a few.
But there are so many cats in Bulgaria, I’m not sure I could survive more than a weekend at a time. That’s a conversation for another time however.
Nevertheless, I, along with Dima, Celina, and Julia, had a wonderful time experiencing the Bulgarian culture traveling by car, seeing the sites, and eating delicious Bulgarian treats.
Lots of treats.
Before I go any further, I should probably mention that Dima is a Bulgarian native. Although she’s lived in the U.S. for some time now, most of her family lives there and she’s fluent in the language. I don’t know how we would have survived the weekend without her constant interpretation.
Dima, you’re the best.
The beginning of our weekend started early Friday morning at the airport.
Like morning, mourning. Hello 5am.
The Athens airport is the most relaxed system I’ve ever been through. Pretty sure you could arrive ten minutes before your flight leaves and still make it to the gate in time. So, our time at the airport was a breeze.
Waiting for us at the gate when we arrived in Sofia, the capital city, was Dima’s cousin, George. After we exchanged Euros for Levs, we hoped in George’s car and began the next leg of our journey.
From Sofia we drove to visit Dima’s grandma in Hissar. We arrived to a huge, traditional meal laid out and her grandma showering us with little gifts.
Cutest bracelets ever.
After lunch, a quick tour of the house, and photo shoot with the neighborhood cows…
… we made our way to visit Dima’s aunt at her work. The hotel was beautiful, and they treated us to coffee and a delicious dessert.
Dima’s aunt even said she could get me a job there… Now I just need to learn Bulgarian.
From the hotel we drove to old monastery in the outskirts of Plovdiv. Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we got there, but we still enjoyed the scenic views and little hike.
From there, we headed downtown and wandered around the Plovdiv mall. Mostly so Celina could buy a coat. It’s a little cold in Bulgaria this time of year.
But she couldn’t decide on one.
Our first night in Bulgaria ended back at George’s apartment, where he let us stay for the weekend. We had dinner and went straight to bed after a long, eventful day. We were all pretty tired.
Regardless of how many car naps we took that day.
Speaking of being in the car, what’s a weekend without someone getting sick?
Earlier that day, a few of us were a little nauseous while on the road, Julia even threw up at the mall. Later Friday night, well, let’s just say she wasn’t the only one to throw up. Thankfully, most of us were feeling better by the next morning.
Which came rather quickly after being awake late cleaning up vomit.
So, Saturday. Saturday brought another full day in the car driving to various villages and stopping along the way, not because we wanted to, but because our car kept stalling.
Gotta love manual shifts.
Honestly, we didn’t mind the leg stretch and fresh air once in a while. Except when we stalled on a bridge in the middle of rush hour.
Even though the day was windy and cold…
And I woke up with no voice and a sore throat.
… we all had a fun time exploring. We started the day in Peshtera, where we had lunch at a small dinner.
Fries and Feta are the best.
Then we discovered a great lookout of the town below and hiked up to take a few pictures.
Because if there aren’t pictures, it didn’t happen. Right?
Met a friendly doggie too.
We also went back to Plovdiv, but to the old city this time. The old city was an adorable town with shops, water fountains, and George’s college campus, of which he gave us a quick tour.
Later, on Saturday, we went back to the mall where Celina bought a nice warm coat.
Finally, after three weeks looking.
Saturday evening, we had dinner back at the apartment and ended the night watching a movie.
I fell asleep like usual.
Sunday brought another early morning, but the weather was sunny, and it warmed up a bit.
Just enough to take off my scarf once in a while.
Our day began with a warm breakfast of bread stuffed with feta cheese.
It’s a must try.
We stopped in a village named Batak. The history of the town was very interesting and the views from the hill side were breathtaking.
From there we went back to Peshtera to say goodbye to Dima’s family and thank them for their hospitality. Then it was back to the airport for us.
Yay for more car naps.
Once we said goodbye to George and thanked him for being a great driver and tour guide over the weekend, we made our way through security and boarded the plane back to Athens.
Good to be home.
Maybe I’ll get the chance to visit Bulgaria again, there’s so much more beauty to see. The villages of Bulgaria are peaceful and quiet, and I love driving through the mountains. Especially in the fall with the changing leaves and snow-caps in the distance.
Is it odd that I miss snow?
Scarf weather is my favorite and I can’t wait to be back in Minnesota for the winter months.
Random thoughts by Emma.
Until next time, everyone.
Once last thing, Bulgarians shake their head yes and nod their head no. Remember when I said I woke up Saturday morning with no voice? Yeah. Imagine me now, with no voice, trying to make decisions. I was the most confused and confusing person that day.
It was actually pretty funny…