Even though I am half bulgarian, 3 years ago was the first time when I crossed the border of the country, not counting my visit when I was just a 3 years old toddler. My memories of course are blurry from that time, I only can recall those colorful flowers in the backyard which were back then taller than me so I could get lost among them and that salty smell of the wind when collecting all the shells found on the coast of the Black sea.
This time I had a special purpose to visit Bulgaria: I was traveling alone to finally meet the long lost part of my family. The reunion went better, than I could have ever imagined, so I bear those moments spent in the country vividly in my mind, and close to my heart.
Bulgaria is part of the Balkans, which you can notice from the average standard of living, the quality of the pavement, the structure of the buildings, and even from the mentality of the people. The socialism has left great marks on the cityscape as well.
After all, I fell in love with this country. It’s not just because part of my roots come from here, but because I was traveling without expectations, so I could see the beauty when I was wandering rough going roads through mountains and rivers, along the seaside, exploring dripstone caves, or visiting historical buildings and monuments. Bulgaria has much more to offer than Sunny Beach with it’s cheap booze and crazy parties.
The seaside - if you dare to leave the neighbourhood of your hotel - has thousand faces, one is sandy and quiet, other is craggy and wild, some are easily found, some are hidden so you have to go through meadows and woods to reach, some offers no view but the horizon, from others you can overlook islands and faraway shores.
Despite it all, my heart goes to the mountains, I’ve never felt such peace in my life when I was hiking in the Rila, exploring the seven lakes and other wonders. Standing alone on the highest peak, looking around and seeing nothing else but hilltops around makes you truly feel alive.
Rodopi as well has magical sights, and adventures to take part - horse riding up to the hills, zip lining down to a valley, jeep tours to the highest vantage points, guided tours in the deepest caves, at pleasure.
These above mentioned examples are just fragments of the reason why I return from year to year to this land. Even though I can clearly see the flaws of this place, I want to explore more so when I leave as a goodbye I always say - пак ще дойда - I will come again.