Creating podcasts came from my desire to decrease the weight of paper and guide books and increase my information and enjoyment while traveling. My first podcast, Poland, also came about because I was well aware that I would never be able to pronounce the names of streets nor ask directions because of my total ignorance of Polish.(more…)
8 June 2019
“We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races…What devil or what witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?…Is it a wonder that we were a conquering race; that we were proud; that when the Magyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Turk poured his thousands on our frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange that when Arpad and his legions swept through the Hungarian fatherland he found us here when he reached the frontier…And when the Hungarian flood swept eastward, the Szekelys were claimed as kindred by the victorious Magyars, and to us for centuries was trusted the guarding of the frontier of Turkey-land….” – Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula
“Europe’s new funky-town”
Варна, България – Varna, Bulgria
16-17 May 2019
Varna drapes around Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast and the lovely Gulf of Varna. Originally called Odessos and an important Thracian seaside port, Varna has been a major economic and cultural center for over 3000 years. Lots of history, mild temperatures, ancient Roman ruins, turquoise seas, and the oldest gold treasure in the world – the walled city of Varna sounds like my kind of destination.
Pam and I take the train from Stara Zagora to Varna. The countryside is mostly flat and agricultural. The train is mostly dirty and slow. However, by afternoon we are dipping our toes into the Black Sea.
What is special about Varna? For one, it’s ancient history. (more…)
Стара Загора, България – Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
14-15 May 2019
Stara Zagora, meaning the old region beyond the Balkan mountains, was settled by Thracians sometime between the 5-4th century BC. The city itself was founded by Phillip II of Macedon in 342 BC. The city grew to its largest radius under Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) and became the second most important city in the Roman province with such auspicious visitors and Caracalla, Septimius Severus and Diocletian. As a result of the Gothic War 376-382, the city was destroyed but rebuilt by Justinian. In 1208 the Bulgarians defeated the Latin Empire, kicked their Roman butts out and established their own homeland. (more…)
13 May 2019
I am being fed, pampered, clothed, fed, entertained, and fed with real Bulgarian hospitality. Mila, Vladimir and daughter Pam are spoiling me to the max. Today, they guide me to several fascinating sites of very early Bulgarian history. Americans learn next to nothing about this region of the world. We are missing out on the fascinating early beginnings of Man and his evolution and survival.
12 May 2019
Driving in, around, over and through the striking landscape of steep cliffs and the very green Balkan Mountains, I am surrounded by the lush flora and fauna of the Bulgarka Nature Park. The mountain range forms the watershed between the Black and Aegean seas. Shipka Pass, at 3820 ft., marks the border between Stara Zagora and Gabrovo province. During the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-1878, the pass was the locale for a series of historic battles fought between the Russians, aided by Bulgarian volunteers, and the Ottoman Empire. With Russian assistance, these battles led to the independence of Bulgaria, an event Bulgarians have never forgotten. Today, my cousins will share this part of their history with me. (more…)
София, България – Sofia, Bulgaria
History and DNA Cousins – 9-11 May 2019
One should question who we are even if we think we know the answer. We soon become part of the globe and its history. Unraveling a shared past brings us closer together.
I last visited Bulgaria in September of 2016. I fell in love with Sofia and Plovdiv, all of Bulgaria for that matter. I did not know at the time that one of my closest DNA cousins is Bulgarian. Primal Instinct, subconscious reaction? It is exciting to be revisiting Bulgaria and meeting my cousins. (more…)