Today is the culmination of our first week in Bulgaria on our EVS (European Voluntary Service) mission in Stara Zagora with the Association of Contemporary Art and Culture; Different Vision.
We arrived back in Stara Zagora in the early hours of this morning. We have just spent the last four days, July 4th-8th, in ΒΑΡΗΑ(Varna). Varna is the second largest city and the costal capital of Bulgaria.
We departed Stara Zagora at 15:27 from the train station. The train was very old. The doors didn’t stay shut properly and the windows didn’t stay open. The sun was sweltering and there was no air conditioning. It was so hot I was struggling to think and found it an impossible feat to stay hydrated. The journey was six hours long and I loved every minute. At no point, was there no thing to stimulate.
As I began to write, looking out the window I saw a huge expanse of fields full of beautiful big bright yellow sunflowers arranged amongst an irregular patchwork with mountains in the far distance. Maybe, I will eventually work out what intrigues me about the large abundance of dilapidated buildings. Some which stand alone in the middle of the Bulgarian countryside and some stand amongst the towns. The towns vary from the rustic settlements, which sit timelessly, juxtaposed with the cities which depict the forced development of a body of people.
As the sunset over the sunflowers, my camera batteries died. We arrived in Varna at 21:45.
We ate and met with the friends and colleagues of our organisation and eventually moved down to the beach and enjoyed the full moon.
A late night lead to a late morning on the 5th. Tsonyo, a young Bulgarian man from a smaller town near Varna, came and sat next to me in the midst of the Fun City festival. Watching a diversity of people enjoying the atmosphere, we discussed Nikola Tesla, sustainable energy and global governments whilst exchange snippets of language. I am now aware that, Bulgarian schools teach English as a second language; so, comparatively, my Bulgarski was very poor.
In the evening, our personal mentor, Mircho, took us to meet some of his friends who were preparing to do a fire show. Kindly, I was allowed to have a go with one of their staffs. When I tried to hand it back gratefully, he refused to take it and told me I would be taking his part in the show. This was the first time I had spun fire and the first time I had performed this kind of show, but my goodness, it was exciting.
Friday, for Me and Simon, was a day of food. We began with a disappointing breakfast at an Armenian restaurant. The misleading menu was made up for with the service by the endearing waitress and our poor communication. We then wandered through the festival and down to a bar on the beach where we sat and ate more with a magnificent view over the black sea. Once we’d eaten, we strolled up through the festival and into the city. Outside a hotel, was a woman sat reading auras with a piece of technology. I watched with amusement as a customer handed over his money. But still, I was curious and approached with scepticism. Surprisingly, I found her reading to be paralleled with my personal perception of my own balances. After, we crossed the street to eat more; a main course each and a large sushi platter to share. Once we had eaten, we met up with the NGO youth conference to join them for their meal; three courses and some Horos (Traditional Bulgarian Dancing).
Saturday we began our day by joining the final meeting of the NGO (non-government organisations) youth meeting. This was incredibly interesting. A collection of Bulgaria’s most aware young people, working for the benefit of the people. That night at the festival culminated in a hip hop freestyle workshop. This was incredible to see! It was majorly appreciated by Varna’s youth, yet the crowds were filled with families and people of all ages, from elders to their grandchildren!
We started our last day in Varna with traditional Palachinki, a Bulgarian pancake rolled with a variety of fillings. I had strawberry and white chocolate. Mmmm. We then drove a little out of town with a friend of the organisation to purchase some circus equipment for future workshops and our personal needs. After a 30km drive out of the city we arrived at a beach, the biggest in Bulgaria. This was refreshing to be away from the hotels and noise of the city. Upon returning we went to a hugely busy restaurant and ate a shared dinner and rushed to the train station. We arrived back in Stara Zagora early this morning at around 04:00 am