Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Song posted

The newest song posted above (press the play button in the box in the upper left corner - it says Rofinka Bolna Legnala), is a song from the Rhodope's, in the mountains, one of the many diverse regions on Bulgaria. When I visited there a while back with my hiking group, one evening we were lucky to be entertained by the owner and a played a homemade guida (bagpipes), and the other sang..and 2 of our women hikers joined in as was quite beautiful to listen to. This music is very different probably from what you have listened to..but I would suggest closing your eyes, and just listening a bit to it.

little delights in life

Living in Bulgaria has really made me a more avid hiker..but sometimes it is nice to visit and hang out with the friends in my town..all sorts of interesting surprises pop up. I visited Geno last weekend..he is pictured below.
Geno is proud to say he was my oldest English student at 81 years of age. He invited me for lunch. Geno is the ideal type of person I can see running a ‘kushta na gosti’ – these are houses where tourists are invited to live and help out to see a typical Bulgarian way of life. Every time I visit, I learn something new. My last visit was spent picking strawberries and eating mulberries, and bringing up water from the well (much harder than it looked)..this time, we picked grapes – there are so many different types of grapes, all tasting different and ripening at different times. With the grapes, we made freshly squeezed grape-juice (see the picture below).
Yep..dig your hands in and squeeze; and then strained it and had it for desert later. We also started a fire in a little fire well, and roasted peppers..also a new experience for me (the peppers start hopping when the bottom gets really hot from the fire).
After biking back from the village, I headed up to our local monastery where the Horo (Bulgarian dances) group was meeting to celebrate our 2nd anniversary of the group (I swear we celebrated this in the winter already)..but it was a great time..we had a barbecue – slightly different than an American one – no hamburgers, but there were Kranviches (which are like our hotdogs), and lots of sausage type meat (called sudjuk and nadenitsa), no ketchup, but jars of Lyutenitsa (a tomatoey vegetabley substance)..everything tastes fantastic grilled outside. I have noticed recently more initiative being made by members of the group..this time, besides dancing, one of the members organized a couple of games with prizes first..I can’t remember my last gunny sack race..I was happy that I understood most of the trivia questions (in Bulgarian)..even if I couldn’t answer them..and I enjoyed watching the Ruchenitsa couples contest (a traditional Bulgarian dance) – it’s a fun dance to watch, but the timing proves hard for me to pick up. Here's a video I found online - As always..I have posted a few new pictures, from the first day of school, the banquet for the first day of school, and lunch with Geno. You will find these by scrolling to the end of the page, and clicking on Tricia's Newest Pics

Friday, September 9, 2011

Da, ami Ne, ami Ohee

This last weekend was Labor Day in the US, but here in Bulgaria, it was a different holiday we celebrated - the day Southern Bulgaria was re-unified with Bulgaria..( was originally separated after the Treaty of Berlin). To celebrate the long weekend, my favorite hiking group, Trapezitsa, and I visited for a few days the small remote island of Samothraki in the Northern Aegean Sea. In Samothraki there are few hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and touristy places selling souvenirs..which is exactly why I liked it so much..that and swimming and snorkeling in the Aegean Sea, with sparkling clear water (I saw 2 small octopuses, and lots of colorful fish); and visited the Sanctuary of the Gods (ancient Hellenistic ruins uncovered) the statue of the goddess of Victory (also known as Nike) was originally found here, but is now shown in the Louvre museum in Paris; and hiked Mt. Fengari (said to be ‘where Poseidon sat up to watch the Trojan war…”). You can see around the entire island from the its peak. The hike up Fengari was difficult..really..we started out at 6:30 am and it was pretty much four hours of going straight up the mountain..which wasn’t bad while we were in the trees and shrubs..but once we got through that, we were scrambling over boulders and trying to keep our balance on large and small sliding rocks. Actually, the wife of the hiking clubs President, Netka (who is a really good hiker) had a bad tumble when we were having lunch at the summit..she ended up needing stitches. It did however, answer one of my questions – Is there a designated First-aid kit brought on our hikes..the answer is No..and I felt double bad; when I went to look for mine, I realized that the one time I actually needed it, I forgot to pack it. Fortunately there were two hikers that had brought band-aids. We saw so many other interesting sites as well, that you can see with descriptions in my pictures. Samothraki is high on my list for returning to one fun and adventurous as our days were..there’s still so much more I want to see and do there. They have snorkeling, scuba diving, boat trips (to access other parts of the island), hiking, waterfalls, natural hot mineral springs. And, to make things a little more confusing for me while there: Da = yes in Bulgarian Ne = no in Bulgarian Ne = yes in Greece Ohee = No in Greece