In the beginning

Friends and family have often asked us why we’re wanting to emigrate to Bulgaria. It doesn’t seem to be the place people first think of when they are wanting to leave the UK. So here’s a bit of background. A few years ago, when Julie and I lived in Penrith, we experimented with living the Good Life. We had an…

Hire car upgrade

Day 1: Sofia to Belogradchik

The plane dumped us at Sofia airport at some ungodly hour of the morning; the downside of budget flights I suppose! We’d expected to be able to recuperate with a coffee and a snack in the airport lounge before collecting our hire car, but everything was closed (we later discovered that there aren’t actually any facilities at the airport!) and…


Driving past Vratsa, lots of girls, dolled up to the nines, standing in laybys.  Julie says “Look at them, all off for a night out in town”. Er, no, they’re prostitutes, waiting for clients.

Monument to Hristo Botev at Kalofer

Day 3: Koprinka to Byala

Feeling much refreshed, if a bit grubby, after our night wild camping beside the dam at Koprinka, we headed back along the main road to Kalofer for a meal with some people we’d met on Facebook; Amelia, Mick, Charlie and her daughter Gabby. We had a few hours to kill so we tried to buy some cigarettes; unsuccessfully, but we did…


Bulgaria is about the only country in the world that shakes their heads to say yes, and nods for no. This causes much confusion for foreign travellers! In Kalofer we had been trying to buy cigarettes from small shops. We’d gone in asking for them and they said something, and shook their heads, so we said thank you and walked out. With hindsight, they probably did sell them and were confused as to why we’d left without buying any!

One of the people we met related the story of his first visit to Bulgaria and they’d been in a restaurant ordering food. Each dish they asked for the waitress shook hear head and looked sternly at them. After asking for lots of other things, to be met with the same response, they finally decided that they would just have a coffee and then try somewhere else. Half an hour later the waitress brought out these twenty or so dishes that they’d ordered! She was very good natured about their mistake, and packed all the left-over food for them to take away.

Our evening meal

Day 4 Byala to Palamartsa

After a very uncomfortable night in the car at the truck-stop we went to Polsko Kosovo to quiz Sue, our next unsuspecting ex-pat, on life in Bulgaria, where we saw the biggest grapes I had ever seen!! After some lovely home-made cake and plenty of coffee we  headed to Palamartsa. By this time we really needed a bit of comfort…

Sunset in the Balkans

Day 5 Palamartsa to Rakovo

Today was spent mostly looking at houses in the area around Palamartsa, before taking a leisurely drive into the hills around Sliven area. We had no particular idea of where we were headed, just that we fancied seeing a bit of really remote countryside and villages, to see what life could be like far away from anything. The highlight of…