I left the KaliKalos community in Greece to continue my travels. I had been a total of a month there and loved it. I made a great new friend, Sylvia Trost, a German Naturopathic Doctor, who I stayed with the second two weeks I was there. We are talking about offering a seminar next year in Greece. Would be lots of fun!
I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about Bulgaria and was not quite sure what to expect. However I became determined to visit Georgi, who as as a college student, lived with my family for six months, over twenty years ago, in Ashland, Oregon. He and his family live in Sofia. He met me at the train station – a beautiful modern new facility – taking a break at 2:00 in the afternoon from work to meet me. After all these years, I recognized him immediately as me and my bags kind of tumbled off the train. This was an old train with very steep metal stairs to lower yourself and bags down off of. We had to change trains and stations when we crossed the border from Greece to Bulgaria – so I had to schlepp these same bags over three train tracks and onto a bus, then back across train tracks to the Bulgarian train.
I am determined to lighten my bags immediately and have shipped off two packages of sweaters, long johns, book, etc to the states today. I am generally travelling with a weekend type backpack and a carry on pull bag plus my CPAP medical device. That day I had in addition a purse and food bag since it was a 7 AM to 2 PM ride on the train. When it is flat land I manage pretty well, but this definitely required my receiving help to navigate steep narrow steps. Fortunately I met a nice college student on the train who was very helpful and I enjoyed visiting with. So anyway I meet Georgi in a mess of straps and bags! He quickly got me sorted out and on my way.
Georgi had a lovely AirBnB apartment figured out for me near downtown Sofia – easy to walk shopping and sightseeing. Then he took me to lunch at the new Sofia Mall and he loaned me a Bulgarian phone to help with navigation. It was very helpful to have my airBnB address as a map icon on my homepage when I got lost. I am enjoying the Bulgarian food – tomato and cucumber and their special white cheese salad, a yogurt milk made with what else – Bulgaricus culture. Moussaka, cucumber and yogurt and mint salad.
Sofia has some wonderful free walking tours and also a culture tour in English to taste and learn about the culture. I did the culture tour and enjoyed the variety of people on the tour – Swedes, Dutch, American, Canadian, etc. We started with a lovely flaky pastry with cheese called Boritska, we learned how to spell our names in the Cyrillic alphabet, we tried rose jam and herbal tea, learned a couple of Bulgarian dances in the park.
I went to dinner Friday night at Georgi’s house and met his wife and children. It was interesting to see how both my AirBnB and his house have these clever cabinets and design for everything so it is very modern, streamlined and tidy. The weather has turned quite warm so we had a nice family dinner in the backyard which Georgi cooked once we got home while I visited with his wife. She has excellent English as does his oldest son, so it was easy for us to talk. They have only used homeopathy for about 8 years, I was amazed to discover I had an impact all those years ago introducing them to homeopathy. They are a very active family, interested in nutrition, yoga, biking and hiking. We laughed at old stories and I learned about their life here. We were very compatible, like extended family.
We went hiking to a waterfall near the top of a mountain on the edge of Sofia on Sunday.
The water is clean and delicious straight from the stream and they took home large containers home from a fountain near the car. I was definitely the slow one going up. The kids raced ahead with one parent, while I went my pace behind with the other. It was lovely and green and lush country with the Linden trees in bloom giving a wonderful aroma. They had food organized, I just had to come along. It was quite nice to be so well taken care of.
Today is Monday and I have been napping and further exploring my neighborhood. It is nice to have a quiet day after very busy ones. I am very impressed by Bulgaria and the way it has evolved since it became sovereign in 1989.