Bulgaria occupies a strategic location in the Balkans, locked between the Black Sea and the Danube river. Since Ancient times, the country has served as a major crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the oldest land in Europe that rose from the warm sea more than 35 million years ago. Rocks, caves and biodiversity in Bulgaria rank as one of the best in Europe.
Bulgarians read and write using the Cyrillic alphabet, and the country actually is the origin of the alphabet, having adopted its use before Russia.
When asking a Bulgarian a question, you might be confused with his reply. In the country, nodding one’s head up and down indicates a negative response, while shaking your head horizontally actually means ‘no’.
Remembering deceased people
When a member of a Bulgarian family dies, his relatives write a “necrologue” (printed death notice placed on a tree or a dashboard) which announces to the local community that this person passsed away. Sometimes it happens that foreign visitors ask whether the people from the paper sheets are wanted by the police. Actually, for Bulgarians is natural to live surrounded by the faces of their dead people, while for the strangers this is a little bit odd and exotic.
The hospitality of local people in the Eastern Rhodopes is admirable. Especially for Western tourists this is a pleasant surprise. It is common that while you walk through the village, a farmer with his donkey invites you to come with him to his garden. He will show you his plants, the different grape species and his oven. His wife will prepare a table with many kind of grapes and other fruits. It might seem unbelievable, but it’s common and so typical Rhodope style hospitality. The people in this region are naturally hospitable which makes the destination friendly and attractive.