Deep Roots 2020 blog ECO THINKING

The first glimpse

It’s a quiet morning in Kazanlak. The air is pleasantly warm and the blue sky above the city is a sign of
the hot day which awaits its people. You can hear the birds chirping from the trees and the soft
buzzing of the coffee machine from inside. The smell of coffee mixes with the smell of freshly washed
laundry, drying on the balcony.
With a wonderful view over the city of Kazanlak and the mountains, three volunteers of the Deep
Roots Project of 2020 are sitting on the balcony of the house that will be their home for the next two
months. While their enjoying their breakfast with a good cup of coffee, they start chatting about
their first day in Bulgaria, what their first impression of the country was and how they experienced
the Bulgarian people.

Rita, one of the volunteers from Portugal, starts telling the story about her first day in Bulgaria. When she arrived in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, she decided to stroll a little bit through the city and to explore some of its nice corners before taking the bus to Kazanlak. She stumbled across a nice little café in the city centre and decided to have breakfast there. The owner of the place, a guy in his thirties, was sitting outside the café when Rita got there. He was really friendly and showed her all the pastry they had and explained to her what everything is and what it is made out of. In the end, she decided to have a coffee and a vegan banitsa, which is a typical Bulgarian pastry made out of puff paste and usually filled with cheese. 

The owner of the café was not only very friendly but also very curious about Rita and the reason why she was in Bulgaria, especially since the country hasn’t seen a lot of tourists lately because of the Covid-19 pandemic. He joined Rita sitting outside and while she was having her breakfast she explained to him that she was in Bulgaria for a project in Kazanlak and that she is going to go there by bus that afternoon. The conversation continued and they started talking about everything under the sun, and after half an hour of sharing their personal stories, Rita was about to leave. But before she could leave, the owner asked her to wait and went inside. When he came back out, he had a cookie and a muffin in his hands. He gave them to Rita as a gift and told her they’re supposed to give her energy for the trip. When she asked him how much she owes him he just replied that he doesn’t want money for it because obviously, if she pays for it, it’s not a gift anymore. She was extremely grateful and moved by his hospitable gesture. “On the first day, it felt so good to be welcomed to Bulgaria in such a nice way. I kind of wanted to stay in the café, but I also wanted to see the rest of the city, so finally, I left. But also the other people I met in Sofia were really nice, smiling and always trying to be helpful, even though a lot of them didn’t speak English.”

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