My first impressions of Bulgaria-Lucile Chevis
The snow covering every field, every road and every roof, was the first view of Bulgaria I had from the window of the plane. We landed at Sofia, and then came the mountains. So close, so high and so remarkable.
I came to Bulgaria, crossing all Europe, knowing barely anything about this country. Bulgarian yogurt and Bulgarian Voices were the only things I ever heard about. I didn’t know what to expect and waited for nothing but newness. And I certainly got it.
In the taxi on the way to the central station of Sofia, I remember feeling so peaceful and calm even though the driving was rough and brutal. I was only amazed by how people managed to drive really well in the mess they were creating. Maybe it was from exhaustion due to the long trip from France, but I didn’t think much and just followed my way to Kazanlak, my final destination for the next 10 months. Finding the right track and the right train was a little tricky but once I sat comfortably in the compartment of the train, right next to the window, I let myself be carried along during the three hours train trip. I then had a glimpse of the beautiful nature this mysterious country holds. Mountains were covered by forests and snow. The sunset bathed us with a warm palette of oranges and reds and added to the magic of the moment. I had the feeling I went back in time. The old compartment train, without any station announcements, the sound of the train on the rails, the window opening itself and letting in the cold breeze of February, the view of ruins and grey houses by the train tracks, the slow speed of this “fast train”. Everything was so new for me and still, felt familiar and nostalgic.
The trip took the time it had to take and led me to Kazanlak.
The yellow taxis, the red tiled roofs, the rose scent in the Rose museum, the mountains surrounding the town, the calm and peacefulness, the weather, the winter sun, the snow falling from the sky, the sunsets, different everyday and the sweet sunrises shaping the forms of the mountains in the distance, the delicious cakes in the cafes, the coffee every morning on the balcony, the simplicity, the cats, sleeping between the flowerpots of a florist, bathing in the sun, purring under the foot tip of a woman in front of a shop, ignoring human beings, crossing roads carefully, the cats on every street corners, the people talking or screaming to each other, nodding their heads to say no, but always trying to speak English with you, ready to help, to ask questions, to get to know you.
One week here and I feel like my life have changed completely. Or I might have taken my life back, after the strange years the pandemic made us went through. My desire to discover more of the world led me to this beautiful place. I became a volunteer, met new people, spoke a different language, mixed words, found my way to be understand, learned some Bulgarian words, got confused, met some kids in a school, had fun, did a small interview, discovered the town, hiked in Buzovgrad, and all this is just the beginning.
I feel like I’m going to have a lot of opportunities here, whatever it is, whenever it is. Opportunities to learn many things, to share knowledges and experiences, to live at the moment and go with the flow of life.