Us Europeans

Archives for Bulgaria

Health and happiness

While Easter is approaching in Western Europe, it is still more than a month away in Bulgaria. Like the Western Christian religions, the Orthodox Church calculates the day for Easter based on the position of the moon. References to the Gregorian and the Julian calendar are responsible for the difference in dates. Here`s a short story about Easter and some of the major other celebrations that Bulgarians observe throughout the year.

Posted by Bruno

Developing tourism

Anybody in Western Europe who talks about going to Bulgaria to spend this year`s summer holiday will probably be looked at in a strange way. Bulgaria does not yet have the reputations of a fully-grown tourist nation, but it for sure has lots to offer: beaches, mountains, monasteries, cave churches, Roman ruins, unspoilt nature and favourable weather conditions, all waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, Bulgarian politicians are not always very intelligent when it comes to taking advantage of these assets.

Posted by Bruno

Just like many other European countries, Bulgaria had only two state-owned television channels before 1990. In those days, Channel 2 only started broadcasting at 18h30 and children had to await the weekend to get to see some cartoons. Between then and now, the media landscape changed dramatically. Most Bulgarian households now have access to no fewer than 60 channels of all different kinds.

Posted by Bruno

Young Bulgarians are probably just as fond of drugs as their European neighbours. Whatever is available in Amsterdam is also available in Bulgaria, but consuming illicit substances is better not done out in the open. Just the possession of a few grams of marihuana is sufficient to get yourself sentenced to a few years in prison. Here`s some Bulgarian opinions on the subject.

Posted by Bruno

Buying favours

Corruption exists in everywhere around the world. In some countries however, it`s a lot more visible and obvious. Bulgarians can still expect to be made pay some extra money whenever they deal with police officers, doctors and teachers, but the situation has improved a lot since the mid-1990s when money could buy virtually anything ? including passports, driving licenses and diplomas.

Posted by Bruno

Sportswise, there is little difference between Bulgaria and most of the other countries I visited after Christmas. Football is sport number one, also here. Much to the disappointment of the Bulgarians, the national team did not manage to qualify for the European Championships which will be held in Switzerland and Austria this year. Fortunately, Bulgaria is not placing its bets on football alone. Bulgaria is used to collecting honorary metal in figure skating, chess and men`s volleyball.

Posted by Bruno

It`s a sunny spring day in Plovdiv. The sun is out, temperatures are close to reaching 20 degrees and the streets in the centre are full of people. Most of whom walking around with flowers in their hands. It`s Woman`s Day, which is a big thing in Bulgaria and all of the Slavic world.

Posted by Bruno

Immigration is causing quite serious issues in countries across Europe, but there is no such problem in Bulgaria. The country suffers more from its own people leaving their country than from others coming in: a handful of Chinese and another few refugees from Armenia or Afghanistan. The process of mass emigration out of Bulgaria started in the early 1990s and continues in the present days. However, as time goes by, fewer and fewer people are prepared to completely change their lives just to move to another country.

Posted by Bruno

Life and work

Ever since the two most recent enlargement rounds of the European Union, many `old` EU countries have put limits on the influx of workers from the new member states. Bulgaria is one of the states who are particularly touched by the restrictions. Despite their newly acquired freedom to travel, most Bulgarians therefore still need to find employment in their own company. Which is neither an easy nor a very rewarding task.

Posted by Bruno

During their years under Soviet influence, Bulgarians hardly had any opportunity to travel to Western Europe or even neighbouring Greece. The isolation of Bulgaria from the Western world lasted to 1989 and beyond, as most European countries still required visa for Bulgarians until 2007. The lengthy isolation of Bulgaria from the Western world does not prevent the Bulgarians from having strong opinions about some issues in international politics.

Posted by Bruno