Us Europeans

Archives for Us Europeans

Happy Woman’s Day

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

Discovering Bulgaria

After spending almost two weeks in Greece, it is now time to move on to country number 19 on the list: Bulgaria. More than just passing a national border, this change of country also feels like heading for an entire different part of Europe. From Mediterranean Europe into the former Eastern Bloc. When traveling from Thessaloniki to Sofia, the change in landscape and building styles leaves little of that difference to the imagination.

Posted by Bruno

EU the Greek way

Democracy may well have its cradle in Greece but the Greeks have only seen little of it during most of their history. The most recent restoration of the democratic legacy dates from 1973, when a student uprising led to the fall of Greece`s last dictator. The resulting revolution and free elections paved the way for membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981. But how much of the European dream actually makes it all the way to Greece?

Posted by Bruno

Another milestone reached: today is the seventh monthiversary of Us Europeans. The slight midtrip crisis I reported about a month ago faded out in just a few days, and I quickly got back to the task at hand: browsing through the future history of Europe.

Posted by Bruno

The Greek islands

Hundreds of books have been written about the Greek islands, and about who should visit which one and why. I unfortunately do not have the time to visit many islands on this trip, but would still like to have a global understanding of how they relate to each other, and how they are different from mainland Greece.

Posted by Bruno

When I asked young people in Manchester about their ambitions for the future, almost every single one of them wanted to leave for an exotic location at the other end of the world. Greeks of the same age have other priorities, especially those who live on the island of Hydra, two hours away from Athens.

Posted by Bruno

Ancient soap operas

Put twelve Gods on top of a mountain in Greece and see what happens. What nowadays sounds like a boring scenario for yet another real-life soap was an everyday reality for many Greeks in ancient times. Before Christianity was imposed and all the ancient temples were burnt, a small cast of twelve managed to keep a whole civilisation busy. Welcome to Greek mythology, where every single story seems to have 1001 different versions.

Posted by Bruno