Thursday, 2 February 2012

An Introduction to Bulgaria - A Diverse Country of Diverse People

Bulgaria offers a diverse range of countryside from majestic snow capped mountains, to flat plains, rolling fields and then the sandy beaches along the southern part of the coast and the more craggy areas to the north. There are numerous lakes and dams, gorges, caves and rock formations. There are many monasteries, ruined fortresses, archaeological discoveries such as the Thracian King Tombs around Kazanlak and the old fortress and temple carved out of stone at Perperikon down towards Kardjhali. Bulgaria has a wonderful diversity of wildlife with wolves still roaming the wooded mountains of the Rila and Pirin areas, wild pigs in the Balkans and hundreds of birds and other creatures in the many nature reserves around the country.

And the people are just as diverse. Visit a rural farming community and you'll see old men herding the goats along the streets, in no rush to go anywhere while old women sit in the shade on benches peeling vegetables or watching the world go by. Cows and sheep roam freely along the sides of the road, watched over by a single shepherd and his dog. These places seem untouched by change and seem not to have moved with the times in stark contrast to the busy, noisy streets of cities such as Sofia or Varna, where young girls parade around in the latest fashions and store windows boast the latest technology.

But that is what makes Bulgaria such an appealing country. You can immerse yourself in the street cafe culture of the cities, sipping coffee all day long or drive just 20 minutes out of the city and be in a place that time forgot, where the fields are still ploughed by horses and vegetables picked by hand.

Of course change will come and slowly these old ways of life will disappear. Many old villages and farming communities are left desolated as the young move to the cities or abroad in search of jobs. But with the recent influx of foreign property investors, some of these villages are going through a revival, houses are being bought for renovation, plots bought to build on. And this has a knock on effect for the village, it can create employment for local builders and tradesmen, mean more custom for the local shop and cafe and so on.

So if you are planning a visit to Bulgaria do not restrict yourself to spending a week in an apartment in Sunny Beach, hire a car and go and explore the diverse landscape. You will not have to travel far. Only 15 minutes inland from the over development and concrete jungle of Sunny Beach, you will find sleepy traditional villages in the foot hills of the Balkans surrounded by vine yards. Or head south and visit the gentle rolling plains and wooded areas leading to the Strandza mountains.

Then you'll get to see the real Bulgaria, the diverse landscapes, the local wildlife, the different ways of life, the different cultures and the fantastic friendly people that will be more than happy to welcome you to their village. 

For more tips and advice on buying property in Bulgaria get yourself a copy of My Bulgarian Property Nightmare: A Cautionary Tale for Would-be Investors. This ebook is full of useful tips straight from a Brit whose first Bulgarian property experience turned into a nightmare. It allows you to see what can go wrong and avoid the pitfalls as I share the benefit of my experience. In this true account you'll learn what can go wrong, what to do if it does and why Bulgaria is still a great choice for people keen to invest, holiday or live there.

*Written by Guest Writer Rachel, who writes for the TheTravelBug Website - Bulgarian Advice and Property For Sale

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