Zdravete! (Hello! – the jury is still out on how to spell that anglophone style.)
Months ago I happily volunteered to accompany a friend on the first trip of her second adoption. We plotted and schemed and waited and hoped for early in the new year. The travel dates came and were only A WEEK away! We’ve been away now for almost two weeks already, rekindling our romance with the country that made us a family (Siobhan and I that is, nothing inappropriate with my friend :p)
We spent our first week in Pleven. A working town in northern Bulgaria.
The little supermarket behind our apartment.
The view from our bedroom.
Looking out from the kitchen.
I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos inside the apartment! It was actually very nice and updated. It was super interesting to “get” communism for a few minutes, everybody appears to have “the same.” The apartment blocks are huge and almost (if not) identical. It is only once inside that a person’s financial situation makes a difference. It was also very interesting to see the attempts at busting out of this tradition, within the building there were many people with different doors. Some had the standard issue, some had a simple modern door, and others went very unique! I even saw a door and frame that was hand carved out of wood. It really made me wonder how they got it into the building and installed in the concrete! I’m sad that I forgot to take a picture, if only to commemorate the one and only time I took the stairs. You’re welcome Dr. Andrew.
Everyday I drove J to see her son and then packed our two littles back into our apartment via the open door elevator. We reversed the cycle two hours later and then repeated in the afternoon for one more hour. Some of the days when we were all too tired to make it back up to the apartment during the second visit we would take the rented Dacia for a cruise or wait outside the orphanage instead.
The only picture of “The Dach.” Super sad! It was the best vehicle ever for my crazy Bulgarian driver alter ego.
The Bulgarians waiting patiently.
Typically Bulgarian orphanages at least try to appear welcoming and nice for children, Pleven doesn’t bother. It is what it is.
Pleven orphanage. The glorious exterior behind. It truly is hideous (in many ways.)
Pleven orphanage from the road.
Bulgaria has been trying for several years to move to a foster care system and so they are closing many orphanages. Unfortunately it seems like half show because while the orphanages close, many children are actually just transferred and packed into one that’s already full.
A few last shots from Pleven. Click for captions.
After Pleven we drove to Veliko Tarnovo where we stayed for three nights and my friend’s little daughter got to meet her bio family (or re-meet I suppose.) I’ve been once before and blogged about it on here! It’s a beautiful city. My hotel recommendation is closed now (Yatrus) but I hope only for renovations.
Some sightseeing around Veliko Tarnovo. The weather was very gloomy, so the pictures really don’t do justice.
Which brings us to today! We have a one night stop in my daughter’s hometown of Burgas. It’s a beautiful city on the Black Sea with lots of pedestrian areas. We walked the big Sea Garden today even though it was FREEZING. Siobhan and I took some time out for Valentine’s Day and went to Pizza Palace for a date. Turns out Valentine’s Day is huge here and every restaurant was packed. They gave us a table even though they were turning away other people without reservations. I assumed because we were adorable. At the end of the meal I remembered that Siobhan was toting around a birthday balloon, so really they saw a Canadian Mama bedraggled and trying to find a birthday meal for her daughter, but we got a table so…
Burgas photos – Click for captions
Tomorrow we will have breakfast at Happy (a Bulgarian chain) walk through the pedestrian area of the centre, take a photo at the orphanage (above), and mail a package before we start the drive back to Sofia.
Ciao! (Bulgarians borrow lots of words)