Birthday, and Rugged Hike in Bulgaria

One weird thing about me is that I love Bulgarian choral music. That’s a huge reason why we came to Bulgaria in the first place.

We came to Sofia in hopes of catching a Bulgarian choral music concert. One obstacle, though, is the language barrier. I can communicate very roughly with Bulgarians thanks to my Polish language skills. But the alphabet is Cyrillic, so we can’t read it.

Sofia featured some of the oldest things I’ve ever laid eyes on, like ruins from the Roman empire nearly two millennia old.

In a Sofia city guide I found a hokey Bulgarian restaurant that features karaoke-type singing by a folk singer, and folk dancing.

Hey, Vladimir Putin’s been to this restaurant! That’s … neat … I guess?

That was okay – it was just as deliciously corny as you’d expect and demand, but it didn’t quench my thirst for those haunting vocal harmonies live.


As we explored the city – which is super cool, with Roman ruins and mineral water fountains that a constant stream of people visit to fill plastic water jugs – I found posters featuring performers in Bulgarian folk dress. I snapped their pictures and painstakingly deciphered them with the Bulgarian alphabet, and lo, I found it – a Bulgarian folk Megaconcert.

A constant stream of people arrived to fill plastic water jugs with healing mineral waters.

This might be TMI, but we were in Sofia for some medical attention. Nothing serious. We needed some dental work done and some medical check-ups that would cost much more at home. Turns out I needed to stay in Sofia longer for a procedure, and it just so happened that the Megaconcert was on the extra day that we had to stay. The universe provides.

I’m so happy!

The Megaconcert opened with a beautiful female choir singing a cappella one of my favorite Bulgarian folk songs, and tears of joy streamed down my face. Seriously. I’m weird. (My WordPress plan doesn’t let me upload external video, but if you’d like to hear the song, click here.)

During the concert one man got in the aisles close to front row and danced with practically more vigor than the dancers on stage. A four-year-old girl caught his enthusiasm and joined him in the aisle, bouncing around with glee. At one point the man was so enthusiastic that he turned, hit the girl, and flung her three feet. Alarmed, he picked her up and dusted her off, and restrained himself with some bouncing in the aisle, like a trembling pressure cooker. Then, with a stroke of inspiration, he grabbed his date and they began line dancing in the aisle. That broke the levee and a flood of audience members came down and joined hands and danced in the theater. Probably half the national theater was in the aisles, hand in hand, dancing. I have some footage from the concert but it sucks because I film exactly never, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Sorry.

Cool subway station, Sofia. What’s that, ancient Roman ruins? Neat.

Anyway, we moved on to the deep Bulgarian mountains, where we took a magical hike through an alpine wonderland.

Winter has already begun for us in the Bulgarian mountains.

We learned a valuable lesson on our hike. We planned a certain route and when we arrived at a crossroads, we took the path we’d chosen at the outset, even though at the crossroads it was obvious to see that to go right, we’d be walking into a snowy boulder field, and to go left, the boulder field was not covered in snow. We got mired in the snowy boulder field and as the afternoon was waning, we had to turn back. It didn’t even occur to us that we should consider not taking the path that led to a snowy boulder field. But now I know: choose the path without a snowy boulder field.

Freeze not freeze.



    1. Come to Balkan Camp andfyou can hear, sing, dance and learn the instruments for this music and all around the Balkins. We have even had a choral instructor on occasion.

      Liked by 2 people

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