Here I am, after a long night on the bus (a night on the bus can decidedly not be restful), I arrive in Sofia, in Bulgaria – nice name for a capital, don’t you think? My friend Maxim meets me at the station, before taking me explore the place for a while. It is a nice city, although it is far from figuring on my palmaresof the most beautiful capitals. I like the fact that very old buildings are found alongside modern ones.

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We spend the night at a friend’s place, who is a French expat. She, her roommate and her boyfriend are all lovely people, and it is always inspiring to speak with people who have decided to leave everything behind to go live in a new country. And they have a little cat 🙂

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The following day, Maxim takes me to see a village nestled in the mountains a few kilometers outside of Sofia: Bov. It is so special, it’s difficult to believe that one can live in such an isolated place.

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Maxim asking a local for directions…

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Maxim is a photographer, so for once, there will be more pictures of me in this article.

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And him!IMG_7638

We spend the next few days exploring the country and everything it has to offer: first, the mountains! With on the agenda, a little 6 hour walk til the highest point of the Balkans, Mount Musala.

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It’s a sublime place.

But now, the sea! We drive to a small town by the black sea, not far from Burgas.

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Not far from there, there exists a special place where Thracians (a 4000-year old tribe from the Balkans) performed diverse sacred rituals, from which traces have been found in the form of mysterious rock formation emitting a very powerful energy. Intense.

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We walk a bit further and discover other interesting things.

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Little photo session.
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A few days later, however, it is already time to go back to the village where Maxim’s future meditation center is; after all, that is why I am here!

We nonetheless decide to do a small halt in Burgas, so that we can test its famous mud baths. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned… I manage to almost impale my poor innocent foot, with an old rusty iron rod. At the moment, the result is the following:

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Therefore, it is impossible for me to take a dip in the mud, but I watch Maxim having the time of his life :p

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That’s it, we arrive at the village. I discover the 50-year old school that my friend has brought a few years ago in order to renovate it; it’s big!

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There is only one wing that is really ready, and that’s where I will live for the next 3 weeks. Despite the location, it is a very cozy place and I feel at home right away.

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After a trip to the hospital the next day to disinfect my foot correctly and get a tetanos shot, I am ready to work (without shoes).

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My days will consist in reparing and painting windows, helping Maxim fix the roof, carry some stuff…

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And then, during my free time, I start with a lot of excitment to study for my new university online, I read a lot of things on buddhism and meditation, I play the flute, sometimes accompanied by Maxim on the guitar, I drink beers with him on the rooftop and discover the surroundings…

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While walking around the cities, in Bulgaria, I noticed that this type of pictures is very common; Maxim explained that is customary to commemorate the dead at the anniversary of their deaths, for many years after. It results in a kind of grim atmosphere!

There is a little cat that visits us all of the time, he doesn’t dare approach at first but we slowly tame it. And it is not the only one! We feed all of the family every day.

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The neighbour has a such a sweet dog.

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Almost every day, people come and visit us. They enter without knocking, it’s funny, I am often surprised during my work by old women who give me huge smiles and talk to me in Turkish. I offer them a cup of tea and show them pictures, they ask Maxim why he doesn’t marry me. Two sisters, one day, invite us to eat at their place. It is a very interesting experience, everybody smiles a lot, even though no one can actually communicate with me. Fortunately, Maxim speak Bulgarian. Furthermore, it’s amusing because here, people nod their heads to say no and shake it to say yes, which is pretty confusing!

They have many, many cats 😛

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Thracians are everywhere in the region. One day, we set off to discover niches created by them thousands of years ago; we don’t really know what purpose they served. We discover a site a bit further that could have served for rituals, also. A cemetary is built next to it, far from everything… It’s strange and fascinating.

In summary, I am having a really great time here.

But as always, time flies at an impressive speed…

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