Wherever you go, it always starts with a trip. Mine was pretty normal (just a little bit long : 14 hours from my hometown) and here I am, in Sofia, at… 1 a.m. No public transportation so late, of course. Then, taxi it is. The driver will keep silent, he only knows a few words in English. The first, but not the last one !
I am welcomed by Maja (Serbian), Aniol and Leti (Spanish), three nice volunteers and roomates who will host me for 3 nights. Maja absolutely wants to tell me a “horror story” before going to bed. In the end, she will be the scared one and me, the amused one !
First two days in Sofia, everything is new for me : I don’t understand what is written everywhere (road signs excepted), when I go to the grocery I don’t know exactly what I’m buying (butter from cow milk, thanks to the picture) and when I order something to eat in a snack, the employee fool me and make me pay for a more expensive dish. Obviously, I’m not the first foreigner cheated…
Back at the apartment, I meet another Serbian girl, Stefana, who knows few words in French and a film (“Les Visiteurs”), released in… 1993 ! I always wonder why foreigners only know old things about France. In the evening, It will be a card game with Leti and her Spanish boyfriend : Uno. Funny memory about it : sometimes the mother tongue springs up and „yellow“ becomes „amarillo“.
It’s already the time to pack again, to join Margo in Veliko Tarnovo by bus. She will kindly host me during four days, teach me my first Bulgarian words (dobro utro to you too) and traditions, such as Martenitsa. (photo below this paragraph) Wait, do you mean Martinitza ? A cocktail from a James Bond film ? No, Martenitsa. We wear a wool-made bracelet from the first of March until signs that spring is coming and then, we hang it to a budding tree. It will bring good health for the whole year. Margo won’t brag about it, but she is also a very good cook. My first real and tasty home-made Banitsa, thanks to you ! And your first “special” Banitsa, thanks to… the gravity.
Four days later, I pack again, giving the privacy back to Margo’s family and take an old train (1h for 40 km ? Yes, sir, but it’s only 3 Lv. Well, I cannot complain !) And then I’m here, in Tryavna. I meet Stan, the friendly director of the association and my cool local mentor and Art student, Svetlio. I still have to walk around the town to keep discovering it but for now, I appreciate the quiet atmosphere : it’s snowing.