A Fitting Good Bye

[Kazanluk, Bulgaria]

We woke up on Sunday morning feeling refreshed but ready to get home after 3 days of sight seeing. There was only one thing left to see in Kazanluk – the Ethnographic Museum Kulata.

This was very much similar to the Revival-style houses in Arbanassi and Veliko Tarnovo as well as the ethnographic complex Etar near Gabrovo. There were two Revival-style houses in this complex – one that had been built here by a wealthy family in the rose business, and one that had been somehow brought here from a nearby village. The idea was to represent both urban and village life in the 19th century. The urban house was bigger, with 3 rooms – a kitchen, a bedroom and a guest room. The veranda was huge and was overlooking an equally big yard with boxwood bushes framing the separate areas in the yard.


There was a on old-school rose boiler at the entrance, and it was working full steam! The village house was next door – it had only 2 rooms (no guesthouse), but was otherwise very similar. One thing that was unique about this complex was the serving of rose liquor and rose jam to all guests. They were both delicious, and since a large tourist group was taking up the tables in the yard, we got to enjoy ours upstairs on the veranda. I imagined every day life here, and although I am sure days were filled with hard labor looking after the garden or the farm animals, the simplicity of it had a calming effect on me.

The drive to Sofia was not bad – mostly highway (2 lanes each way), but potholes, crazy fast drivers and crazy slow drivers made it more stressful for my dad than it needed to be. The custom here is to move to the right lane when fast traffic approaches you – something that keeps you on your toes because you have to be aware who is coming up from behind. Forcing the driver behind you to pass on the right is considered extremely bad form – as a matter of fact, you may be forced to move over because the person behind you will honk at you until you do. This is very much unlike the US, where people pick a lane and drive in it. Faster traffic has to get around you, often on the right, if they want to pass. My dad was so used to the European way of driving that he got pulled over for it when he was driving in the US last year – the cop thought he had been drinking because he was changing lanes so much!

We got to Sofia just as clouds started to send sprinkles of rain down at us. It was as if the weather had waited for us to get home to turn bad. In fact, the next few days turned out to be cold and rainy! I think all three of us had a great time on this trip and were thankful for the great weather and the wonderful experience! Having some rose liquor and rose jam was the perfect memorable experience to end our trip with.

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