Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Gurlo is a very quiet place on the other side of Breznik near Pernik and not that far from the Serbian border. We travelled on Saturday afternoon up the main road from Sofia to Pernik. The road is wide and cobbled with the tram line running parallel on the other side as you leave Sofia. Fortunately, our friend Joro chose to slip into another section which also runs parallel on our side, which wasn't cobbled, so it was a smoother ride.
In late afternoon we stopped at Breznik to buy fruit, veg, and beer which were really cheap. Then along empty roads passing wide open green spaces, and down to the house. The house had been snow bound all winter--the coldest and snowiest for fifty years. 
But now in the bright sunshine, with crickets chirrupping and birds twittering, it was an idyllic spring scene. Above the soft green hills the moon was already rising as we prepared for another Bulgarian custom, that of outdoor cooking. 
Outdoor cooking/barbecue...whatever you want to call it happens in Bulgaria throughout the spring and summer months and well into the autumn if it is warm enough, because of the dependable climate. If you travel around you will see most houses have a stone barbecue with a chimney built into it. Also usually a canopied eating area. 
Our BBQ was started burning small pieces of wood which reduced to charcoal after a little while. Then green peppers were roasted, followed by meat and toasting the bread. We sat under the outdoor canopy in the garden. With plenty of salads, crusty bread, wine, beer, rakia and rock music on the stereo, it was while before I noticed it was getting quite chilly. No going indoors though....just a pullover first and then a coat and we were out there till about 2.00am.

It was here during many "cheers" (nasdravay) and glass chinking that a particular Bulgarian word was used repeatedly. I had heard this word many times during the previous week or so. It seems that this wonderful word underpins the whole Bulgarian language. It crops up in conversation it seems, every few minutes. or sometimes seconds or even the end of phone calls, just before the end of phone calls, in the middle of phone calls, at the beginning of phone calls..... when you want someone to come with you, when someone is leaving, when someone is thinking about leaving, when they were thinking of leaving but are being persuaded to stay, when someone is leaving but they change their mind without any persuasion, when someone is not paying attention or daydreaming, when they are going for drinks, when they bring the drinks, when they want you to buy the drinks or it's your turn, when someone is arriving, on the phone before they arrive, when you are pleased to see them, when you want them to do something, when you don't want them to do something or do something else, when you say cheers, when you encourage, when you make a slightly slower movement than people are expecting, when you don't do what they thought you were going to do, when you are loading the car, when you are displaying enthusiasm, when you are unloading the car, especially when someone is waiting. I could go on.....I think ????  but I hope you get the picture. 
The word is 'haide' pronounced 'chaide' with a 'hk' generally sounding like 'ider'. Sooo.... as the night grew darker and the moon and our eyes shone brighter, it was "ider nastravay" many times, until we could not stay awake any longer.

On Sunday morning we awoke to a shining blue sky and hot sun. After breakfast it was on with the hats, necessary under the strong sun, and time to plant this year's tomatoes. It felt good to work the land actually using tools I had only seen on tv from days past, except for the rotivator that is.
We planted several rows, and enjoyed an outdoor lunch. It was then time to leave the tranquil setting, so in the afternoon we made our way back to Sofia and to the apartment. Along the road in Gurlo we passed several Stork's nests perched on top of conveniently placed telegraph poles, convenient for the storks that is. 
There is so much nature to enjoy all over Bulgaria. Where we were moving to, Rudartsi, is no exception.


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