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First 72 Hours in Bulgaria

 I’m currently living since five weeks in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, a town of about 80.000 habitants in south western Bulgaria. I’m here on an Erasmus exchange and going to live and study at the American University in Bulgaria for one Semester. During the first three days I have noticed a couple of things that are different from the places I lived before.

The main thing which surprised me the most because I never thought of that before is that Bulgaria is very cheap. The first days of my Erasmus exchange consisted of meeting new people and going out a lot and I was surprised that in a club the booze is very cheap. A very positive thing if you consider that the clubs are the places where you are going to meet the most people outside of your campus and you otherwise would spend a lot of money like in the Netherlands where I lived the years before.

Second thing I noticed is that Bulgarians are very friendly and try to help where they can even though most of them don’t talk English. That is something that makes everything a little bit more difficult. Their English knowledge is nearly non-existent and you start to talk with your whole body when you want to explain something.

Third thing is that I have to watch out a lot while walking around town. Their driving skills are also very limited and rules are there to be broken. If you cross the street you better be quick if you don’t want to get hit by a car. I think it’s comparable to some Asian cities like Bangkok.

The most disturbing thing though is that they nod with their had to say no and shake their head to say yes… the complete opposite from most cultures. I think they also do it in India. I still haven’t figured out why they do it that way.

Have you ever been to Bulgaria? What were the first things you noticed are different than at your home country?

 

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19 comments on “First 72 Hours in Bulgaria

  1. Federico on

    I have been there and although didn’t like it the first time I have thereafter! Great food, cheap as you say and friendly people (nothing to do with the person I first met 5 years earlier). You will see they eat cucumber with everything!

    Reply
    • seba on

      I already noticed that! They love their veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes etc) and their cheese, they have it on top of everything!

      Reply
      • kinder on

        the salad you are talking about is called “shopska” , and is cheap for the tourists ,yeah, but not for the bulgarians

        Reply
  2. DTravelsRound on

    I spent a few weeks in Bulgaria, and those observations are correct. However, the shaking of the head thing I only noticed in the smaller, less touristic towns. The prices are very cheap, especially for food and lodging! It is a beautiful country. Definitely go to Veliko Tarnovo while you are there!

    Reply
  3. The Travel Chica on

    Never been. Surprising to learn that they do the nod for no and shake for yes like in India. I wonder if there are other countries in that region that do that.

    Reply
    • seba on

      As far as I know Bulgaria is the only country here which does that. And there are big differences between big cities and villages at the country side.

      Reply
  4. Sherry on

    Great post on a place I’ve not yet been to …yet! I have watched a few shows on the Travel Channel & HDTV which stated that its one of the best places in Europe to get a truly European feel but at half the cost to the rest of Europe. I’m very interested to see the rest of your experiences in Bulgaria.

    Reply
    • seba on

      I am not sure if it is the right place to get a european feeling but it definitely is a great country at half the cost to other European countries
      I’m staying here for another 3 months and travel through Bulgaria and the surrounding countries.

      Reply
  5. Camels & Chocolate on

    Bulgaria is honestly a country that I know NOTHING about. I’m eager to learn more! Though funny enough, I actually studied abroad through an Erasmus program, too, in Holland!

    Reply
    • seba on

      I still know only little about the country but I think it should be on the list of every traveler who’s going to Europe! Its beautiful and very cheap compared to the rest of Europe!

      Reply
  6. Anna on

    Here is an explanation of why we nod the other way around… Very few Bulgarians actually know the reason for this… Bulgaria has been 5 centuries under Turkish slavery and during that period Turks tried to make us accept their religion. So they were going into people’s homes putting a knife on their throats asking them “Will you accept the Turkish religion?”. People wanted to say no but if they were to shake their head the knife would slide through their skin and cut their throat. So they used a nod to say NO. That might be a myth however but it is a very cultural thing and we like it to stay this way 🙂 We won this battle and maybe this is what is left to remind us of our courage to stand for what we believe in! 🙂

    Reply