Bulgaria. Whenever I mention I’ve been to Bulgaria, I’m surprised by a common response: “Wow, I’ve always wanted to go to South America, it must be nice.” Bulgaria, not to be confused with Bolivia, is tucked away in the southeast corner of Europe and easily makes up for what it may lack in name recognition with a deep and fascinating history, diverse landscapes and a culture rich in tradition and hospitality.
My first exposure to Bulgaria came in 2007. On The World by Road, Bulgaria represented the gateway to Europe. The newly inducted member of the European Union offered a change of pace, culturally, from months spent driving through the Muslim oriented countries of Central Asia. It wasn’t until I saw a Christmas tree in Bulgaria that I realized what time of year it was. Unfortunately, our stay in Bulgaria was short, but my curiosity had been sparked and I vowed to return one day to explore more of this intriguing country. Three years later, I fulfilled that vow and Bulgaria didn’t disappoint.