The Great Bulgarian Adventure

It's been a year since we lived our Great Bulgarian adventure, 6 months spent living and working in the capital Sofia.

We arrived in mid february to a cold city, and a very unfriendly looking front door to our apartment building, our minds starting to wonder if this was such good idea after all. However, within a couple of hours, and short walk into the city centre for our first meal, our worries had been removed. We would get used to the broken paving tiles and the graffiti. Now we're back in the UK, we miss it, the friendly nature of the local Bulgarians, the great food and the months of blue skies.

Most of time in Bulgaria was spent surrounded by the historical buildings in the centre of the Sofia.

The front door to our apartment
The National Theatre
Newspaper Stand in the Morning
Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church - The Black Mosque


One of the many traditions that we've kept up after moving back to the UK is the Martenitsa. These simple red and a white wrist bands are given to friends on the 1st of March, Baba Marta day, and are worn until the first buds of spring start to flower. Then you hang the Martenitsa on the tree. By mid spring, not only are all the flowers in full bloom, but every branch in the city centre had Martenitsas hanging or tied on them.


Although the city has a very mediterranean feel, you cannot ignore the obvious remnants of communism that are scattered around. The big statues to Lenin and Stalin have been moved to a small museum on the outskirts of the city, but the Government buildings and the soviet era tower blocks still remain.

The Red start, taken from the old Communist Government building
The water fountains at night with the National Theatre in the background
The gardens and fountains were very popular during the summer months
Mount Vitosha overlooking the city

Gradska Gardens

The central Gradska gardens is where we spent many happy hours sitting in the sunshine.

Socialist Park Statues

The Protests

Portesters in Bulgaria are amazingly civilised


The Sofia Public Library


If you like, or are interested in any of my photographs, these and many more are available for license from my picfair profile:

About the Author

Phil Balchin is a full-time software developer at Heroku (a Salesforce company) and part-time photographer living in Guildford, Surrey, UK. Specialising in software development and photography, Phil also writes about graphic design, personal productivity, and travel.