In the last days of 2012 a Facebook application gave users the chance to make a collage of their pictures throughout the year. This way at a glance you can remember how the months went by – beaches, exotic trips, walks with the children and the dog. Many of these moments were spontaneous, but left great sensations afterwards. And how should you get an even better year? Get acquainted with five picturesque spots in Bulgaria, where you can get material for yet more wonderful memories at any time of the year.
Pint of Guinness at J.J. Murphy's
Seasons change, but the Irish pub J.J. Murphy's has remained much the same – a welcoming place with an excellent choice of beer and the obligatory accompaniment of onion rings, beef steaks, ribs or smoked salmon. Order the favourite Guinness and join the friendly crowd of the pub's customers – expats and locals, united in their love for football, Irish drinks and Irish spirit.
at Maxi Velingrad Hotel
Winter is the time when you want the most to simply run away from the cold and dirty atmosphere of the big cities and enjoy luxury somewhere. Maxi Velingrad Hotel is exactly the place for it – the combination of original architecture, hospitality traditions and five-star luxury is ideal for the weekend or for a long and lazy holiday. The atmosphere of the Rhodope mountains is famous for its charm and beneficial influence on spirit and body alike, while the spa centre of the hotel offers relaxation therapies, health procedures and prophylaxis. In order to have a restful holiday and your children entertained, pick the special care at Maxi Velingrad with animators, movie room and game hall.
Wine and History
in Light Castle, Ivaylovgrad
The combination of mild climate, clean nature, picturesque mountain and historical monuments is enough to lure you to Ivaylovgrad in the eastern Rhodopes. But once you add the Light Castle Winery and hotel, the holiday turns into pleasure for all the senses. Spend the day sightseeing with some of the region's landmarks such as the Roman villa Armira with its splendid mosaics and the medieval fortress Lyutitsa. Dedicate the evening to the peace and excellent cuisine of Light Castle with wine tasting of vintages that have won international quality awards.
Escape to Kotel With goKotel
Kotel, on the eastern slopes of the Stara Planina, is like a postcard model with its picturesque landscape. The town with 6,000 residents is small enough to preserve its atmosphere of a place far away from the bustle of big cities and to be toured on foot, yet it offers enough opportunities for you to spend your time – exploring the old Bulgarian Revival houses or the pristine nature in the area. The guesthouses of goKotel are another advantage of the town. Owners Jaap van Beelen and Galina Durmushliyska, who live in Kotel since 2006, offer you true hospitality in two traditional wooden houses that can house up to 18 people. Following their idea to make the region more familiar to its guests, the hosts offer a selection of enticing programmes – getting to know the culture of the four different ethnical groups (Bulgarian, Karakachani, Aliani, Roma) of the region, hiking around the Kotel valley, or to enjoy Bulgarian folk and Gypsy music and dance.
Gourmet Feast at Shades of Red, Grand Hotel Sofia
When sophisticated dining is called for, book a table at the restaurant Shades of Red in Grand Hotel Sofia. For years, the restaurant has been famous for its lavish holiday dinners and events in elegant style, and for this winter it now offers a new menu and a wine list to match it. This season fish takes the spotlight, cooked in low temperature and served whole – only a bite will effectively revive your memories for the warm Med. The menu is richer with the game courses and range of vegetarian dishes. If you hesitate on what is the perfect wine for your chosen dish, the new sommelier of Shades of Red, Slavi Raychev, will recommend the ideal wine match from the 80-label strong wine list. Shades of Red is also a great idea for a spot of romantic dinner – have this in mind as you make your plans for St. Valentine's Day.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers