As I drive frequently, I am stopped frequently - usually for speeding. The best advice to foreigners that I can give is, when stopped by the police, be sure to speak absolutely no Bulgarian - even if you can. Even a basic understanding of the language is a sure indication to the police that you should know better than to break the traffic laws. You might even try saying in your most innocent mid-western American accent (if you can do one) " I am sorry officer, but I just don't understand... I am sorry... what". Complete ignorance is the best defence. I am very happy to say that in recent years the police have certainly become much more professional then when I was a 27-year-old consultant driving alone across the country.
A. Phelan, United States
I have just returned to the United States from my first trip to Bulgaria. I spent a week there, mostly in Sofia. Vagabond was my guide to the city and its many activities and personalities. I found the country open, unrestrained, even libertine; it seems to be vigorously shaking off the long history of Turkish and Communist rule. The food is excellent - I consumed innumerable Shopska salads - and the Bulgarian people open and welcoming. The more I travel, the more my eyes are opened to new worlds unimagined and unimaginable, and the human aspect is always the most captivating.
Thanks, Vagabond, for helping make my visit to Sofia a memorable one.
I am wondering if you could help me with a couple of points I'm not clear about. Originally from the UK, I have been here since 2 November and my 90 day period will be up in January. By this time Bulgaria will have joined the EU, do I still have to leave when the 90 days are up, or am I able to stay as an EU citizen as long as I am not a burden to the state? Also, having driven here from the UK and happily paying four euros for the motorway toll, I later discover that in Sofia they are only four leva and the government web site even gives different price lists for BG cars/foreign cars. Is this still allowed and will it stop on 1 Jan? Many thanks for reading my letter and any light you may be able to shed on these matters for me.
VAGABOND: Answers to these questions will be published as part of a large EU-related feature in the January 2007 issue.