Issue 140

CONVIVIALITÉ AS A BUSINESS AND RAISON D'ÊTRE

The wine and spirits market is in a constant flux and for a connoisseur following and understanding the trends is both exiting and a bit disorienting. There are few people who can better navigate the matter than Jelena Lalic, the new CEO of Pernod Ricard Bulgaria. Pernod Ricard is an international leader in distribution of high-quality wines and spirits, boasting the most comprehensive portfolio in the world. Before taking over its Bulgarian branch, the Serbia-born Jelena Lalic was the finance director of Pernod Ricard Adriatics.

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GREEN BLACK SEA

The result of centuries of violent storms embedded in the consciousness of seafaring nations, the name of the Black Sea should not be taken literally. Its waters are not black, but mainly dark blue or lead grey, depending on the weather and the season.

Yet in June the Black Sea turns a vivid green, a colour you'd expect to see at an exotic tropical beach. Last year the change was so dramatic that it was visible from space. A NASA composite satellite photo showed the Black Sea's deep blue heart covered with swirls of turquoise.

How does this happen?

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EUROPE'S LAGGARD

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who has ruled Bulgaria almost uninterruptedly since 2009, may appear sprightly when he holds the hands of Angela Merkel or endearing when he tries to speak French with Emanuel Macron, but under his GERB-manship Bulgaria has collapsed to the rock bottom of almost every possible area that can be measured statistically.

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'LIAR' AND 'SLANDERER,' LEGALLY

Yoncheva, who is an outspoken critic of Borisov's GERB and his ultranationalist coalition partners, sued when Borisov said that the state had spent "millions" on funding Yoncheva's TV international programmes.

Borisov made the remarks while speaking in Burgas, a GERB stronghold, and then repeated them numerous times in various media appearances. Yoncheva responded that if the court found Borisov was a liar he should step out of politics.

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WHEN A ROSE IS NOT EXACTLY A ROSE

Attar-bearing roses and beautiful girls in traditional attire picking them dominate the images that Bulgaria uses to sell itself to both Bulgarian and international tourists. The rose is on this country's tourist logo, and is all over souvenirs and promotional materials, from postcards and videos to rose-scented soaps.

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DIMITROVGRAD BEYOND CHALGA

If you have spent more than a couple of days in Bulgaria you should already be familiar with Chalga. This tacky music dominates the mass Bulgarian taste. It blares from your taxi's radio, permeates house parties and low-key restaurants, stuns popular disco clubs and resounds from the open windows of flashy cars driven by chiselled guys or silicone-enhanced fake blondes. Chalga also inevitably pops up several times while you are skipping through your local TV channels.

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GRIGORIOS VASSILOCONSTANDAKIS

As we start a chat with the Greek ambassador in the elegant rooms of his residence in Sofia I keep thinking that Bulgarians are usually very interested in making comparisons between themselves and their neighbours. Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis is in a very interesting position to shed some light on that: he is Greek and he has had experience in both Istanbul and Bucharest. How do they compare to Sofia? There are many things that disunite the Balkans but is there anything that unites them?

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

When I was at a more tender age, a drink or a girl in leotard wouldn't scare me at all.

Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev on complains that the programme of an EU youth forum included a night out with alcohol and "half-naked" dancers

Boyko Borisov's only 'fault' is that he tolerates freedom of speech. His benevolence enables some people to cross boundaries and attack him.

Former Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov

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MONASTERIES OF VELIKO TARNOVO

It was also the seat of the patriarch, the head of the Bulgarian Church. Surrounded by his staff and underlings, he presided over a vast network of churches, monasteries and scriptoria.

There, icons were painted, books were written and the latest ideas in medieval philosophy were discussed.

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FROM VENDETTAS TO HEAVEN

Bees are buzzing around the dragon flowers sprouting from the stone walls of a three-storey tower. Old and weathered, the tower rises amid quiet lanes scorched by the sun. A couple of elderly men are eyeing us from the shadows of the nearby tavern.

"Orea," say the men.

"Einai para poli orea," we answer. Indeed, the tower is beautiful. There are several more around, remains from the days when exploring the Mani, the middle leg of the Peloponnese Peninsula, was not that easy.

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BEAUTIFUL SUMMER

There are so many reasons to love summer. It is the season of vacation, light clothes and light flirting. Summer is the time of hopes that we are going to experience something beautiful, of plans to discover a new place, of dreams to meet the most important person in our lives or just to relax and forget about all the stress.

The season is heavy with expectations and dreams. But they are not only about our lives. They are also about us. In summer we want to wear the most beautiful clothes. To have more colour in our everyday lives. To be more beautiful.

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HOLIDAY IN STYLE

In the recent years Bulgaria is becoming increasingly attractive tourist destination. The statistics shows it, too. In 2017, it recorded a significant increase of foreign tourists at almost 8 percent. According to prognoses, the trend is set to continue in this year. The increased incomes from visits from foreign tourists show something else: Bulgaria is successfully developing its potential to become a destination for high class vacation.

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TASTY GARDENS

Recently, getting to know Sofia's culinary pleasures have become a sight in its own right. A variety of culinary traditions, innovations, experiments, well-known and beloved suggestions – the Bulgarian capital offers a solution for every taste.

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HELP FOR LEADERS

Regardless of the size of a business, the leaders and managers in it meet serious challenges almost at a daily basis. The character of these difficulties differ, but overcoming them inevitably brings the satisfaction of achieved results and success.

Sometimes, however, every leader and business face a problem which is hard to be solved without outside intervention. In such cases the best solution is to seek help from a professional coach.

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PLEASURE CALLED TRYAVNA

Unlike other traditional villages and towns in Bulgaria stuck in their museum-feel, Tryavna, a town in the central Stara Planina mountains, is alive. Ordinary people still live in its fine Revival Period houses and the cobbled streets are busy with townsfolk, hurrying about their business.

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