Displaying items by tag: The Black Sea
All fortresses come with their legends, but in Bulgaria few can compete with Kaliakra, near Kavarna, on the northern Black Sea coast.
Autumn nowadays is presented as a time of cosiness, bunches of yellow leaves and everything pumpkin-spiced, but if you are fed up with this saccharine representation of the season, there is a place to go where you can experience autumn in its raw beauty.
The crowd of tourists in flip-flops, faces glowing from sun-burn, is overwhelming. The cries of the touts trying to lure customers into this or that restaurant selling pizza or sweet-sour ducks in small portions at outrageous prices are piercing. Zillions of stalls selling kitschy souvenirs, beach towels, jeans and conveyor-belt-produced marine landscapes cover the walls of the medieval churches and 200-year old houses.
Many tourists are actually wondering what they are doing in Nesebar.
When God created the earth, the Bulgarian legend goes, He gathered all the nations to divide the world among them. To the British, He gave mastership over the seas, while the Swiss received the mountains, the Russians got the great plains, and the Germans took possession of the thick forests. When God ran out of gifts, He noticed that there was a people who were still empty-handed: the humble Bulgarians, languishing at the end of the queue of nations. Baffled, God soon realised what had happened: the Devil had stolen all the best pieces of the earth. The Almighty took everything back, and gave it to the Bulgarians.
Against current backdrop of fresh concrete, decaying pre-fab housing estates it's hard to imagine Burgas used to be quiet, yet urbane
One thing Bulgaria does not have in great abundance is… islands. In fact, there are but a handful of isles, sometime just rocks, off the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, and none of them is permanently inhabited except for the usual lighthouse keeper. However, one of them, near Burgas, has recently been refurbished as a growing tourist attraction.
The Bulgarian southern Black Sea coast might be overdeveloped, but a few corners of pristine nature and immaculate beauty still survive amid the concrete, the lack of proper sewage systems, the hideous new buildings and the jam - packed beaches. Sinemorets, one of the last Bulgarian villages before the border with Turkey, is one of those places.
Endangered, rare and ephemeral, wild peonies are to be found in just a few locations across Bulgaria, but on Yaylata Plateau, if you have the luck to visit in late spring, you will find scores of them.
According to a local legend, Varvara village got its name in Antiquity. Back then, wayward Thracians used to live on this rocky part of the Black Sea shore. Raids and pillage were their main sources of income, and their neighbours, from the rich Greek town of Agatopolis, were their usual victims. As a retribution for the raids, the Greeks called the Thracian settlement Varvara, the place of the Barbarians.
London has Camden Passage (Portobello is so upmarket nowadays), Paris has the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, Rome has Porta Portese, Athens has Monastiraki and Tbilisi has the Dry Bridge Flea Market: local flea markets are one of the most delightful experiences in capitals across Europe. Once they were the haunt of those who did not have enough disposable income to buy new stuff. They also attracted collectors, fringe cultures, and optimists believing that they would find a lost Rembrandt among all the knick-knacks. With the advent of cheap, disposable fashion (thanks, China), mass travel and mass hipsterisation, however, those with little cash moved to the malls, and the joy of finding some vintage clothing, or a 1960s piece of furniture that would look great in the living room went mainstream. This trend ruined Portobello, and put all the other flea markets solidly on the tourist map.