I would like to congratulate you and the rest of the team on the excellent quality of Vagabond. The interesting text and fantastic photos ensure an exceptional publication.

I showed the magazine to a Bulgarian friend and, whilst his English is limited, he was extremely impressed, especially with the photography. He is the director and choreographer of the Sofia–based Bulgarian folklore ensemble I dance with. Both of us being dancers, and immersed in folklore in general, we loved the preview of the next issue's cover in Vagabond 28–29, with the photo of the girl in "costume." It is very clever, and I'm looking forward to the March edition which features her. The photo of her rear view is also very amusing.

Thanks for publishing Vagabond. It's really good to be able to read about such diverse subjects in English.

Anna Travali, Bulgaria/Australia



I am outraged by your March issue cover. To me it's an insult to our national values, of which the national dress is a part.

Rumen Sokolov, Sofia



Referring to your article "Face On/Face Off" (Vagabond 28–29), I would like to affirm that Bulgarians are clever – isn't that correct?

How often have you met foreigners who had never heard of Bulgaria? I do, every week. Besides Americans and Canadians – not just a few individuals, but groups of them, debating the country's whereabouts – I have met Western Europeans who had not heard of our lovely motherland either. Mind you, Finland has been mistaken as being part of Canada, so we are not the only ones. You should see the kind of fatheads I go to college with in England! We may not be geniuses, but at least every Bulgarian you ask, even in the street, will be able to tell you the location of Spain and Italy. One day, on the Leeds to Newcastle train, a group of college students asked me if Italy had a port, and whether it was near Germany or England.

I agree with the notion of Bulgarians' industriousness – it is nonexistent.

Bulgarians are tolerant! Watch a video of Germans burning books in the 1930s or visit Crematorium One at Auschwitz. Just the smell of burnt flesh there will give you the creeps.

Bulgaria is a young state, so may I ask you a favour? Find and show me the grave of a single English king who lived before the 16th Century and was buried in the Albion. There isn't one! They were all interred in France, where the aristocrats were also buried. Everyone knows a man gets buried where his roots are, in his homeland. But what do we have here? It seems England was once part of France. Later it was ruled by a Scot, a Dutchman and eventually, and still to this day, by Germans!

How far back does Germany's history go? Or Italy's? As far back as Bulgaria's, only about 10 years longer. Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Belgium all have at least 100 years of state history, your pattern suggests. The United States may well turn out to be the oldest state!

Yuri Boyanin, Bulgaria/Finland



I would like to object to a term used by you in your article about Tryavna (Vagabond 28–29). No sane Bulgarian on this or any other planet, would speak of "Ottoman Rule." The word that should be used is "Yoke." How would you translate Ivan Vazov's "Under the Yoke?" "Under the Rule?" Or "Under the Administration?" I think that people who use "rule" rather than "yoke" are national traitors and Euro–idiotised fools. The truth is that we were under a yoke, not a rule; the truth is that they butchered and skinned alive our grandfathers and grandmothers, including those of the author of the article, rather than giving them facelifts or liposuction; the truth is that they raped our girls at a time when no hippies and free love existed; the truth is that they turned our youth into Janissaries rather than recruit them to a future NATO army.

Marincho Marinov, Plovdiv



I am very sorry to have read the following in a magazine that goes round the world: "A British firm bought the remains of the Ottoman soldiers to be used as fertiliser for English agriculture" (Vagabond 27). There are no indications that anything like that ever occurred; there are notales about it circulating among the citizens of Pleven; and then there is no logic to it. England is at the other end of Europe, so transporting human fertiliser would be prohibitively expensive.

This sounds like a bad horror movie. Ask yourselves the following questions: who would dig up enemy bones; who would endorse such an act; who would sell the actual bones; who would do the digging, Englishmen or Bulgarian hired hands; how would this remain secret from the town's citizens; what kind of a fertiliser would that be; and are the Turkish bones the only ones suitable – doesn't England have colonies with many more bones?

If I were English, I would kick up a huge diplomatic scandal about your article, and then I would sue until your magazine goes broke.

Irena Petrova, Military-Historical Museums Directorate, Pleven



The source of our information is: Encyclopaedia of Islam, by Dr. E. J. Donzel (Editor), Ch. Pellat (Editor), Prof. W. P. Heinrichs (Editor); London, Leiden, Paris, 1993; Vol. VIII, p319.

We can be only happy the British government has so far indicated no intention of closing down this or any other journal.



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As a long-term subscriber to Vagabond it is my pleasure to introduce to you my latest book, Why I Love Bulgaria that was published a month ago by Kibea publishers in Sofia. Until the beginning of this year I lived in Bulgaria.

Dear Vagabond,
I was invited to offer my perspective on Poets & Writers as well as the wider world of literary magazines, and for six days I got to know some extremely talented writers from Bulgaria, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States while
I enjoyed your photos of Sofia under snow (no snow in Berlin, alas), the impressive research on Kolyu Ficheto (I had seen some of his work
During the past seven years I have been taking tours into the Rila and Pirin mountains using snowmobiles, Rangerovers and off-road buggies.

The source used by myself in the Encyclopaedia of Islam to which I am a contributor is a short remark by Rupert Furneaux in his The Siege of Plevna, Anthony Blond publishers, London,1958.
Too many liberals in older EU member states, for example, fail to understand the insecurity and anxieties of ordinary people (particularly in these times of crisis and cutbacks), and too many venal politicians and shoddy journalists understand these all too
RE: What I have learnt for five years in Bulgaria, Vagabond No 47-48
We rented a car and after a considerable amount of beach-hunting (all of them seem to have beach umbrellas and plastic chairs installed), we settled at a relatively empty beach near the oil terminal in Rosenets (beautiful views of a small island called, I a
After working long hours and munching on supermarket salad for three evenings while slaving away on the computer until the wee hours, I decided to go out and treat myself to a dinner.
This is the first time that I read such a clever and sharp article in Bulgaria. So thank you for that.
I would be interested in hearing your opinion. I think that some feedback (in this case from a reader of a book published by yourselves) makes sense, and it is this idea that prompted me to contact you.