Bulgaria is a wonderful country to visit in your campervan, motorhome, RV and caravan. But beware, the culture here is different. In this blog you will read 5 fun facts you must know before you visit Bulgaria. Once you have read them, you will be well-prepared for the delights that Bulgaria offers.
1) Yes, but No, but Yes!
Bulgarian people express approval by shaking their heads and say “No” by nodding. Read that again! Yes really!
This can be very confusing for the traveller who does not know. Imagine you go to the Tourist Information centre and ask if they have a map. The girl nods her head. You wait patiently for the map, but she does not move. You ask again and listen carefully this time. Whilst nodding her head, she says “Ne”. Sadly she doesn’t have a map for you. 80% of communication is non-verbal, so often we interpret the body language that accompanies the words without even knowing we are doing it. Make sure you listen carefully.
Take care in the nightclub boys and girls! Remember Yes, might actually mean no!
Of course, when Bulgarians know you are a foreigner, they might try to make it easier for you. In this case, they will shake their head to say “No” and nod to say “Yes”. In short, you stand very little chance of knowing whether people are saying yes or no.
What is the next of the 5 fun facts you should know before you visit Buglaria? …
2) Do the roads have potholes or the potholes have roads?
Driving in Bulgaria can be a stressful experience. The potholes can be enormous. One minute you are driving along a new stretch of smooth tarmac, then bam! In an instant it is like you have teleported to the face of the moon. Bulgaria is a super-producer of potholes on a scale not found in most European countries. So drive carefully and always expect a big pothole to appear on the approaching stretch of road. If there isn’t one, you will be nicely surprised.
If you hire a car, you might be shocked at the state of the car, but once you have driven on the roads for a few days, you will understand.
3) The Alphabet is Cyrillic – You will understand nothing!
In some countries you see a sign and you can make quite a good guess about what you will find inside. This is definitely not the case in Bulgaria. “Летище” means Airport. “Ресторант” means restaurant. The letters are totally different. If you want to learn some of the language ready for your trip, see our series of blog posts about Bulgarian language for tourists.
Navigating steps up a gear in Bulgaria. Not only do you have to find your way, but you cannot read or say the names of the places you are heading for. Making up your own shorthand for the symbols is a good idea. Luckily, since Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 the Cyrillic road signs are slowly being replaced with dual language signs. This is making life so much easier for travellers.
4) Everyone knows the Horo
I have never visited a country before where everyone loves to dance as much as in Bulgaria. Here there is a rich tradition of cultural dancing, and these dances are passed down through the generations. Horo is a group dance where people join hands and dance the same steps together in fluid harmony. It is sociable and great fun.
Dancing the Horo is in the Bulgarian’s blood. Grandmothers teach sons and grandsons. Everyone knows the steps and if a famous song is played at a family gathering, step aside, or you will be trampled in the rush to dance the Horo. If you are invited to join in, please do so. The feeling of belonging and celebration is second to none. Some of the dances are quite easy to follow, so you will be able to join in quite well. If you want to learn a simple Horo dance, ask us at Reception and we will teach you.
What is the last of the 5 fun fact you should know before you visit Bulgaria? …
5) Cents are called stotinkis in Bulgaria
The currency is the Bulgarian Lev (soon to be the Euro). Each Lev is divided into 100 stotinki. Have you ever heard such a cute name for cents? When we talk about 1, we say 1 Stotinka, but for more than one, they are Stotinki. They look similar to the Euro coins and are in the same denominations.
Bonus Foodie Facts …
Bulgaria’s Dairy Products are world-famous. The White Cheese (Sirene) is delicious. It is a creamier version of feta and is sublime.
Bulgaria’s yoghurt uniquely contains the Lachobacillus Bulgaricus Bacteria. It is SO good for you and tastes wonderful too. Airiyan is a salty refreshing drink made with this yoghurt. It is ideal on a hot summer’s day. We also enjoy Tarator. This is a refreshing soup with yoghurt, cucumber and dill. Make sure you order it when you are out enjoying lunch in a local restaurant. For really tasty varieties or yoghurt and White Cheese go to Elena. There is a small factory there with a great factory shop.
Bulgaria produces fabulous wines. Bulgaria’s red wines are its best. There are 3 grape varieties specific to Bulgaria:
- Mavrud – Grown in the South. It has dark, rich tannins.
- Melnik – Grown in the Western, warmest part of Southern Bulgaria. Reputably, Winston Churchill’s favourite wine.
- Gamza – Grown close to the Danube in North-Western Bulgaria. It has delicious red fruits and is a more delicate wine with a light ruby colour.
3 Wineries we recommend at Camping Veliko Tarnovo are Starousel, Enira & Angel.
So now you are fully prepared for your trip to Bulgaria. We hope you stay with us at Camping Veliko Tarnovo. If you want to book contact us here. Have fun planning your trip!
Another great post is why you should visit Camping Veliko Tarnovo.