Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Colour of the sea...

Dutch seacoast in Medemblik

With the beginning of the summer I (as an ordinary Bulgarian) start to dream of sea...In the Netherlands its not always a question of water temperatures, but also of the colour of the sea water.It does not really invite u to go in (for proof see first picture). So even if I nowadays live less than 10 km to the first beach, I still dream of something a bit further away: the amazing sea colours one may find in the South of Europe...

Colour of sea in Sardinia Archipelago di maddalena

Some years ago I found the European paradise and the most beautiful beaches within Europe (and sometimes I do think they can even compete for the most beautiful in the world): it is called Sardinia and around 2-3 hours flight from the Netherlands...Just looking at this emerald sea colour is relaxing...Give it a try with the below images and imagine the smell of salt water and the light sea breeze:-)

Sardinia sea Archipelago di Maddalena

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Kazanlak-crossroad of cultures...

The Thracian tomb (also known as the Kazanlak tomb) and its paintings are one of the nine Bulgarian sites, included in the UNESCO List of Historical and Architectural Monuments of World Importance. It is located in the northern part of the city Kazanlak (in the middle of Bulgaria) and dates back to 4th-3rd century BC. The area of and around the town boasts an extremely rich cultural and historical heritage, gathered down the centuries at a real crossroad of highly developed cultures. 
On August 19, 2004, a stone sarcophagus was found with a lot of golden samples of the rich Thracian culture (5th century BC). It is related to the name of the mighty ruler Terres - founder of the state of Odrissi tribe. The most significant finding from this tomb is the unique golden mask of impressive weight, probably belonging to King Terres (picture above), and a heavy golden ring bearing the figure of an athlete. The hill is connected to a lot of others, forming a complex that gave the region the name of The Valley of Thracian Kings - evidence of the genius architectural skills of ancient Thracian population.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Jazz in de gracht=music on water in den Haag!

Dutch people are really creative!
Yesterday I attended a very unusual jazz concert, the "Jazz in de gracht" in den was on water! The different jazz bands were moving from one scene to another by boat:-)
All concerts were held within one canal and every 20 minutes a new boat with a new band was arriving...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Gent or Gand or Ghent, (Flemish/French/English)?!

As the Netherlands are not soooo big country, its quiet handy to go on a daily trip in the weekend to a town in one of its neighbour countries. This time I have chosen Ghent in the Flemish part of Belgium. In French the name is Gand and in Flemish: Gent, so dont be surprised...

The charm of the town lies in its medieval architecture which is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is claimed to be the largest carfree area in Belgium, may be thats why it was a big mess to find a parking lot on a Saturday. In the middle of the old city the castle Gravensteen (on the pic above) from the 12th century adds additional fairy-tale flavour. Within its century-long history it was used as a courthouse, a prison and a factory.

Of course, as everywhere in Belgium, there were some creative chocolatiers:-)

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Rose festival или за празника на розата в Казанлък!

Being part of the Rose festival in Kazanlak, Bulgaria, was on my Want-to-do list for some years now.
Luckily i made it finally (a bit last min) there! In the middle of the rose gardens (in Rozowa dolina=Rose valley) and surrounded by great rose aroma, warm sunshine and blue sky I could experience the famous Rose-harvesting ritual. This event usually takes place every last Sunday of the month of May, although it might differ with a week from year to year. Next to some traditional activities and folklore performances one could also view the "real" rose-pickers and carriers...
The rose cultivated in the region around Kazanlak is the so called "Rosa damascena", it was brought to Bugaria from Persia (most probably by the soldiers of Alexander Macedons). Its harvesting is a very difficult process: it can be done only by hand and before sunrise (oil concentration is at its highest at this time of the day only), distillation should take place on the same day. One kilogramm rose oil is gained from THREE tonnes rose blossom!!! Those are just some of the reasons why the rose oil is the most expensive oil in the world. One kilogramm real oil from Rosa damascena costs around 5000 EUR....
The Bulgarian oil-bearing rose has been cultivated in the Rose Valley now for more than 300 years. Most rose oil is produced in Bulgaria, Morocco, Iran and Turkey.