Nedko Dimitrov Featured
Bulgaria,  Varna

The Mafia, Corruption and Gypsy Segregation

Varna, Bulgaria
Nedko Dimitrov
Tarator

The Place: Varna, Bulgaria

“Until now, the distinct absence of almost anything living had been emphasised by the echoing caws of crows that had seemed to follow me for months… but in Varna they were finally replaced with the harmonies of birdsong.  The evening sky’s warm, orange hue turned tower blocks into dark silhouettes, masking their less elegant concrete features until the morning and, for the first time in a long time, people milled around the streets. As they hopped out of the way of my bike… and erupted in laughter from parks and bars, they animated the city, giving it a liveliness so unfamiliar after travelling for so long through snow and ice that it seemed alien to me.”

Read About Varna

My second day in Bulgaria, and I traversed an undulating road cut indelicately into a cliffside stained orange with soil that released tumbling fragments of rock to scatter across the road at random, and slightly unnerving, intervals. A viscous swell, churned up by the unrelenting wind that had battered my bike for the past two days sent a charging white froth hurtling towards the base of the rockface below. But from all the way up here, the fury of the Black Sea looked like ripples across a pond, and the crashing waves generated a soothing whoosh, before being sucked back for another attack.

Further along a stretch of sand shrinking and regenerating with the wash of the water, tacky, monolithic resorts claimed segments of the coast for themselves, seemingly competing with one another to void any natural atmosphere the beach might have once had. They towered arrogantly over their surroundings, and served as legitimate businesses through which organised criminal enterprises could funnel their dirty money. I forced my bike over mounds of rubble beside them, unruly twigs scratching at my cheeks, along a road that Komoot (my navigation app) had assured me was a shortcut, but turned out to be closed during the off-season while the nearby launderers were renovated. Gritting my teeth in frustration, I struggled to silence the voice in the back of my head telling me I should turn back, and weaved my way between a pack of dogs I’d taken by surprise; something I presume they weren’t too happy about given the short ensuing chase and snaps at my panniers.

After what felt like an age, I was spat out from the undergrowth onto a small village road that took me to a motorway, and Varna’s Skyline, concealed for most of the day by a headland, emerged from the shelter of a bay. Cars rocketed past what felt like mere inches from my face, and I descended into the city. Two enormous stone soldiers stood back to back, perpetually frozen in battle and gazing defiantly across a ‘Sea Garden’ ahead of me, as though they were showing me the way.  By now, the grass was splattered with colour as flowers emerged after the retreat of winter. Until now, the distinct absence of almost anything living had been emphasised by the echoing caws of crows that had seemed to follow me for months as I’d cycled through Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, but in Varna they were finally replaced with the harmonies of birdsong.

The evening sky’s warm, orange hue turned tower blocks into dark silhouettes, masking their less elegant concrete features until the morning and, for the first time in a long time, people milled around the streets. As they hopped out of the way of my bike, dipped in and out of shops, and erupted in laughter from bus stops, benches and bars, they animated the city, giving it a liveliness so unfamiliar after travelling for so long through winter that it seemed alien to me.

After a few days, I realised my approach into Varna was more memorable than my time exploring it. Truth be told, I didn’t get as “under the skin” as I had in other stops on the cycle tour. Maybe it was my exhaustion after the journey from Romania, or the slightly ambiguous and hard-to-define atmosphere of the city, or both, but I didn’t feel I gained a sense of the city’s personality while I was there. It remained obscure to me, and I left with an anticlimactic and unfulfilled sensation, as though I’d failed in my task of truly understanding it’s character. Still, I savoured the bustle that had returned to my world along with the warmth and, after finally bumping into another bikepacker, the feeling that I was no longer the only person travelling by bike in Eastern Europe.

Varna, Bulgaria


Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own.

The Person: Nedko Dimitrov, 45, Hostel Owner

I grew up in a small town called Gorna Oryahovitsa in central Bulgaria, before going to university for Mechanical engineering. I completed my military service, which was compulsory back in the ’90s, and then moved to England… I enjoyed my service. I was in a reserve officers school in the military, so it wasn’t the worst situation…

See Nedko's Full Background

I grew up in a small town called Gorna Oryahovitsa in central Bulgaria, before going to university for Mechanical engineering. I completed my military service, which was compulsory back in the ’90s, and then moved to England for 14 years to work as a photographer. In 2014 I came back to Bulgaria, did another masters in history and archeology, and then I opened my hostel here in Varna! When I was living in England, I took every opportunity to travel. I’ve been to over 40 countries and so I’ve stayed in many hostels. I liked the hostel atmosphere, so I decided to give starting one a shot. I figured I could get cool people to come to me instead of having to go all over the place! I always look for new challenges, and running a business was a big one.

I still help with local excavations every summer. But I do that as a hobby; I’m not intending to do it professionally. 

I enjoyed my service. I was in a reserve officers school in the military, so it wasn’t the worst situation, like when you’re just a private. The people who’ve completed it as a private complain a lot, especially the ones who did it in communist times. Because I was a university graduate, we were trained as officers. Half of the time we were just studying.

What does ‘home’ mean to you?

I feel more at home here in Bulgaria, and that’s the main reason I came back. England was good in many ways, but home is home. I never really felt at home there… I like to be by the sea, because when I lived in my hometown it was a big deal to go to the seaside.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

It’s hard to define. After living abroad for so many years, I find home is the place that you belong to, despite the problems that each area or country might have. It’s where you feel more at ease, and less stress. It’s your own environment. I feel more at home here in Bulgaria, and that’s the main reason I came back. England was good in many ways, but home is home. I never really felt at home there. Out of the people I met who were in a similar situation; half of them feel at home and the other half are always homesick. I was in the second half. I visited Bulgaria as often as I could during that time. 

I visit my old hometown, Gorna Oryahovitsa, every now and then because I have relatives there. Once you get out of a small town, it’s hard to go back. So I chose to live here in Varna, in a bigger city; smaller than London but definitely bigger than my hometown.

The one big plus here in Varna is obviously the sea. I like to be by the sea, because when I lived in my hometown it was a big deal to go to the seaside. It still is a big thing for people from the countryside. But for me, any time I want I can pop up to the beach. There are really only two options for seaside towns in Bulgaria; Burgas and Varna. Burgas was too far from my hometown, and Varna is also a nicer city. 

Bulgaria was part of the Roman empire so there is Roman history everywhere. Some of the ancient cities have survived, and you can go and see ancient ruins. So this is also a place where I can practice my hobby without having to travel too far. I can just come straight home after excavations. 

Can you think of something that makes you proud of Varna or Bulgaria?

“…most people don’t know that Bulgaria is the home of the Cyrillic alphabet… the real, original Cyrillic alphabet is now called ‘Glagolitic’… The current ‘Cyrillic alphabet’ didn’t get its name until centuries later.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

For most Bulgarians, the moment they were proud was the 1994 football world championships when we got up to 4th place. That’s a moment everyone remembers. I’m not into football too much, but that’s still number one because it made Bulgaria famous, and some Bulgarian footballers along with it. When I first went to England, people didn’t know much about Bulgaria, like the name of the capital or whatever, but everyone knew the footballers. So it put Bulgaria on the map in some way.

Most outsiders are not familiar with the other things Bulgarians are proud of. Apart from sport, most people don’t know that Bulgaria is the home of the Cyrillic alphabet. It was invented here in the late-9th/early-10th century. From here, a century later it went to Russia. Cyrillic was implemented here on the basis of the Greek alphabet but with some additions. But the real, original Cyrillic alphabet is now called ‘Glagolitic’, and never really caught up in Bulgaria. It was more popular in the Western Balkans – Croatia and so on.

Cyril and Methodius invented a different alphabet. This was the original slavonic alphabet. It was implemented here by the students of Cyril and Methodius, who were from what is now the Czech Republic. They came here for several reasons, but one was that Bulgarians used Greek language to write state archives, so most people who were educated in Bulgaria knew Greek. So it was a lot easier to just add a few letters here and there for the sounds that were unique to the Bulgarian language, and adapt the Greek alphabet instead of using a completely unknown writing system, Glagolitic, that would render pretty much all educated people illiterate. The current ‘Cyrillic alphabet’ didn’t get its name until centuries later. Glagolitic was used until the 14th/15th century in Croatia, where it was eventually replaced by latin, but it in Serbia it was replaced by Cyrillic.

There was also a historical event, in the early 8th-century when the Arabs were occupying Constantinople. At the same time, the Arabs were entering Spain on the other side of Europe, and they were going to meet in the centre. The French and Spanish knights stopped them in what is now France, but here the Byzantines were in a pretty desperate situation, so they called on the Bulgarians for help. Our king helped relieve the siege of Constantinople. They killed enough of the Arabs that they had to give up. And that was at the time when both the Arabs and the Bulgarians were at their strongest. The Bulgarians stopped them at the entrance to Europe at Constantinople. So that kind of changed the destiny of Europe, and meant that it remained Christian.

So Bulgarians can and should be proud of those things, but most people around the world don’t know about them.


Glagolitic Alphabet

The original Cyrillic alphabet, now known as the Glagolitic alphabet, proudly displayed on one of Nedko’s fridge magnets.


What is your main concern or worry about Varna or Bulgaria?

The government and politicians are pretty much supporting the Gypsies because they are growing in number, so they are a lot of voters. But they are not doing much to integrate them. It’s supposed to be the ‘decade of Gypsy integration’, but without education it’s hard for them to integrate.

See Nedko's Full Answer

The thing is that Bulgarian mentality seems to be changing a bit too slowly in many respects. People still live in their old mindsets from communist times. They don’t care too much about things like the environment, infrastructure and so on. Those things are changing, but they should have changed a lot faster. There’s still a lot of corruption. What worries me is the road ahead to becoming a proper, developed European country is way too slow in comparison with most other Eastern European, former communist countries. 

There is a total lack of professionalism in many areas; that’s what struck me when I came back from London. The majority of people cut corners when they do things, instead of doing it in the best possible way. That could be rooted deeper, but I think the communist times are largely to blame. Here in Varna, things were a lot better in the times before communism. That’s when all the best architecture was built. 

We have another problem; after the change from communism, the villages got deserted and taken over by the Gypsies.  The government and politicians are pretty much supporting the Gypsies because they are growing in number, so they are a lot of voters, but they are not doing much to integrate them. It’s supposed to be the ‘decade of Gypsy integration’, but without education it’s hard for them to integrate. The problem is not that we don’t want to educate them, it’s that we have to make them want to be educated. Most of them don’t want that. Even in communist times, they would take their kids out of school from the 3rd or 4th grade, when they could just about read and write.

NOTE: Whenever Nedko refers to “the change”, he is referencing the shift from communism.

You mentioned the segregation of Roma (Gypsy) communities in Bulgaria. Why are they so segregated?

“In Bulgaria, so many different ethnicities have come over the years and managed to merge into society… but the Gypsies have stayed separate… In that respect, it’s hard to say that… Bulgarians are to blame primarily for the segregation. The Gypsies have to decide they want to integrate before that changes.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

Gypsies in Bulgaria and the Balkans look physically different. They are darker and look more like their original brethren from India. So it’s easy to tell who’s Gypsy and who’s not. But its is not about the way they look, but the way they behave. Everyone knows when there’s Gypsies in the village, or you’re around them, you have to watch your belongings and be extremely careful. Ok, not all of them, but in general they try to take advantage. I was in India five years ago in Rajestan, where Gypsies originally came from. I saw the same way of life there, more or less. You go in a Gypsy ghetto in a poor Indian neighbourhood and it’s pretty much the same as the ones here. It was striking to me that they have been here and in the Balkans for 500-1,000 years – the first settlers came 1,000 years ago, but most came with the Ottomans 500 years ago. Even the Turkish managed to integrate in Bulgarian society despite the history. But the Gypsies don’t. They want to preserve their “Gyspsiness”, and that’s a main part of the problem.

There is a Gypsy ghetto in Varna. They live in illegal housing, and they don’t pay their taxes so there’s piles of rubbish outside that aren’t collected. They just stick to their way of life. In Bulgaria, so many different ethnicities have come over the years and managed to merge into society and become one with it, but the Gypsies have stayed separate. And that’s pretty much the same all over Europe. In that respect, it’s hard to say that Europeans or Bulgarians are to blame primarily for the segregation. The Gypsies have to decide they want to integrate before that changes.

Is there a lot of tension between Gypsy and non-Gypsy communities?

“…Gypsies are becoming a lot bolder. Now they know they have human rights, while in communist times the police were very tough on them… since the change, they are emboldened, and they attack police and medical workers who go into the Gypsy communities… They tend to have a lot of kids, many will have five or six, so it’s kind of a ticking time-bomb that many Bulgarians are worried about.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

There is, and there’s violence. Some Bulgarian will start arguing with a Gypsy. Then 10 or 20 Gypsies will come out of nowhere and pretty much kill him. There have been quite a few cases in recent years, where Gypsies are becoming a lot bolder. Now they know they have human rights, while in communist times the police were very tough on them, and the Bulgarians, too. You had to have a job, whether you had an education or not. But since the change, they are emboldened, and they attack police and medical workers who go into the Gypsy communities. Now medical workers have to go with police escorts. It’s not advisable to go there at night. But I don’t think it’s as dangerous as it sounds. Maybe it’s a bit of prejudice. 

There are three groups of Gypsy: Turkish-speaking, Romani-speaking, and Romanian-speaking. Romani is the Gypsy language. These three groups are all different in character. They also have sub-groups based on professions; the coppersmiths, the blacksmiths, thieves, fortune-tellers. They had their traditional way of life in Ottoman times. In communist times they were made to settle in one place and stop travelling. The iron curtain stopped them from reaching Western Europe. They tend to have a lot of kids, many will have five or six, so it’s kind of a ticking time-bomb that many Bulgarians are worried about.

Could you share some of your memories from when Bulgaria was communist?

“…there are now many more opportunities. You can move to another city if you want to, which was next to impossible in communist times. Wherever you were born is where your residency was, so it was hard to move to another city. Most people stayed in their hometowns and villages.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

I was still a teenager, but I do have memories. Life as a teenager in a communist country is one thing. As an adult, it is another. Kids have less worries, and they don’t judge the situation as well because they’re supported by their mum and dad, and they don’t have to fight the system as much. 

Everything was pretty much grey. Now it’s getting more colourful, and not just in terms of architecture but opportunities, too. Before, the future didn’t look bright. After the change, even though it didn’t happen in the best possible way, there are now many more opportunities. You can move to another city if you want to, which was next to impossible in communist times. Wherever you were born is where your residency was, so it was hard to move to another city. Most people stayed in their hometowns and villages. Still the cities grew, but it was at a smaller rate. 

The change wasn’t violent here. It was pretty violent in Romania, but here it was pretty calm. The communist party decided to change their leader. They gathered congress and said the leader of the communist party would be removed. He was not expecting it; his jaw dropped. There’s videos that you can still see online. He had been the leader for almost 40 years. So he was removed. The Bulgarians didn’t kill him, unlike the Romanians who executed their leader. Instead, they put him under house-arrest and he eventually died peacefully of old age. 

How do you think religion persisted in Bulgaria despite its suppression under communism?

“…after it’s been looked upon in a bad way and discouraged or forbidden in communist times, people embraced religion, but not with a religious zeal. It was more because it was something that they couldn’t do before, and it was new and different.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

The thing is, after it’s been looked upon in a bad way and discouraged or forbidden in communist times, people embraced religion, but not with a religious zeal. It was more because it was something that they couldn’t do before, and it was new and different. For example, I remember the first years in the 1990s after the change, thousands and thousands of people would go to church. They didn’t go there to pray, they just went for the party! To meet friends; to talk. And then they went to the bar afterwards. I was a teenager then, and that’s what we did. It was fun! It was kind of interesting. You could meet any kind of person there. 

The Churches were functioning before, nobody would stop you; they wouldn’t come to your house to check if you celebrated Christmas, but it was largely discouraged. I don’t think there was a punishment for celebrating but communism discouraged religion. I can’t remember if church weddings were allowed. I think we had to marry in the city council. But then when someone died they got a priest and held a funeral, and that could be in the church. But the communists also tried to suppress that by building a special funeral homes near graveyards, so the church service was held in there instead of the church. Most of those places are abandoned and in ruins now. But now, I don’t think Bulgarians are very religious; maybe just a small minority.

Why do you think Bulgaria is less religious than some other Eastern European countries like Poland and Russia?

“…we have a different history, and that’s why we’re not so religious. When the Ottomans controlled this area, they did not allow the construction of churches. There was a story that they said ‘a church should not be taller than a Turkish man on a horse'”

See Nedko's Full Answer

Eastern Europe is a vast space. From the Bulgarian point of view, Russia, Ukraine and Poland are more religious. But Poland is catholic, and catholicism is more aggressive in “maintaining the flock” than the Bulgarian orthodox church. I know if you’re catholic you pay money to the Catholic church. The greeks are also more religious than us. I guess after 500 years of Ottoman occupation and the destruction of Churches, and then a brief freedom before communist rule… that’s kind of like 6 centuries where being Orthodox Christian wasn’t such a good thing. So I guess that played a role.

That didn’t happen in Russia. There it was only communism, which only lasted 50 years. So we have a different history, and that’s why we’re not so religious. When the Ottomans controlled this area, they did not allow the construction of churches. There was a story that they said “a church should not be taller than a Turkish man on a horse”. So most churches from the medieval times are dug into the ground, with just the upper windows showing. 

Varna is infamous for its Mafia. What is the role of the Mafia in Varna today?

“The Mafia still runs this city. Everybody knows that… They will come to you if you have a really successful business, and either tell you you’re gonna give them the company but you’ll keep running it as a manager, or you’re gonna pay a certain percentage to them each month… In Bulgaria, we have a saying: ‘every country has a Mafia, but in Bulgaria, the Mafia has a country’.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

The Mafia still runs this city. Everybody knows that. It’s like a public secret. They will come to you if you have a really successful business, and either tell you you’re gonna give them the company but you’ll keep running it as a manager, or you’re gonna pay a certain percentage to them each month, or else. 

I had a receptionist here who’s father had an international cargo company. They came to him. So he went out of business. Nothing’s being done to fix this problem. Remember I told you who was the head of the state. In Bulgaria, we have a saying: “every country has a Mafia, but in Bulgaria, the Mafia has a country”. The boss of the Mafia basically runs the country at the moment, and he supports those who are loyal to him, like the Varna Mafia. It’s an oligarchy. There’s nothing to do with democracy. That fact that people go and vote doesn’t mean much. 

Varna had the same mayor for 12 years who was doing nothing other than changing political parties depending on who was the most popular at the time. He was supported by the local Mafia, so he was allowing them to steal as much as they could. They own the airport, the port, and many other things like insurance companies and banks. They typically used to be marines from the navy. Many of them are also former wrestlers or boxers. They became part of this underground world, and they will just come to you with baseball bats… what are you supposed to do? It used to be really bad. Back in the ’90s it was really the wild, wild West. It was like Chicago in the ’20s. They used to steal cars. The gangs were all shooting each other. Most of the Mafia bosses at the time got shot, including some political figures who were protecting them. Those who survived, survived, and the Prime Minister is one of them.

How did someone closely involved with the Mafia come to run the country?

Boyko Borissov… the Prime Minister… is the former bodyguard of the old leader who was removed, and was protecting him when he was under house arrest. This guy had a security firm back in the 1990s, when all security firms were involved in dodgy dealings. Racketeering was basically their main business. And that’s not really over, especially not here in Varna.

See Nedko's Full Answer

I’m not really familiar with the exact circumstances. But they removed the head of the old communist party; they wouldn’t have done anything like that without a direct order from Moscow. So I guess that was a way of trying to preserve power, by just removing the head and installing another person instead of him but who was still loyal to the communist party. That didn’t work out very well in the end; there was hyper-inflation and it was a big mess, so the opposition came into power.

Now Boyko Borissov, who was the mayor of Sofia has been the Prime Minister for a quite a long time. He is the former bodyguard of the old leader who was removed, and was protecting him when he was under house arrest. This guy had a security firm back in the 1990s, when all security firms were involved in dodgy dealings. Racketeering was basically their main business. And that’s not really over, especially not here in Varna. 

He is popular because he is kind of like the Bulgarian version of Putin: the tough guy who gets things done. He does improve roads and motorways and stuff like that. But on the other hand, people are still emigrating, the salaries are low compared to most of Eastern Europe, and things aren’t going as well as he says. He is doing more than the old communist party, who were just trying to steal as much as they could while they were in power, which is why he won by a landslide against them. 

What is your favourite and least favourite Bulgarian Dish?

“Every Bulgarian’s favourite food is moussaka. It’s made of potatoes and pork mince. You mix it all up and add pepper, and then cover it with a layer of eggs and milk which has been beaten to become homogenous, and then all that is baked… The name is Greek, but Greek moussaka is very different from Bulgarian moussaka.”

See Nedko's Full Answer

Every Bulgarian’s favourite food is moussaka. It’s made of potatoes and pork mince. You mix it all up and add pepper, and then cover it with a layer of eggs and milk which has been beaten to become homogenous, and then all that is baked. It’s really good. The name is Greek, but Greek moussaka is very different from Bulgarian moussaka. They don’t have meat in their one. It’s made with aubergines instead. The other one that we’re famous for is Tarator. It’s pretty much a diluted version of Greek Tsatsiki salad. It has the same ingredients: sour milk, yoghurt, cucumbers, dill and a few other things. But we add a lot of water to make it into a summer soup. These are the things that as a Bulgarian you miss when you go abroad.

But people eat pigs feet and ears here, and I wouldn’t try that. Snails are popular here, too. They’re served with rice. You boil them, take them out of the shell and cook them with rice. But I don’t like the idea of eating any of those things. They even eat lambs head whole with the eyes in and stuff. 

What food should I try to get a ‘taste of Bulgaria’?

You should try tarator and moussaka. Tarator is the starter, and moussaka the main course. Moussaka looks like lasagne without layers of pasta. 

Life According to Locals #Varna #Bulgaria #InterviewsWithLocals Click To Tweet

Nedko Dimitrov


The Plate: Tarator and Moussaka

“Tarator… was so gentle, so soft, that it was almost timid. I pictured Bulgarian grandmothers preparing saucepans filled with lakes of white… for children with sore throats… Ailments would be anaesthetised and stress melted by its pacifying chill… It… had left me feeling reinvigorated and energised… I felt light, alert, and nimble. But that brief sense of bright, unadulterated healthiness came crashing down under the weight of an avalanche of calories delivered by Moussaka.”

Read About Tarator and Moussaka

Tarator was a novelty to my palette. If I had to sum it up in a word, it’d be “natural”. The clear, delicate aroma of cucumber and dill soothed my senses, lulling them into a serene state of relaxation. It’s essence was so gentle, so soft, that it was almost timid I pictured Bulgarian grandmothers preparing saucepans filled with lakes of white, dotted with pale green chunks drifting among spots of oil on surface, for children with sore throats.  I imagined students at university, wallowing in the grips of an unforgiving hangover, dragging themselves out of bed for their supply of the yoghurt-like soup. Ailments would be anaesthetised and stress melted by its pacifying chill.

With a sourness blunted by the cucumber, it’s watery appearance belied the level of creaminess it retained. The soup had left me feeling reinvigorated and energised, with a satisfying coolness on the tongue. I felt light, alert, and nimble. But that brief sense of bright, unadulterated healthiness came crashing down under the weight of an avalanche of calories delivered by Moussaka.

But where Tarator was light and refreshing, Moussaka was the polar opposite. It is, true to Nedko’s word, the Bulgarian lasagne, with tough layers of pasta replaced by softer potato. It stands apart from its Greek counterpart in that it contains meat enveloped in a cloak of cheese and cream. Chewy and browned on the surface, that cheese gives much-needed respite from the monotonous, soft texture, generating at least a little resistance with each bite. The calculated and restrained addition of oil to the Tarator was all but abandoned, and the entire meal glistened under the fluorescent light I sat beneath. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the taste of the dish, but the stark contrast between the two left me reeling, and yearning for that sense of vigour I’d held onto for a moment after the Tarator.

Tarator
Moussaka

Tarator (left) and Moussaka (Right)


Thoughts on Varna or Nedko’s interview? Leave a comment down below!


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Attempting to cycle from Tromsø in Northern Norway to Baku, Azerbaijan while interviewing locals en route. Despite my chequered history with bikes, here’s to me returning home with an intact facial structure and at least as many body parts as I left with.

4 Comments

  • Hilda

    Well English politics cant be that bad. What an interesting guy, with a lot of knowledge. I doubt that I shall visit Bulgaria. Did you staty in his hostel?

    • Tieran Freedman

      Yes I did stay there. Usually I try not to interview people who work in jobs relating to tourism, but when I met him I thought Nedko would be a great interviewee, especially with his background in history!

  • Miriam

    As much as complaining about America seems like a national pastime for Americans, reading interviews like this puts things into perspective. Such an interesting lens into Bulgarian life.

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