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The pleasures of culinary and rural tourism
posted by Lucy in Rural on 27.06.2008 in 12:05

I am madly in love with Bulgarian villages. I mean the small ones, that seem to have been forgotten by everybody but are slowly being rediscovered. A group of friends decided to go to the Rhodopes, a place I'd never been before. They said it is one of the most magnificent mountain regions of Bulgaria, full of symbols and traditions, taking you somewhere back in time and making you understand what pleasures simplicity can bring. Off we went. While traveling, we took a stop in the village of Giovren, I hope I remember the name right. And we happened to be there during a market day. These small villages have a tradition. One day is set aside as a market day and everyone goes to the village square, where various colourful items are sold. People happened to be even more colourful than the merchandise. Giovren has pomak population and women in bright scarves and traditional pants (shalvari, as far as I understood) stood in small groups, talking to each other and examining the temptations that the market offers. Elderly men sit on benches and smoke, while slowly talking about the facts of life. Everything is so peaceful, yet dynamic. People lack the tense attitude of those living in the cities, they are friendly and open, they have their distinctiveness, yet accept difference with old-time wisdom. And let me tell you, I am in love with Rhodope dishes. All products natural and fresh, everything prepared right in front of you. An elderly woman in one of the houses where we stayed made us banitsa, skillfully working her way through the layers of dough and cheese. Combined with yogurt this breakfast makes magic. Then there were the kachamak, bean dishes, patatnik, klin..... All very nutritious, yet looking healthy. Waking up in the morning, smelling the fresh air and expecting the tastiest ever breakfast is surely one of the greatest ways to relax. And I will soon be doing it again!

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