One SUMMER upon a time…

in a land far, far away from my home in the US of A, I experienced life unscripted. Dobrudja (the bread basket of Bulgaria), stretching for miles and miles in the north-eastern corner of Bulgaria, is a magical and mystifying place. Here, in mid to late August, a sea of golden wheat gently rocked by the Black Sea breeze, blends in the horizon with the dark blue waters hugging the Bulgarian coast.  Time stops here, and one can easily get lost in his/her day dreams. The air is light and sweet scents of ripped melons and corn infatuate all of the senses. Even the modern white and slender wind mills, that are scattered throughout Dobrudja’s fields find a way to fit in. Life is uninterrupted here!!! The petty nuisances of daily routines are long forgotten in another world, far, far away. An abundance of inspiration is stock piled in the land and awaits to be unleashed by the next traveler who takes the journey to Dobrudja!


Life ReDEfined or simply REFINED!

I would like to introduce you, if you would let me, to one of the MOST precious places in the whole of Europe: Karlovo! In this Bulgarian town, nestled in the arms of the majestic Balkans, you will find a very different rhythm of life. A rhythm so foreign and at the same time so desperately needed by the rest of the world, that when discovered it is only comparable to that very first sip of cold water after a long hike on a scorching August day. Karlovo is not just a place. It is a state of mind and a way of life. If embraced for all that it is, it will keep delivering on its promise of emotional satisfaction long after its visitors have left.
In the very foothills of the Balkans, the building of a long closed factory stands proudly as a reminder of more productive times.
The past and the present become one when 19 century architecture meets 21 century EU expansion.
...and this is what a visit to Karlovo feels like: Surprisingly peaceful, Excitingly beautiful, Refreshing and oh so very much-needed!
Not your Starbucks coffee break. Europe, Bulgaria and particularly Karlovo measure time in moments like this one more so than in your traditional minute increments.
The Center of Karlovo
NATO forces on their lunch break on a hot summer day in Karlovo


Hissar, Bulgaria- “Heaven on Earth”

“Heaven on Earth”- this is how more and more travelers have come to describe the town of Hissar in central Bulgaria. Some have fallen so much in love with this ancient settlement, that they have started a Facebook group with the name “Hissar- Heaven on Earth”. I, myself, am completely and utterly infatuated with the natural beauty of the region. However, my opinion is not independent and unbiased as I have spent all of my childhood summers in the fields, mountain and natural mineral water springs surrounding Hissar.

The town is an old Roman settlement that still has its past imprinted on the remaining fortress walls which greet you as soon as you pass the “Welcome to Hissar” road sign. However, do not be fooled by the quaint and lazy look of the endless hot and dry summer days here, spent by the pool side of the hotels and spa centers as the town becomes ALIVE and full with excitement at night, when the restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs fill up with large groups of tourists and locals alike. If however, there is a hidden romantic in you, Hissar is perfect for a breezy summer walk away from the lime lights of the night life. The stars are especially big and bright here and it is not a surprise that as recently as five years ago archeologists discovered near by ancient observation centers that were built by extinct now civilizations. These bright diamonds in the sky combined with the soothing sounds of the running hot springs somewhere nearby in the darkness provide for a fairytale-like atmosphere and a magic moment with your special someone is guaranteed! I speak from experience.

If the romantic traveler in you has awaken and is ready to take a chance on this best kept secret of Bulgarian tourism, but the pragmatist worries about how much it would cost, I have a good news: Hissar is fairly inexpensive and delivers over and over again on its promise of an unforgettable summer vacation. There are regular flights from all major European cities coming into Sofia and Plovdiv, both of which are respectfully 2 hours or 40 minutes away from Hissar. Coach buses and railroad tracks make Hissar very accessible if you plan to make it a stop on your Grand Tour of Bulgaria. Whichever the circumstances, find an excuse to escape the chaotic rhythm of life and pack your bags for a destination that so many rave to be “heaven on earth”.