September 14th, 2006 – by: nonna
Flower market to prepare for first day of school
And continuing our tour of internet cafes, we have found that all of them are full of teenagers playing on-line games. So far I haven't seen anybody playing my favorite but they do have Diablo II here. Time for lunch and we'll try to upload the real blog again tomorrow or the next day
Bulgaria is on the south bank of the Danube opposite Romania. They both have a difficult history of domination by other cultures and are primarily Eastern Orthodox Christians. They also each have a Gypsy subculture which is a problem they are trying to address in different ways. Bulgaria is rightfully proud of a 98% (or so I was told) literacy rate which they have achieved partly by paying parents to keep their children in school. (This makes a lot more sense for everybody concerned than paying welfare to uneducated adults later)
Bulgaria has had cordial relations with Russia ever since the Russians helped free them from Turkish domination before WWI.
They were a Communist country for 45 years after WWII but never had Russian troops stationed in Bulgaria due to their close ties. Unlike Romania, people were allowed to buy, not lease, their apartments, although permission was not easy to get or the apartments very desirable by today’s standards.
Youth Park (not Freedom Square) in Ruse, Bulgaria (thanks for the help Iskren)
Romania is a potentially rich country with oil and mineral deposits; Bulgaria is more agricultural but seems undecided which direction to go: industrial or agricultural. There are a lot of rusting factories and untilled fields. There are also flowers, especially roses, everywhere and lots of happy families with small children. The parks in Ruse were full of people buying flowers to give to school teachers tomorrow.
Bulgaria starts the school year on September 15th and parents accompany their kids on the first day and always bring flowers for the teacher.
Children in Bulgarian dance troup
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much we like these towns and Ruse is our favorite so far. It’s frustrating to get a quick over-view of the town and not have time to really explore it. We do walk around in the center of town near Freedom Square and find a place to have lunch. We did a little window shopping - I bought a book and Trish is on a mission to find a lamp. Of course we bought some wine before we walked back to the ship around 4. A Bulgarian children’s dance troupe “Naiden Kirov” performed before dinner and after dinner a Bulgarian priest talked about Eastern Orthodox beliefs. He brought along his wife, a beautiful woman who is an icon painter. He told us that you must be at least 30 and must be married to be a Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Priest.