Perushtitsa | The Red Church in Black & White

Did you know that one of the earliest surviving Christian churches in Europe is located near the small Bulgarian town of Perushtitsa?

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Beautiful Bulgaria | Weekend in the Rhodope Mountains

 I had the pleasure to take Panasonic FZ2000 & DMC LX15 on a trip to the Rhodope mountains

to test their capabilities. The photos in this story are taken with these 2 cameras and only adjusted for brightness/saturation.

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Reservoirs, lakes & gorges | The beautiful Rhodope Mountains

According to the Thracian legend Rhodopa and Hemus were a brother and sister who fell in love and called each other by the names of the Gods: Zeus and Hera. And since Ancient Greek Deities are not famous for their good temper, the abuse of their names brought on a curse on the young couple: both lovers turned into mountain ranges. Of course, geologists have a slightly different idea about the formation of the mountain range.

The Rhodope Mountains takes up 1/7th of the territory of Bulgaria and features ski slopes,  caves, historical cities and villages, hiking routes and some of Bulgaria’s biggest reservoirs & artificial lakes.

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Unlike Rila, which is swarming with tourists (to the detriment of the area’s ecosystem), the Rhodope Mountains still manage to preserve their raw charm and offer travellers a serene look into Bulgarian nature, history and traditions.

Things to do & Places to visit

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Zooming to the distant shore | Shot on Panasonic FZ2000

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Travel Portraits | The People of Valencia

Pictures speak louder than words so I will just leave you with some portaits of the people I saw across town. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it captures some of the city’s many faces.

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Guest Explorer | The biggest Airbus landing in Bulgaria

Today the Lufthansa pilot Mario Bakalov made history as the first local pilot to land Airbus A380 in Bulgaria. The beautiful double-deck aircraft is the biggest passenger carrier in the world usually operating on transatlantic flights. Its symbolic landing in Bulgaria (outside of its usual route) marked the 104th anniversary of the Bulgarian Air force and Aviation.

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Travelback Thursday | Rome for a night

This #ThrowbackThursday I’m having an Erasmus Flashback!…

We are only a few weeks into the semester but it is starting to feel like I’ve been here for months. You know this feeling of time-wrapping when so many new things are happening that time seems to stretch like a happy lazy cat? Because it is dense with events, not because you are bored and the days are dragging…

So here we are with the other Erasmus students: taking our first Italian lessons and enjoying the beauty of the language and the unfortunate equivalents of its words in other languages. Like curva (curve, turn), which makes the entire Polish-Bulgarian section of the room go out of control when giving directions…

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Anyway. We are like restless children, trapped in a room, while the playground is waiting for us outside…

Somebody passes an idea around: let’s go to Rome! Not tomorrow, not next week, not sometime…Now! Right after classes: run to catch the train, travel for a few hours (between 4 and 6 depending on the price of the ticket), arrive at the eternal city and explore it all night long! Crazy idea. Of course we are doing it.

The distance of 250km (between Macerata and Rome) should take about 3 hours by car and slightly more with the fastest trains, but even with the student discount it is more affordable to opt for a slower train. Anyway, we have tons of things to talk, joke and laugh about. And there is also some white wine and a special dance program with Michael Jackson impersonations by our very own Mr. Cengiz Kaan (yup, that’s his name! :)).

We arrive in Rome in the evening and it is true: you never visit the same city twice. The people with you, the mood their bring in, the improvisation born out of the interaction of a several teens and a few twenty-somethings show me the city in a completely new light compared to the last time I was here.

I remember it as a vast, endless place of curiosities, amazing architecture and sculptures and it doesn’t fail to make me fall in love with it again. Only this time it feels like it is much smaller: we literally walk around it all night and effortlessly manage to see many of its trademark places like:

Fontana delle Naiadi in Piazza della Repubblica, 

which looks like a real gem at night

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Photo by Konstantina Vasileva | All rights reserved

The majestic Fontana di Trevi

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Relaxing Trips | Weekend for Foodies & Wine Lovers

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Work hard & Chill

Many of my days start as early as 4.30 am and get split between work, university and other daily tasks. People often ask me how I manage and I think the secret (apart from carefully organizing your entire day and focusing on maximum productivity) is to really work hard when you are working and get the most out of your free time.

Your balance in life and the secret to really recharging your batteries depends on being able to stop, step back and really enjoy yourself after you’re done with work. Otherwise stress will eat you alive.

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Globetrotting

 

One of the best presents from yesterday was something I have been wanting for a long time: Scratch world map 🙂 A globetrotter’s dream. We are currently planning out the biggest trip of all. So big that I am almost superstitiously unwilling to talk about it…yet 🙂