Punch your ticket
After entering the tram, bus, or a trolley, you are expected to punch your ticket immediately! If you are thinking of going for the seats first – well, forget about it! That can only be done by experienced middle-aged ladies who know how to fight for a seat. When they’ve won the battle for it and left their bags there, they would push their way back to the punching machine (possibly getting into one quick fight with another passenger on the bus), then again get back to the seat, TO SIT there happily ever after (with their punched ticket). So, don’t do that if you are just an amateur! You need experience!
Here’s what you need to be eligible for the status “Middle-aged lady on the bus”:
- You have a minimum experience of 1 year of traveling with the public transport in Sofia
- You have been in a numerous fights on the bus/tram/trolley
- You have pushed your way from the back of the bus to the driver, only to hear that he has no tickets left
There is so much more to it, but let’s leave it here. If you need more tips, just message us! As for now, all you need to remember is – punch your ticket first!
We are not Russians
We don’t speak Russian, we speak Bulgarian. We don’t use the “Russian alphabet”, we use the Cyrillic alphabet, which was developed by the monks Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire. It’s actually the Russian alphabet that uses letters from the Cyrillic script. Again: the Cyrrillic, that is developed by us! He-he, you might want to remember this one.
Another thing that always comes up is how can we understand Russian and the other way around. Well, Russian and Bulgarian are both Slavic languages and they are quite similar, but still there are major differences. Bulgarians can easily understand Russian, whereas it’s much harder for Russians to understand Bulgarian.
Basically, what you need to remember here is that we are two different countries, with two different languages. Спасибо!
Shake for yes and nod for no
We are the only country in the world where people shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no! But that’s crazy?! Yes, indeed it is. Plus, it is also very funny.
A: Are you ok?
B: *A shake*
A: What’s wrong?
A: But you just…
B: What? What’s your problem???
A: Nothing. Let’s leave it here. We’re fine?
B: *A shake*
That’s just one example. There are far more trickier conversations you can get yourself involved in. It’s quite confusing, but we highly recommend that you experience the feeling of being completely lost in a “yes-no” conversation with a Bulgarian. It’s once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience!
Some of you may be familiar with boza, but there are also those who may never hear of it, not unless coming to visit Bulgaria. Boza is a popular fermented beverage on the Balkans. In Bulgaria it is usually produced of wheat or millet. The capital of the boza in Bulgaria is the city Radomir. Remember that fact to impress the ladies! Just joking, don’t. 😀 Still, the boza from Radomir is believed to be the best one! In the center of the city they have a monument of the boza, so these guys ain’t joking about it…
Bulgarians mostly like to drink boza when eating banitsa for breakfast. Of course you can also drink it during any other time of the day, if you are fan of it.
The tricky part about boza is that it is really hard to describe it’s flavour. Here is a challenge for you! Buy one boza, drink it and try to describe it’s taste with one word. Awful or awesome don’t count.
Is it prom day every day?
No, it is not! Bulgarian women just like to wear fancy clothes, that’s it! For instance, they tend to wear high heels on a daily basis which can be quite impressive for the hipsters of Berlin. It doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Saturday; if you are going out or you are going to your work; if you feel comfortable or not; high heels are a must!
We even have a saying: “Die freezing, but die awesome.” (It’s hard to translate: “От студ умри, гъзар бъди!” 😀 ). There’s no such thing as it’s too cold to be pretty…
We also tend to dress a lot in dark clothes or more specifically – black. I would guess that also has something to do with style…
Go easy on the booze
You have to be careful with the homemade wine and rakia! Don’t try being all hardocre – “I know how to drink. I can drink 5 beers and nothing happens to me, bla bla…”. Our homemade drinks can be really strong. We also like to say “Cheers” a lot of times, which means you have to pick up your glass and drink.
So, know your limits, because foreigners tend to puke all over our top party destination for the Summer, Sunny Beach. And if right now you are thinking “Yeah, as if you Bulgarians don’t puke all over it”, I have to stop you right there and tell you – we don’t. We are… let’s say experienced drinkers ( 😀 ) and we know how to hold our liquor (our homemade rakia).
Alcohol in Bulgaria is much cheaper than many countries, but this doesn’t mean you have to try and drink as much as possible. Our advice is – take it easy on the booze!
He-he! That’s a hard one for those who have never heard of him. You may be surprised to learn that he is actually worldwide famous! While I was in the States a few years ago, we were talking about traditional Bulgarian music with some American friends. Then one of them just went to his car and said – “You know this guy?” And played a song by Azis. He left me speechless…
For those of you who are not familiar with Azis, he is a Bulgarian Chalga singer of gypsy origin. He is known for his unusual gender expression and his flamboyant persona. His songs are quite provocative, as are his videos. I’ve had more than one foreign friend ask me about him and his looks. I have nothing to say. You explain! *pointing at someone else*
Martenitsas hanging on trees
“Martenitsas”? What? If you see something red or white hanging on a tree, that’s Martenitsa! On the 1st of March Bulgarian people celebrate a traditional holiday called Baba Marta (or Grandma Marta in English) and it is related to welcoming the approaching spring. On that day we exchange Martenitsas, which is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and usually in the form of two dolls, a male and a female.
When someone gives you a Martenitsa you should wear it until you see a stork. After that you can tie it on a blossoming tree for fertility. Martenitsas usually stay on the branches of trees throughout the whole year, raising questions among the foreign travelers. So, now you know, these are just martenitsas!
That’s an interesting one. Well, first of all – we are not gypsies. Gypsies are just one of the ethnic groups that live in Bulgaria. Bulgarians are the main one, comprising 85% of the population. Turkish and Roma minorities comprise 8.8 and 4.9 per cent, respectively. And there are also some other small minorities.
Back to the gypsies! We usually refer to them as Tsigani (цигнаи) and we tend not to like them (being completely honest), but we still manage to live together. A common misconception is that all gypsies abroad come from Bulgaria. Well, they don’t! There are also Roma minorities in Romania, Serbia and so on.
Another thing you might want to know is that “Gypsy summer” has nothing to do with gypsies! In Bulgaria that’s what we call it when the summer continues throughout September (and possibly October). It’s our fifth season and everybody loves it.
Smart, beautiful & sexy
Yes, yes, yes. We are often asked how can we be so intelligent and beautiful at the same time… but I honestly don’t know what to tell you! It’s just the way we are! We are awesome!
Happy travels in Bulgaria and in the rest of the world! If you enjoyed reading, like us on Facebook, cus’ we want to win the bet we’ve made… with ourselves. 😀 Here: 99 lives
And if you want to read more about Bulgaria, here: 84 reasons to love Bulgaria