Monday, 26 January 2009

A Price Hike in Bulgarian Real Estate Prices - Huh!

This I feel is just a stunt by Real Estate business sharks to get customers’ confidence back into the Bulgarian Real Estate Market, which has died over the last 18 months.

We have been following the prices here in Yambol in particular over this last year prices have dropped substantially, not increased by 30% as reported. I just don’t believe anything Real Estate Business say. This has been the case for a number of years over here now.
A survey of Bulgarian Properties revealed that last year property transactions were struck at 26% higher prices on average than in the previous year. The company’s operating manager, Polina Stoikova, explained prices were rising by October and the slid 15-20% from the early months of the year as buyers opted for higher-class properties.

According to NSI, flat prices in Sofia jumped the highest, gaining almost 47.8% last year. In Lovech, Pleven, Plovdiv, Rousse and Yambol prices rose around 30%.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Bulgarian Coat of Arms

There is lots of history behind this Bulgarian Coat of Arms, with much debate as to changes made throughout. How long to the next modification?
Bulgarian Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Bulgaria consists of a crowned golden lion rampant over a
dark red shield; above the shield is the Bulgarian historical crown. The shield
is supported by two crowned golden lions rampant; below the shield there is
compartment in the shape of oak twigs and white bands with the national motto
"Unity renders power"

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Bulgarian Skiing

I've never been skiing in my life, but I'd heard it's great, I'll never know. I've never really had the money to go, even in Bulgaria which is mean to be the cheapest in Europe. Looking at some of the resorts, they are spectacular, hence the inclusion of a resort in this Bulgarian Scrapbook. Getting the chance to ski must be great for those who can afford it.
Skiing in Bansko
Bansko Bulgaria
Bansko ski piste map
The Bansko ski slopes are especially well suited for beginner and intermediate skiers. The gentle slopes of Todorin Vruh are great spot for novices, with long runs from the chair lift. They also give access to exceptional off-piste skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Intermediates can take the triple chair lift to the top of the peak and enjoy one of the downhill runs. The snow conditions in Bansko are good and there are rarely some queues even in the peak of the season. A multi-million Euro project has recently seen the installation of new lifts, including an eight-person gondola, adding to the popularity of the Bansko ski area. The Ski and Snowboard School offers top quality tuition, especially for children who are cared for at the Junior Ski Club.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Third Protest By Police - It Was Cold That Day

It must have been a cold day in Sofia as the third protest took place with their hands in their pockets. Who could blame them, I think most people out ont he streets would have their hands in their pockets whether they were protesting or not. Good idea chaps..
Bulgaria Policemen Protest with Hands in Their Pockets
Click to enlarge the photo
About 400 policemen, awaiting the beginning of their latest protest really, have already gathered in front of the building of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry in downtown Sofia.
The protest rally is the third one in the course of just one month. During the first one, the demonstrators smoke cigarettes, drank water during the second, while Saturday they will stand up with hands in their pockets as a sign of protest.

The protesting policemen demand changes in the Law for the Interior Ministry, immediate changes in the penalty code with more serious punishment and sentences including for attacks on police employees, improvement of facilities and better pay, extra pay for night shifts, among others.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Bulgarian Ice - Yambol the Ice City

Having experienced the horrendous ice yesterday, I can confirm that it was near on impossible to walk let alone drive in these conditions. Factories have closed down due to workers not being able to get there due to sheet ice roads.

Treacherous ice is covering most of Bulgaria Wednesday, the National Weather Service reports.
Click to enlarge the photo

Many roads are closed with passengers stranded in vehicles in the regions of Ruse, Pleven, Yambol, Haskovo, Gabrovo, Veliko Turnovo. The situation in the region of Vratsa is reported as extremely serious with the closure of two main roads and sections of E-79 while in the town of Montana, the Civil Defense has canceled all bus routes and a sanding machine has been involved in a traffic accident.

The slippery conditions could trigger complete traffic halts in some locations and can be risky for pedestrians. The ice can also damage power lines, accumulate on trees and roofs, which could further lead to harmful incidents.

Monday, 12 January 2009

John Atanasoff - The Most Famous Bulgarian?

John Atanasoff, whose father came from Bulgaria and Clifford Berry are famous for creating the first electronic digital computer at Iowa State University during 1937 and 1942. Is this the most famous Bulgarian of all time?

John Atanasoff - The Most Famous Bulgarian?John Atanasoff - The Most Famous Bulgarian?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Hurrah Gas is Turned Back On - Now the Wait!

The suffering of Bulgarians without gas is almost over as Russian have turn on the supplies again. Too late to help us through the coldest few days of the year at around -18 C.

No Ukrainian Gas Supplies for Bulgaria, only Russian
Ukraine can not fulfil its promise to supply natural gas to Bulgaria because there isn't a direct pipeline between the two countries, Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Energy Peter Dimitrov, quoted by Focus, said on Sunday.

Earlier Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko had offered his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov that Ukraine would supply Bulgaria with 2 million cubic meters of gas per day from its own reserves.

This however can not be done via the existing pipe going through Romania as the above mentioned volume would not provide enough pressure.

Russia remains Bulgaria's only capable supplier of gas, said Dimitrov. The Balkan country is waiting out the 36 hours it will take the gas to finally reach its pipeline system after they have been restarted today.

Bulgaria Traditional Dance

Some Bulgaria Traditional Dance to cheer us all up while we wait for spring.

Bulgarian dance

Friday, 9 January 2009

Lack of Gas - Problem for Yambol

Comments made today on the Russians cutting off Gas to Bulgaria.
Ilcho Kavkazov

The situation is really bad for my business. We export to Greece and the winter months are the most profitable for us because hollow fibre is used in duvets and people buy duvets mostly in the winter.

We are already beginning to feel the effect of the economic crisis, but if this situation continues, things will get even worse. I may have to lay-off 15 to 20 of my 60 workers.

Still, there are people worse off than I am - I live in Bulgaria's second largest city. I've got colleagues in the small town of Yambol, where gas supply has stopped entirely, resulting in a complete halt of production.

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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bulgaria Customs Officials - A Big BIg Joke!

This was a story I had been following from the start many months ago. The saga when on and on and on...... and it is still going on and on and on. Checklout the forum on Our Bulgarian World, the history of this stupid situation is fully logged there. This was more than frustrating to everyone except Bulgarian custom officials. This didn't surprise me after the massive struggle I had with my own personal belonging and having to pay 'back handers' to get it through a system that makes the rules up as it goes along.

By the way, Tom Hawthorn the reporter knows nothing about Bulgaria!

Cold Hearts Keeping Hot Water Bottles from Seniors

8 January 2009, Thursday

From The Globe and Mail

By Tom Hawthorn

At first, the problem seemed so easy to solve it was a wonder no one had thought of it before.

The problem: The old folks in a hamlet outside of Yambol in Bulgaria were freezing.

Ann Thomson, 50, of Victoria, learned of the plight of the elders from friends working at a real estate office in the southeast of the Black Sea nation.

She knew from her visits the suffering peasants lived in huts and hovels lacking running water. Electricity remained a fantasy. But most had small wood-burning stoves atop which water fetched from a well could be boiled.

If you had hot water, Ms. Thomson reasoned, you could stay warm by cuddling a hot- water bottle.

In North America, folks use space heaters, or electric blankets, or heating pads warmed by microwave ovens. An object filled with warmed water seems a hopeless relic of a previous epoch.

Ms. Thomson, the proprietor of a craft shop, figured a brief word in the store's weekly newsletter might persuade a few customers to donate their underused hot- water bottles.

The bottles arrived in dribs and drabs. She expected to gather perhaps a dozen. She recognized "hot water bottles for Bulgaria" is less than an inspiring charity slogan.

In time, a dozen arrived. A second dozen soon piled up. Then, a third.

The final total was eight dozen plus five. That's 101 bottles, not as cute as the Dalmatian puppies of the Disney cartoon, but far more practical.

The donations were neatly packed into three boxes. It was time to send them to Europe. That's when the troubles began.

The quoted shipping costs were as high as $1,600, which is far more than the value of 101 second-hand rubber Thermoses.

She eventually got an acceptable $500 quote from Air Canada Cargo. The clerk also offered a crash course in the intricacies of overseas shipments. To enter Bulgaria, Ms. Thomson needs only a Canadian passport. However, her hot water bottles required a sheaf of documentation, generating enough paperwork to warm even the cold heart of a bureaucrat.

At this point, Ms. Thomson decided to call her local member of Parliament for assistance. She met with Denise Savoie to explain the circumstances, feeling only mildly foolish since the NDP MP was eager to return to Ottawa during the constitutional crisis.

In turn, the MP met with Bulgarian embassy officials in the capital.

After overcoming initial confusion over the properties of the mysterious hot water bottle, apparently an innovation unknown in the homeland, it was agreed the packages could be sent to Bulgaria as charitable donations.

Last month, the boxes began the long journey.

They arrived safely in Sofia at 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 17.

Where a customs agent demanded duty payments.

Officials also began charging $10 a day storage for the boxes.

The Balkan state is balking at releasing the shipment.

If money is not paid by Friday, she has been told, the boxes will be seized.

She has put calls out to the embassy in Ottawa and to her MP in Victoria.

"I thought Canada was bad when it came to bureaucracy," Ms. Thomson said, "but Bulgaria wrote the textbook."

"We're not trying to cheat the Bulgarian government out of justifiable taxes. If I was trying to ship prescription medicines, or expensive sporting goods, I could see their concern about how they could end up in the wrong hands."

Until four years ago, after learning her father's birthplace on his death, she didn't know Bulgaria from Burundi. "I had to look it up in an atlas," she admits. "I didn't know where it was." The father she thought was German was in fact born as a Kalojanoff, fleeing the Communist regime in 1951. Fearing suspicion for having been born in what was by then a faithful satellite of the Soviet Union, he kept from his family his origins.

Intrigued, Ms. Thomson travelled to Bulgaria, where she found a people warm in spirit if poor in possessions. The cities reminded her of the Victoria of her childhood, a small-town idyll where folks kept chickens in their backyard.

Let's take a moment to reflect on the humble hot water bottle. Some credit the modern object, a precursor to the Thermos flask, to the Croatian inventor Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, who registered a patent in 1903. He went on to develop the world's first mechanical pencil, as well as an insecticide and a flying machine he named for a butterfly.

The hot water bottle was so simple in design it clearly did not exhaust his wellspring of ideas.

For Ms. Thomson, sending an ordinary household item from Canada to Bulgaria seemed a modest contribution to improving relations between nations.

"We're not building an orphanage, or something magnificent," she said.

"We were just trying to get a few old people warm."

Modest thought it may be, it remains a worthy goal. The forecast for Yambol today promised a nippy low of -7.

She already has a resolution for 2010.

The next time Ms. Thomson gathers donations for Bulgaria she will pack them up in a suitcase, book a flight to Europe and deliver them in person.

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Ski Tourism Still Up and Coming in Bulgaria

Skiing is big business and Bulgaria has much to offer the tourist. This new development is just tapping a little of what Bulgaria has in this holiday goldmine.
New Winter Sports Center Opens in Bulgaria's Mountain Resort Chepelare
Click to enlarge the photo
A new sports center with 20 km of ski tracks and a new ski lift was opened Wednesday in Bulgaria's resort town of Chepelare, which is located in the Rhodoppe Mountains
The Chepelare Sports Center was opened by Ekaterina Dafovska, Bulgaria's gold medalist in biathlon from the 1998 Nagano Olympics, who is also a native of Chepelare. It is equipped with the latest system for making artificial snow, and with free wireless Internet.

About EUR 10 M have been invested in the various facilities of the Chepelare Sports Center so far. The total investments in the resort complex are expected to reach EUR 50 M in a few years as facilities for summer sports will also be constructed.

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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Gas Problems for Bulgaria

Bulgaria hit hard by Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute

SOFIA, Jan 7 (KUNA) -- The Russian decision, made on Tuesday, to halt all gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine, has escalated Bulgaria's concerns about the specter of an energy crisis.

The dramatic escalation of a week-long energy dispute between Moscow and Kiev led to depriving Bulgaria's gas giant BulgarGas of the supplies from the Russia-Ukraine-Romanian-Bulgaria pipeline.

Bulgaria, in turn, cut the gas supplies to Greece, Turkey and Macedonia which risks posing a critical energy crisis in Europe coupled with the bad weather this winter.

Several hospitals, schools, kindergartens and elderly houses across Bulgaria had to use kerosene in their warming systems instead of gas.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bulgaria Skating Champ Gets Change of Sentence Term and Compensation Payments

The sentence passed on the former world champion pairs figure skater Maxim Staviski from suspended to effective. The judge panel passed new sentence. They decided to keep the term of two years and a half, but Maxim Staviski will be imprisoned for two years and a half under easy regime.

They also changed the value of the civil claims made. Compensation of BGN 90,000 was set before for the parents of Petar Petrov who died in the accident. Maxim will now have to pay BGN 120,000 to each of the parents. The civil claim for Manuela Gorsova, who was in coma after the car crash, has been changed too originally BGN 80,000 it is now increased to BGN 150,000.

The defendant has a 15-day deadline to appeal.

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A Reminder of the Offence
On August 5, 2007, driving his Jeep with too high speed, Maxim Staviski enters the opposite roadline and crashed into a coming Honda, driven by 23-year-old Petar Petrov from the town of Sliven. After the head-on collision with the Jeep, the Honda is hit by an Audi. Petar Petrov died on the spot. His friend, Manuela Gorsova was badly injured and got into come.

The blood test made on Maxim Staviski registered 1.1 permils of alcohol.

Monday, 5 January 2009

More Bus and Coaches to and from Sofia

Looks like we will have more choice of time to travel to and from Sofia from this recent bit of news. Coach travel is probably the best for of transport to travel the 300 kilometre and four hour run from Yambol. It's much less stressful than a car and half the time of a train.
Bus drivers secure extra runs for Sofia
Sofia. Due to the intensive traffic and passenger’s boom, most of the bus operators have secured extra runs to the capital city Sofia, FOCUS News Agency reporter informs.
There will be extra buses to Sofia from the towns of Burgas, Yambol, Sliven, Sevlievo, Pleven, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Silistra.
All buses arriving at Sofia’s Central Bus Station are crowded. Buses leaving Sofia are almost empty.
As a whole, the traffic at the central bus station is only a bit more intensive than usual, bus operators commented.
The major inflow of arrivals is expected for the afternoon.

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Gas Shortage in Bulgaria?

Supplies of gas to Bulgaria potentially could be reduced according to this article. Does this now mean that the gas prices are going to shoot up as well?
Russia-Ukraine gas fallout spreads

The fallout from a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the price of natural gas spread to other Eastern European nations on Saturday, as Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria reported dwindling pressure in their gas pipeline systems.

The authorities in Bulgaria said they might have to restrict gas use. The shortages seemed contained, though, as of Saturday evening. Farther west, Germany, the largest consumer of Russian natural gas in the European Union, reported no troubles. Also, Italy, a country that lost pressure in its gas pipelines after a similar dispute in 2006, was unaffected two days after Russia halted gas shipments to Ukraine.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Hand Made Tradtional Bulgarian Shoes

034000 - Tsarvuli - Traditional Bulgarian Shoes

Traditional Bulgarian shoes – tsarvili (opintsi), handmade, calf leather, comfortable for dancing. The tsarvuli have an additional sole of artificial material, which avoids wearing them out too fast.

They are typical for all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria.

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Friday, 2 January 2009

Credit Crunch in Bulgaria - What Credit Crunch?

Seems like because of lack of living on credit in Bulgaria, the impact of the 'Credit Crunch' is non existent. I have seen major advertising to save with banks personally so this is no surprise to me. Bulgarians are very much influenced by what they hear and see on TV. They believe most of what they see and are told in this media - This is a big problem in future time with manipulation in advertising. You wil have to excuse the spelling of the report, it is has bee clipped direct as it is.
Deposits in Bulgarian Banks to Grow Thanks to Financial Crisis - Report

Deposits in Bulgarian banks are going to continue to grow because of aggressive banking campaigning to attract fresh capital necessitated by global financial crisis.

This is forecasted by the market research firm RNCOS in its new report "Bulgaria Banking Sector Analysis", published Friday at the paid website

The forecast states that before the global crunch, Bulgarian banks had easy access to credit, and had no incentive to launch aggressive campaigns to attract deposist.

The report points out that Bulgarian banks were now offering unprecedented annual interest rates on deposits in BGN and EUR, and that Bulgarian consumers preferred bank deposits as investment instrument.

Bank deposits accounted for 65.2% of the BGN 33,5 B in financial wealth accumulated by Bulgarians, rising by 28% over the previous 12 months (December 2007 to November 2008).

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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Firework Accidents - No Surprise Really

It amazes me there aren't many other accidents relating to fireworks in Bulgaria. They are sold freely to children and no questions asked. They are also freely let of in public streets without anyone saying anything. This will change in due course, but not before more injuries happen.
Firework injuries and car accidents prevail in Bulgaria’s New Year's Eve celebrations

An eye injury from a firework, a heavy car accident near Ruski Pametnik in Sofia and a few alcohol-related incidents were among the registered cases at the Pirogov emergency hospital in the capital during Bulgaria’s New Year's celebrations, Bulgarian news agency BTA said, as quoted by Dnevnik daily on January 1 2009.

One patient sustaining an eye injury from a firework was transported from the village of Loboush, Kovachevtsi municipality. Another seven patients were treated for minor beating-inflicted wounds and later discharged from the hospital.

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