Personal Journeys

PERSONAL JOURNEYS

August 07, 2005|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

New appreciation for the old country

By Maria Demireva

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last summer I really got to know Bulgaria, my country of birth.

My family moved from Bulgaria when I was 6 years old to settle in Sweden. Later we moved to the United States. More than 15 years have passed since we left Bulgaria, but my parents, brother and I regularly go back during the summer to visit friends and relatives.

When we returned last summer, it was different: I saw my country of birth in a new light.

It was my mom's idea to take a road trip across Bulgaria with some of our relatives and friends. She believed that since this was our country of birth, my brother and I should get to know it so that we could better appreciate it.

Little did I know that there was so much to see in this small Balkan country that's barely larger than the state of Tennessee.

I already knew that Bulgaria was rich in history and culture similar to that of Greece. What most astonished me on our road trip was the country's diverse and stunning scenery.

One of my sweetest memories from the trip was traveling in the car in the summer heat with the windows rolled down and the fresh breeze blowing in my face as I gazed out the window.

In the distance, I could see picturesque mountain ranges. The grass on the meadows adjoining the small road on which we were driving had turned yellow from the heat. But the colors of the grasslands contrasted with the blue sky and the white puffy clouds. The road curved, and we slowly gained altitude, climbing higher and higher in the mountains.

The view was incredible, and the feeling was serene.

During the trip, we passed through small villages, visited monasteries and other historic sites, and drove through beautiful scenery. Observing and taking it all in, I was amazed by the beauty and richness of Bulgaria and all that this relatively poor country has to offer.

I felt a sense of pride traveling through Bulgaria, knowing that this beautiful nation is where I was born.

Maria Demireva lives in Ellicott City.

My Best Shot

Barry Glassman, Baltimore

Calligrapher's gift in Vietnam

A calligrapher we passed on the sidewalk in Hanoi last February turned out to be the chair of the language department at Hanoi University. Once a week, he liked to be out with the people instead of in the classroom. Calligraphy in Vietnam is a dying art. One of the treasures of the trip is the orange piece that he finished and signed and gave my wife and me.

Readers Recommend

The Caribbean

Bob Bergman, Baltimore

It was December 2001, and my daughter and our son-in-law were having their 25th anniversary and my wife and I were having our 50th anniversary. We decided to celebrate the two events with a Caribbean cruise. The beauty of Barbados (shown) and St. Lucia was breathtaking. We intend to go back there for our 55th anniversary.

San Francisco

Wayne Kern, Baltimore

I vacationed in San Francisco last fall. Part of my trip included a visit to Chinatown. I strolled through the colorful streets of endless trinket shops, markets with produce I had never seen before, and numerous restaurants. A few blocks off the beaten path are the New Orleans-style, colorfully painted balconies of Waverly Place (shown). I love the colors and the geometric shapes of this area.

We Want To Hear From You

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

My Best Shot -- Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

A Memorable Place -- In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that changed you; about the nostalgia a certain place evokes; about a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. Include a photo. (Cash value: $150.)

Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

Because of the volume of responses, photos and manuscripts cannot be individually acknowledged or returned. Submissions from all categories may be used for Readers Recommend, and upon submission become the property of The Sun.

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