|"Leaving Bucharest on a dirty little train, you crawl slowly south over the hot plain, passing through wretched little villages made of mud and straw ..... But across the yellow Danube is another world.... Good-natured, clumsy soldiers make a pretense of examining your baggage, and smile you a welcome....It is wonderful to see again the simple, flat, frank faces of mountaineers and free men."|
John Reed's description of crossing the border into Bulgaria in 1913 parallels our own experience nearly 90 years later. I have travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, but I was unprepared for the warmth and exuberance of the Bulgarians I met during three weeks of independent travel in September, 2000.