Well, it’s been less than 2 days since I arrived in Sofia and the trip has got off to a shaky start… we were woken up at 3.00 this morning to find our beds shaking and the shutters rattling against the window. Having spent the last 4 years living in an exposed 4th floor tenement flat in Edinburgh, my first instinct was to assume that it was down to strong winds or lorries passing by… but then I remembered that I was now staying in a 1st floor new build flat in a quiet area in the outskirts of Sofia. In fact, it was an earthquake 20km away, measuring 5.6 on the Richter Scale.
A shaky start is probably apt for my stay in Bulgaria, as (according to my Lonely Planet guide anyway) the country has had a somewhat tumultous history. Indeed, the last time that there was an earthquake of the same magnitude in Bulgaria (1858, if Reuters news service is to be believed), Bulgaria was still under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. Between then and World War II, 30,000 Bulgarians were massacred in the 1876 April Uprising; 200,000 Russian soldiers were killed in Bulgaria during the year long Russo-Turkish wars; and then following some unpopular decisions relating to redefined borders created by the Treaty of Berlin, 6 wars were fought over border issues in the Balkan region.
Anyway, more on this when I’ve done a bit more reading up on this fascinating country’s history. Now it’s time to get back to studying Bulgarian – which is HARD by the way…
PS You may notice from the photo above that it has also been raining a LOT today. This is not what I signed up for…