Archive for the ‘1. Useful tips for travellers to Bulgaria’ Category

5 Essential Tricks to Finding Public WiFi in Bulgaria

March 3, 2016

By Jess @JessTripelio, who keeps a wonderful travel blog with lots of useful information for places near and far. Thank you for reviving my rusty blog, Jess!

Thanks to Katya for allowing me to write my piece of advice regarding internet connectivity in her homeland. If you haven’t already checked it out, you’ll also want to have a read through her list of useful tips for visitors to Bulgaria, as well as all the other informative, well-written and illustrated articles on her blog! I’m really pleased to be here.

The internet has revolutionized the way we travel, allowing us to keep in contact with friends and family back home, look up new places to visit and much, much more. It’s not always easy to find public WiFi spots in new places though, and you don’t want to waste time on your trip trying to scout out WiFi hotspots. If you’re headed to Bulgaria in the near future though, fear not: public WiFi networks are relatively easy to come by. Here are some tips to finding public WiFi during your time in Bulgaria:

Jess

  1. Use the WiFi Finder app.

Believe it or not, Sofia, Sunny Beach and certain other spots around Bulgaria offer free WiFi access without your even having to look too hard for them! You may not be able to access the networks from all parts of the area, but if you’re traveling with a smartphone or tablet, you can use this app to find open WiFi networks in your vicinity. You’ll be able to search on a map, so you can easily find which hotspots are closest to you and look up directions to take you there.

  1. Head to a place that you know has WiFi.

If you can’t seem to find WiFi anywhere else, you know that you can generally count on finding WiFi at Starbucks, other coffee shops or hotel chains. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a customer either. You might be able to connect to their networks from out in front of their building, or you might be able to play “clueless tourist” in the lobby of the hotel for a little while (just act like you belong). If all you’re looking for is to send a quick email home, these could be your best bet since they’re generally in prominent locations.

  1. Select accommodation that offers WiFi.

Unless you’re really out in the middle of nowhere (and oftentimes, not even then), you should be able to find a place to stay the night that offers WiFi (or at least offers a business center where you can access the internet through their computers). If in doubt, it’s worth calling ahead. Again, you don’t want to waste time trying to find an internet café or other WiFi source. Plus, it’s nice to be able to kick back in the evenings and shoot out some emails or stream some Netflix after a long day wandering about—just make sure to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get around the site’s location-based restrictions.

  1. Turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot.

If you’re really at a loss for finding public WiFi networks and you have a data plan on your smartphone, you can experiment with turning your phone into a mobile hotspot that shares your data connection with your computer or tablet. It’s also a great way to get a better connection, especially if you’re staying in a busy hostel or rural area. Often, your data connection will be stronger than the available WiFi source if there are multiple people using the internet at once. And don’t worry, you don’t have to have a lot of tech savvy in order to set this up; it’ll only take you a few minutes!

  1. But be safe on public WiFi.

The thing is, hackers often target travelers who tend not to realize there’s been an issue with their account until it’s too late. It can happen anywhere, even back home, but especially when you’re on holiday, you want to make sure your passwords, banking information and other personal information stays secure. That VPN that’ll let you watch Netflix (by hiding your true location) is also a great way to safeguard your information, because it’ll encrypt your web traffic and make it incredibly difficult for hackers to intercept and interpret. So it’s a definite must any time you’re accessing WiFi networks abroad!

Have you traveled around Bulgaria? What tips and advice can you share with other travelers regarding internet connectivity?

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A Travel Journalist About Bulgaria

June 25, 2010

Find out how a pro traveler and journalist Anne-Sophie sees Bulgaria as a travel destination.

Anne-Sophie Redisch

Anne-Sophie Redisch is a bilingual travel writer who loves hopping off a train in a new city. Her two daughters often come along, enlivening the travel experience. She has lived in the USA, New Zealand, and Norway, and her work appears regularly in in-flight magazines and various Scandinavian and English media. She blogs at Sophie’s World and tweets as SophieR

Hi Sophie, first of all tell me where are you now and where are you traveling next?

Right now, I’m in Oslo, Norway. Immediate plans include a summer road trip in Cornwall with my kids.

You’ve been to Bulgaria twice. Why Bulgaria and why twice?

Ever since I was a kid, I was intrigued by the mysterious countries hidden behind the Iron Curtain, and especially by the Black Sea. I remember seeing a Dracula film many, many years ago, where the coffin containing the vampire arrived in Varna. It sounded very exciting. So Varna is where I went that first time. I travelled on my own and spent days just walking around that maritime city. It was 1991 then, just after the fall of the curtain, but it still had an enigmatic feel to it.

The second time, 14 years later, I was curious to see how the country had changed. Also, I wanted to let my daughters see the Black Sea. So Bulgaria was an easy choice.

Which places did you visit in Bulgaria and what impressed you the most during your visits?

In 2005, we stayed in Sunny Beach, which tempted with good beaches; important when travelling with kids. The beach was very nice, but also very crowded, so whenever I could get the kids away from the water, we would go to the beautiful walled town Nesebar, right across the water. Nesebar has such an interesting history and gorgeous architecture. We loved walking around in the cobbled streets, especially in late afternoon when most of the day-trippers had left. One day, we went to Sozopol as well, a laid-back hippy-ish town, also very nice.

I would have to say the friendly Bulgarians impressed me the most, though. My then 4-year-old was completely spoiled by everyone we met, in every shop, every restaurant.

Also, I think the proportion of beautiful people is higher in Bulgaria J. Oddly, many seemed to have an eye colour I haven’t seen anywhere else; sort of a grey-blue-green, like the colour of the ocean on a slightly overcast day.

Your first visit was long time ago and your second visit was more recent. How has Bulgaria changed during this interval in the eyes of a foreign traveler?

I thought Bulgaria of 20 years ago was wonderfully anti-materialistic. People seemed to be slightly cautious and it was a bit more difficult to communicate then, as many didn’t speak English or German. In 2005, that had changed completely. Bulgarians seemed more outgoing, especially the young people.

If you decide to visit Bulgaria again where would you like to go?

Lots of places I haven’t yet seen, including the capital Sofia. Mostly, I’d like to head for the mountains, though; the Rodopi or Rila Mountains during autumn would be amazing.

I’d also like to return to Nesebar. It would be in autumn too, I think. I’d be on my own and live in one of the old National Revival houses along those cobbled streets. I’d eat lots of delicious Shopska and sit and watch the ocean.

What do you think Bulgarians should focus on in order to attract more travelers?

Perhaps focus on more nature-oriented and exploring travellers. Also, Bulgaria has a long and interesting history that might not be very well-known outside the country. I see Varna is aiming for European Capital of Culture status in 2019. That should bring in a larger variety of visitors as well.

Read travel articles by Anne-Sophie Redisch  at  Sophie’s World.

Most Popular Traditional Bulgarian Foods

June 4, 2010

As a whole the traditional Bulgarian cuisine is similar to the Mediterranean one – lots of minced meat, pork, eggs, bread, sirene and yogurt.

Here is a list of local dishes and drinks you must try at least once, while in Bulgaria.

Traditional dishes:

Shopska salad: made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers, and sirene (white brine cheese); a Shopska salad and a small cold rakia is a traditional and favourite way to start your meal in Bulgaria

Shkembe Chorba is a type of tripe soup (tripe is the thick lining of the stomach of cattle). Seasoning the soup with garlic, vinegar and chilli peppers is a must. You either love it or hate it – nothing in between. It is a difficult soup to cook and it’s hard to find a place where you can eat a really good Shkembe Chorba. I know many Bulgarians who like to eat Shkembe Chorba after a heavy night of drinking. They say it helps the hangover…

Shkembe Chorba

Sujuk – Sujuk consists of ground meat (usually beef) with various spices including cumin, sumac, garlic, salt, and red pepper, fed into a sausage casing and allowed to dry for several weeks. It goes very well with heavy red wines in the winter time.

Similar to sujuk is Lukanka. It is Bulgarians’ favourite salami. Traditionally, Lukanka is made of pork, beef, and spices (black pepper, cumin, etc.) minced together and stuffed into a length of dried cow’s intestine as Casing. The white stuff on top is flower. You can find different brands of Lukanka in the grocery stores. It is much more expensive compared to other local salami, sausages and meets. We eat Lukanka raw and thinly sliced usually as an appetizer. Foreigners often say that it smells like worn socks to them, but… what do foreigners know:)

Lukanka

Banitsa – a traditional Bulgarian pastry prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of sirene between thin pastry and then baking it in an oven. The home-made version is the best because the pastry is actually made by hand. Where they sell banitsa they usually offer boza – a thick, sweet, brownish drink made of wheat, which we think, goes very well with banitsa. You can also find boza in the supermarkets.

boza - sweet thick wheat drink

Mekitsa – is our alternative to a donut. It is fried dough, which we eat with powder sugar, jam, honey or sirene. Not a very healthy breakfast, but so delicious!

mekitsa

Kiselo Mlyako –  Yogurt. Yogurt as such originates from the Bulgarian region. The bacteria which turns the milk into yogurt lives around the Bulgarian region and it is called “bactericus bulgaricus” They have tried to ship the bacteria to different regions but so far no luck with that. Mr and Mrs Bulgaricus seem to have liked the Bulgarian region and refuse to breed anywhere else. Real yogurt has nothing to do with the creamy sweet substance that Dannone produces. In fact not all yogurts in Bulgaria are real yogurts. I can recommend a few brands that still taste like the real stuff: “Био Кисело Мляко”, “Елена” and there are probably good small local brands.

Kiselo Mlyako (Yogurt) - good brands

Sirene (white brine cheese) – pour some olive oil, sprinkle red pepper on top and its the perfect appetizer and goes very well with local red wines. There is a large variety of brands out there. I recommend these two: “Био Краве Сирене” and “Маджаров”. They are pricier but way tastier.

Traditional drinks

Rakia – strong fruit brandy. I am a big fan of Rakia, but I do not drink the one that they sell in the stores. I only drink home-made Rakia – the one made of plums is my favourite. But be careful with the home-made rakia since it can be overly strong. If you have to order or buy rakia the best popular brand is Burgas 63 (Бургас63). Remember this basic equation: Rakia + Shopska salad = great way to  start your meal.

Wines – Bulgaria is a wine country and wine tourism has a bright future. You should try Mavrud a unique red wine, common only to the region of Thrace in Bulgaria.

Learn about the most unusual foreign food finds from pig placenta drink to baby eels imitation as seen by LonelyPlanet travel bloggers and hosted by orange polka dot.