Fall break #1: The football derby of Bulgaria

During my fall break in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia, I have seen many bizarre things. It is at least way too much to elaborate on in one blog. That’s why I just start posting at the beginning: The football derby of Bulgaria: CSKA Sofia-Levski Sofia.

Friday my fall break finally started, the match CSKA-Levski was scheduled in Sofia. It became a hell of a day, in a good way. I was about to travel with 30 Levski-fans from the southern Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad. There you are, in a bus, with almost no English speaking guys.

Until they showed me their White Power-scarves and knuckle-dusters, not that many strange things were going on: they were just drinking beers and chatting with each other. What followed in the stadium, was actually the most bizarre, but awesome thing: 90 minutes of true support.
Oh. And the match? CSKA won: 1-0.

My own video-compilation about the bus trip and the support of the Levski-supporters during the match:

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The Balkans, a place of natural disasters

BLAGOEVGRAD – Earthquakes, flooding and wild fires ravage The Balkans since human history.

Ski resort versus flooding
Flooding became a recent phenomenon in Bansko, a southeastern Bulgarian city. It is well known for its ski facilities. In the neighborhood people can find dozens of ski tracks.
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A donkey in the stadium: welcome to the fourth division!

The "holy grass" of FC Krupnik.

Football in Bulgaria: Not really a thing to look forward to when you’re a real football fan. But as Michiel and me are not watching football matches for the football game itself, it is a nice opportunity to take a look how the whole atmosphere around the match is like. After two home matches of Pirin Blagoevgrad, the time was was there to visit an away match of this team, which plays in the fourth division.
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Ethnical violence illustrates political failure

The explosion of violence against the Bulgarian Roma is the result of the failure of the Bulgarian ‘social’ system.

The ethnic tension in recent weeks is not a standalone event. Bulgarian citizens have been discontent for a long time and now it is flared after a ‘tragic car accident’ in the village Katunitsa where gypsies killed a nineteen-year-old boy.
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A ‘conversation’ in Bulgaria

Almost all Bulgarians speak their own language and don’t know a word in English. I, a Dutchie, only speak Dutch, English, German and a bit French. So communicate in a verbal way is almost impossible.

But not only verbal communication confuses me. An example of non verbal communication: shaking your head horizontal means ‘yes’. A small conversation between a waitress and me.
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Bulgarian obituaries

When someone dies in The Netherlands, family and friends call the regional newspaper to publish an obituary that the person they loved, has passed away. In the newspapers you can even find special ‘death pages’. In Bulgaria they don’t often use the newspaper for publishing an obituary. People use sheets for that, and paste them on trees, bus shelters and walls.Sheets with portraits and names of people who died
You see them on almost each wall, on almost each bus shelter. Sheets with the names of dead people, a portrait and a short description about this person in Bulgarian. It’s not only common in Bulgaria. In the whole Balkans, people use sheets for this occasion, my roommates Bojan (Macedonia) and Teddy (Bulgaria) say.
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Losing my Bulgarian ´football-virginity’

Five months away from my favorite team, Fortuna Sittard. So what do you do when you’re not able to see your club´s matches because you’re in Bulgaria? Right: discovering the Bulgarian football. And we made a good start: Bulgaria-England.
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