Bulgaria trip report



Bulgaria is one of the former Soviet Union countries in Eastern Europe. It features an interesting blend of Byzantine, Ottoman and Slavic cultures. Ever since joining the EU, it is rapidly becoming more popular with tourists.



Sofia is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, with many historic landmarks. It also retains the old communist, Iron Curtain feel to it. It has a big nightlife scene with many different night clubs and restaurants.

One of the striking things about Sofia is that it often seemed to be missing an entire generation. This is due to the large number of Bulgarians who have emigrated abroad, for financial betterment but especially because of frustration with the political dominance of the mafia called "mutri". The mutri first appeared following the fall of communism as former wrestlers, martial artists, and small-time racketeers. They quickly ascended to the boardrooms of major Bulgarian corporations, and are involved in a wide range of criminal activities. The mafia and corruption are the most serious problems in the country to this day, Bulgarian governments have done very little to reduce it either because many politicians have links to the mutri, or the ongoing assassinations acting as deterrents.
Interestingly, the mutri have even infiltrated the music scene. Pop folk (chalga) music advertises the nouveau riche "good life" through music videos featuring almost-naked women who have invariably undergone multiple conspicuous plastic surgeries and their heavily muscled companions who drive luxury cars. The lyrics might be in Bulgarian, but some of the songs have catchy beats.