This summer I was lucky enough to spend two weeks touring around Bulgaria with three other people in a brand new Chevy! Over the next few articles, I am going to share with you some of my photos from that trip, place by place. This is about a place called Old Dobrich, which we visited for the ethnographic museum.
Dobrich is approximately a 30-minute drive from Balchik, where we stayed for 7 days. We were keen to go on a visit there as we had read in the trusty guide book that there was something called “an open-air ethnographic museum”, which sounded like something we’d all be interested in. It appeared that this museum was a set of old shops/workshops in a certain part of town. In each shop was somebody performing a traditional Bulgarian craft and selling their products.
Unfortunately, the first time Louwest and I tried to visit this place – we couldn’t locate this old part of town, and as we had gone on a Sunday, most of the new town was shut too. So we had lunch, took a few photos and drove back to Balchik, fairly disappointed!
A few days later, when Lou was not feeling too well, the boys and I decided to go back, as it was fairly nearby and have another look for this old town. Despite parking in the exact same spot and walking the exact same way as a few days earlier, we found the old town with no difficulty whatsoever! It is well signposted from the city center! Here we found rows upon rows of shops, and did a bit of trading with the people working there. There was a lady making real silver jewelry, a lady making sheepskin hats and gloves, a lady weaving bags, and a lady whose ceramics were so hard, she literally hurled them at walls to demonstrate their powers!
The real beauty of Dobrich for us, however, was that everyone was so keen to show you everything. The photo below was taken when the lady in the ceramics shop took us through the back to proudly show us her kiln oven. She also gave us shots of (very strong!) peach schnapps from her personal supply. I literally went a bit dizzy after that!
The highlight however, of our visit to Dobrich, was undoubtedly “Gorgi – the hat maker”. He was the friendliest old man I have ever met in my life and despite the language barrier (he spoke Bulgarian and French, we speak English and limited French) he showed us so much. He let us try on many, many hats and take loads of photos. He also got us to sign in his guest book – where we shared space with the likes of George Best and Francis Ford Coppola, who have also purchased hats from Gorgi in the past!