Sunday, August 1, 2010
2 weeks in Bulgaria
Arrived back in Bucharest Saturday night after a pleasant day visiting Varna whose vast gardens right next both to its centre and the sea offers great opportunities for walking, cycling and swimming to its residents.
The 10 days at Syvlie’s flat at Manaster, Svety Vlas in the southern part of the Black Sea was very enjoyable and relaxing – the flat was cool, very well-appointed with a superb vista of the sea and Nessbr. The complex had a garden and pool which benefitted from a light cooling breeze and the beach was only 3 minutes walk.
The area of Sunny Beach which Svety Vlas adjoins is a bit underwhelming – tackiness of the highest degree. It suffers now from over-development – we had three nights without electricity and vast unfinished blocks stride up the hillside. The Manaster complex was the first on site and is the jewel of the areae - very up-market and adjoining a marina with sleek, glossy and improbably shaped power boats awaiting their mutri mafia owners.
Our first port of call on Sunday 18 July had been Sofia – where we arrived in early afternoon, visited the city art gallery and then discovered that the National Art Gallery across the road had just opened an exhibition of Nikola Tanev’s paintings! So we arrived at Sylvie’s house in a very good mood – and were treated to a great meal. Monday was wandering around old haunts eg the great music shop off Hristov Botev, but discovering that three of the galleries were no more; and Neron closed for some repairs – but Vihra still there at Astry Gallery with a welcome drink and chat. In the evening we had the great pleasure of dinner with Mirela and Dobre at the Architect’s Club.
Tuesday was the day of serious painting visits and purchases – with a visit first to Victoria Gallery and then to one of my favourites at the square near the University library where I bought a Saby Ivanov and a painting which reminded me of Dobre Dobrov by one Veneta Atanossova (who painted pre-war). And at my other favourite gallery - Neron - I bought at last a Stoian Vassilev (along with a charming small one of VK by one Maria Francova). The owner – Ruhmen Manov – presented us with a book he had put together of Kyundstil in the period 1878-1940. This is one of the towns (just west of Sofia near the borders with Serbia and Macedonia) I had momentarily contemplated buying a house a couple of years ago - and Ruhmen's well selected and annotated collection of old postcards gives an excellent sense of its travails and development.
Finally a visit to another gallery friend - Yassen Gallev of Konus Gallery in Khan Asparuh St - to whom I showed my purchases. He focuses on more modern work - but did once give me a helpful list of artists of my favoured period and showed me paintings by one of the great seascape artists, Boris Stefchev one of whose paintings is shown above.