I spent two Xmases working in Baku, Azerbaijan – and very much appreciated the absence of the shopping fever and pressures which characterise these days in the West. Even His Holiness the Pope is apparently lamenting in his Christmas homilythat Christmas has become an increasingly commercial celebration.
Otherwise (if you avoid the malls which have opened only in the past few years) things are almost normal.
And some imagination is used to offer special attractions eg a large fossil market was open last week in the Museum of Natural History which offered marvellous shapes, sizes and textures at very cheap prices - eg this very aesthetic sea hedghog fossil which doubles as a paper weight.
Saturday we wanted to buy a "sooroovachka" – a stick decorated with embroidery, dried fruit, coins etc which kids in this part of the world use for patting family, friends and visitors (in Romania its'called "sorkova") whilst saying a wish for health, wealth and happiness to the one patted.
I realise that I haven’t posted any video links of Bulgaria yet on the site – here’s a good one to start with.