My name is Petia Whitmore. I was born and raised in Bulgaria. For the last 17 years, I've been living just outside of Boston, MA. Until recently, I was the Dean of Graduate Admissions at Babson College. You can see the meanderings of my idiosyncratic career on my LinkedIn profile.
As a child, I had two professional dreams - to be a writer and/or a private investigator. I somehow ended up acquiring a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Babson instead.
My number one vice - liberally cultivated and indulged - is wanderlust. Even in my early years, when being on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain made travel virtually impossible, I incessantly read about foreign lands and the people who wandered and conquered them.
I am and will always be a person of two worlds. I grew up during communism, spent years as a young professional in a fledgling democracy and have now been making my personal and professional mark in the US for almost two decades. The result is a combination of American pragmatism and a firm belief that an entrepreneurial spirit can lead to success, mixed with a pinch of Eastern European tendency towards nostalgia and mysticism.
My hope with Destination Bulgaria is to help travelers have a rich and memorable travel experience in Bulgaria.
Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an independent traveler to Bulgaria, you have many options to do your own research through guide books and searching online. However, Bulgaria is not a destination that is comprehensively covered and many of the most wonderful attractions - think small organic farms, magnificent but lesser known mountain villages,scenic drives - are often not covered in English at all and not discover-able through a Google search in English.
I found the novel in a small and stuffy bookstore in a not so little village, located somewhere in the upper right corner of the map of Bulgaria. Charles Arrowby’s fastidiously refined choices left me seduced – the clean, simplistic rituals of his day, the invigorating swims in the cold ocean waters and the time spent in contemplation.
Obelus is a certified organic winery and the first one to earn this status in Bulgaria. But that’s not the most important feature that makes it so distinct. There’s obvious love of wine and quiet pride in the hard work that has gone into creating Orbelus. Not surprisingly, the wines, created by this labor, are sophisticated and intriguing.
Oriahovo is my 800-year-old hometown. It has a rich history, a medieval fortress, dating back to the 9th century, a once lively port, and some of the most picturesque vineyards you can imagine. It is also home to a most unexpected and beautiful art venue.
The village of Zheravna - a magical flock of red roofed Bulgarian National Revival houses, scattered above a valley and gently shielded by the soft hills of the Eastern Balkans, is a place you won't easily forget.
A line up of what I consider must-try restaurants in Sofia, Bulgaria and a fantastic wine shop that will introduce you to the finest Bulgarian wines.
The Sariev Contemporary Gallery in Plovdiv focuses on Bulgarian-born artists and is committed to promoting their work far beyond the borders of Bulgaria. Another one of Sariev's projects is the Alternative Map of Plovdiv, which offers theme-based walks. Among them are a Bauhaus Architecture route, a Communist Era walk, the Hadji Hasan Neighborhood, and the Hills as a Form of Urban Life. Each one is carefully constructed to reveal a cohesive, colorful part of the city’s identity.
Villa Melnik, the beautiful and bold face of the new Bulgarian wines, reflects a deep love for wine and a formidable talent for making it.
Chances are, you may have heard of Melnik or at least seen some photos from this stunning city. It has been honored by many global publications such as Atlas Obscura, Forbes, the Washington Post, to mention just a few random ones. And there is a good reason for this - for a town of only 385 inhabitants, Melnik packs abundant uniqueness and a formidable history. And just wait until you try its wines!
Discovering Sofia through leafy parks, scrumptious meals, and thought-proviking art is a great way to get a sense of contemporary Bulgaria.