(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Bulgaria yoga is a competitive sport

In Bulgaria, yoga is a competitive sport.  The athlete, like in skating and gymnastics, competes in a compulsory and a free program.  The compulsory program allows the judges to compare everyone on the same postures, while the free program allows the athlete to demonstrate her most artful and skillful poses.  The yoga class I went to was a very strenuous workout, focused on the exercise more than on relaxation and meditation.
   "Bulgaria is a great place.  If you're with someone who knows it, it is a beautiful country.  If not, you're in trouble!" said our host.  We experienced the beauty that Bulgaria has to offer.  Our host took us along the steppe overlooking the Black Sea to the Yailata Archeological Reserve, Cape Kaliakra, the Russalka Resort and beach, culminating with al fresco dinner on the Black Sea at the Dolboca Mussel Farm.   
   The Yailata Archeological Reserve has over 100 cave dwellings from pre-Christian times, with evidence of human sacrifice, a medieval cave monastery, and a Byzantine fortress, high on limestone cliffs overlooking the Black Sea. The epic 'Jason and the Argonauts' refers to Yailata during their travels in the 5th century B.C.
  Dinner at the Black Sea mussel farm was the best meal ever.  It began with mussel soup, a creamy lemony soup filled with fresh mussels, garnished with a spicy pepper sauce called Salamorito. Freshly baked bread, Bulgarian white wine, and a cucumber-tomato salad topped it off.  But we also had three large bowls of steamed mussels to deal with.  More salamorito!

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