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Changing Seasons In Bulgaria

Having lived in the UK, it makes a change to see the four seasons of winter, spring, summer and

Autumn here in Bulgaria. Now, as we leave behind the cold, snowy days of winter we are beginning to see the blossom on the trees and some lovely, warm days ahead of us. It is great to see the signs that come when we leave behind one season to enter another. Not only is there a huge difference in the temperatures if you were to compare summer and winter, but there are many other changes too.

Leaving the winter behind

During the winter time, all you can smell outside is the burning wood from the wood burners (pechka's) in each home. This is then replaced in the spring with the smell of freshly cut grass and flowers blossoming on the trees. In the majority of the towns, cities and villages in Bulgarian the air remains very clean, which is why the smell of flowers, trees, burning wood and other things in the air are so clear and noticeable.

Winter is a time when everyone wraps up well because of the cold weather and the bars and cafes in the towns and cities are very cosy, as everyone comes in to escape the cold weather and drink a hot cup of coffee (which is very common amongst Bulgarians) or another hot beverage. Generally, the snow ploughs are quite efficient with travelling around and clearing the roads, but it does take longer for them to reach some of the villages.

Work and school continues as normal in the towns and cities and school children very rarely get the day off for snow or bad weather, unless it has damaged the school building in some way. Unlike places such as the UK, children have to go to school all through the winter even if there is a heavy amount of snow. I remember getting days off from school in England when there was just a few centimeters of snow however, having worked in a Bulgarian school, I know that this is not the case here. People in the cities carry on as normal and it is just accepted that the bad weather and road conditions may hold you up, but apart from that - its business as usual!

Villages in the winter are different altogether. As a rule, there is not always a lot of work in Bulgarian villages and so the majority of work is on the land, cutting wood, and other manual jobs. The villagers usually work through the spring and summer and earn enough money to support them through the winter when they don't work. Sometimes it is just not possible to get out of the village in bad conditions which are why it is advised that if you can't get out easily, don't go out that day. When the weather is bad in the villages, it is best not to go out unless you really have to.

The warmer weather arrives

When the snow begins to melt and the greenery becomes increasingly visible, it is the first sign that spring is on its way. It is quite different from seeing everywhere covered in snow to then seeing all of the leaves on the trees and the clear mountains. Not everywhere gets severe snow and bad weather in Bulgaria, it is generally the mountainous regions that are more effected by this. During the spring, it is common to see more and more wildlife and the trees gradually blossoming. It is amazing at how fast these changes seem to happen once the snow has gone and the weather gets warmer! A few weeks ago, I left the village one morning and returned home in the evening and it was then when I noticed how obvious the blossom on the trees appeared - I am sure that there were more blossoms on the trees compared to when I left that morning!

April and May is when you see the stalls selling drinks and snacks return to their usually spots in the towns and cities the stalls that sold hats and gloves through the winter are then replaces with stalls selling sunglasses for the summer. Then in the villages, from April and May, people start to prepare their garden ready to plant their vegetables for the year, which takes a lot of time and hard work. They also get ready for celebrating May 6th, which is a very big celebration in Bulgaria, also known as Bulgarian St. George's day and Bulgarian Army day.

The summer in Bulgaria can get very hot, but can be a nice break from the cold weather of the previous winter. The swimming pools open up, outside seating is added to the bars and restaurants and it is very common to many more school children out and about, as they are given about 3 months off for their summer holiday! In the villages, you are likely to see some of the local wildlife such as a lizard, snakes or some of the unusual looking bugs. The gardens in the villages are full of home grown produce and everyone compares how well their fruit and vegetables are doing and discuss what they have planted for the year.