Last week we took our family vacation. We spent a week on the Black Sea (about 5 hours from here) near a town called Sozopol. As a child, Sasha went to the Black Sea almost every year. It is a common place for Bulgarians to take a vacation in a way similar to many Minnesotans going "up north" for a week long fishing trip.
Actually, as I think about it, the Minnesota term, "up north," is a pretty close in meaning to a Bulgarian saying that they are going to the Black Sea. Up north is a vague term that refers to about the upper third of the state, so if you are going up north no one knows exactly where you are going, yet almost everyone goes there on vacation. The Black Sea is the eastern border of Bulgaria and stretches for hundreds of miles. If someone says that they are going to the Black Sea, no one knows exactly where they are going yet almost everyone goes there for vacation.
It was kind of a surreal experience for me being at the sea. I have, of course, known about the Black Sea most of my life. It is a massive body of water bigger than most states and many countries that forms a large portion of the border between Europe and Asia. Yet it was strange for me to actually swim in it every day as if I were swimming in the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin where I spent many summer days as a kid. This particular sea has always seemed like such a far of place. It is a little odd to have it be just a few hours drive away.
For me it was fun and kind of relaxing to just stand on the shore and look off of the eastern edge of Europe thinking about the lands on the other side. It is the farthest east I have ever been, and it made me feel a bit like Reepicheep the Mouse to be there.
It was a great vacation for all of us. Now we are back in Sofia, and I had so much work to catch up on that it took me two days of non-stop labor to get to the point where I could finally sit down and write this blog. It was worth it though. Our whole family is revitalized from this time away. You know it is a good vacation when you enjoyed every minute of it yet are still happy to be home.