Some pics from Bulgaria (where Istill am)

First of course I want to say how wonderful the DevReach conference was, how impressive the developer community is and what a great time we all had participating in it. It was totally worth coming all the way here.

In addition to the two-day conference, the Bulgarians have kept us busy. Here are some pics from the last few days.

Sunday night. Dinner at a classic Bulgarian restuarant where we had our first encounter with Bulgarian food …

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…and the famous Bulgarian Raika (brandy).
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Monday morning. The start of DevReach! There were about 300 attendees at this conference. This is a pic during the keynote. You can see Goksin Bakir (raised arm) and Stephen Forte in the foreground. Although the conference was in English, the keynote was in Bulgarian. Luckily, someone was translating for us. Much of what we heard was about how strong the developer community is there which we were happy to be experiencing.

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Monday night. We are driven up a long and windy mountain road for another amazing Bulgarian experience at Vodenitzata. More of the abundant and delicious food, more Rakia and this time also folk music and folk dancers as well as firewalkers! The taxi ride back to the hotel was a little wild – even for this ex-NYC dweller.

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Tuesday afternoon. After finishing my talks, Stephen, Richard and I were taken to see the new Telerik offices. They building is not complete yet but it is going to be great. They have beautiful mountain views, lots of light and balconies galore. Here are some of the construction workers who are making this happen.

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One thing about Sofia that is hard to get used to is the stray dogs. There are thousands of them. But they are part of the landscape, tame and somehow get fed and avoid the overwhelming traffic. There are 2 million people in Sofia, which is a lot more than the city was originally designed for. Therefore there it is pretty crowded but there is a ton of construction going on.

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Tuesday night. After the closing panel of the conference, we went to yet another wonderful classic Bulgarian restaurant. No pics as I was travelling light that night. After that, the old farts went back to the hotel and I went on to a small nightclub with Angus Logan and Svetlozar, another one of the Telerik partners, to meet up with his wife and friends. I finally begged for mercy and was put into a cab back to my hotel, since I’m one of the old farts, too.

Wednesday was tourist day. Yay! Here is a view of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia built in the early 1900’s to commemmorate the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. Of course,  you can’t take picture inside, but needless to say, it was amazing.

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We toured around Sofia all morning, visiting a Russian church and then a coffee shop, part of a chain that looks modeled after Starbucks.

Later we drove to Rila – a 2 hour drive on roads that are under construction (paid for by the EU who wants them improved for people driving through Bulgaria to get to other EU countries… and note that Bulgaria beocmes part of the EU on Jan 1.)

I thought seeing the goats wandering freely by the side of the road (and later some cows and horses) reminded my quite a lot of my trip to South Africa last year. Even just the dry grass here makes it look like I could have taken the picture in So. Africa.

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I saw this woman when we were headed up the mountain. Mostly everyone we saw was modern, but she is certainly the image many of us may have.

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Before we went into the monastery compound, we had yet another huge bulgarian meal. You can’t imagine the food that kept coming out of the kitchen. We finally begged for mercy even though it was all amazing. The glass that looks like it was milk was really yogurt. It is also a known hangover cure. The pitcher is yogurt, too.

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Here are a bunch of photos of the monastery. Inside this cathedral we were astounded. (Again no pics in doors). I love the stiped paining everywhere – it reminds me of persian pottery.

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The end. IT’s late. I’ll post some more in another day or two.

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