Bulgaria has the kitschy cool that would make the hipsters of Brooklyn jizz their pants.
Our digs, Art Hostel, was a dream-like world in itself. It adhered religiously to its motto, “We spend our time in the garden.” The yard is a 24-hour hang out where travelers cook, smoke, sunbathe, wash clothes and even paint the walls of the building.
When not in the grassy nook, visitors lurked in the underground tavern. Winding my way through the stone bar’s rooms and meeting its motley crew of drinkers, I almost expected to find Chubaka and R2D2 preparing for a reunion episode in the Star Wars bar.
– Paola, a French-Italian biking to Romania to tell off a former lover
– Francois, a Parisian who said his city’s new generation was not snooty (when I asked how they felt about Sarkozy he sniffed and stalked off)
– Boris, a Bulgarian-born Boston Celtics fan
– Bryce, an Australian turned Bulgarian mountaineer
– 2 competitive Albanians with whom I should not have played foosball
– 3 headbanging Romanians who may well have been an AC/DC tribute band
And there’s life outside the apartment as well.