The reasons why a series of Bulgarian post-Communist governments decided to ruin the railways system are many and varied, but come down to the usual mixture of corruption, shortsightedness and the by now proverbial lack of interest in the public good.
Yet, Bulgaria once used to have a smoothly running (in Balkan standards) railways system that would take you from Sofia to Varna in less than five hours (as opposed to the current eight), operating restaurant carriages with hot food and several types of modest but perfectly OK sleepers. Perhaps the most obvious vestige of the once glorious railways days are the still surviving railway stations, about which we will bring you a detailed report about in the next issue of Vagabond.
But now we will take you up the clock tower of one of Bulgaria's most remarkable fin-de-siècle stations, located on the southern Black Sea coast. The winding staircase is usually hidden from the eyes of the general public as it is kept locked, but we were allowed access - and were rewarded with exclusive views and insights.
Where in Bulgaria are you?
WHO WINS A WEEKEND FOR TWO?
Despite never having been to Lovech before, Katya Isporska from Sofia guessed correctly that the picture in the competition “Where in Bulgaria are you?” from Vagabond 61-62 shows the labour camp near the town. Katya is an accountant at the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate. She is looking forward to her prize – a weekend for two at the Chateau Montagne Hotel in Troyan – and is certain that the Troyan region will get to be her favourite.