The first weekend in March I went to a village in the North called Chiprovtsi to learn how they make traditional Bulgarian Carpets. A peace corp volunteer (PCV) that is living in the village organizes weekend trips for other volunteers/fulbrighters to come to the village, stay at a guest house, and learn about carpet weaving in Bulgaria. It was really beautiful there. On the other side of the mountain is Serbia!
I missed the first two and had been looking forward to this weekend for several reasons. The first is that I really love rugs. I don't really know anything about rugs, but they interest me and I like how they look. So I wanted to learn more. Plus, this seemed like the sort of unique cultural experience I had been seeking. Perhaps most importantly, I had heard from other people that went on the trip that it was an amazing weekend full of homemade rakia, tons of food, and beautiful mountains. My expectations were met on all accounts!! I learned a but about traditional Bulgarian rug making, and even used the loom to make this little bookmark. I really liked working on the loom. You had to weave the yarn through the white strands and then slam it down with a wooden hammer thing. The mix of the repetitive yarn threading and slamming was really a stress reliever. Here is a photo of the loom.
The woman who owned the guest house was really welcoming and made tons of food. She only spoke Bulgarian, so I don't really know much about her. It was good practice for my language trying to listen to everyone speak Bulgarian all weekend!