Bulgaria has changed rapidly over the last decade, though in the villages you can still find folk who ride the donkey to work, eat homegrown potatoes and make their own cheese. The difference now is that they wash it all down in front of a satellite TV.
When Bulgaria ran away with the topsy-turvy capitalist circus, no-one told its people they were swinging without a safety net. Consider that citizens resorted to digging up the streets to pull copper from the telephone wires and you'll realise the act wasn't exactly an overwhelming success.
But what the visitor encounters now is a country struggling valiantly to adapt and people who remain remarkably hospitable in the face of social and economic chaos. Urban Bulgaria, especially Sofia, is much changed.
Of course, what high inflation means for visitors with stronger currencies (that's most of you), is that the ski and beach resorts are ridiculously cheap. And you don't need wads of cash to appreciate Bulgaria's dramatic mountains, haven-like monasteries, churches, mosques, Roman and Byzantine ruins, and the excellent coffee you'll be offered wherever you go.
Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track