Spring 1999 Photo Collection

Outside the wedding hall
Our first wedding of 1999 was that of Rali's high school classmate, Bobby, to his longtime girlfriend, Irka, in April. It was springtime in Pleven, and Bulgaria was turning green again after the winter. Rali's father took this photo outside the wedding hall (the same one where we were married the previous August).

The Ilievi Passions
As we walked down Pleven's main pedestrian street on our way to the wedding reception, we passed the Pleven Drama Theater, and were amused to see the title of the current play: The Ilievi Passions. Remember that Rali's family is the Ilievi!

At the table at Annie's villa
The snow had melted in Sofia in March, and we were getting restless at home. We wanted to get out of Sofia, but weren't sure where to go. Then Annie, who works in the office of my friend Heinz, invited us to her family's villa in a village southeast of Sofia. It turned into a wonderful day trip. There was still snow at the higher altitude of the village, but the air was warm enough for walking without a jacket. For lunch, we enjoyed a delicious leg of lamb. Here, at the lunch table, are Annie, her husband Tenyu, Heinz and Sylvana, and me (with a mouthful of lamb I couldn't swallow before Rali took the photo).

The spring fruit market in Botevgrad
We took a day trip for National Liberation Day, Wednesday, March 3, to Pravets and Botevgrad. It's a national holiday that celebrates Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottoman Empire (the "Turkish Yoke"), so the entire nation has a day off. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful. We enjoyed a stroll in Pravets, the hometown of Bulgaria's former Communist leader, Todor Zhivkov, for the morning. It was a strange experience because there had been a tremendous amount of investment in Pravets during the communist years, yet the overall impression is that Pravets is nothing more than a tiny village that happens to have enormous expanses of marble everywhere.

Botevgrad, a nearby town, was considerably more lively. There was less marble, but many more pedestrians and much more commerce. The fruit-and-vegetable market was especially colorful.

Rali and Kremena with the Boss
Since last fall, Rali's been working as an Executive Assistant to the President of Bulgaria's largest business computer company, ProSoft. Early this year, Rali attended the company's annual meeting, held at a resort in the Rhodope mountains. Here she is with Kremena (right), another assistant to the President, and the President himself (center), Julian Genov.

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