St. Sofia Day Celebrations – Tony gets enlisted into the Bulgarian Military Protocol Office
As mentioned in the last blog, I was so thrilled at having met the Bulgarian President that I had to convey my delight to someone and this person turned out to be a serious looking military guy. Not knowing if he understood English, we were just happy to show him with our smiles that we very much enjoyed the city’s celebrations. It was with great surprise that Sergei started talking to us and wanted to know where we were from. He said that he liked Australia and the Australian people and was a keen fan of Steve Irwin.
Sergei told us that he is the Chief of Military Protocol which impressed us. After a bit more chit chatting, he took off his badge and gave it to Tony. We were flabbergasted at his generosity and didn’t think it was appropriate to take it, but he insisted on Tony having this souvenir. All we had to reciprocate with was my very humble ballpoint pen with aboriginal artwork on it.
Sergei obviously liked chatting to us and invited us to coffee at a very posh cafe where he frequently entertains foreign military delegations, etc. It was obvious that he is well known about town as people greeted or saluted him along the way. He was very keen for us to learn more about his city and pointed out things as we walked. Sergei was a genuinely nice guy and it was obvious that he enjoys travelling and the exposure to foreign cultures and lifestyles. He extended his invitation for us to stay with him and his family in their city apartment anytime we’re in Sofia and advised us that his wife is a great cook. We could have chatted to him the whole afternoon, but had to excuse ourselves as we still had work to do, to photograph the other end of town. How fortunate we were to have met this very interesting person who enriched our local experience.
When we told our tour director of our experiences, he in turn shared it with the rest of group, which increased Tony’s kudos no end. Bold and brazen, we were going to flash the badge at the Bulgarian border guards if they gave us any grief .. luckily we didn’t have to do this!