Imitation of Life

A journal about film, music, literature and any other form of imitation of life. Seeing through a glass darkly…

До София и назад (To Sofia and Back)

In his novel До Чикаго и назад (To Chicago and Back), Bulgarian writer Aleko Konstantinov takes up again the character of Bay Ganyo, who had already appeared in his debut novel, and uses him as a third plan person in his description of his visit to the World Exhibition of Chicago in 1893.

Bay Ganyo, a rose oil trader who travels around Western Europe, has become not only the most popular character of Bulgarian literature, but also a symbol of cultural and national identity.

Konstantinov’s works, including the Bay Ganyo novelettes and the Chicago travel novel, opened Bulgaria to Western culture and are considered to be the start of the tourist movement in his native country.

More than a century after the World Exhibition in Chicago, I have embarked in an adventure similar to the one described in Konstantinov’s novel, but in the opposite direction.

I arrived in Sofia a couple of hours ago and I certainly feel like a 21 century Bay Ganyo, clumsily trying to adapt to a foreign environment. His travels were a succession of misfortunes and, as far as I can tell from my first hours here, so are mine.

The apartment I was supposed to stay in was flooded after a hot water pipe burst last night and I had to find an alternative place to crash till the problem is solved.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and the new place has a wonderful Internet connection that will let me do what Bay Ganyo would have done, had he lived a century later: change my Facebook location and go to bed wishing you all (and myself) good night and good luck.


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3 Responses

  1. Uncle Walt says:

    Poor u, what a way to start your stay. Hope the problem with the apparment gets solved quickly. Good luck, talk to u soon! Ps: Tolkien’s character Bilbo Baggins wrote an account of his adventures bearing a very similar title: “there and back again”. I’m confident that your stay in Sofia will be less troublesome than Bilbo’s misfortunes, but equally fruitfull and enjoyable. Take care!

  2. toño says:

    ánimo Alberto!!! Me alegro de que hayas visto el lado positivo del asunto… Buena suerte y abrazos!

  3. Владимир says:

    Добре дошъл Алберто! Много се радвам, че си в България! Дано пребиваването ти в София не е “низ от несполуки”, както е било с Бай Ганьо. Но дори и да има такива трудности – знам, че ще ги приемеш с чувство за хумор :) Пък и ние, приятелите от България, ще помагаме, ако има защо и с каквото можем! Много искам да се видим скоро!

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