”An Unexpected Journey”

“An Unexpected Journey”

Ivan Sotirov

(Bulgarian Youth Forum)

I knew about the exchange programme for a long time so when I heard there’s an opening for the project in Canary Islands I did not think for a second and instantly confirmed my participation. The topic was very interesting to me – discovering Europe but from culinary perspective. I enjoy cooking for fun so this was the perfect opportunity. Since I am a good fan cook, I was sure that we will not have any problems again to be first in this initiative.

We bought the tickets and met with the rest of the group before we left to get to know each other and time came to take off. It was an amazing group of people and we really worked well as a team. As this was my first project I had no expectations of it going so well but now I even think that I found a new family there. I will miss you very much, my dear friends!

So, I have never been to the Canary Islands before –  they look gorgeous from a bird’s eye view. No problems during the flight – I note that the destination is not very close – we landed in a perfect time. First impression – everything was set up and thought about, the transport was clean, on time and not so expensive.

The organizer of the project was a nice young man. Participants came from Poland, Romania, France, Spain and Bulgaria. We left the bags in the hotel and took a walk in the town – La Laguna. Its a quiet town to the north of the island, a little too hot for my taste, but it has everything you need. The place for dinners was also in a good condition, so here I am happy.

We started the meetings discussing our expectations and fears of the project and getting to know each other. We had a nice introductory game and continued on with a game in the town. We had different workshops – especially interesting was the one about recycling -an aspect Bulgaria lags behind in.

Then we visited local plantations for exotic fruits. My memories from there – delicious! Very, very delicious! We also went to a goat farm. Goat milk and cheese are typical for Tenerife and its very similar to what we have in Bulgaria.

And here came the time for the main part – the cooking. This was in City Hall. There were a lot of local people and in the beginning it was very tense but my mood shifted from wanting to hit someone with the pan to thanking everyone for all their commited work. We truly showed that team Bulgaria can maneuver in any situation. Thank you again, my friends!

 The following nights were similar where each country presented their cuisine, and the rest of the time, every group from the participating countries was cooking. One evening we went to a festival in the town – these people really know how to have fun. Unfortunately I’m not very good at dancing but it was fun.

We were impatient for the Romeria – it is a large festival where everything again gravitates around food, traditional music and dancing. We had a special invitation for it and we had to prepare well – we made a typical local specialty – gofio. The event very colorful just like the rest of their lifestyle – they seem happy regardless of their problems. That same night was the Bulgarian night – what can I say, we are the best!

 On the second week we visited quite a few places. We went to Teide National Park and some cities I’d love to move to. It’s like time has a different pace there.

It’s our last day here. We said goodbye as friends and each took their way back home. It was an amazing project and I love to take part in another youth exchange. Even the people I met with was enough and valuable experience of life. Be aware that Bulgarians are a very good and should hold their heads кз proudly!

I’d like to thank Kaloyan from Bulgarian Youth Forum for presenting me with the opportunity to take part and the people in our team – Vanya, Toni and Nasko. You are some of the most amazing people I’ve met and you became my second family!