I’ve been in Ruse, Bulgaria for two weeks now. In this blog post, I would like to share with you some of the less fancy views. Having lived in The Netherlands for 31 years of my life, I have to say Eastern Europe looks quite different to say the least. I was already surprised by how Bucharest (Romania) looked, but Ruse is even more different!
First off, I really don’t want to come across as criticizing or negative about Eastern Europe. I was not completely unaware of what to expect, but let’s just say I was not aware of the extent of, well, the neglect I would see (although of course not everywhere). Broken windows, trash, graffiti, walls almost falling over, bad roads, unkempt nature…
Heck, in Bucharest, there are hundreds of buildings in danger of collapsing in the event of an earthquake!
Of course I have also been spending my time here learning about the history of Eastern Europe, particularly that of Bulgaria and Romania. I have learned a lot and gained a lot of respect for these countries and its citizens.
I think the people are making the best of the situation. The Communist blocks looks cold and undermaintained from the outside, but on the inside, people have created their own lovely homes. That, and shops and stores look much better on the inside than on the outside, too.
Ruse, Bulgaria: The Less Fancy Views
Allow me to share with you a couple of pictures of my walks through Ruse so far.
A random street in Ruse. I love the inclines and declines that Ruse has to offer, and I enjoy looking at the view in the distance. Although not a pretty view in the traditional sense, I like the photo of this street that I took, with the cabling hanging across the street. For some reason I like how the apartment building looks on the right.
A deserted shop with broken windows, boarded up with cardboard. In front of it is an old coffee vending machine. These coffee vending machines can be found throughout the city. This one is out of order, you’ll have to walk to another street…
Cluttered balcony of a communist block style apartment building. Broken windows, junk left behind. A used throw-away cup. The clothing line is still hanging there.
A pay phone! Haven’t seen those in a while. Pay phones used to be coin operated in The Netherlands, then became card operated (prepaid) and eventually disappeared in the early 2000s. I miss them. It’s nice to see that pay phones still exist in Bulgaria. Or at least here in Ruse. Would be more useful if the horn was still there, though.
A broken (abandoned?) building with graffiti. No windows. Empty. An interesting sight to say the least.
Overgrown stairs of the bridge that crosses the train tracks. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wade through the weeds as you get off of the bride – there’s a different bride section that connects to the street.
So anyway, your only option to cross a busy highway is taking the underpass. First you’ll have to walk down some stairs. There’s an elevator, but I’m not sure if it works. Nothing happened upon pressing the button. So you go down the stairs and you will be greeted by flaky ceilings, large amounts of cobwebs, old and new video cameras (the old ones completely covered with cobwebs or whatever that material may be) and mysterious liquids on the floor. This one sure was a treat to walk through!
What you’re seeing at the end in the photo above is a separating fence, with some steps on the right and a ramp on the left. More to the front of the photo, near the lower left corner is some… uhm… some chocolate sauce that someone desperately needed to get rid of. <_<
Discarded pants, a discarded sweater, plastic bags, plastic bottled, empty food cartons, you name it.
Again, I’m not trying to trash talk Ruse. These pictures only show a fraction of the city, after all. I like to explore the non-touristy areas and see what a major part of the population lives with. Having shown all this, there are trash cans for trash separation in pretty much every single apartment block. And yes, people use them. And yes, the garbage gets collected regularly. Sometimes the garbage cans are so full, people drop their trash next or in front of them. I’ve seen a Christmas tree, shoes, a bag, a cabinet and even a small truck pulling up to unload a crap ton of cardboard boxes. Everything was picked up. People are taking care of their surroundings.
It’s easy to judge a city when you see photos like this, but I encourage you to read up the history of Eastern Europe before you make up your mind.