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Song Monika known as “My Strana, My Bulgaria”

The song “My Strana, my Bulgaria”, its story and a handful of memories from my youth.

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The Gierek era and my Bulgaria

In the 1970s, holidays in Bulgaria were only for the select few. Most day-trippers traveled to Varna by train and later ended up in private accommodation on the Black Sea coast. They lounged on the beaches at Golden Sands, Sunny Beach. Some ended up a little further in Nessebar, a town with monuments from the Byzantine era. The forced knowledge of Russian facilitated communication to a limited extent. Neither we tourists nor Bulgarians liked the Russians and socialism. As soon as the opportunity arose, we gladly decided to become self-employed. Granted, there were people in the 1990s who sighed “come back,” but thankfully the sighing stopped.

passport insert

Instead of an ordinary passport, the travel document was a passport insert, which was in force when crossing the border between the countries of people’s democracies. abort short. Of course there were also passports, but only for travelers behind the Iron Curtain. It wasn’t easy to get a passport because you already had one, so you didn’t usually come back to your home country. There were also young people who fled from a devastated country to another where it seemed easier to accept the restrictions.
However, it makes a big difference if you live under the regime in everyday life or end up in an area intended for tourists, also from West Germany and France. And Polish day trippers found their way to the Bulgarian coast, designed and engineered for foreign exchange tourists from capitalist Europe.


Along the coast

In your student days, when you had an international student card, you could buy a Warsaw-Varna train ticket and tourist vouchers in Orbis, which you could exchange for Bulgarian tourist vouchers, which you used to pay in Black Sea tourist facilities. And since foreign currency was scarce, we wore plush and Nivea cream to exchange for local money, lev. The years of youth are always remembered as beautiful and full of impressions. Backpacking in the heat and traveling in ramshackle buses, overnight stays in tents on disgusting campsites are remembered as wonderful holiday adventures. And you can hike along the beautiful Black Sea coast to the town of Michurin near the Turkish border. Now this Michurin is called Tsarevo and it is worth taking a look there because of the beautiful small bays with sand beautifully cut deep into the shore.


And from such a wonderful country, where the people’s authorities made sure that everyone had something according to their needs, Emil Dmitrov, a composer and artist, fled to France. In France he wrote a song called Monica,, which, in addition to a simple, catchy melody, also contained words that the censors in Bulgaria did not like. The world was humming a romantic holiday song, and in Bulgaria and the demolished countries the radio stations somehow didn’t notice. Until another poet wrote new lyrics for the song and so the hit “My strana, my Bulgaria” was born. Now it was the way the authorities wanted it, patriotic and joyful.

Already on the plane

A song praising Bulgaria accompanied Polish tourists from the moment they boarded the plane. The greeting came over the loudspeakers. Also, there was a time when the price of a tourist ticket included onboard catering and small bottles of wine quickly got you in the holiday spirit. Before charging in Varna there is also a moment with music and “My strana, my Bulgaria”. After picking up the luggage, it’s off to the bus and of course to the catchy tune My Bulgaria. You got that hit so deep in your brain that every time you had a wine meetup you hummed nothing but “My Strana, my Bulgaria” and felt happy about it.

years passed

A few years passed and instead of Bulgaria we went to Greece, Italy and Tunisia. Bulgaria has become less popular and attractive. Although traditional dishes such as kebapchets and shopska salad or grilled thin sausages, ledeniczki, remained in the memory of gourmets, Greek wine and the melody from the film Zorba are also quite confusing. However, feelings for youth return in memories. So how about planning a holiday in Bulgaria?


The song has been popularized again for several years by Krisia, a wonderful “music kid” in Bulgaria. Krisia performed at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2014 and placed second. Bulgarian socialists started using the song as their distinguishing mark in 2015. Another song sung by Krisi for Planeta Dzieci is more interesting and complicated. I wonder who will win the next elections in Bulgaria? This is the fifth time in the last two years.


My Bulgaria

Rila Monastery, a place often visited by tourists

Traveling to Bulgaria, like any other country in the European Union, is no longer a problem. To the mountains near Sofia for skiing or hiking, or to the sea to see what is happening to the Polish holiday home built before the war by Warsaw on 5 hectares donated by the Tsar of Bulgaria? Flight connections to Bulgaria exist from many airports in Poland to airports on the Black Sea. Recently, low-cost airlines opened a connection to Wrocław Sofia. So you can visit Vitosha or Rila National Park and other mountains near the Bulgarian capital. Ski enthusiasts know that Bulgaria has many well-groomed ski slopes in winter. And affordable hotels are easy to find in Sofia and the surrounding area.

Who said you have to go on vacation in the summer?

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