Bulgaria, in Eastern Europe, is a country of contrasts. Hot summers, freezing winters, old & new, rich & poor. Bulgaria is changing. The cities are growing as traditional ways of life are lost, and people move to the urban centres for work. Others, especially the young, take every opportunity to flee the country with the lure of higher paid jobs in other parts of Europe The entire population of Bulgaria is less than 8 million.

Having joined the European Union in 2007, it will be some years before the full benefit of membership is felt. Bulgaria remains the poorest member state, and beneath the thin veneer of modernisation, many Bulgarians struggle to survive. Home for millions are the crumbling tower blocks found in every town & city, a legacy of the communist era. Recent times have seen the arrival of modern supermarkets, new apartments, and lots more cars on the roads. Prices are rising steeply as part of new Europe, but wages lag way behind. Organised crime and corruption remain major issues still to be fully resolved.

One lady told us that in her view Bulgaria had not really changed, it had just been decorated!