Bulgaria (България) is a country in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea. It is surrounded by Romania to the north, Serbia to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, and Turkey to the southeast. Being located close to the Turkish Straits means the key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia pass through Bulgaria.
- Sofia Region
- Northwest Bulgaria
- Central Northern Bulgaria
- Northeast Bulgaria
- Southwest Bulgaria
- Central Southern Bulgaria
- Southeast Bulgaria
- Bulgarian mountains
- Bulgaria Black Sea coast
Major cities include:
- Sofia (София) - The capital and a major point of interest in Bulgaria. It features nice parks, a nice town center, many bars, pubs, and disco clubs, over 250 historic landmarks and architectural monuments, and a great deal of cultural places of interest.
- Varna (Варна) - The nation's second largest city is a primary beach resort. The night life in Varna is notorious, especially during the summer season.
- Plovdiv (Пловдив) - The nation's third largest city. Boasts a lovely shopping promenade and many parks, an ancient city with a preserved amphitheater, and many "revival" style Bulgaria homes. Be sure also to take a side trip to Bachkovo Monastery which is about an hour away.
- Burgas (Бургас) - Known for its commercial port (Port of Burgas) and oil refinery. Picturesque waterside and nearby downtown and shopping area makes this city popular with tourists.
- Rousse (Русе) - More famous as the "Small Vienna", the city centre offers an unforgettable architectural ensemble that cannot be found any place else within Bulgaria. Present-day Rousse is the fifth largest Bulgarian city and is an important economic, financial and cultural hub. The city boasts various places of interest among which the Sexiginta Prista Roman Castle, The Theatre, The House of Caliopa, The Pantheon and so on.
- For other destinations see the specific regions.
Temperate; cold, damp winters with snow in the higher elevations; hot, dry summers
Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
- highest point
- Musala 2,925 m
A branch of the Slavs merged with the local Proto-Bulgarians, a Central Asian tribe, in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state in the Balkans. In succeeding centuries, Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empires dominated South-East Europe, but by the end of the 14th century the region was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878 largely due to the intervention of Russia and Romania, who clipped the wings of the declining Ottoman Empire in Bulgaria and elsewhere, and installed a minor German prince as a ruler of the newly independent country. The country's iconic heroes were all freedom fighters to a man: whether Rakovsky (Раковски), who mixed revolution and literature, Vassil Levski (Васил Левски) - the Apostle of Freedom, or Hristo Botev (Христо Ботев), poet and fighter. After a series of bloody and brutal Balkan wars, Bulgaria had the further misfortune to be occupied by the losing side in both World Wars, and fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination was brought to a swift, but for many people illusory end in 1989; though Bulgaria went on to hold its first multi-party election since World War II, essentially socialist policies were pursued until hyperinflation and economic meltdown drove the old guard out of power in 1997. Today, reforms and democratization have brought Bulgaria into the NATO fold, with EU accession celebrated in 2007. During Communist times, the Black Sea was a favorite destination for travelors behind the Iron Curtain. Now, increasing numbers of western Europeans travel throughout the country and many have bought vacation houses near the Black Sea or in picturesque villages.
Baba Marta (Баба Марта) (Grandma Marta), March 1. A very old Bulgarian holiday. People give each martenitsa (мартеница), a type of white-red yarn, as a symbol of health. (this is not a public holiday)
March 3 (Трети март). The day Bulgaria celebrates its Romanian-aided liberation from 500 years of Ottoman domination (1393-1878).
20th of April - 20 April 1876 is the official start day the greatest uprising of the Bulgarian people against the Ottoman rule.
Gergiovden (Гергьовден), May 6. St. George and official holiday of the Bulgarian Аrmy.
Ss. Cyril and Methodius Day (Ден на Кирил и Методий), May 24. The day of St. Cyril (827-869), and St. Methodius (826-884), who created the Cyrillic alphabet. A beautiful holiday - with lots of flowers, music, and joy.
Assumption Day - Golyama Bogoroditsa, August 15. There are big celebrations, especially in the main monasteries, with icons being paraded by the monks. (this is not a public holiday)
Reunification Day (Ден на съединението), September 6. The day the two parts of Bulgaria, the independent North and East Rumelia (autonomous in the Ottoman Empire) were reunited, pejoni
Immigration and visa requirements
Citizens of the following countries may enter Bulgaria without a visa and stay for up to 90 days:
- All EU countries
- Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brasil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macau, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela
- Non-EU citizens should check with their embassy or the Bulgarian embassy regarding any special regulations. Citizens of the United states are able to visit for 90 days without a visa (this is strictly enforced); a D-visa is necessary if one plans to work in the country. A number of websites have outdated information about Bulgaria's once common practice of requiring non-citizens to register with the police within 72 hours of arrival. The country has ended this requirement with the January 2007 entrance into the EU. However, immigration authorities will generally ask that you provide an address where you will be staying and the purpose of your visit.
There are four international airports: Sofia, Varna, Bourgas, and Plovdiv. There are a lot of charter and last-minute flight offers to Varna or Bourgas leaving from Western Europe (especially Germany and Great Britain). You can go from German airports to Bulgaria and back for less than 100 Euro, if you are lucky.
Recently, several low-cost airlines have also started offering regular flights to Bulgaria. Wizz Air  flies directly between Sofia and London, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Valencia, Brussels and Dortmund and has a seasonal service to Bourgas. germanwings  offers flights to several European destinations. EasyJet  flies between Sofia and London Gatwick, Manchester, Milan and Madrid. MyAir  flies to Sofia from Milan, Bari, Brussels and Bologna. Sky Europe  flies from Bratislava to Sofia, Varna, and Bourgas. The government is planning to open a new airport near Veliko Turnovo (Велико Търново) in the next 5 years.
International trains provide a large number of routes to Bulgaria, notably Sofia and Varna, arriving from such places as Kiev, Istanbul, Vienna, and other common cities.
The primary trains from Bucharest to Sofia, and back, run twice daily through the border city of Rousse. For example, recent trains are scheduled from Bucharest to Sofia in the daytime departing 11:35/arriving 21:30 and a night train departing 19:35/arriving 06:10. Passport control and customs takes place in Rousse approximately mid-trip. Check local train stations for updated information.
If you want to reach Bulgaria from Western Europe by car, you either can take a ferry from Italy to Greece, or you will have to pass through either Serbia (make sure you took a green card from your national insurance company) or Romania.
Travelling from Greece you have to go from Thessaloniki towards Serres and then to Promahonas.
In Bulgaria you have to pay road tax at the border (around 5 euros for 7 days). You will get a special sticker that you have to place on your car. There are no tolls on Bulgarian roads.
Besides the sticker, you may need to pay the Bulgarian authorities health insurance (2 euros per person for 3 days, slightly more for more days). Make sure you get a receipt! Expect long queues on certain days.
Buses to and from Sofia go to most major cities in Europe - while Bulgarian bus companies will be cheaper (and mostly offer less comfort), the tickets are hard to get by if you are travelling to Bulgaria, so you can always take Eurolines buses. Don't be surprised if an extra "border fee" is asked from each traveller by the bus driver - it makes your border passing quicker. Most buses from Western Europe will pass through Serbia, so be sure to check if you need a transit visa beforehand (Serbian visas for citizens of the EU have recently been abolished).
Certainly the cheapest and fastest way to travel around the country is by bus. Buses go from and to every bigger city (you might have to ask or be driven by taxi to the bus station) quite frequently (exact timetables information in English can be found at avtogari.info  or BGrazpisanie.com ); however, most bus station agents (except at the Black Sea and in Sofia) as well as the drivers will not speak or understand any languages except Bulgarian (and, if you are lucky, Russian) and the destinations will be written exclusively in Cyrillic. You can look up bus schedules for the Sofia New Central at the bus station .
Travelling from Sofia to major cities in Bulgaria by bus is a good value. A one way ticket to the Black Sea from Sofia is around EUR 12-15. Several companies operate regular routes serviced by new and modern buses. Timetables and prices in English for couple of the major companies can be found at GRUP Plus  and Biomet .
There are other bus stations in Sofia and also some private buses depart from their own personal station, but for travellers just looking to get out of town with the least amount of confusion - using the New Central Bus Station may be easiest.
Travelling by train is inexpensive, but also slower than by bus, and you should mostly use it when trying to reach a city along the two major train routes (Sofia - Varna and Sofia - Bourgas; you can travel both routes overnight). Travel by train is not recommended as the trains are invariably in poor condition and are rarely maintained. You can look up train schedules and prices on the Bulgarian State Railways website  or on www.BGrazpisanie.com .
Recently, new equipment has appeared on some the trains on routes between main destinations. New rail lines are also under construction but will not operational until 2011.
Many taxi drivers know only limited English so it is useful to write out your destination or carry a map. In winter 2008, a few of the newer taxis in Sofia have GPS units on the dashboard. Taxi tariffs in Bulgaria are standardized in the major cities but one should exercise the usual caution in noting that the meter is turned on. As is the case at many international airports, be careful in arrival at Sofia to avoid the offers of "inexpensive" rides to the city. Use the taxi desk in the baggage claim area to get a cab.
If traveling by car, it would be helpful if you can read the Cyrillic alphabet at least a bit. Most signs have the direction shown in Latin letters, but some don't.
If you are a foreigner, its best to rent a car. Www.rhinocarhire.com can offer you cheap car hire in Bulgaria.
Driving in Bulgaria can be a bit precarious - many roads do not have defined lanes, are not well marked, and are in poor conditions. Locals often do not observe speed limits and do not signal when changing lanes.
When travelling on the road Sofia-Greece, be very careful. There is extensive road reconstruction and you can meet some really dangerous drivers.
From Sofia to Plovdiv, Chirpan and Dimitrovgrad, there is a highway with 2 or 3 lanes per direction.
If you observe the rules, police will not bother you. Bulgarian police have white Opel Astra patrol cars, marked "POLICE" with blue letters - keep that in mind, because in the past there have been several cases of fake police officers stopping cars and robbing travellers.
Never ever drink and drive in Bulgaria! This is always dangerous, and your first offence will result in a long prison sentence. The once-common practice of bribing a police officer to get out of a speeding or parking ticket is becoming the exception.
Car theft isn't much of a risk, but shouldn't be underestimated. In rural areas leaving your car should be safe, but in the big cities or tourist spots, it is advisable to stay on the safe side by parking either on the major streets or on guarded garages, where fees range from 6 leva a day to 2 leva an hour. If you plan to spend more time in one city, it might be better to rent a parking space, which on the average costs 60 leva a month. Most hotels have their own parking, and even at private lodgings it is often possible to park the car in the garden or so, just ask.
Air travel is still not very common in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria Air, the national carrier travels everyday from Sofia to Varna and Burgas.
WizzAir travels four times a week between Sofia and Varna.
Their timetables can be found on their official websites or altogether on BGrazpisanie.com 
Bulgarian is a southern Slavic language, mutually intelligible with Macedonian and closely related to Serbo-Croatian, Polish and Russian. If you know any of these (or another Slavic language) you shouldn't have much problem getting by.. As a matter of fact, ancient Bulgarian (also known as Church Slavonic) is considered the "Latin" or mother language of the Balto-Slavs. Some words or/and phrases might even be understood by Westerners since Bulgarian has a number of loans from other languages (most notably French, German, Turkish, Italian and increasingly English).
Modern Bulgarian is difficult to Westerners, especially English-speakers, as it has three genders, the infintive has fallen virtually out of use, and articles are appended to the end of either the noun (if no attribute is present) or the first attribute (example: kuche = dog, kucheto = the dog, dobro kuche = good dog, dobroto kuche = the good dog). However, it is actually easier than the other Slavic tongues as the other Slavs almost never use articles nor prepositions, but have noun cases instead, which makes them more difficult. It takes a short while getting used to the Cyrillic alphabet, a writing system of which Bulgarians are proud. Be sure to be in Bulgaria for the celebrations of the "Den na Pismenostta" ("Day of the Literacy"). The Russian/East Slavic version of the alphabet is almost identical to the Bulgarian one.
It is also important to remember the fact that many Bulgarians - contrary to most nationalities - shake their head for Yes and nod for No! It is better to rely on the words da for yes and ne for no than on head movements. Bulgarians often use ciao for good-bye (instead of "Dovijdane") and merci for thank you (instead of "Blagodarya").
Be careful when you bring up the subject of Macedonian language. The official Bulgarian policy is that the Macedonian language is a codified Bulgarian dialect.
Most young Bulgarians have at least a basic knowledge of English or/and a second foreign language, usually Russian, but German, French or Spanish can also be spoken) and will often even take up a third one. Those born before the mid-1970s are most likely to speak Russian, German (because of ties with East Germany) or/and Serbo-Croatian and Slovene and usually have a limited or no knowledge of English at all.
The Bulgarian unit of currency is the Lev (лев, abbreviated "лв", plural: Leva), comprised of one hundred Stotinki. The Lev is pegged to the Euro at 1.95583 Lev for one Euro. 1 Lev is roughly US$ 0.75 and UK£ 0.34.
Shopkeepers and other businesses in Bulgaria will usually not accept foreign money though many will accept the euro. Bulgaria remains a largely cash economy in the rural areas but in major cities credit cards are generally accepted.
In most cities there are many money exchange offices which are marked with signs that say "CHANGE". Most are legitimate, but some may rip you off. It is much safer to exchange your money at a bank. Banks apply little or no commissions, and generally offer good rates. Higher commissions may be applied to traveller's cheques. Old, dirty or very worn bank notes may be refused. Never exchange money out on the street. Beware of people on the street who offer high rates of exchange or who may ask you to make some change for them.
Over the past years the ATM network in Bulgaria has grown considerably, making it relatively easy to obtain cash from the numerous ATMs in Sofia, as well as in all other major cities and resorts. The national credit/debit card circuit BORICA , to which all ATMs in the country are hooked up, accepts VISA/Plus, Visa Electron, MasterCard/Cirrus, Maestro, American Express, Diners Club, and a number of other cards.
Generally, some prices in Bulgaria are at least twice lower than in Western Europe, and good bargains are to be had on shoes and leather goods as well as other clothing. Note that clothes from famous international brands, perfumes, electronic equipment, etc. often are more expensive than in other parts of Europe.
In Sofia and a few major cities you can find branches of international hypermarket chains like Kaufland, Hit, Billa, Metro, and other. There are also many local supermaket chains like Fantastiko, Familia, and Picadilly. All Bulgarian supermarkets sell products of European quality.
Bulgarian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of Southeastern Europe with some Turkish and Greek influences, but it has some unique elements. The relatively warm climate and diverse geography produce excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits, Bulgarian cuisine is particularly diverse.
Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of wines and local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta. Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator. There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as banitsa.
Certain entries, salads, soups and dishes go well with alcoholic beverages and the alcohol of choice for some is Bulgarian wine.
Restaurants serving international cuisine have also made a presence in the country, offering various options such as Chinese, French, Italian, and international contemporary.
It can be difficult to find vegetarian food; most dishes have meat, typically pork. Three vegetarian dishes that are commonly available are боб чорба/bob chorba (warm minty bean soup), таратор/tarator (cold cucumber yogurt soup), and Шопска салата/Shopska salad. American vegetarians may be surprised to find meat inside innocent-looking breakfast pastries.
Popular local dishes
The most popular Bulgarian salad is the shopska salad, which is a mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers (preferably roasted), and sirene. Traditionally it is dressed only with salt, sunflower or olive oil and vinegrette. Another popular salads are the snow white salad, the shepherd salad and the lyutenitsa.
As a main course you can have moussaka (a rich oven-baked dish of potatoes, minced meat and white sauce), gyuvetch, sarmi (rolls with grape or cabage leaves), drob sarma (lamb liver and lung with rice), kavarma (minced meat with tomatoes), mish-mash (fried peppers, onion and eggs).
Traditional milk products
There are only two native kinds of cheese: the yellow-colored Kashkaval (Кашкавал) - more or less akin to the Dutch Gouda - and the more popular white Sirene (Сирене) - a kind of Feta cheese, similar to Greek Feta in taste. Originally made from sheep milk, it is available from cow or goat milk, or mixed.
The native Bulgarian kiselo mlyako (yoghurt) contains Lactobacilicus Bulgaricus, a bacterium which serves as the basis for active culture "plain" yoghurts in other countries. Normally made from cow or sheep milk, it can also be prepared from buffalo milk, with a remarkably stronger taste.
Being a staple, and quite favourite around the country, Bulgarian yoghurt also is an ingredient to many dishes, the most famous one being Tarator (Таратор), a cold soup made from yoghurt, water, cucumbers, garlic, dill and walnuts . A drink called Ayran - a yoghurt-water mixture with salt- is also very popular.
Traditional bakeries prepare different kinds of pastry products. Banitsa and mekitsa are the favorites. Pizza, dyuner (döner), sandwich or hamburgers are also very easy to be found at the streets. There are also many local and international fast-food chains.
There are more than six hundred mineral water springs around the country, so this is something you'd better taste and drink.
Ayrian (yogurt, water and salt) and boza (millet ale) are two traditional Bulgarian non-alcoholic beverages.
Grape growing and wine production have a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians. Wine is, together with beer and grape rakia, among the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country.
Some of the well known local wine varieties are Mavrud, Pamid, Gamza (red dry), Melnik, Dimyat, Misket, Muskat, Pelin, Kadarka (red sweet) and Keratsuda (white dry).
Beer (bira: бира) is consumed all around the country. Excellent local varieties like Kamenitza, Zagorka, Ariana, Pirinsko and Shumensko, as well as Northern European beers produced under license in Bulgaria like Heineken and Amstel, are readily available mostly everywhere.
Rakia (ракия) is the Bulgarian national alcoholic drink and is served neat, usually at the beginning of a meal with salads. Its powerful (40% vol), clear brandy that can be made from grape, plum or apricot. In some villages people still distill their rakia at home; it is then usually much stronger (>50% vol).
Another quite popular drink is mastika (мастика) (47% vol), a drink closely related to Greek Ouzo and Turkish Raki. It is usually drink with ice, with water in a 1:1 mixture.
Menta (мента) is a peppermint liqueur that can be combined with mastika.
Finding an accommodation in Bulgaria is very easy, for any price. You can find everything - from hostels in Sofia and Plovdiv to inexpensive hotels in all cities and luxury hotels in large cities. There are many "mountain huts" or villas available for rent all around the mountains in the country. Overnight accommodations can also be acquired at about a dozen of the monasteries. There are also plenty of guest houses and villas. Bulgaria is famous for offering quality budget accommodation for rural and ecological tourism in charming small towns in its mountains as well as at the seaside.
The oldest Bulgarian university is the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" that in 2008 celebrated 120 years from its foundation. It is considered to be the largest and most prestigious university center. There are many newer centres of education in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Shumen, Veliko Tarnovo, Blagoevgrad, etc.
For most subjects, programs are available in Bulgarian or English, depending on the university. Elementary and middle schools are supported by local authorities budget. As with most nations, teachers complain about small salaries. Literacy is nearly universal. Bulgarian people speak mostly English, German, French and Russian.
Some of the universities that offer education entirely in English are the American University in Bulgaria, the New Bulgarian University and the Technical University of Sofia. The last one offers also degrees in German language.
The American College in Sofia offers secondary education in English.
Bulgaria is generally a safe country, and people are quite friendly. You should however behave according to common sense when you are outside of the main tourist areas, i.e. don't show too openly that you have money, don't dress too much like a tourist, watch your things, don't walk around the suburbs (esp. those of Sofia) at night, avoid dark streets at night. Stepping in a hole is a much greater danger in Bulgaria than getting robbed.
Emergency phone numbers
The pan-European standard number 112 for all emergency calls is working everywhere in Bulgaria since September 2008. If, for some reason, you can not connect to 112, dial 166 for police, 150 for ambulance and 160 for the fire department.
Organised crime is an issue, however it usually does not affect tourists and ordinary people. Car theft is probably the most serious problem that tourists could confront. If you drive an expensive car, do not leave it in unguarded parking lots or on the streets.
Bulgaria is safer than most European countries with regard to violent crime. However, pickpocketing and scams (such as taxi scams or confidence tricks) are present on a wider scale, so be careful, especially in crowded places (such as train stations, urban public transport).
Stray dogs are relatively common all over Bulgaria, and are usually little more than a nuisance. However, they have been responsible for several deaths, so it is best to keep your distance. Recently stray cats started to appear in major cities, but they are not a problem.
Wild bears and wolves can be seen sometimes in woods, so be careful.
Corruption is a serious issue in Bulgaria. Some policeman or officials may request you a bribe for certain action. If this happens, decline the proposal and threaten them to call the police. Corruption in customs is also a problem, but its now declining.
Eating and drinking
Most food is quite safe to eat. Of course, try to avoid eating at places that are obviously not too clean.
The water in Bulgaria is safe to drink from the tap. However, natural mineral water is cheap and widely available. Since Bulgaria is a mountainous country, natural springs are quite abundant and many villages have one or more mineral springs.
Conditions in Bulgarian hospitals may vary - from the very clean and sparkling, with all the latest technological utilities, to the downright drab, dark and cold. There are some new hospitals, and some very old, with old technology. Medical personnel is very good in their job.
Citizens of the European Union are covered by Bulgarian's National Healthcare System as long as they carry an Eurocard (or European Health Insurance Card), obtainable from their own national healthcare authority.
Dental procedures in private clinics in Bulgaria are of an excellent quality. Many people from Western European come to Bulgaria to have their teeth done for the quarter of the price they pay in their home country.
Bulgarians are incredibly friendly and seem very interested in talking to foreigners. Engaging in dialogue with these people is much advised and worthwhile. In smaller cities, especially in the Rhodopes people might invite you for lunch or to sleep.
Macedonia maybe a sensitive subject to talk about with some people; But generally not very much so feel free to ask your questions, provided you do not discuss it (Macedonia) with nationalist skinheads. (Some people may say that Macedonia belongs to Bulgaria.)
While most of the Bulgarian people do not feel anger or resentment towards Russians, unlike a number of people from other former Eastern Bloc countries, you should be careful when discussing topics related to Russia, because some people have suffered a lot.
Domestic telephone service is available in most villages, via the PSTN or VoIP.
Mobile phones are widely spread in Bulgaria - many people have two or three phones. There are three networks, all using the GSM/3G standards (Mtel, Globul and Vivatel). MTel has almost full national coverage (97% of the surface of the country), followed by Globul and Vivatel (each one with smaller coverage). Fares are average for the European Union (5-40 Eurocent per minute, 7 Eurocent/SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available but it`s rather expensive. You can buy prepaid cards cards in almost every shop.
Internet access is widely available in Bulgaria, although about 20% of the population has regular access. Broadband internet is available through cable, ADSL, fiber optics, WiMax and LAN connections. You can also access internet with your mobile phone, via GPRS or 3G. Speeds are pretty fast in the capital - with prices being around 20 € for 20 Mbps, with local access about 40. The speeds are increasing, home access for 4 Mbps being available at around 15€ per month. Outside Sofia, speeds are significantly lower, fastest being around 10 € for 3 Mbps.
Internet cafes are available in most towns and cities, and in some villages. Computers are usually not available in libraries, or in public places such as train stations.
Wireless access is growing, especially in biggest cities, but is still limited, and mainly available in public areas, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Paid wireless access is also available.
This page was last edited at 13:40, on 13 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Iliya Bazlyankov and Emory Craig, Wikitravel user(s) Ypsilon and Vidimian, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.