The true treasure of any country or town are the people and no one exemplifies the people of Banya quite like someone we call, "the Baba" (grandmother). She is 87 years old and holds forth over a legion of plants in her home in the center of Banya. We have stayed with her family in a beautiful apartment on the top floor and often observed her below as she went about her daily chores and loving care of her flower friends. Her history is an interesting one and she was very involved as a partisan during WWII in Bulgaria. She still speaks like a general and every word seems to have an importance to it and not just mere idle speech. She dresses in the traditional Bulgarian black and white and is ever the symbol of dignity and grace. It can truly be said of Baba Atanaska, "she never dresses down."
Of all the people we have met in Banya, Baba Atanaska and her family seem to represent the heart and soul of this small town. You never leave that they don't tell you to come back and to remember that you are always welcome at their house. To them and many others that live here, this is the place to be and after a stay of only a few days, you begin to think they are right.
Cars are nice to own but other modes of transporation work in Banya as well. Many people here ride their bicycles because they are good for exercise and everything is so close, cars aren't really all that necessary inside the town. Then of course, there's the old grey mare and wagon type of transportation and that works to because here you always have to haul something somewhere and the gas mileage on this model is incredibly good due to the fact that it's a one horse power vehicle. The guy on the bicycle is our good friend Nasko. He works at the Rehab Center in the thermal mud treatment center.
Ivanka Bakalova is a dedicated housewife and hospitable homeowner who resides in Banya, along with her husband Braiko, the manager of a tourist agency. Their home is full of friends and laughter all the time and they are truly some of Banya's best known and best loved people. Ivanka is a poetess and author of a beautiful selection of verses called, "Horizon and Haven." Their home and garden is one of the best kept in Banya with a lovely fountain and beautiful plants and garden.
Modes of Transportion in Banya
Ivanka and Braiko's Garden
Atanas is one of the local favorites in Banya because he is so good with a barbeque grill. He also knows alot about what is going on around Banya in real estate. He is always glad to show people any property that might be available in Banya and and put them in touch with the owners. In this picture, he is standing outside one of Banya's restaurants welcoming people and of course, posing for a picture. We call him the Barbeque Man because he can make meat taste ever so good over a open flame grill.
Banya has a great pizza restaurant just off the main street. It's very modern establishment, with wide screen TV plus plenty of places to sit and enjoy a pizza and a cold drink. The pizza quality is better than you find in Sofia and other larger cities. The texture of the crust and the sauce make it very tasty and appetizing. And the best thing is you can enjoy it without spending alot of money. The prices in the restaurant are very reasonable. When you are in Banya and you long for the taste of a great pizza, check out the Pizza Bar.
Baba Atanaska and her two great grand daughters
Delicious Pizza Always
Baba Gesha Keeps the Art of Knitting Alive in Banya
Baba Gesha is a true artist when it comes to knitting. She can make just about anything from wool and keeps herself busy and her friends and family warm with beautiful socks, vests and other items. She skillfully creates beautiful pieces like the ones on the table. She's a delight to talk with and amazes you with her wit and charm.