Short post this week as I spent the weekend tasting some lovely Pinot Noir and riding my motorbike to the coast to GET MY CRAB ON.
(Note that I didn’t taste any wine while riding my motorbike. I like to keep those vices separate.)
A few folks have asked about the state of pendom in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, I haven’t found much in the way of obvious fountain pen culture. Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and the idea of paying more than a couple of leva for a pen will get you some side-eye from most folks there. This is a country where pensioners are scraping by on less than $200 USD a month.
Fountain pens are a luxury. We’d all do well to remember that.
That said, there are a few online retailers of fountain pens in Bulgaria. We had an amusing experience ordering from one of these shops. The way it works is you place your order online, then a person from the shop calls you to confirm, then they send a person out to deliver the item to you and you pay them on delivery. The shop also expressed some surprise when I requested an extra-fine nib, as “most people don’t know that’s an option.”
I did encounter several little stationery shops in Sofia that carried the usual assortment of Chinese biro knockoffs and office supplies. And, nestled among the stalls in the wonderful open-air book market in Slaveikov Square, I chanced upon an antiques vendor who had an interesting fountain pen… More on that later, as it deserves its own post.
We don’t often see Soviet or Communist-era pens here in the US, but I know they’re out there, and that’s what I plan to focus my efforts on the next time I visit the country.