A Few Thoughts on Pendom in Bulgaria

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.

2 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on Pendom in Bulgaria

  1. rupertarzeian April 25, 2018 / 11:12 am

    Interesting to hear about the Bulgarian pen scene, or absence of. Yes, we should remember that fountain pens are a luxury item (says he, 12 pens into the year). On the other hand though, I saw a newly registered Bentley parked in the street yesterday and the thought of the expense to which some people go, for some enjoyment, made me smile; a new Lamy Studio does it for me! I look forward to reading about the antique shop pen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paul Godden April 30, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, fountain pens and stationery and the money involved–even on the economical side of western expenditure–is still a luxury. I talk about twenty bucks Canadian for an inexpensive pen, and have to remind myself that that represents a week of milk and bread for a family, even in Canada.

    That said, I’ve loved the news from our Bulgarian Correspondent, great stuff, thanks!

    PS. Hope that crab was as amazing as it looks… and we’ve heard a lot about your bike, how about some details of the sled? A good few years ago, I rode a lot of miles on a borrowed Harley FXST 1340 Softail, now I just live in envy of anybody with their face in the wind.

    Liked by 2 people

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