Introducing Travel Oops’s new feature: The Travel Oops Interview.
Forty years ago this year, Judy Schuck, who happens to be my mom and a prominent figure in Travel Oops, traveled with my dad, Ed, and friends of theirs, Audrey and Harry, to Bulgaria during the Cold War. Engineers for Medtronic, Ed and Harry had been invited to attend a medical conference in Sophia, Bulgaria.
The reminder of Communism was ever present and the feeling of being watched was very real. However, according to Judy, the Bulgarians were lovely people. Ultimately, politics again entered the scene because when the Schucks were leaving Bulgaria, it was right after the tragic shootings at the Munich Olympics. Their flight back to the United States was detained because the pilots of the plane were not going to fly through Syrian airspace. That, however, was just one of the mishaps.
Where was one of your most memorable Travel Oops?
Bulgaria in 1972.
What happened in Bulgaria?
This was 1972 and although they were letting tourists in, Bulgaria was still in control of the Communists and the government. And to get there from Yugoslavia, we took the Orient Express. It was the worst [train] you could imagine and the only difference between first class, which we paid for, and coach was that in first class, you had cushions and pads on the wooden benches.