Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bulgaria...a very Wordy Wednesday, 3rd April 2013

We got back yesterday from a rather wonderful trip to Bulgaria which proved to be something of a surprise for a non-skiing vegan, who doesn't like the cold!

I had an idea of what to expect, having been to Romania, and our drive from the airport in our trusty bright red Yaris, having just been stung 20lv for a 1lv taxi fare - I think the lovely boyf is still fuming - was everything I imagined it would be. Dark forests, sweeping plains and rugged mountains swathed in snow and fog: broken up by farms that give you a glimpse of how the technology obsessed West lived before we became industrial and the first signs of that move to industry, making its stamp on the landscape in a way that the Victorians would have no trouble recognising.

Our resort, and hotel, was another world entirely; pushing its way, with palpable urgency into the 21st century. 5 star hotels, free wifi and satellite TV, combined with broken pavements, half-finished buildings and the odd dog roaming the streets. That said, the last day of the holiday we found the old town, which was beautiful; twisting cobbled streets and quirky houses with red tiled roofs; quite different to the brasher, newer areas and perfect for exploring.  Skiing though is the lifeblood of this place and, even now, at the very end of the season, it supports a community who will, in a few short weeks, up and leave for their non-ski life elsewhere in Bulgaria. When the slopes close, so will the vast majority of the town. We saw whole shops and restaurants being emptied, right down to the shop fittings and furnishings; all packed into the backs of vans, ready to be set up again elsewhere.

Eating in Bulgaria was a lovely treat.  Local restaurants were mainly BBQ houses but the plentiful meat dishes were accompanied by wonderful salads and vegetarian sides, including Greek Potatoes for which I now have a bit of a thing, and I ate very well; with a great deal less explaining than expected.  Every house in Bulgaria is covered in vines, and everyone makes their own wine... a pasttime I could very easily take up.  Not once did we have a bad glass, and the glasses themselves were mini fishbowls; just perfect for a good red wine.  You know there is a real appreciation for the wine when the glasses are as great as these ones were!

As for the skiing, I'm kinda hooked :o)  Even 2000m+ up a mountain when you have no head at all for heights.  I don't think I'll ever be a great skier, but two days with the lovely Mia, "forward darlink, forward!" have left me comfortable with the idea of blue runs... unlike the lovely daughter who is apparently already on red runs!  I accomplished far more than I thought I would and got a real buzz in doing so; I can see how it becomes addictive.

So, all in all, a wonderful few days.  Quite different to what I was expecting on all levels and all the more liberating for it.  We came back as relaxed as we were energised; a great post-holiday combination!

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