July 20 – Aug. 4, 2002
My translating agency, suggestions below made by my Bulgarian translators regarding travel tip for their country.
So, I guess you might already know this, but I’m officially on my first trip this year and second trip with Misha. We were trying to figure out where to go while fitting into my tight expense limitations. We were originally talking a lot about going to Portugal. We both knew people there and it looked promising, since we could stay places for free and people would suggest things to do.
But, alas, the price was simply too high to go to Portugal – I didn’t want to pay the plane ticket, Misha said there was no way she was going to sit on a bus for three days (out of two weeks worth of holidays), so we started looking elsewhere.
I suggested Croatia, seeing I have not been there yet and it didn’t look so far away, but Misha said she’d already been there and didn’t want to go again. The ideas kept bouncing around and around. I finally pulled out a map and suggested Gdansk. Northern coast of Poland. After all, our definite aim was to make it to a nice coast following our dreary and rainy trip through the autumn weather of Northern Europe last year. Plus, I thought we could take a short trip to White Russia or whatever it’s called – another country and not so far away from Gdansk.
But, about two days later, Misha came up with the idea to go to BULGARIA!! It’s nice and cheap, her mom’s been there a few times, it’s got a coast – a lot of the ingredients we were looking for.
So now I’m on the bus heading to Bulgaria, while passing through Hungary.
It’s been a rather hectic week. My old laptop decided to fail about three weeks ago and this trip has hastened my necessity to eventually get another laptop. Found some Vietnamese dude I felt I could trust and bought off him a second hand laptop, imported from Switzerland (hopefully not stolen from an honest business man like me…).
It’s better than my older laptop but still required that I install everything I have and transfer all my key files so that, once again, I could be totally independent of location and work off my laptop.
Basically spent the last week waking up early, handling different translation projects, and trying to get all the logistics into shape in between. Meanwhile, finally got the cable internet connection I have been after for so long, which required fiddling around with my network, learning all sorts of stuff, downloading and finding things off the internet… In effect, I’ve been really busy this past week trying to make this trip possible, working late into the morning and only drinking a COUPLE of days this week!!!
In fact, the last night before I left I worked right through till the next morning, juuuust managing to squeeze everything in before running out the door to the bus station.
Preparing for the trip. The last night I did not sleep at all.
Was so nervous that will not complete everything in time that woke up Misha early and asked her to surf the internet and learn about Bulgaria a bit.
Oops, battery died on the bus.
So, according to tradition, before embarking on our trip, we made sure to fill up at the nearest McDonald’s, and then made our way to the bus, in which we crammed to start our long, 24 hour journey to Sofia.
The countryside was nice most of the time along the way. In Yugoslavia we had to pay 7 USD just for passing through the country. Almost out of that country, we took a last pit stop to take a leak. But the washrooms there were charging 50 cents to take a leak and half the bus decided to go in the bushes instead. Misha went in the bushes as well and, while peeing, noticed a large marijuana plant growing beside her. So she tore off a few leaves and made it back to the bus. But she was stopped by a policeman who was evidently quite upset that everyone had peed in the forest – a big no no in that country and perhaps some lost commission for him from the toilet people.
He was scolding Misha, asking her if she was Bulgarian. She just stood there, holding the marijuana leaf in her hand before her, shaking her head and saying, “Cesky, cesky.” So he stormed off mad and issued a hefty fine to the bus woman.
Girls often seem to notice things that guys don’t. Like for example a new pair of shoes, earrings – you know, unimportant things like that. However, one thing she notice on our bus ride down there was that, before every border crossing, the bus woman would go into a special compartment while carrying the list of people on the bus and come out of the compartment with the list wrapped around a bottle of wine. One border crossing she even had TWO bottles concealed in this manner! Later, people in Bulgaria said we were “lucky” we had to wait only one hour at each border crossing and that it usually takes two hours. That was very interesting.
Waiting to get into Bulgaria. One thing I have to say about Bulgaria is that, apparently, 10% of the population are stray dogs. They are all over the place. Sleeping here and there, none of them bother you, none of them try to bite you, none of them bark at you, and there is NO SHIT anywhere (quite contrary to Prague). It just entrenches my beliefs how we humans are so talented at screwing up everything that is natural.
Rolled into Sofia and I sent an SMS blast to all the people I knew in that country (all of them my kind translators who I approached before I left). Hooked up with one person in a café. We were waiting for a Valery and I imagined some hot blond in a long red dress. Valery turned out to be a guy, who was also expecting to find a Karel of the opposite sex. But we had a good time and all of us partied until when our bus left for Burgas that evening (we didn’t want to pay overnight in Sofia but rather make it to the coast sooner than later).
Partying in Sofia with Valeri.
We landed in Burgas at 4:30 in the morning, still drunk. Bought a map and took a cab to the centre. Jumped on the first bus heading south, which happened to be for Ohtopol. Was full and we were forced to stand for almost two hours.
Landed in Ohtopol and asked the tourist information for a cheap and safe place to stay, hopefully with a telephone line so that I could hook up to the internet. They said that was possible but more expensive – 15 USD a night for the two of us instead of 10.
But we were pretty exhausted from the long trip and reeeeally wanted to shower and shit, so we just took the deal and they drove us to the hotel.
Took a shower, started getting back into shape a bit, and hooked my computer up, only to discover that the line does not work. Asked the receptionist why it was not working to discover that the phone is only for calling the other rooms within the hotel – absolutely useless.
The next few hours were a series of negotiations, interwoven, at key times, with explanations that the woman I was talking to does not understand English, that it is impossible to return our money, etc. etc.
This kept going back and forth and never leading to anywhere. She kept referring to “her boss”, who I eventually determined was this older woman who I first thought was a cleaning woman or something. The translations between me and this woman, through the receptionist, was getting more and more frequent, the woman meanwhile sort of just waving her hand with some excuses, not even looking at me, and having that tone in her voice and mannerism which made me think she was not too concerned about my situation. She just sat there in her comfort, before her table full of lunch, and sat eating contentedly just waving her hand.
This was when I decided I would rather talk to her directly and in a language I felt she would understand, so I jumped down from the stairs above her, yanked the edge of the table such that her entire lunch and everything else on the table was thrown against the wall and onto the floor, and then I leaned over to her face and started screaming at her, noticing that much of my fine spittle was spraying lightly all over her. I often repeated a well known, international word with the letter f in it.
Nevertheless, after masquerading to call the police, she must have had a change of heart and decided to give us our money back (minus 15 USD for the broken plates).
So we continued, walking like lost tourists, heavily laden with backpacks and looking dumbfoundedly for the next whiskey hotel.
Many of the restaurants had plants growing all over the place. This one even had grapes.
Wine was more popular in Bulgaria than beer. :o(
People would occasionally run out of their homes, noticing our state, and offer us rooms in the back. We looked at a few and eventually decided on an offer made us by an old couple. They said using their telephone line would not be a problem. This was true the first day, but as soon as they heard the word “internet” and saw the spaghetti of wires around my laptop and modem, they started to get scared and eventually banned us the use of their telephone line. We tried the local “internet café”, a single 486 computer in the reception of a rinky dinky hotel, then the post office, but nobody was willing to allow me the connection.
On the way into Bulgaria, we were told that, within 48 hours, we must fill in a form at any police station stating where we will be staying, otherwise we will be subject to a fine on the way out of the country. This being our second day in Bulgaria, we went to the local police station. But the guy there just waved us away to the next village, saying it was not his problem and that he is not in the least interested, but that we better move on and, above all, get our bottles of juice off his table. Perhaps this is why the hotel woman did not bother to call the police.
On the beach at the first town. The little fishies in the top right are fished out of the sea by locals and grilled right on the beach.
So we crammed our way into a small bus to the next village to try our luck. Three internet cafés and the situation started to look more hopeful – it was a larger town. So we made our way to the police station and were fortunate to find a new Polish woman friend, who worked there and who interpreted for us. It was a mish mash of Polish, Czech and Bulgarian, but we managed to find out that 1) this is day number three and therefore too late (we went to the village the next day), 2) it is not even us who is supposed to go there but rather the person who is taking our hotel money (the government wants a piece of the tourist action and therefore came up with this way to “supposedly” force hotels to register their profits, and 3) due to our gross negligence, we can each expect to pay a hefty fine of 100 USD at the border.
On the way to the next town in the local mini-bus traveling between small towns. It would always pull up and us and a bunch of Gypsies would jump in and try and grab a seat. Then the driver would pull away immediately while some Bulgarian would run out screaming at the driver. I guess they didn’t have a permit or something to pull up where they do to pick up customers.
But the Polish woman said she’d pull some strings for us and take care of all the paper work. So now it is the next day, after a last night’s sleep at the previous place, we are on the beach right now and slowly getting ready to make the trip to our next destination – Tsarevo. I tried the internet cafés there yesterday and no one knew what a network was, so I certainly was not going to hook up my computer to the internet through them. Today we will try the Polish woman’s post office friend. Otherwise, one last resort is to ask the internet café whether I can put a floppy disk into their computer. If so, I will have to do all my work through a floppy and a Hotmail or Yahoo account – how barbaric.
We plan to stay around this neck of the woods for about 4 to 5 days, and then head over to visit some hashers in Istambul. Meanwhile, I have two projects I am supposed to have completed today and cannot even send an email to my customers. Looks like I might have to take a forced vacation. We shall see.
[End – Thursday, 25th July]
So we made it safely enough to the next whiskey town the next day, survived yet another crammed bus ride and got off to meet our new Polish woman friend, who was waiting for us with papers prepared (so we wouldn’t have to pay the 100 dollar fine) and who immediately took me to her post office woman friend. But her friend seemed adamant about not letting me hook up my laptop to their telephone line, so I was left with the internet café option again.
Went to the internet café again, but this time there was someone there who knew what a network was (and who spoke English, so Misha reminds me). So we spent the next few hours trying to hook me up to their network. That went easy enough, and the internet worked, but when I casually asked him what his SMTP code was (so that I could send outgoing mail), he said he didn’t know – even after making some phone calls. So it looked like it was back to using a floppy disk and a Yahoo account or something.
This irritated me and I really wanted to be able to send from my computer (where all my work is), so I started surfing for some free SMTP servers. Other Bulgarian computer geeks started strolling in and, soon enough, there were about five of them brainstorming how to get around this problem. Finally, someone suggested that Windows XP (which I have) has its own SMTP server which can be installed. We installed that and they spent some time setting it up until, finally, I had my own SMTP server running on my computer and could send email directly from my computer anywhere I was connected to the internet (very useful if you are travelling around like me and have to hook up to the internet in various ways and through various networks).
So I was all set up now and finally back in business, even though the internet connection was so ridiculously slow it wasn’t even possible to hook UP to Yahoo half the time. In fact, one day I had to give up when the café was almost full. It seems they had a 33 kb phone line connection and were dividing that among all the users. Most of the users were just hooked up to some Bulgarian chat service, seeing that surfing and anything else was too slow to use.
The Tut Tut train between “downtown” and the “main beach”. Since we were staying between the two, we would hop on this baby every day to town, until I found a short cut and that I could walk there faster…
So I would make the 12 minute stroll every day, to downtown, carrying my laptop in the intense tropical heat, to download new mail and blast off all my prepared messages. I even came up with, eh em, a rather genius method where translators could email text messages to my mobile and I could send them back emails from my mobile. I would sit on the beach with my laptop, read and reply to all my downloaded mail, occasionally receive text messages and inform certain translators, “Yes, please start with the project,” and go once a day to the internet café to make the big “exchange”, as the young Bulgarian computer geek called it. Somewhat of a rinky dinky and cumbersome method to manage everything, but just barely enough – excepting the fact that it was hard to motivate myself while lying awkwardly on my sandy blanket, a pocket umbrella propped up over my laptop so it would not overheat in the sweltering sun, Misha constantly asking if I can play cards with her, and staring at the rhythmic and hypnotic ocean waves perpetually caressing the shoreline…
So, under these conditions, I was not very productive and was falling increasingly behind in my translation projects. This was not so good considering I had major projects for my two largest customers, one project of which was supposed to be the largest one of the year. The customer was getting agitated with the constant delays and I was getting stressed out trying to satisfy it.
The “Main beach” where we would spend most of our days.
The place we stayed at was fairly nice, there was two beaches within close walking distance, and we were finally starting to settle into something that at least remotely resembled a relaxed vacation in the sun (up until then we had to keep moving from place to place to look for a reliable internet connection).
The people we were staying at were nice. The husband was Bulgarian, unemployed, and occasionally showed us at which of the local pubs he would spend most of his days and where a double shot of hard liquor ran at thirty cents. This inevitably pleased Misha and we’d often end up early and wasted in the sack.
In the next whiskey town with our new Bulgarian “landlord” drinking the famous 30 cent liquor. Later Misha stumbled to the beach and had her first experience with ocean waves. Quite entertaining watching her get continually smacked in the face by waves which were, that day, almost half her size.
But, alas, our little paradise was coming to a close and it was time to make preparations for our trip to Istanbul. Istanbul?!? Isn’t that like in the Muslim world? Oh oh, something I had not considered when I decided to bring with me my last two and a half grams of grass. We spent some time surfing the internet researching the matter and I sent an SMS to our next destination asking for their suggestion. The final synopsis? Definitely do NOT bring it across the border. Couldn’t even find some new “friends” to smoke it with us, so we decided we would try to send it back to Prague. Made various arrangements, but the last day was too hectic and didn’t even have the opportunity to drop it off at the post office.
Since it was the last day, thought I would “celebrate” and we started smoking more than our usual quota. Beer was always on the menu, every day, seeing I was on vacation, so I was a little over the edge that last day. But that was sort of the plan anyway. After all, when we were thinking of it, neither of us had ever stepped into a Muslim country before. Here we are, about a hundred k from the border of the Muslim world, still in Europe, neither of us ever stepping into one of those countries, and what better way to make the transition than to cross the border TOTALLY STONED.
Meanwhile, my customer started calling me on a more regular basis and I was getting more stressed in the process. We spent most of the morning on the beach and then I made my last treck to the centre to hook up, after which I was going to stay there and jump on the bus to Turkey.
I went ahead of Misha and, on the way, I disgruntly threw my stuffed film canister by the side of the road. It landed visibly wedged between some branches lying on the ground and I imagined some fortunate soul might eventually find it and return the favour through the karma gods.
Made it to the centre, hooked up, started the long process of downloading my mail, after which I was going to send the very important files my highly agitated customer was anxiously waiting for.
Unfortunately, a storm started brewing, the café owner feared lightning (which might cause an electrical surge and fry every computer hooked up to his network – including mine) and eventually shut down his entire operation. By this time Misha showed up and we decided to transfer to a neighbouring restaurant. From there I called my customer in the US to explained my yet another predicament (yet another excuse why I could not deliver the work). The storm kept increasing in intensity to what may be the most intense storm I ever experienced. It was pouring out of the sky like Niagara Falls and we were told this was the fiercest storm the country experienced in twenty years. A couple of weeks later, in Prague, I even heard over the news how about 50 people on a beach in the Black Sea were sucked up in a tornado, never to be found again…
With the stress of having to explain yet another failure to my customer, the amazing storm, and the throngs of Bulgarians huddled under the patio roof in the restaurant, staring in wonder at the rage of God outside, this while in my intoxicated vacation state and prepared frame of mind to cross the Arab border, I committed what I have never accomplished during my eight year history of owning a mobile – I lost it.
That’s great, now I can’t even communicate in my fancy way with my translators and my projects seemed even more at risk.
So now we were off to Turkey.
We rolled into Istanbul early next morning, just in time to meet my friend on his way to work. He took us up to his office, where I hooked up, with absolute ease, to his network and spent the next couple of hours catching up to some badly needed work.
First day in Istanbul and we actually had a CHOICE!! between
Burger King and McDs!
Below left: they had a little bit of an inflation problem down there and our meal turned out to be about 4,000 million of their funny money. Therefore, this might be the only time in my life when you might see me as a “millionaire” (I was holding 3,000 Turkish Lira). A beer usually goes for about one million, which equaled, at that time, about 80 US cents.
Below right: the prize after a long bus journey.
That wrapped up, I grabbed my camera and we headed out to explore the city.
I must say that we were both quite surprised. As you might expect, I entered the country holding my valuables with firmly clenched fists, but the people and surroundings were not at all as we both had expected. The people were nice, most of them spoke English, and they were VERY helpful. People were nice as well in Bulgaria, but most of the time they spoke to us in Bulgarian, in a manner as if we had been living there for the past ten odd years. Add to this the fact that, in Bulgaria, shaking your head means yes, nodding your head means no, vpravo means straight (pravo in Czech means “to the right”), so we were quite pleased at the ease with which we could communicate with people in Turkey. In fact, many times people there would hear us talking and asked us if we were Polish. When we told them we were Czechs, I’d say half the time the person would instantly pull out some Czech phrases. Everywhere we went people were running up to us trying to sell us something. Street vendors filled the streets while walkers moved slowly and the occasionally beeping cars filled the rest. It was a little bit uneasing to be constantly asked to order food or buy something, anything, but the people were not harassing about it and politely let us go on our way when we showed no interest. Every time we looked into our map or stared like a dumb tourist looking for where to go next, someone would run up to us and help us on our way. But they never held out their hands afterwards looking for a reward for their favour, as we initially expected would be the case.
So we spent two nights in Istanbul and left quite impressed and surprised.
Although my customer was disgruntled, I think I just managed to pull off the big project in time for it to meet it’s customers deadline and we spent our time in Turkey soaking in the wonderful architecture. It was interesting how the architecture differed slightly on different sides of the straight – one side being the “Asian” side and the other the “European” side. In fact, on our way back to Prague, we noticed a sign while crossing the big city bridge, “Welcome to Europe”, this while still in Istanbul!
Well, now we’re on our way back to Sofia, where we plan to stay overnight and party with our new friend and maybe hook up with another friend who, while we were on the southern coast of Bulgaria, had freshly moved to the city from Prague.
Since my battery is dying and I need some in reserve to refer to incoming text messages tomorrow, I will sign off now and continue this stressful adventure later.
Some scenes of Isanbul:
Above: there was a big fat war a long time ago on the cross-roads of cultures (here) and the Arab world won. So the Egyptians built a big obelisk with the story of the victory carved into it and shipped it to Istanbul. Unfortunately, as they were trying to take it on shore, it snapped. The top third is shown standing here. Behind it is another obelisk they built later and which was covered over with a very thick layer of gold. Unfortunately, over the centuries, it seems the locals were short in change for the next beer and the gold was eventually whittled away.
Many times it is easier to get around town by one of the multitude of ferries. We took a tourist ferry trip one day to view the coastline along the straight.
Above: a yacht club in front of a residential, seaside community.
Left: all the stores seemed absolutely immaculate in their presentation.
Below right and below that: the last “port” our tourist ferry docked at. Often locals could be seen along the coastline working on their catch and throwing the unwanted bits to the multitudes of waiting cats, many of them filled, satisfied, and enjoying the summer sun.
Left: the city, 15 million in number, 150,000 km wide and 230,000 km long, would often have its shops organised into categories along certain streets or sections of town. This section was the backpacker section: youth hostels, travel agencies, and western style bars. Here you see Cheers next to Just Bar, a joking contrast I guess.
Below left: Gotta dress up if you wanna visit their churches. People didn’t seem so keen on me walking around in the heat without my t-shirt (my natural favourite) and often ran out of the stores trying to sell me one.
Below right: Approaching the busier part of town. The streets were almost always littered with vendors selling everything you could imagine.
Below that: the “spice mall” (a passage way between two busy vendor streets) where we dished out 30 million smackers on delicious Indian spices.
Back in Sofia. Notice me below left in bliss by the surroundings.
And, finally, back in Prague to get together with our closest friends and run as fast as possible to the local beer garden for a game of foosball and some SMOOOOOOOOOOKE….
Tips from Some of My Translators
Bulgaria could be a great choice for summer holidays. Great nature, history, folklore. There are lots of places to visit, depending on your interests. Do you plan to travel by car or to rent a car in Bulgaria? It would be much easier to travel around the country by car. The public transportation is not that reliable as it used to be some 10 years ago. So my first advice to you is – rent a car. Two weeks is enough time to get around and see the most. Where to go (according to my taste): Sofia, the capital – one day, not more. Vitosha mountain is in the outskirts and good place to go for a short walk. Mountains – Rodopi mountain – great, great nature. Mild peaks, suitable for easy tracking, various sites. The best known mountain resort there – Pamporovo near Smolyan. Small beautiful ethno villages – Momchilovci, Shiroka Luka, Kovatchevica. Rila mountain – the highest peak on Balkan peninsula is there. Also great, but more difficult to climb in the highest part. Biggest resort there – Borovetz (1:30 hours from Sofia). Pirin mountain – for experienced tourists – difficult climbing, interesting tracks. Monasteries – Usually very picturesque, located in beautiful quiet places. The most famous, almost a must for every tourist – Rila Monastery in Rila mountain. Old towns with preserved architecture – Koprivshtica near Plovdiv, Arbanasi near Veliko Tarnovo, Bozhenci near Gabrovo – very, very beautiful little place, Melnik – the smallest town, famous wine center with interesting rock around. Sozopol (southern sea coast) and Nesebar (northern sea coast) – great places to enjoy the old architecture and the beaches. Big cities with interesting sites – Plovdiv -second biggest city on seven hills. The old town of Plovdiv is a must. Veliko Tarnovo – one of the old capitals of Bulgaria – the Tzarevetz hill with preserved and renovated ancient buildings. Varna – “the sea capital” – many seaside resorts around. Nature sites – Caves (Ledenika near Vidin, Dyavolsko gurlo in Rodopi mountain near Trigrad); Rocks of Belogradchik – very impressive natural phenomenon; etc., etc, (I can’t recall all of them now, but check out the www sites) Seaside – divided into two parts, Northern and Southern. On the north – big resorts, more civilized, nice large beaches with fine sand – Albena, Zlatni Pyasaci. Small towns, campings, wild beaches are on the south – Sozopol, Sinemorec (on the border with Turkey). The Ropotamo river with the natural reservate is wonderful.
You can find a lot of information about Bulgaria on the Internet. I have listed below some sites to check. Portal sites for tourist information – resorts, historical places, mountains, seaside, hotel information…
All seaside towns and resorts
I am very glad that you’re planning a visit to Bulgaria. There are many possibilities to plan a trip. Will you fly to Sofia or to Varna, or will you come by car?
1.At the seaside, there are beautiful resorts like Albena, Zlatni piasatsi and Slanchev Briag (from North to South), which are quite big. Most of the hotels have their own pools, that you can enjoy. The only disadvantage, though, concerning Zlatni piasatsi and Slanchev Briag, is that many of the hotels are in a process of rebuilding now, making the whole place dusty and unpleasant at some big areas.
2.And also, there are smaller places, like Nessebar, Sozopol, Kiten, Primorsko, etc. Nessebar is situated on a peninsula and has a very nice old part of the town, narrow streets, artisans, etc. Good fish restaurants of course.
3.Also, there are some nice resorts, like Djuni, Elenite, Vlas – offering separate nice lttle houses, where you can be on your own.
Option 3 is the most expensive, then coomes 1, and then 2. At 2. there are many private rooms to rent, as well, and they are cheaper.
Besides, there are many special places in the mountains, too. Some old monasteries, mountain resorts, etc. There is a very old monastery found in the rocks near Zlatni piasatsi from 2-3 century A.D., called Aladja Monastery.
There are good wines, too in Bulgaria. In the Southern part, on the West, is Melnik. A very nice small town with good houses/hotels you can stay at a reasonable price and a wonderful wine. This red wine is stored in the sand rock caves around Melnik. Nearby is the Monastery of Rojen – maybe 15 km.
So, please give me your prefernces – do you want to stay at one place, or you prefer to move around. I can help you with the reservations and can suggest two-three options. Also, please tell me what can you afford for the hotel per night.
I will look for some web page in English, where you can see pictures.
You can look at:
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There are the prices for Albena hotels.
If you start from the main page you can see a lot on the sea coast hotels.
Still, I don’t know how correct is this info. If you make your choice, I can check that for you. Bye.
If you go to the Bulgarian coast, I would recommend you to visit Nesebar, Sozopol and Achtopol. These are all beautiful old traditional cities with amazing architecture and still as popular places they have a lot of amusements to offer. Nice athmosphere, romantic places, lots of good restaurants etc.
I would be pleased to show you round the places you are interested in Bulgaria and to assist you with my help in what concerns accomodation reservations, general information and whatever you may need to know before and during your travel.
My name is Charles Morton, and I am from San Diego, California, USA I have some very good connections in Bulgaria, as my late wife is from there. I even have friends at the Emerald Travel Agency, in Sofia, who may be willing to help you out in the planning of your upcoming vacation. I will try to contact them, and enlist their assistance. My recommendations for a place to stay for extreme comfort, relaxation and beautiful sight seeing, would be in a little city called Vratza… And of course, if you are looking for “fun in the sun” at the beaches, like most people, then Varna, Bulgaria is simply the place to go. My experience, has been that the hotel rates there, are very affordable, and their beaches there are even better than the one’s here in San Diego. If you are interested, you can e-mail me back at Good luck in your future travels.
For best prices go to south coast, for luxury go to north (a lot of Russians). My favorite place is Sozopol, but in the midsummer there is a crowd there. It is very nice there in September. For sites for reservations go to www.dir.bg – www.sozopol.com (in Bulgarian), or www.search.bg (in English). Sincerely yours, Elissaveta
I am happy to hear that you are interested in spending some time in Bulgaria. There are a lot of resorts on Black Sea that you can choose from. You can probably find more information on
<site no longer works>
The most fashionable resorts on the Black Sea are Golden Sands, Albena and “St. Konstantin and Elena”, Eleni, Roussalka along the North coast and Sunny Beach and Duni in the South. These are the places preferred mainly by foreign tourists. There are a lot of hotels and larger choice of entertainment there. You can find more information on these web sites:
However, if you prefer to visit a place with more history and genuine atmosphere you better choose Nessebur or Sozopol. These are two small villages in the South. Nessebur is a museum town, part of the UNESCO world heritage list and famous for its history and ancient architecture. Sozopol is also a very old town with very typical architecture. It is considered a more artistic city and hosts the Apolonia festival of arts (usually late August or early September). You can check www.nessebur.com. Nessebur and Sozopol are quite popular among tourists and it may be pretty crowded there. So in case you want a quiet holiday, far from the bustle of the famous tourist resorts you could go to places like Sinemorets in the South and Kamchia in the North. And here is one web site where you can search for available hotels along the Bulgarian coast:
Check out my Travel Europe pages of other places I’ve been to. Don’t let the dream stop!
The tips above were made by some translators of KENAX Translation Service
We are a family operation managing private custom boat tours in the beautiful Palawan area, and are happy to help travelers with their plans through the Philippines, having traveled a lot of it ourselves and planning to visit it all. These pages in this section cover my various solo travels through Europe before meeting my wife.